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Local Consumer Search Behavior Trends April 2022

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How does your local search performance stack up against other brands like yours? Each month, we analyze aggregate Google Business Profile (GBP)  insights from over 170,000 enterprise brand locations that use Rio SEO’s solutions for their local marketing needs. How these metrics trend offers a unique look into how local consumer behavior is impacting search views, volume, and listing conversion actions. 

Google Business Profiles are one of the heaviest weighted local search ranking factors and as such, are an essential tool for engaging and converting local customers. Comparing your brand’s GBP performance against these benchmarks adds important context about what’s going on in your specific vertical. Let’s take a look at the local consumer search behavior trends April 2022 presented across the eight different industry segments we measure.

Service Businesses

Service businesses–which include postal carriers, gyms, lawn care, and staffing agencies, for the purpose of this research – saw a slight dip in all metrics observed month-over-month. This is on the back of the large gains in search volume, views, and conversion actions that we saw in March 2022. Year-over-year (YoY), we see that search views and total searches are up over 34% and 42% respectively, indicating an overall good recovery in this sector.

This is part of a broader lawncare industry trend in which the pandemic has caused homeowners and businesses to rethink their yards, parks, and campuses. Outdoor space has become a sanctuary for those who’ve grown weary of lockdowns or are now working from home rather than commuting to work. Reduced travel budgets may also be fueling this trend of consumers are increasingly willing to spend more for yard upgrades and maintenance, so they can better enjoy their outdoor spaces.

Service Businesses Local Consumer Behavior Trends

Financial Services

The financial services vertical experienced yet another consecutive month of small declines across all metrics we measure. Clicks to call from a business listing fell the furthest, with 9.5% fewer clicks month-over-month (MoM) and 19.3% less than in the same period one year ago.

Last year was a banner year for banks as the economic recovery from COVID-19 got underway. However, those robust conditions are waning and today, banks are looking at aggressive policy tightening in the face of geopolitical turmoil, ongoing supply chain interruptions, and widespread wealth inequity. 

As consumers’ concerns about the economy and their personal finances deepen, it’s essential that banks continue to keep their Google Business Profiles up to date with all of the services and amenities available to assist customers in each location. Learn more about the various attributes and finance-specific features available in your GBPs here.

Financial Services Local Consumer Search Behavior Trends

Sit-Down Restaurants

Sit-down restaurants saw limited growth in total listing views and total searches in April 2022. Conversion actions fell slightly from March and far more YoY, with clicks to call and clicks to website down 38.4% and 28.1%, respectively. 

It’s worth noting that higher conversions to website and phoning the business can indicate greater informational needs. This was certainly the case throughout COVID-19 as changing hours of operation and menus meant diners often had to check and make sure the information they saw online was up to date. In that way, the YoY declines we see now are no cause for concern.

In fact, industry researchers say restaurant sales growth has remained stable in the last four weeks, with low single-digit growth. Traffic growth was negative for the last six consecutive weeks as the restaurant industry continues to struggle with staffing challenges and record high turnover rates.

Sit-Down Restaurant Consumer behavior trends April 2022

Quick-Service Restaurants

Quick-service restaurants and retailers were the only two industries we study on a monthly basis to see increases across all metrics we measure, albeit small increases. However, this may be due to the segments with the strongest traffic growth during March were fine dining, upscale casual and family dining. 

The segments with the weakest traffic growth were quick-service and fast casual. Both suffered from negative traffic growth during the month. This month, traffic growth has been up for quick-service restaurants.

Overall, researchers say that net sentiment was up for both full- and limited-service restaurant brands during Q1 compared to Q4 of 2021. A slight softening in restaurant traffic is believed to have eased some of the pressure on staff, who have been better able to meet guest expectations. 

quick-service restaurant Consumer behavior trends April 2022

Hotels

Spring break trips played a key factor in the massive spikes we documented in MoM local search metrics in March 2022. Single-digit declines across the board are to be expected. Meanwhile, strong growth in all metrics except clicks to call shows that the ongoing recovery for the travel industry continues.

Industry experts report that U.S. hotel occupancy dropped 1.4% the week ending April 2, which makes sense given the spring break travel trends. Weekly occupancy has held steady at above 60% for six weeks now, although it’s still averaging lower than in the same six weeks in 2019, before the pandemic. 

While travelers were initially willing to pay more, we’re now seeing a second consecutive weekly decline in the average daily rate. Still, at $146 USD per night, this is the fourth-highest ADR on record.

Hotel listing trends in April 2022

Retail

Consumers’ interest in retail shopping grew in April over March, with average gains in all GBP metrics tracked. Shoppers are searching more YoY, as well. Again, we see that the informational needs that drove phone calls and clicks to retailers’ websites last year have been reduced, with clicks to call and to website down 15.1% and 12.1%, respectively. Shoppers are becoming more comfortable simply going out to shop and browse.

Industry experts report that monthly retail sales in the U.S. rose 0.9% in April, nearly meeting Wall Street expectations even despite an ongoing surge in prices. “Retail sales in April show that the consumer is weathering the inflationary headwinds, rising for the fourth consecutive month,” said Jeffrey Roach, chief economist at LPL Financial.

Retail Conversion, Views and Clicks

Healthcare

April healthcare local marketing metrics fell across the board after March increases. This aligns with a rapid decrease in COVID-19 cases; the number of new cases and deaths have both declined steadily since the end of March. The third week of April brought a 21% decline in new cases and 20% fewer deaths worldwide, according to the WHO. 

Most consumers who were interested in getting vaccinated have done so, and testing needs will decrease as the pandemic wanes. This means less searches, fewer online bookings, and reduced phone calls to clinics and pharmacies who were providing these services.

Healthcare Conversion, Views and Clicks

Multi-Family

Multifamily rents aren’t seeing a slowdown yet, according to the latest Yardi Matrix Multifamily Report. The average U.S. asking rate for rentals grew $15 in April – $30 over the past two months and $50 year to date, marking an all-time high of $1,659. YoY, asking rates remain high at +14.3%, which may be contributing to a rising interest in clicking to call and clicks for driving directions for multi-family properties.

“Rapidly rising house prices and increasing interest rates are keeping homeownership out of reach for some potential buyers, while others are losing bids to the growing competition from institutional investors,” said the report. The increasing preference for suburban housing has also added to the demand for single-family rentals.

Multi-Family Conversion, Views and Clicks

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

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