Yelp & Niche Apps Gain Ground in Exploding Mobile Search Market

couple browsing mobile app in the raid
Photo by Flickr user garryknight

It’s easy to spend more time deciding on a restaurant than actually eating out.

Because if you’re anything like me, the process involves Shaking my UrbanSpoon app, investigating reviews on my Yelp app, comparing those to Google Reviews, scanning deals on my Groupon app and then hitting the Chowhound discussion boards for Plan B and C.

The lesson: Consumers, and not just the ones who like to eat, have a heavy toolbox of niche mobile apps they use to make important purchasing decisions. And according to a recent study from eMarketer, niche mobile apps have taken a hearty slice of the $9.02 billion mobile search market away from Google.

In 2012, Google owned a whopping 82.8% of that market. A year later, that number dropped to 68.5% and is expected to drop to 64.2% by 2016.

The winners? Yelp and other niche mobile apps like KAYAK, Indeed, Amazon and Shazam.

The eMarketer study separates Yelp from the “Other” niche apps because of its explosive growth. eMarketer estimates that Yelp’s mobile search revenues grew 311% in 2013. Still, the local review app only owns about 1% of the mobile search ad market, with potential to grow to 1.9% by 2016.

While a 1.9% slice may seem small, take into account that the mobile advertising market is estimated to top $28.41 billion by 2018.

So what’s this mean to your marketing strategy?

1.) Find out where your target audience is searching for information, reviews and bargains.

2.) Explore advertising opportunities on niche apps. For example, advertising packages on Yelp range anywhere from $300 to $2,200 per month. Features include targeted ad placement, Check-in Offers, customer outreach and the ability to remove competitor ads from your business listing.

3.) Recognize the shift. Mobile search spending will reach 85.9% of US digital search by 2018, according to eMarketer. Get ahead of the trend by investing a little more in mobile search today.

4.) But don’t snub Google. The search giant’s share may be falling, but Google is still king of the search.

If this gets you excited, or maybe even a little nervous, let’s talk more about what this means to your business and your forward-thinking marketing strategy. Let’s talk about where you should spend your money in order to make the most money.