A survey sponsored by CityGrid Media and conducted by Harris Interactive confirmed what many of us already suspected–search engines are the leading way in which people find information for local businesses. Review sites are equally influential on mobile devices. This survey was conducted over the telephone to over 1000 adults in the US.
Approximately 60% of these respondents stated that search engines were the first way they would go about obtaining local business information. That number jumped to 83% for the respondents under the age of 35. Roughly 8% said that they go to the merchant's website first.
On Mobile devices, the responses were a bit different. The survey revealed that 17% of adults "base their decision" on information obtained from search engines when researching restaurants or local merchants. An almost equal amount, 15%, based their decisions on review websites such as yelp.
This survey also revealed the distance consumers were willing to travel in order to give new businesses a chance. The majority of respondents, 80%, said they would not travel more than 30 miles. However, a sizable amount said they would be willing to travel more than 15 miles.
This data suggests that although a mobile presence is important, it is not as crucial as having a local search or review site presence.