Used by over 2.6 billion people worldwide, the smartphone is now the most personal piece of technology available to consumers today. Between granting users the ability to connect with anyone anywhere and creating an outlet for personal content creation, it's no wonder that 87% of people always have their smartphone by their side. These little computers in our pockets have freed users from the confinement of landlines and desktops for communication and research, as well as from traditional modes of gaming, photography, and navigation.
More recently, the mobility of smartphones has leveraged location to enhance the user experience. Before the smartphone became so widely accessible, location was two-dimensional, solely designating a physical space. Today, location has become a commodity, whose context can be understood by a wider audience because it has the ability to be shared and viewed from anywhere at any time from a mobile device.
Features like location services (which allow mobile- and web-based apps to continuously register geographic data about a smartphone device) enable users to receive directions based on their location, share their locations on social media, and post content customized by geotags and geofilters. The inclusion of location-specific elements like geotags and geofilters in user-generated content on social media apps like Snapchat and Instagram illustrate the newfound value users place in location and in sharing that location with others.
Not only has the smartphone revolutionized how people create, communicate, and share with each other, smartphones have also dramatically changed the world of search in favor of local relevance and immediacy. Rather than always having a known destination and route before leaving the house, consumers can now find new stores, restaurants, and venues on the go. And many do. According to a recent study from Google, "near me" searches have increased 146% in the past year, and local searches are growing 50% faster than mobile searches overall.
For the 198.5 million smartphone owners in the United States alone, search is the most common starting point for mobile research because it allows for flexibility in a user's plan or preference. On-the-go consumers can rely on their smartphones to find a store that sells the product they are looking for, see recommendations or reviews, and be efficiently navigated no matter the mode of transportation.
Whether team iPhone or Android, smartphones are resourceful to both the consumers who use them and to the businesses that market through them. Smartphones have facilitated the way businesses reach their audiences by giving them a mobile platform from which to advertise. When consumers perform a local search on their smartphones, businesses in that area with accurate and plentiful business listings gain a new audience of potential customers.
For businesses, it's important to keep smartphones top of mind when thinking through a local SEO strategy and when managing digital knowledge. Given today's mobile-first approach to search, it's imperative for businesses to have accurate and consistent digital knowledge everywhere consumers search — including apps, maps, and online directories. Make sure consumers can find you and that location services points them in the right direction as they search. With the Yext Knowledge Manager, you can be sure the facts about your business will be accurate and up-to-date everywhere.