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 Yelp.com 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 jill@matchcraft.com or visit www.matchcraft.com

MathCraft’s AdVantage SEM Platform from MatchCraft on Vimeo.

SoMoConf Speaker Spotlight: Shannon Kinney, Founder, Dream Local Digital

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Today’s Social + Mobile: Show Me the Money! speaker spotlight features Shannon Kinney, founder and client success officer at Dream Local Digital, a digital marketing agency that has worked with thousands of small businesses across North America. She and her team specialize in offering online marketing assistance such as websites, email marketing, social media marketing, SEO, SEM and more.

Shannon Kinney, Founder & Client Success Officer at Dream Local Digital

Shannon has over 15 years of experience in the development of successful Internet products, sales and marketing strategies and has worked on the teams developing successful Internet brands such as cars.com, careerbuilder.com, and over 60 online media properties for newspapers all over the U.S. and Canada. Prior to that, she spent over 10 years in media sales and sales management in Maine.

We asked Shannon 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 will review top takeaways from the LMIA report and expand to cover some of the latest case studies on companies leveraging social media to build brand awareness, reach and serve customers, develop relationships and audience.

What about your session are you most excited about?
Sharing some of the great tips and best practices that we leverage every day in our work with online marketing, and making sure that every attendee leaves with ideas they can implement themselves!

Why is it important that attendees not miss your session?
Social media is one of the most powerful tools to engage your community, promote your content and your advertising products and this session will provide several tips on how to make the most out of your time invested!

What is your favorite social media platform to use?
I personally favor Twitter and Instagram as communication platforms, LinkedIn for business communication, and love Facebook for its broad reach and application. I also spend a lot of time with Pinterest and Snapchat!

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

YP’s Mobile Properties Attract Users with Spending Power

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With more than 10 million downloads of its mobile app and approximately 30 million monthly unique visits across its app and mobile websites, YP.com offers advertisers a great way to reach consumers searching for local business information via their mobile devices.

Not only does YP.com attract a strong cross-section of users, but those users trend younger and carry some serious spending power.  The typical YP.com mobile user is between 25-44 years old and makes more than $75,000 annually, according to the latest comScore MobiLens data, although the site has users across all age and income groups.

Source: comScore MobiLens May 2014

Source: comScore MobiLens May 2014

Last year, YP reported $378 million in mobile ad revenue and noted that half of its audience came from mobile devices. Recently, YP CEO David Krantz was quoted as saying, “we were mobile before mobile was cool” – a claim that seems to be validated by the company’s strong mobile performance indicators.

YP is continuing to attract mobile users and driving mobile ad revenue with new mobile offerings, such as its recently released offering, My Book. An alternative to reviews and tips, this new tool allows both mobile and desktop users to create and manage lists of their favorite businesses. With this data, YP is able to provide users with recommendations based on the number of “favorites” each business has.

Krantz has been very public in his comments regarding the importance of YP’s mobile strategy – and rightfully so. Mobile local searches are driving consumer actions and continue to transform the way consumers interact with local business information. In addition, since YP’s mobile properties are attracting users with spending power, they are poised to remain a major local player that offers strong results for advertisers.

Top 5 Local Ad Stats of the Week: Online Privacy

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As Big Data transforms the relevance and effectiveness of digital advertising, it is generating tension around online privacy.  At the local level, mobile devices have created an influx of location data that has led to many discussions about the impact this is having on privacy. What we are finding is consumers want the conveniences of digital technologies, yet the control to decide what about them is shared.

Digital properties are acquiring a variety of consumer data from web history, cookies, social media activity, online purchases, GPS, likes, check-ins, tags and other methods. A question some are asking is whether properties really own this information after it is collected, or if it is up to the consumer on how their information is shared.

While the debate rolls on, it’s important for marketers to consider consumer sentiments about this issue. Here are some stats to help put online privacy into perspective:

  • 92% of U.S. Internet users worry about their privacy online. (TRUSTe)
  • The percentage of consumers willing to share their current location via GPS with retailers nearly doubled year-over-year to 36%. (IBM)
  • 85% of online consumers oppose Internet ad tracking. (Consumer Reports)
  • Nearly 80% of consumers are willing to provide personal information to “trusted brands,” yet 62% of consumers said they worry about how markets are using their personal information. (SDL)
  • 91% of respondents value the benefit of “easier access to information and knowledge” that digital technology affords, but only 27% say they are willing to trade some privacy for greater convenience and ease online. (EMC Corporation)

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

LSA Member Innovation in Local: Search Influence

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This week we hear from Search Influence, a national, full-service, online marketing company based in New Orleans. Search Influence serves local and small / medium size businesses with SEO, Online Advertising, Social Media and Social Ads, both directly and as a white-label provider for media companies and resellers.

