The Impact of "Local 3 Pack" on Google Mobile Search Experiences

Google Mobile “Local 3 Pack” Adjustments 

On August 11th, 2015 Google launched a change to how they display local listings. Known as the “Local 3 Pack”, Google now displays three listings reduced from multiple local results. At first, it seemed like this would have zero to no impact on branded search terms. However, after looking at how this has impacted mobile search results, iProspect has noticed a dramatic impact on organic CTR outside of the local listings pack. This happened because Google now includes the “Local 3 Pack” for a more diverse set of queries than before and is giving it ranking preference over traditional organic listings. 

Impact to Mobile Search Results

Organic Search Impact: Generic brand terms and certain product category terms seem to have been the most impacted by the “Local 3 Pack” adjustment for mobile devices. In the above example, the “Local 3 Pack” result began to rank over the organic listings which now require users to swipe multiple times to even see it in the search results page. This has caused the sites organic CTR to decrease by over 40% for certain terms.

Paid Search Impact: In cases where organic listings have seen a decrease in engagement, paid placements have seen an increase in CTR and a decrease in CPC because they are not only more prominent in local search results, but another ad has been included increasing the available inventory to bid on. In cases where this is occurring for nonā€brand terms advertisers should capitalize on this opportunity to drive more efficient outcomes in mobile.

Own Your Total Mobile Search Experience 

iProspect will continue to monitor the impact of this and other search engine adjustments. Long-term, the impact to search CTR should not have a significant impact on a brands bottom line as long as they are capitalizing on owning the total mobile search experience (Paid, Organic and Local). Users are now going directly to paid or local listings in a faster and more streamlined experience. At this time, we do anticipate a small decrease in organic search traffic to sites that used to rank in the top position due to local listings being more prominent in Google mobile search results.

Brand Next Steps

  1. Coordinate with your cross-channel search teams to see how users have adjusted to the change in their mobile search experience.
  2. Coordinate organic and paid teams to review mobile paid campaigns and identify if there are opportunities to capitalize on the better positioning of your placements with a “Local 3 Pack” with increased budgets if they maintain outcome efficiency goals. 
  3. Review your organic search and local search data to identify how the change in mobile user habits is impacting your monthly and year over year engagement benchmarks.