Top 5 Local Ad Stats of the Week: Paid Search Advertising

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When it comes to reaching consumers, paid search ads offer a great way for local businesses to target based on location. For this reason, this type of ad pulls in tons of ad dollars around the world.  According to a study by ZenithOptimedia, global paid search spending is expected to reach $55.7B this year.

In addition to targeting based on location, marketers sing the praise of paid search ads because they allow control over everything from keyword triggers to the time of day the ads appear in search results.  Best of all, the most common form of paid search ad runs on a pay per click (PPC) model, meaning advertisers only pay when someone clicks on their ad.

Here are some stats that give a glimpse into the current state of the paid search ecosystem:

  • Google accounts for 84% of the world’s paid search market share. (Covario)
  • 85% of retailers said search marketing (including paid and SEO) was the most effective customer acquisition tactic. ( Research)
  • Computers (desktops, laptops, etc.) captured 72% of total paid search clicks in Q4 2013, with phones pulling in 17% and tablets accounting for 11% of total clicks during the quarter. (Kenshoo)
  • Mobile devices will account for 50% of all paid search clicks globally by December 2015. (Marin Software)
  • Five of the top personal luxury companies spent nearly $22 million on Google AdWords desktop and tablet text ads across their brands in 2013. (AdGooroo)

Be sure to check back next Friday for our next edition of Top 5 Local Ad Stats of the Week. Have a great weekend!

More Connected Devices Means More Consumers Searching Online for Local Businesses

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Even in a world where Google’s influence has turned the company into a verb, the number of consumers conducting online local searches is still growing.  According to BrightLocal’s 2014 Local Consumer Review Survey, “more people are searching for more types of businesses in 2014 versus 2013.”

Source: BrightLocal

As you can see from the chart above, almost all of the business verticals included in the survey grew in the past year.  The most notable exception is restaurants, which saw a nearly 10% decrease in searches. BrightLocal says this is more a reflection of the respondents and isn’t any cause for alarm.

The other verticals that saw a decline from 2013 include Tradesmen and Accountant/Solicitors, however, the decline for each was negligible. On the other hand, the verticals that saw some of the most growth include Hair/Beauty Salons, Gym/Sports Clubs and Realtor/Surveyors.

Overall, the most searched for businesses fell into what BrightLocal called “lifestyle” businesses which refers to restaurants, general shops, clothes shops, hair salons, etc.  These businesses are visited more regularly by more people and therefore harvest more local searches.

This trend of more searches across more verticals aligns with growing adoption and usage of digital technologies.  As smartphones and tablets proliferate – particularly tablets which saw shipments increase 52% in 2013 – the Internet is becoming more accessible and, therefore, so is local search. As you can see in the graph below, the world is getting connected.

Source: KPCB estimates based on Morgan Stanley Research and ITU data.

Given the already impressive penetration of these connected devices, online “findability” is absolutely critical for any business and its importance will continue to grow as device adoption does.  And this isn’t just for the up-and-coming, tech savvy consumers that are 18-24.

An Ofcom report found that the number of people over 65 using tablets jumped from 5% to 17% between 2012 and 2013. Similarly, according to a study we released this year with Thrive Analytics, older generations — including Boomers and Seniors — are embracing mobile as a local shopping companion.

Connected devices are increasing in number around the world, are being used by all age groups and are offering a plethora of ways for consumers to find, connect with and select local businesses.  If nothing is certain except death and taxes, the need for businesses to get online is not far behind.

LSA Member Innovation in Local: Acquisio

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This week we hear from Acquisio, a high-powered ad management technology that enables digital and local search marketers to optimize their search campaigns and report on social, mobile and display initiatives, all in one easy-to-use dashboard. With more than 90 Google Channel Partners and 500 agencies using the platform, Acquisio has allowed companies to automatically track, report on and manage a large number of local search accounts and ad campaigns.

We caught up with Marie Lossowski, marketing program manager at Acquisio, to learn more:

What local problems does Acquisio solve? How?
1. We help small businesses maximize their limited budgets.
Budget management is a big problem. A lot of companies struggle with spending a client’s entire budget without going over. With so many small accounts, local search agencies often pause campaigns before the month is over because they are afraid of overspending. That means their clients get less clicks and calls and end up disappointed and churn.

