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64pc of smartphone restaurant searchers convert within an hour: report

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October 4, 2012

Mobile restaurant searchers convert at high levels

Mobile searches related to restaurants are more locally driven and more urgent than for categories such as travel and auto, with a conversion rate of nearly 90 percent, according to a new report from xAd and Telmetrics.

The Mobile Path-to-Purchase study found that smartphone restaurant searchers have the most urgent needs with 64 percent converting immediately or within an hour of their mobile search inquiry. The results also show that there are distinct behavioral differences between tablet and smartphone restaurant searchers.

“The nearly 90 percent conversion rate confirms that restaurants can’t ignore mobile, and with a large user base that hasn’t yet decided on where they want to dine, there is a lot of room for mobile ads to have influence,” said Bill Dinan, president of Telmetrics, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.

“Three out of five users access the restaurant category without a specific location or brand in mind, but 75 percent notice mobile ads,” he said.

“Although mobile Web sites had the highest restaurant user reach — according to Nielsen’s smartphone analytics panel, 8 percent accessed apps for restaurant content and 12 percent accessed mobile Web sites — mobile apps reach a more engaged audience as users spent 73 percent of their time on apps and 27 percent of their time on mobile Web sites.”

Hungry users
Key findings from the report include that 44 percent of tablet restaurant searchers convert immediately, less than the 64 percent reported for smartphone users.

The results also show that three out of four smartphone users conducted their searches while on the go. In comparison, tablets were used mostly in the home.

The type of information sought by smartphone versus tablet users also varied.

The top indexing activities for smartphone users are calling a restaurant, looking up directions and looking up nearby locations.

Reflecting the immediacy of most smartphone searches, 65 percent of users are looking for restaurant locations within walking or driving distance.

Additionally, 70 percent of smartphone restaurant searchers were looking for a business location, 66 percent for directions and 51 percent for a local phone number.

For tablets, the top activities are looking at ratings and reviews, finding online coupons and promotions and researching a menu or specific food items.

Separate strategies
Underscoring the opportunity in mobile to acquire new customers via effective marketing, the report found that three out of five users access the restaurant category without a specific location or brand in mind while 75 percent notice mobile ads.

Smartphone users are most likely to engage with ads that are related to something they have recently searched for, or with establishments that are within walking or driving distance of their current location.

Tablet users are more likely to engage with ads that offer a deal or coupon or are from a familiar brand.

Other findings include that calls are a key mobile restaurant activity, with more than half of restaurant searchers placing calls and 30 percent saying they contacted the restaurant or made a reservation by phone on their last restaurant search. This suggests that providing easy access to restaurant phone numbers in mobile search.

The results point to the need for marketers to have separate smartphone and tablet strategies when looking to reach restaurant searchers.

“Restaurateurs should ensure they have separate smartphone and tablet strategies as mobile consumers use them differently for restaurant searches,” Mr. Dinan said. “Smartphone users are focused on location and have immediate needs whereas tablet users are more research-focused and interested in deals and reviews.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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