Each month, we evaluate the local search performance of 200,000+ business locations to bring you new consumer search behavior insights. As the Coronavirus pandemic and associated social distancing and public health measures across the United States continue to impact local businesses, these benchmarks help brands understand how locations are affected in different industries. In this post, we will discuss local consumer search behavior trends January presented.
In reviewing how local searches and conversion actions including clicks from local GMB listings are trending, your brand can formulate a strategy to better meet local consumers in the moments that matter with your Google My Business presence.
Overall, in January 2021 we saw increased search interest and total views in most verticals with the exception of retail, which is in line with seasonal expectations.
Conversion actions have fallen into many categories, although this too is not necessarily unexpected. The holidays brought a flurry of activity (which was reflected in our December data) as shoppers are out, individuals reflect back over their year and think of their personal finances, and businesses work on their year-end tasks. January brings a settling back into routines and lower levels of conversion from local search to get driving directions, phone a location, etc.
Healthcare is a notable exception, with increased local search interest and conversions in nearly every metric. Given the ongoing health crisis and the vaccine rollout, we expect to see continued heightened interest in pharmacies, clinics, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities going forward.
Business services saw moderate declines in a few metrics. However, gains in search views and clicks to websites rose moderately, as well. Despite the small declines noted, overall interest in business services hasn’t slowed much in the new year.
While interest in financial services decreased slightly across a few metrics, it remains largely in line with December’s metrics and continues to remain steady after a rocky few months in the fall of 2020. Views and searches, in particular, continue to rise.
Fewer clicks to call and to get driving directions could be reflective of consumers opting to book and conduct financial services meetings online.
As the COVID-19 vaccine continues to roll out and restrictions continue to lift, interest in verticals that were hit hardest at the onset of the pandemic are seeing a nice recovery.
This includes sit-down restaurants, which experienced reduced local search activity in every metric in November but saw gains nearly across the board in January. As warmer weather brings the availability of outdoor dining to more of the United States in the coming months, we expect further search interest recovery in this vertical.
Quick Service Restaurants
To say the pandemic affected quick service restaurants is an understatement. In fact, this vertical saw a 17% decrease in revenue in 2020 when compared to 2019.
However, 2021 is already showing promise for an industry that was hit hard. Quick service restaurants saw notable increases in both total views and searches, alongside some small decreases across other metrics.
The reduction in clicks to call reflects a return to pre-holiday figures; in December, clicks to call quick service restaurants increased 12.5% as holiday shoppers called ahead to make sure restaurants were open before visiting.
Hotels saw the most notable gains in January 2021, as interest and action rose across every metric. While hospitality search interest and conversion metrics dropped in November, this increasing interest in hotels is an extension of the recovery that began in December.
Consumer interest in hotels is increasing as the COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues and it seems safe (to some, at least) to begin traveling again. However, travelers tend to stay closer to home these days; Hospitality Technology recently reported on a 4X increase in staycations, defined as short stays within a two- to four-hour drive of the travelers’ home.
We expect to see these GMB metrics continue to rise as travelers look for accommodations nearby.
After a strong October through December for retailers, largely due to holiday shopping, this industry saw declines across nearly every metric for the month of January.
This remains on trend with historic retail trends slowing after the holidays.
The healthcare vertical continues to remain strong, as anticipated. Now, customers can see if healthcare facilities offer COVID-19 vaccines when viewing their local listings. We advise healthcare brands to enable this attribute, if applicable.
Google My Business is also giving healthcare brands the ability to list accepted insurance providers on their local listings. Learn more about this and other new features from the GMB API v. 4.8 updates here.