With our automated bid and budget management technology not only do we spend close to 100% of the budget, in local search we typically generate double the clicks. The reason for this is because our system updates every 30 minutes. The technology makes constant changes to ensure the campaign performs well and the budget is spent intelligently throughout the entire month, until the last few minutes of the contract, helping SMBs maximize their ad spend.

2. We save local search agencies time by automating their reporting.
When you’re a local search agency and have a large number of SMB customers you can’t afford to spend time preparing client reports. So we came up with a solution that creates a template for local search agencies to use each month. The reports are compelling and interactive, even allowing customers to listen to the calls that came in. Local businesses get great reports and agencies save time – it’s a win, win.

3. We help prove campaign value and provide actionable data to our local clients.
One way we provide valuable insights is with clear reports and filter tools that help easily identify opportunities to improve campaign performance, and another more localized solution we provide agencies with is call tracking.

Our platform integrates a large number of call tracking services from around the world and these integrations allow our clients to see which local ads and keywords are doing well based on the number of calls generated and the quality of those calls (which can be evaluated through call recordings). Then agencies can use our technology to act on the data collected and improve campaign performance.

What makes Acquisio innovative?
We create technology solutions that solve real world problems without requiring a lot of historical data to make decisions. We provide our clients with solutions that generate results from day one and that is something no one else is doing.

Our real time approach to bid and budget management is also unique – we are the only business in the industry that offers anything like it. And so far the results have been great, with automated campaign adjustments every half hour companies are seeing more campaign clicks and lower CPC.

How does Acquisio make the local space better for advertisers and/or consumers?
We help local agencies automate and optimize their local search efforts, and the agencies help local businesses improve campaign results. That means when we deliver more value, optimize local accounts, and effectively spend ad money better than anyone else in the search industry, everyone in the local space is happy.

What is next in local?
Mobile is a huge issue and it starts with mobile landing pages. Figuring out how to build mobile landing pages for SMBs and driving conversions and calls through mobile is key. It should be high on the priority list for anyone involved in local. Local companies also need to learn how to effectively take advantage of display opportunities, that’s one of the next areas for innovation.

For more info, check out the video below, visit or call them toll free at 1-866-493-9070.

Highlights from 2014 Ad to Action Awards Webinar Series

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During our webinar series last week, we heard from all of our 2014 Ad to Action Award winners on the functionality, benefits, targeting and ROI associated with each of their products or solutions.

The Ad to Action Awards recognized innovations in local advertising and marketing within eight submission categories that demonstrated the greatest potential for driving consumer actions. We received 60 outstanding solutions that were evaluated by a diverse panel of 14 notable experts, analysts, media and practitioners from across the local advertising industry.

Learn more about our winners below:

Mobile: GeoCookie by Thinknear

Social Media: Likes for Lives by Search Influence

Vertical Specific: Weather Triggered Demand Generation by SMG Local Spectrum

Video: TargetView by Sightly

Deals/Loyalty/Ecommerce: MyTime

Implementation: AdMax® Local by The Search Agency

Print: Platform Agnostic Dynamic Location Based Media Planning by SMG Local Spectrum

Business Listings: Local Listing Manager™ by Rio SEO

Digital Marketing Tactics that Drive Customer Retention for SMBs

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In my recent article on Street Fight, I talk about the importance of customer retention for SMBs and highlight some of the best digital marketing tactics that help build loyalty and repeat customers.

According to a recent study by Gigaom, email marketing is considered the most effective digital marketing tactic for driving customer retention, followed by social media and content marketing (websites, blogs, etc.).  These tactics should be fundamental pieces of any SMB’s marketing strategy and the best part about these tools is that they are understood methods that require minimal time to manage and are cost-effective.

Check out the full post on Street Fight.

SoMoConf Speaker Spotlight: Andrea Borodenko, Senior Product Manager of Local Solutions, Mediative

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Today’s Social + Mobile: Show Me the Money! speaker spotlight features Andrea Borodenko, senior product manager of local solutions at Mediative, a digital marketing company providing performance services and access to diverse media platforms. Andrea will bring the SoMoConf audience over a decade of experience connecting large brands with local customers.

