Last month we released our biggest research piece of the year to date, The Google My Business Insights Study.

The study was based on analysis of 45,000 Google My Business listings and revealed a host of insights about how businesses and consumers use Google My Business.

The full study is well worth a read. But if you’re short on time — as most marketers are — we’ve created a short video that reveals the five juiciest findings from the study.

Video transcription

Hi, Kristian from BrightLocal here.

We recently launched The Google My Business Insights Study, and I want to quickly take you through the key findings that are worth knowing.

In the study, we explore the data behind:

  • 45,000 listings
  • Across 36 industries
  • Over a year and a half period

In total, that comes to over 8 million data points. We analyzed those data points to uncover:

  • How consumers are using GMB
  • How behaviors have changed over time
  • Which industries are leading the way, and which are lagging behind

As well as benchmarks to help you understand your own performance.

The study is packed full of insights — it’s well worth a read. But for now, here are our top five findings.

1. You definitely still need a website

Of all the customer actions measured in GMB Insights, website clicks came on top across nearly every industry and country.

So if you think you don’t need a website in 2019, think again.

This is further backed up another study we did recently which found that 76% of consumers say they look at a website at least half of the time when researching a local business.

2. Images improve engagement

The average GMB listing has 11 photos, which is pretty impressive. But photos aren’t just window dressing.

When we compared the number of images to the number of customer actions, we found that…

More images = more customer actions.

Number of customer actions based on image count

 

Listings with over 100 images get 20 times more website clicks than the average listing, while listings with only one image generated 65% fewer clicks than the average listing.

So, if you’re one of the 6% of businesses with only one image, then adding more images is a great way to improve your engagement.

Of course, it’s worth noting that we can’t definitely say it’s causation. After all, businesses with more images might be better at local marketing overall.

However, there is some clear correlation at play, so it won’t hurt you to optimize your listings by adding more high-quality images.

3. GMB is not just for brand searches

You might think that GMB is only really useful when a searcher already knows your business, but that’s not the case.

How Google My Business listings are found

 

84% of GMB listing views come from discovery searches — which is when listings appear for non-branded searches. So that could be search terms like “bars near me”, “dentist in brooklyn”, or “greek restaurant”.

This shows the value of optimizing your listings to ensure you’re using the right GMB categories and taking the steps needed to rank higher for those keywords.

4. Customer action rate is on the up

People are interacting with GMB listings more than ever.

Year-on-year comparison of customer action rate

 

We found that the percentage of listing views that resulted in a customer action jumped from 3.9% in 2017 to 4.8% in 2018.

We suspect that this is a result of a host of new GMB features being rolled out. These gives searchers more opportunities and more reasons to engage with listings.

We also suspect that consumers are becoming more familiar and more comfortable with these new features and are readily using them.

5. Car dealerships are the standout industry in GMB

When we break the data down by industry, we found that the level of optimisation and engagement varies greatly — which you might expect.

Frequently-visited businesses like bars and restaurants are naturally going to receive more searches and get higher engagement.

Similarly, when we go on holiday, we take more pictures — which explains why the average hotel has over 13 times more images than the average business.

But when we dived into the industry data, it one industry stood out and surprised us the most: the car dealership industry.

It came third for the average number of photos, it had the second-highest number of direction requests, and came top for calls and website clicks.

This may seem surprising, since buying or leasing a car is a high-ticket, low-frequency purchase. But what we found is that car dealership listings tend to be very well optimised, and the industry as a whole seems to have really embraced Google My Business and is reaping the rewards.

So there you have it. Five findings worth knowing from our Google My Business Insights Study.

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