Skip navigation
How customers use mobile devices

How customers use mobile devices

Smartphone and tablet ownership is on the rise, but their users take different paths to find information about your restaurant.

Here’s something to keep in mind when you consider how you want your restaurant’s information to display appear on the screens of your customers’ smartphones and tablets. Results from a new Nielsen survey show that while restaurant search activity is the fastest-growing mobile category, smartphone users are likely looking for different information about your restaurant than tablet users are.

That’s the key finding from the latest xAd/Telmetrics Path-to-Purchase Study conducted by Nielsen. The online survey of more than 1,500 smartphone and tablet users found that people use smartphones to find restaurants when they are out and about, but use tablets when they’re at home.

The three restaurant search activities performed by smartphone users are:

1. Call a restaurant.

2. Look up directions.

3. Look up a location “near me."

Tablets users search out other types of information. They use their device to:

1. Look at ratings and reviews.

2. Find online coupons and promotions.

3. Research menu/specific food items.

“Although smartphones and tablets are mobile devices, the tablet’s size and sometimes lack of data connectivity prohibits it from being the portable and always-on device like smartphones,” says xAd Inc. v.p. of marketing Monica Ho. “As a result, tablets have become a preferred device while in the home—with usage reflective of more of the desktop PC vs. the smartphone. “As a result, marketers need to consider separate smartphone and tablet strategies when looking to reach the highly engaged and ready-to-buy restaurant user as consumer needs and immediacy of intent vastly change by device.”

The upshot: If you’re adapting digital information from your website to smartphone and tablet use, keep these insights into restaurant search behavior by device in mind. Also keep in mind that a new Pew research poll found that fully half of all adult Americans own either a smartphone or a tablet, so plenty of people now look for information about your restaurant on these devices. If you’ve got a state-of-the-art website but only a token presence on mobile devices, you’re missing a huge chunk of the market.

Additional findings from the xAd.Telmetrics Path-To-Purchase study include:

• The most popular restaurant category/mobile property type is the multi-category review site—i.e., Yelp, Urbanspoon and Zagat.

• Smartphone users are most likely to engage with ads that are related to something they have recently searched for, or with establishments that are within walking/driving distance of their current location.

• Tablet users are more likely to engage with ads that offer a deal or coupon or are from a familiar brand.

You probably want your restaurant’s information to appear on both mobile platforms. But if you have to choose just one, smartphone might be the way to go. The survey found that 65 percent of users are looking for restaurant locations within walking and driving distance. Seven out of 10 mobile restaurant search users were looking for a business location, 66 percent also wanted directions and 51 percent wanted to find a restaurant’s local phone number.

“Calls are a key mobile restaurant activity with more than half of restaurant searchers placing calls and 30 percent saying they contacted the restaurant or made a reservation by phone on their last restaurant search,” says Telmetrics president Bill Dinan. “Ensuring that consumers have easy to restaurant phone numbers—whether individually operated or the local franchise—is key.”

The Pew numbers on smartphone and tablet penetration in the U.S. don’t lie. It’s smart business to optimize your restaurant’s content to the way people use these devices.

TAGS: Marketing
Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.