Andrea Borodenko, Senior Product Manager of Local Solutions, Mediative

Before joining Mediative’s product and innovation group over a year ago, Andrea gained her deep knowledge of the local space as Yellow Pages Canada’s regional manager of national sales, where she had the pleasure of working closely with CMRs to build integrated print, online and mobile strategies for some of North America’s best known plumbers, movers, contractors, retailers and travel agencies.

We asked Andrea a few questions about her upcoming SoMoConf session, and here is what she had to say:

What are the key topics you’ll discuss during your session?
We’ll cover tips and tricks for optimizing campaigns that leverage listings management/syndication, local SEO and local media buying solutions. Furthermore, we’ll dig into examples of how to use social platforms to drive local success — all while going beyond the “click” to focus on bookings and sales.

What about your session are you most excited about?
The real examples and case studies from several of our travel sector clients (airlines, hotels and car rental companies). It’s one thing to hypothesize about what could work … its way more interesting (and exciting) to talk about success factors that are proven to work.

Why is it important that attendees not miss your session?
These days, it’s so easy to get excited with the numerous digital agencies who are pitching new ideas and new technologies that provide the opportunity to break the standard marketing mold. The issue that I see with this is that these new ideas rarely have proven ability to drive ROI. Furthermore, by focusing only on these new ideas, some of the fundamentals of local promotion (name, address, phone number) get completely forgotten! As such, I recommend that attendees come to my session so that we can walk through an optimal roadmap that combines both the basics of digital marketing with new ideas in such a way that has proven remarkable success for several of the national brands that work with us.

What is the best part about working at Mediative?
What I really love about Mediative is – as an arm of Canada’s Yellow Pages Group – we’re able to leverage the rich history and local marketing knowledge built up over 100 years in order to really fuel our tests with digital marketing platforms and technologies. Our agile nature lets us fail quickly in order to drive down to solutions that work. Seeing the success that we can drive for our advertisers from all of this hard work is incredibly rewarding.

Click here to learn more about the SoMoConf event or register now!

Top 5 Local Ad Stats of the Week: In-Store Purchases

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Despite the growth of e-commerce and online shopping, in-store purchases still reign supreme. For that reason, according to a BIA/Kelsey study, SMBs voted in-person interactions as “excellent” lead sources more than any other lead source, except for calls, which received a comparable amount of votes.

The Internet and other digital technologies have transformed the way consumers make purchases – and that’s not because they can make these purchases online. Instead, these technologies are giving consumers the ability to conduct extensive research that allows them to be more informed about the products or services, price and availability.

Here are some stats that show how in-store purchases are still driving local commerce and the digital technologies that are helping facilitate these transactions:

  • Two-thirds of total local purchases (65.9%) are still being purchased in-person. (BIA/Kelsey)
  • Digital currently influences 36% of in-store sales, a figure forecasted to rise to 50% by the end of 2014. (Deloitte)
  • Nearly 80% of local searches on mobile devices turned into purchases, with nearly 90% of those purchases made in a physical store. (comScore/Neustar Localeze/15 Miles)
  • Four out of five Yelp users visit before spending money, and 93% say that visiting Yelp leads to a local purchase. (Nielsen)
  • 21% of Pinterest users, 30% of Facebook users and 17% of Twitter users said that they have bought an item in-store after sharing or “favoriting” an item. (Vision Critical)

Be sure to check back next Friday for our next edition of Top 5 Local Ad Stats of the Week. Have a great weekend!

Free Webinar Highlights Ad to Action Award Winners

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Don’t miss part two of our free webinar series this Thursday, July 24 at 2pm EDT featuring our Ad to Action Awards winners. Representatives from three winning companies will give attendees deeper looks into the functionality, benefits, targeting and ROI opportunities associated with their product or solution.

  • Print: Platform Agnostic Dynamic Location Based Media Planning by SMG Local Spectrum
  • Mobile: GeoCookie by Thinknear
  • Deals/Loyalty/Ecommerce: MyTime
  • Vertical Specific: Weather Triggered Demand Generation by SMG Local Spectrum

Register for our free webinar here.

The Ad to Action Awards recognized solutions within eight submission categories that demonstrated the greatest potential for driving local business sales and providing memorable experiences to consumers at the end of their purchasing decision track. We received 60 outstanding solutions that were evaluated by a diverse panel of 14 notable experts, analysts, media and practitioners from across the local advertising industry.

