Eighty-two percent of mobile shoppers search online for “near me” options, demonstrating the importance of location-based marketing for pizzeria owners and other businesses, according to a new study by Uberall, Inc., a company offering location-marketing solutions for brick-and-mortar businesses.

In another key finding of the survey, “near me” searches for food are the most common.

Location-based marketing uses a mobile device’s location to inform the device’s owner about offers from a nearby business or, in the case of “near me” searches, the proximity of businesses the users are looking for. Location-based marketing allows businesses to better target consumers based on where they eat, shop and use other services. According to Factual.com, U.S. companies in 2017 spent $17.1 billion on location-targeted mobile advertising, and a BIA/Kelsey study predicts spending will increase to $38.7 billion in 2022.

Uberall’s “Near Me Shopping Report” surveyed more than 1,000 smartphone users across the U.S. to understand their “near me” preferences and behavior. It found that 69% of consumers use their smartphone to help them shop. When asked how they typically use their smartphone to help them shop, the top five responses included researching products (63%); comparing prices (62%); searching for coupons or deals (56%); checking for store hours (54%); and finding nearby store locations (52%).

“Smartphones have become the go-to research companion for consumers,” said Josha Benner, CRO and co-founder of Uberall. “For all the talk of mobile displacing brick-and-mortar shopping, our data finds that these devices are hugely supportive of in-store foot traffic. Checking hours and finding nearby locations were two of the most popular use cases from respondents.”

When asked if they have ever tried a “near me” search on their mobile devices, 82% of the survey’s respondents said “yes,” Uberall reports. Only 18% have not. Among millennials, “near me” adoption was even greater, at 92% versus 8%.

Eighty-four percent of those who use “near me” searches are looking for food, the survey found, followed by entertainment (56%), banking (50%), apparel (41%) and personal care (38%).

"The restaurant and quick-service industry sees a lot of ‘near me’ searches,” Benner said. “This makes sense given how proximity-based eating is as a behavior. It will likely always hold the top spot. However, ‘near me’ searches for the other four categories in the top five will only increase in the future.”

Consumers are also more likely to click on the first two or three search results they see, the survey found. Sixty percent said they were “very likely” to do that, while 33% said “somewhat likely.”

“With huge growth in ‘near me,’ brands and marketers need to adapt to this new front door,” Benner said. “Searches are becoming more proximity and location-based. And what has been true for general organic search holds true for local search — whoever shows up first and in the top set of results will win the day. So, it’s important to optimize local presences online to meet that shift and deliver against demand.”

How to improve your pizzeria's 'near me' search results

Marketing professionals recommend several strategies to optimize a pizzeria’s “near me” search results. For starters, make sure your website has basic contact information such as the company name, address (including city and state) and phone number as well as a separate location page with directions. “The more pages Google crawls with your contact information and directions, the better chance you have of Google serving your page” to consumers searching for your type of business, says FourFront, a data science company specializing in digital marketing.

Additionally, pizzeria owners should claim and verify their Google My Business page as well as similar listings such as Bing Places for Business, Yelp and Yellow Pages, FourFront notes. “Ensuring all claims are correct with consistent information across all listings creates more opportunity for people to find your business when searching local businesses and/or doing a ‘near me’ search,” FourFront notes.

Pizzerias should also optimize their social media pages, such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, for local searches. Crucial information includes company name, address (including city and state) and hours of operation.

Your website also must be optimized for mobile devices, according to SEOBrand. “Studies on search queries have shown that websites that offer mobile-friendly versions of their page are more likely to be chosen for products and services,” SEOBrand reports. “Due to recent Google updates, websites that are more optimized for mobile are given better search engine rankings than ones [that aren’t].”


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