We caught up with Will Scott, CEO and co-founder of Search Influence, to learn more:

What local problem(s) does Search Influence solve? How?
On some level, we’re like the Yellow Pages of old. We make “phones ring and doors swing” (and email go ding). Regardless of the medium, our job as local marketers and media companies is to connect buyers and sellers.

For our partners in the media, we give them products their advertisers want without the cost of building their own team.

What makes Search Influence innovative?
We devote significant R&D and software development to the challenge of scaling content-based SEO and Social Media. Before most of the industry was talking about “content marketing” we were driving buying traffic by producing hundreds of thousands of pages of copy for online distribution.

Our philosophy is that software should end where human intelligence is needed. At search influence we develop scalable systems powered by experts.

How does Search Influence make the local space better for advertisers and/or consumers?
It’s hard to be a local advertiser today. Between keeping your doors open, your employees happy and your online presence humming there’s barely enough time to sleep and eat.

In a recent BIA/Kelsey Local Commerce Monitor, the data showed some local advertisers are active in 7 or more online channels. That could be a full-time job.

We help those advertisers tell their story. On their website, in social media, throughout the local search ecosystem, we provide buyers with the information to confidently select a provider.

What is next in local?
Content is going farther and having more impact on media company revenues. As native advertising has evolved this year from a buzzword to a tangible revenue stream for our partners, we are working with media companies to develop quality native advertising content at scale. We handle everything from telling the advertiser story in text, image and video to finding channels for distribution online and extending their reach in social media.

For more info, check out the presentation below, or you can contact Search Influence at (504) 208-3900 or email them at Info@searchinfluence.com.

About Search Influence & the Importance of Content Marketing for Local Bussinesses from Local Search Association

SoMoConf Speaker Spotlight: Matt Baldwin, Senior Research Analyst, Borrell Associates

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Now that we are about a month away from Social + Mobile: Show Me the Money!, we are spotlighting some of the great speakers we have lined up for the event. First up we have Matt Baldwin, senior research analyst with Borrell Associates, where he works directly with ad agencies, media companies and business organizations nationwide to develop the deeper target audience insights that drive more effective media applications and creative direction.

Matt Baldwin, Senior Research Analyst, Borrell Associates

Matt has been recognized as Advertising Age magazine Marketer of the Year and has also served as President for NAA’s Research Federation Board of Directors. His techniques and approaches to media and advertising have won over $100 million in new business.

We asked Matt a few questions about his session, and here is what he had to say:

What are the key topics you’ll discuss during your session?
Quantifying market potential, understanding subcategory media share, identifying market-specific healthcare opportunity segments and fitting social and mobile into the right spots.

What about your session are you most excited about?
Sharing the approaches that drive results.

Why is it important that attendees not miss your session?
Healthcare is such a hot overall category, but some subcategories represent more opportunity than others.  When clients and prospects see YOU in the know about THEIR business, you are automatically positioned as a more complete and engaged marketing partner.

What is the most fascinating part of your job?
Uncovering new insights, then seeing clients use that knowledge to be more successful.

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

Google Turns Local Product Searches into Delivery Business

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To date, Google product searches have delivered fairly relevant local results, but have failed to translate those results into actual purchases.  Now, Google is introducing a new platform to that helps consumers move from product searches to real-life transactions.

The offering, called Google Shopping Express, allows consumers to buy products from several major participating retailers through Google’s interface. In turn, Google will take a single-digit percentage cut of each transaction and then deliver the purchased product from the physical retail store to the consumer on the same or next day. Instead of operating massive warehouses and store inventory – along the lines of Amazon – Google simply acts as a facilitator of local product transactions.

Currently, the service offers products from the likes of Target, Costco, Toys “R” Us and Whole Foods, and is operational in New York City, San Francisco and Los Angeles. A source told Re/code that Google execs have set aside around $500 million to expand the service nationwide. According to Tom Fallows, head of Google Shopping Express, the company is “willing to sustain that investment over time as this gets going.”

While there is the obvious benefit of using Google to help sell local products, it will be interesting to see how they incorporate small retailers in the mix.  At this point, the service looks well suited for retailers that offer specialty, one-of-a-kind goods that aren’t available anywhere else. On the other hand, the local drug store with common brand name products might struggle to compete with the pricing flexibility of national chains like Walgreens.

Once again, it looks like small local retailers face an uphill battle when it comes to competing with the influence of national retailers.  If Google plans to continue this partnership model for Google Shopping Express, we can only assume that the national brands will have priority over small local retailers that offer the same products with less reach.

We’ll be keeping a close eye on how this new Google offering resonates in the market and what impact it has on local product sales.