Mobile Dominates Consumers' Gas & Convenience Searching

Most users who search for these services make purchase, says Mobile Path-to-Purchase Study

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NEW YORK & TORONTO -- With the summer travel season at its peak and gasoline prices continuing to fluctuate, mobile is the go-to search medium for "gas and convenience" searches according to the ongoing xAd/Telmetrics 2013 U.S. Mobile Path-to-Purchase Study. With two out of three gas and convenience searchers using mobile exclusively, the study--conducted by Nielsen--includes new behavioral data revealing that 85% of search time in this category is spent on a smartphone with most conducting gasoline price comparisons/searches.

The gas and convenience category offers one of the highest mobile conversion rates--nearly 90%--as most mobile users who search for these services are ultimately making a purchase.

"Mobile is the dominant media used in this on-the-go category and while searchers are making most decisions within an hour, they are paying attention to advertising and taking time to conduct price and location searches," said Monica Ho, vice president of marketing, xAd. "With the majority of searchers open to purchase options, advertisers have a strong opportunity to influence mobile gas and convenience buying decisions."

With a very high conversion rate, the No. 1 reason mobile gas and convenience searchers say they use their device in this category is to "find a gas and convenience business to purchase from." More than half of smartphone searchers plan to make a purchase within the hour and 88% of those smartphone and tablet purchases will be made the same day. While these are relatively quick decisions, gas and convenience searchers spend an average of six minutes per mobile search session--50% longer than the average retail mobile search session. Advertisers have an opportunity to impact these searchers as 75% of mobile gas and convenience searchers notice ads and only 10% have a specific brand or business location in mind.

Mobile consumers prefer gas and convenience apps vs. websites, as app reach and engagement levels are the highest among the categories studied this year (Retail, Banking & Finance and Insurance). Half (49%) of gas and convenience smartphone searchers use apps exclusively and, according to behavioral data, overall mobile searchers are spending 97% of their gas and convenience search time in apps.

Comparison sites/apps, such as, are the most commonly used among 52% of mobile searchers as price and location are key search factors.

"With some of the heaviest app usage and highest conversion rates we've seen in our Mobile Path-to-Purchase research series, it is important that gas and convenience advertisers work with marketing providers that ensure their businesses can be found in apps in addition to mobile sites," said Bill Dinan, president of Telmetrics. "Advertisers have a chance to drive more purchases by ensuring their mobile presence is optimized with location and pricing info."

Price and location are the No. 1 and No. 2 reasons driving gas and convenience mobile searches and 69% of smartphone searchers made a purchase because of price or location. Three out of four gas and convenience mobile searchers are looking for a location within a five-mile radius, and a "close business location" is the most important feature, even more so for smartphone users.

Location cues are important to mobile gas and convenience searchers as more than half (55%) say they use their device to look up locations, 35% look for contact info and 34% look up directions. Overall, 89% of the category's mobile users searched for gas, while oil change and convenience stores searches each were conducted by 20% of searchers.

The behavioral data is part of a greater study, which is the first to measure what consumers report they are doing via mobile devices and capture their actual preferences and behaviors across the retail, gas/convenience, banking/finance and insurance categories. Results from the 2nd Annual U.S. Mobile Path-to-Purchase Study are based on data from an online survey of 2,000 U.S. smartphone and tablet users and actual observed consumer behaviors from Nielsen's Smartphone Analytics Panel of 6,000 Apple and Android users.

New York City-based xAd is one of the largest mobile advertising networks in the U.S. and a leader in delivering targeted mobile ads based on accurate user location and search context.

Toronto-based Telmetrics is a leader in the call measurement industry. Its call tracking solutions track the lead generation quality of local search advertising and pay-per-call programs for the leading brands in local search.