Mediative Shows in iPhone Study That Mobile Listings Need Social Proof to Be Effective in Google Places

This past fall and just recently, we’ve talked about a various number of newer advertising optimization technologies on Techvibes as part of our advertising technology series. One of them is known as eye tracking which produces a heat map in the image to your right. Mediative, a division of Yellow Pages Group says the red areas represent which areas where more time was spent looking at the screen on the iPhone when using Google Places.

Eye tracking techniques for “content and ad optimization” on websites have been somewhat widely used by marketers online, but Mediative set out to see what changes when taking the iPhone into consideration due to a considerably smaller screen size and easy scrolling ability compared to the web. You can download the full whitepaper here.

Mediative says that since you can only view three listings at once on the iPhone there’s still value in having the fourth, fifth, sixth and beyond listings as iPhone users had a tendency to scroll down.

The study says: “People started looking on the left side, then across the listing, and then back down to the next listing. After a couple of listings were viewed, that scanning pattern might break as they either move down the right side, loooking at images or start scrolling down the left side”. 

Further the study proved that reviews with more “social proof” such as 5-star ratings and favourable reviews were more likely to be clicked. 

Mediative continued: “People typically start looking in the upper left part of the screen, scan from left to right, then move down to the next result, and scan from left to right again. However, given the small space of the iPhone screen, some people will have their attention pulled to the right to look at an image, and may continue a scan down to the next image, before resuming a left-to-right scan pattern. If they start scrolling down, then their gaze will stay on the left side until they hit a listing of interest. In the examples we used in this study, in almost every case it meant that they would scroll down until they hit a listing witha better than 3-star review. When the top results have fewer social signals such as reviews, lower results get more visual attention. This presents an opportunity for businesses whose websites are not listed at the top; they can be morecompetitive by adding positive reviews”. 

Those 3-Star ratings took home 41 out of 47 clicks and 29 out of 47 clicks went to those that had more than four reviews. It goes to show the value of social proof for things that people are searching for. They need something authentic they can trust. 

Mediative further believes that optimizing your business listing is particularly relevant considering that mobile devices drove 6.6% of online sales on Cyber Monday up from 2.3% in 2010, and 10.8% of people of people used a mobile device to visit a retailer’s site up from 3.9% in 2010. Keep in mind those are US numbers and are likely lower in Canada. 

Mediative argues that retailers can now no longer ignore mobile, but at what cost? For example, Sears continues to lose millions despite being named number three at mobile commerce by Internet Retailer (second slide) as of January 29.