Consumer Behavior trends header

If your brand experienced declining views in local search listings through October, you’re not alone. Average total listing views and search volume declined from September in nearly all verticals we track in our monthly aggregation and analysis of Google Business Profile (GBP) insights for over 170,000 diverse U.S. enterprise brand locations. 

The exceptions were in the hospitality and healthcare segments. Listing views grew 8.5% and searches 12.8% in hospitality. The healthcare segment saw 2.4% and 3.8% gains, respectively. Healthcare had a strong month overall with low-single digit increases in all conversion metrics, as well.

When we compare how enterprise brands’ locations performed in Google Search results to October 2021, we see that most verticals experienced growth in average total views and clicks for directions (except multi-family residential). Service businesses saw their total clicks rise the most year-over-year (YoY) at 7.1%. Healthcare brands experienced the greatest growth in total searches, rising 23.4% over the same period a year prior.

Here are the consumer behavior search trends October 2022 presented by vertical. Use them to better understand your own locations’ GBP reporting.

Service Businesses

Oct 2022 Rio SEO Google Insights Data

Following two months of strong growth, service businesses saw local search performance decline across every metric, with the exception of clicks for direction. Total views fell 17.2% and searches dropped 10.6%. Conversion metrics took a smaller dip with a -1.7% decrease in total clicks, -4.3% clicks to make a phone call, and -5% clicks to website. For reference, we define the service business category as postal services, storage facilities, pest control, gyms, staffing agencies, and more for the purpose of this research.

It’s important to also take year-over-year performance into consideration when assessing the bigger picture. Service businesses are seeing ample growth YoY. This ncludes a 36% increase in total listing views, an 18% increase in total searches, and a 7% increase in total clicks. 

Listings accuracy and completion is essential in boosting locations’ search visibility and conversions. See our Local Listings for Services Businesses [Ebook] to learn more about getting your brand’s local listings in shape.

Financial Services

Oct 2022 Rio SEO Google Insights Data - Financial Services

Financial services business had a down month across the board for every local marketing metric we observe. However, these decreases from September were in the single-digits and need not be cause for concern. This appears to be a seasonal trend and tracks with what financial brands experienced in October 2021, as well.

Year-over-year financial services metrics were a mixed bag, with the largest gain in clicks for driving directions (11.8%) and the largest decrease in clicks to call (-17.5%). Decreased clicks to call is a trend we’ve seen often throughout 2022. Consumers’ informational needs and behavior are shifting with more feeling safe and comfortable visiting businesses in-person this year than last.

Rising inflation has consumers thinking twice about how and where they spend their hard-earned money. Shelter prices grew 0.8% month-over-month (MoM) in October (6.9% YoY), marking the largest monthly increase since 1990, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Grocery prices have also skyrocketed by 12.4% this October versus last, although that’s not a record as August saw food at home prices grow 13.5% (the largest increase since 1979). 

Financial brands can use Google Posts for extra visibility on promotions, deals, and events and to engage consumers from search. Remember that you’ll need a strategy for removing Posts once they’re outdated in place, to avoid potential confusion and false advertising.

Full-Service Restaurants

Oct 2022 Rio SEO Google Insights Data - Full Service Restaurants

Restaurant businesses, both full- and quick-service, continue to grapple with the consequences of the pandemic, staff shortages, and rising costs for goods. This is inadvertently reflected continually in our MoM and YoY research. 

Total views and searches fell 18.3% and 9.5%, opposite to the trend we saw in October 2021 when the industry rebounded from a September (back to school) slump in interest. This year’s declines suggest that inflation and economic fears are playing a larger role. Industry-wide, experts say that guest traffic continues to erode compared to this time last year, and October marked the eighth consecutive month of negative same-store traffic growth. Family and casual dining have been faring poorest in 3-year growth, while quick-service and fine dining were strongest.

Every local marketing metric we study dipped MoM, with the exception of clicks for driving directions (a 3.3% increase). Year-over-year metrics fared significantly better, with a 27% increase in total listing views and 5% increase in total searches. Total clicks to call FSR restaurants dipped 36%, but again, this shouldn’t be a major cause for concern as most customers aren’t calling businesses to find out more information. They’re instead seeking information on local business listings and websites, underscoring the importance of always having accurate information anywhere local diners can find your business. 

Mastering GBP Attributes for Restaurant Brands can help your restaurant listings appear in more relevant searches and proactively answer diners’ questions about the amenities, payment methods, accessibility features and more available at each location.

Quick-Service Restaurants

Oct 2022 Rio SEO Google Insights Data - Quick Service Restaurants

Quick-service restaurants saw similar declines MoM as FSR, although not as dramatic.  Total search views were down 11% (compared to 18% for FSR), and total searches fell 7% (compared to 9% for FSR). YoY metrics closely mirrored FSR, with both experiencing a 27% increase in total listing views and both seeing minor increases for clicks for driving directions.

According to Black Box Intelligence, “This was also the best performing month since March based on traffic growth. But despite the improvements in recent months, the stark reality is that restaurant guest traffic continues eroding compared to the previous year.”

