Rio SEO, the leading provider of an all-in-one local marketing platform proven to increase online visibility, released last month’s national consumer search behavior revealing a largely continued downward trend month-over-month (MoM) in search trends across all eight industries studied.

“February is historically considered a soft month for search engine activity across most industries, as winter persists, and summer travel plans are yet to be made.”

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According to the University of Michigan, consumer sentiment dropped nearly 8% from January, furthering Rio SEO’s findings. The largest decrease in MoM was found in the retail industry, where retailers saw a 20% decrease in total searches, a 25% decrease in total clicks, a 36% decrease in clicks to call, and a 29% decrease in clicks to the website.

US News reports that consumers have lost confidence in the U.S. economy, as concerns of inflation start to dampen expectations for the future. Furthermore, as the Omicron variant continues to wane, consumers are starting to carefully approach a more social life that includes spending and traveling.

The hotel industry was the only vertical that saw an increase MoM. Hotels increased 5% in total views, 4% in total searches, 8% in total clicks, 13% in clicks to call, 10% in click to website, and 6% in clicks for directions.

Service and financial businesses, healthcare, sit-down restaurants, quick-service restaurants, retail and multi-family industries collectively saw MoM decreases in local search behaviors including:

  • 8% average decrease in total views
  • 14% average decrease in total searches
  • 12% average decrease in total clicks
  • 16% average decrease in clicks to call

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“The decrease in aggregate local metrics month-over-month is likely due to the lingering impact of the omicron variant and the shorter month,” said Ryan Weber, director of client success, Rio SEO. “February is historically considered a soft month for search engine activity across most industries, as winter persists, and summer travel plans are yet to be made. I have high hopes that in the upcoming months consumers will begin to increase activity through travel, indoor dining, and interacting with friends and family in public spaces.”

Additionally, Rio SEO reviewed year-over-year trends, seeing continued gains in views and searches across most verticals. Hotels, service businesses, quick service restaurants, healthcare and sit-down restaurants collectively saw an increase in both total search and total views.

  • 33% average increase in total views
  • 23% average increase in total searches

“It is apparent that consumers are becoming increasingly more comfortable with public spaces such as airplanes, restaurants, and medical offices compared to 2021,” added Weber. “Clicks for directions had a 69% increase in the hotel industry YoY and a 6% increase MoM, emphasizing that travel is starting to resume once again for consumers.”

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