Automated Tools To Help Local Businesses Tackle Online Marketing

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In my Local Search column on Search Engine Land this month, I talk about the growing promise of automated local marketing solutions in providing local businesses and marketers with faster, more reliable and more cost-effective service.

Marketers are increasingly turning to automation to help them better achieve a variety of advertising objectives. According to a new survey, 45% of marketers believe that automation is most important to improving marketing productivity, while 44% believe it is key to increasing sales revenue, and 42% think it is vital to increasing lead generation.

To demonstrate the opportunities ahead in local, I discuss three of our Ad to Action Awards winners and the ways that their offerings are lowering barriers for local businesses and marketers to compete online.

  • Rio SEO’s Local Listing Manager solution is automating online business listing management so that local businesses can update their listings throughout the web from a single dashboard
  • The Search Agency’s AdMax Local product is enabling marketers to offer SMBs automated local SEM campaigns at a price point they can afford
  • Sightly’s TargetView offering is enabling local businesses to create, target and distribute video ads so they can compete with big brands.

Read my full column on Search Engine Land.

LSA Member Innovation in Local: MatchCraft

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This week we hear from MatchCraft, a search marketing technology company that supports publishers and local advertising companies around the globe. The company’s AdVantage platform is a fully automated SEM solution that delivers campaign results with little to no human intervention and works to drive ROI for campaigns of any size - including micro-budgets of $100 (or less) per month. MatchCraft has been around since 1998 and operates in 21 countries and 14 languages. 

We caught up with Jill Hammond, vice president of marketing at MatchCraft, to learn more:

What local problem(s) does MatchCraft solve? How?
We all love the thrill of managing large media spends but we find the biggest challenge most SEM technology providers face is how to get great results for low-budget search campaigns. Many of the merchants our clients work with are spending $2000, $500, even $100 per month; with budgets at that level there’s not a lot of room for the publisher to dedicate campaign management resources to tasks like customized campaign setup or ongoing optimization.

At MatchCraft, we’ve created a fully automated solution that delivers excellent campaign results with little to no human intervention. Once the campaigns are up and running, AdVantage adjusts bids hourly, which means more high-quality clicks at lower cost.

What makes MatchCraft innovative?
We’ve been a small, nimble team for more than 15 years. The search marketing landscape has shifted hundreds of times during MatchCraft’s existence, and we’ve shifted with it, building products and platforms that meet the needs of our specific customer base and the merchants they service.

We’re innovative because not only do we provide our customers with reliable, high performance products, we are also committed to ensuring those products are easy to sell.  We empower their sales teams with the training and materials, online and in person, needed to garner greater market share. MatchCraft delivers great results to our clients because everything we do is built around our customers’ needs and wants.

How does MatchCraft make the local space better for advertisers and/or consumers?
Businesses mostly want the same thing from search marketing: more customers. MatchCraft’s technology delivers advertisers not only more potential customers but better qualified potential customers. Because our campaigns are so highly targeted by both location and content, the people who end up clicking on the ads are more likely to be the right people. And higher conversion means higher ROI, happy merchants and better retention rates for our clients.

Consumers also win when search campaigns match the right businesses with the right searches. Whether you’re looking for a plumber or a dentist or a used car, relevant results mean you’re getting the information you want at the exact moment when you’re looking for it. That’s what a good online search experience is all about.

What is next in local?
Two things, and they’re related. The first is clearly mobile. As users continue to shift their searches to their smartphones, we need to focus on helping merchants increase their presence in mobile search results. It’s essential that mobile ads incorporate click-to-call and other immediate contact options so users who are on the go can actually reach the business they’re interested in buying from.

The second thing all the companies in our space are working on is conversion attribution – all the way through to the sale. That’s easy for ecommerce companies, but historically it’s been really hard for local businesses to connect online search advertising with customers who walk in their front door and make purchases. Mobile is the key bridge, and we’re working hard to help our customers connect the dots from search to click to call to conversion.

For more info, check out the video below, contact Jill directly at or visit

MathCraft’s AdVantage SEM Platform from MatchCraft on Vimeo.