To continue to defy the slump in restaurant sales, restaurants must closely monitor review sentiment. Black Box Intelligence reports that terms such as “long” time, “finally,” and mentions of minutes waited are down compared to Q2, when restaurants were struggling more broadly with back-of-house staff shortages. “These trends suggest that food is getting through the kitchen and in front of the customer faster and when this happens guests tend to reward the restaurant with a higher star rating,” their report states

It’s essential that enterprise brands are equipped to monitor, triage, and respond to local reviews across all locations. Reviews are an important part of the local customer experience and in addition to engaging one customer, provide important social proof to others and even help improve local search rankings. With an enterprise local marketing platform, you can feature positive reviews on your restaurants’ local pages, as well.


Oct 2022 Rio SEO Google Insights Data - Hotels

After dips in local marketing metrics in August and September, hotel brands saw a reprieve in October with +8.5% total views and +12.8% total searches. This is far better news for hotel brands than last October, when views and searches both declined MoM. Total searches fell 13.6% from last October, while clicks to call were down 18.6% YoY. 

Demand for travel continues to trend upward, even as other sectors are suffering the effects of a probable global recession, rising interest rates, and inflation. Given how many trips were canceled through the duration of the pandemic, it is not surprising that Americans are resistant to forego their plans once again. A recent travel consumer report found that 92% of Americans have travel plans in the next six months, which is among the highest levels of travel seen since the beginning of the pandemic. 

Hotels are performing better financially, as well. The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA)’s 2022 Midyear State of the Hotel Industry Report revealed that hotel room revenue is projected to surpass $188 billion by the end of 2022, higher than in 2019.

Take advantage of all of the features and attributes available to hotel brands on your listings. See A Complete Guide to the Google Business Profile Rebrand for Enterprise Brands to learn more.


Retail Consumer Behavior Trends October 2022

Unlike hotels, retailers are feeling more of the full impact of consumers’ economic concerns. Each passing month presents more uncertainty in terms of how much more basic necessities–such as gas, rent, and electricity–will cost. Total views, searches, clicks to call, and clicks for directions all fell MoM. The only outlier is clicks for directions, increasing by a meager 1.9%. Total listing views are up 21.2% over October 2021, although again, we see that conversion actions to call and visit retailer’s websites are down YoY.

Retail sales growth slowed to 6.4% YoY in October, although the total value of retail purchases grew 1.3%. It’s important to note that these figures provided by the Commerce Department are not adjusted for inflation, and that rising gas prices are driving some of that higher value. Using one of our client’s latest quarterly reporting as an example, we can see that increasing profits aren’t necessarily the result of more consumers shopping but those who are paying more for essential goods as prices continue to rise.

In this retail environment, offers and deals become an essential differentiating factor as consumers are on the hunt for ways to cut costs. Using the ‘Offers’ Google Post type can give discounts and sales greater visibility in local search. Brands can also use an enterprise local publishing platform to distribute coupons, deals, and offers brand-wide or to select segments while empowering local managers to publish local promotions that further personalize the local customer experience


Healthcare Consumer Behavior Trends October 2022

Healthcare brands saw marginal increases for every local marketing metric we measure MoM, including a 2.4% increase in total listing views, +3.3% total searches, and +3.6% clicks for driving directions. Total listings views skyrocketed and are up 45.2% from last October, with another 23.5% more total searches. 

According to Zocdoc, appointment volume is relatively consistent throughout the year when averaging appointments across all specialties. On average, 8% of appointments are booked in October, which also marks the beginning of the flu season. 

Brands can increase conversions from search by providing information about which insurance is accepted at each location and making sure each clinic/facility’s hours are accurate and up to date. Healthcare brands can also enable online appointment booking from Google listings. Even when your holiday hours are the same as usual, it’s important to confirm these with Google so the search engine knows it can trust that information and confidently display your location to searchers looking for healthcare services like yours. 

Multi-Family Residential

Multi-Family Consumer Behavior Trends October 2022

After a successful September in terms of local marketing metrics, multi-family businesses had a disappointing October. Every metric we study down, with the exception of clicks for driving directions. However, these decreases were minor (-5.4% listing views, -4% total searches, -2% total clicks). Year-over-year, most notably, multi-family residential businesses saw a 41% decrease in clicks to call, a metric which is down substantially for all eight verticals we study.

This aligns closely with activity we’re seeing in the multi-family residential vertical. Multi-family rents rose modestly in October amid weakening demand and decelerating YoY growth. According to the Yardi Matrix’s National Multi-family Report for October, U.S. asking rents increased $3 to $1,727. YoY growth fell to 8.2%, the lowest level since the summer of 2021 as the single-family rental market continues to cool off from its recent red-hot performance. 

The inevitable economic slowdown raises questions about when the impact will start to be felt and how much the sector will be affected. Demand has weakened since the first quarter due to slowing job growth and concerns over the macroeconomic environment. The robust household formation that drove demand in 2021 is no longer in effect, and enterprise brands in the segment should expect local search to become that much more competitive in the coming months.

See more local search trends by vertical for previous months, and stay tuned next month for more in-depth local consumer search behavior insights to round out 2022.