58% of local search requests are from consumers looking for unbranded goods and services, making use of generic terms such as ‘coffee shop near me’, ‘local supermarket open now’ and ‘petrol station near me’ rather than the brands that supply those services. That’s according to the newly released ‘Branded vs Unbranded Global Search Report’ from location marketing tech firm, Uberall.
The research, which was conducted over a 12 month period, analysed, 48,000 business locations in the US, UK, France and Germany. While both unbranded and branded search volumes grew rapidly – by 75% and 134% respectively – generic search terms dominated Uberall’s findings.
The split between branded and unbranded search also varies considerably between sectors. Consumers searching for hospitality and travel services – such as fast-food restaurants and travel agents – are much more likely to conduct a branded search to find a location. For outlets in these sectors, branded search was responsible for almost 62% of their visibility in local search.
For all other sectors included in the research, unbranded search volumes were higher than branded. This was particularly the case for business-to-business firms where less than 12% of online visibility was gained through branded search.
The report also assesses the impact of outsourcing the management of local search and engagement to third-party experts.
By comparing search trends seen in the six months prior to engaging a third party with those seen during the first six months of engagement, the research found that brands typically double the number of times their outlets appear in online search results. For unbranded searches, visibility was three times greater. Consumer engagement – when a customer checks directions to an outlet, makes a phone call or visits their website – doubled for businesses employing third parties.
Big brands may be well-known the world over, but at a local search level, being visible to prospective customers is just as important – perhaps even more important – than being famous. Boosting visibility in local search is hugely beneficial to companies of all sizes, as it is proven to increase both customer engagement levels and footfall. Our latest research shows larger corporations cannot rely on their name alone, as that’s not necessarily what local customers are searching for.
Norman Rohr, Senior Vice President, Marketing, Uberall