Archive for September, 2010

BIA/Kelsey: U.S. Mobile Local Advertising Revenues to Exceed $2 Billion in 2014

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Innovation in the local mobile category was a hot topic at BIA/Kelsey’s DMS ’10 conference earlier this month, and for very good reason. As consumers increasingly adopt mobile, our industry has an unprecedented opportunity to generate new advertising revenue in the space.

Adding to the excitement over local mobile is BIA/Kelsey’s new projection, announced this week, that U.S. mobile local advertising revenues will increase from $213 million in 2009 to $2.02 billion in 2014, representing a compound annual growth rate (RAGR) of 56.9%.

According to BIA/Kelsey, mobile local advertising includes advertising targeted based on a user’s location and/or advertising that is locally actionable. The release notes that “location targeted ads will command premiums over non-local advertising, due to the higher immediacy, consumer buying intent, and conversation levels.”

This news comes just weeks after BIA/Kelsey said that overall, local advertising is growing slightly faster in 2010 compared with previous estimates, and will likely reach $133.3 billion in 2010, up 2.9% over 2009.

I’m excited about the positive growth outlook for local, both generally and in mobile, and the ongoing efforts of our industry to play a central role in its ongoing evolution.

Dex One Announces Expansion of Consumer Choice Program

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Earlier this month, YPA and ADP announced plans to provide consumers with an updated, central site to manage the delivery of phone directories to their homes. This new tool, which will go live in early 2011, will make it faster and easier for consumers to select which phone directories they receive, or to stop delivery of all directories if they so choose.

Dex One, which is participating in the effort, announced this week that it had broadened the availability of its own consumer choice program – Select Your Dex – by making it available through multiple online sites, including Facebook. For more information, check out the press release here.

According to the release, more than 130,000 consumers have visited Select Your Dex since 2008 to adjust the number and types of Dex print directories they receive. Dex One notes that while some consumers have used the program to discontinue print delivery, many others have used it to increase the number of directories delivered to them.

Key Takeaways from BIA/Kelsey’s DMS ’10 Conference

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

For those who didn’t have a chance to follow our live blogging from BIA/Kelsey’s DMS ’10 in Dallas, be sure to check out my column on Search Engine Land this week about my key takeaways from the conference.

As I note in the piece, we all recognize that the emergence of digital and mobile opportunities is changing the fundamentals of how we market locally. The question is whether the local search community can respond with offerings that leverage new platforms to meet changing consumer demand.

Based on what I saw and heard in Dallas, while there’s still a lot of work to be done, our industry is already on a path towards developing a solid plan to deliver the next generation of leads to local businesses.

Click here to read my Search Engine Land column. And visit the BIA/Kelsey DMS category on our blog to read our posts from the conference.

Industry Joins With Environmental Group to Make a Difference

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

It’s been a busy couple of months on the consumer choice front.  Last week, we announced our plans to upgrade www.yellowpagesoptout.com to make it a one-stop shop for consumers who want to manage directory delivery to their homes.  When we launch the updated site in early 2011, you’ll be able to choose which phone directories you receive, and which you don’t, all in one place.

Today we announced another program that is specific to one state, but highlights what we can accomplish when our industry comes together with interested stakeholders to find solutions to local issues.

In this case, Yellow Pages Association and our members Dex One, SuperMedia, and Yellowbook have teamed up with Conservation Minnesota to launch www.donttrashthephonebook.org.  This new site helps Minnesota residents manage their print directory deliveries and access local recycling information.  This is a first-in-the-nation partnership with a non-profit conservation organization and our industry.

The effort has gained support of local government.  State representative Paul Gardner, vice chair of the Environment Policy and Oversight Committee, said: “The partnership between Conservation Minnesota and the Yellow Pages industry is a prime example of how public/private partnerships can solve problems outside the state legislature. I commend the industry’s self-regulation efforts and believe Don’t Trash the Phone Book will be an easy tool for Minnesotans looking for consumer choice information.”

I agree that this model has been successful in Minnesota and demonstrates our willingness to partner with others to find solutions to common goals.  We’d certainly like to thank Conservation Minnesota for their effort to partner with us, and our members Dex One, SuperMedia, and Yellowbook, for supporting the effort.

Telmetrics Introduces “VoiceTrends,” A Voice-To-Text Analytics Tool

Friday, September 17, 2010

There was a lot of conversation at DMS ’10 about the growing importance of advertising ROI to local businesses. As BIA/Kelsey president Neal Polacheck pointed out, businesses want a better understanding of how their media is performing to ensure their dollars are being spent wisely.

Earlier this week, MediaPost reported on an interesting new offering from Telmetrics, an advertising call measurement company, which will provide local businesses with new insight into the intent and quality of leads from various media platforms.

The service, called VoiceTrends, is a post-call, speech-to-text analytics solution for the local search industry. It provides advertisers, agencies, publishers, and SEM firms with advanced visibility into aggregated consumer phone calls with comprehensive category, market and media insights into the quality of leads.

Click here to read the Media Post article.

As analytics plays a more important role in our industry, services like Telmetrics’ VoiceTrends will help us better understand which advertising solutions work best for the local businesses we service. Definitely seems like something worth checking out!

CityGrid Announces Private Label Reseller Program

Friday, September 17, 2010

CityGrid, a leading local content and advertising network that includes various Yellow Pages websites such as DexKnows.com, Superpages.com, and YP.com announced its new private label reseller program this week.

The move will enable sales organizations, including Yellow Pages companies, to sell CityGrid’s extensive advertising products under their own brands. While open to all partners, the program will be particularly attractive to regional Yellow Pages companies that don’t currently have an online advertising product or are looking to expand their local product offering.

According to the release, the offering will allow organizations to immediately start selling CityGrid’s online ad offerings and move ahead with building content ads and distributing those ads across CityGrid’s web and mobile sites. The program also offers partners with turnkey online sales tools and analytics interfaces that make the sales process easier to manage.

I’m excited about the opportunity that this new program presents for our members to further expand their portfolios to deliver integrated advertising options to their clients.

DMS ’10: Microsoft Seeking Local Connections

Thursday, September 16, 2010

U.S. small business advertising will be a $15 billion opportunity by 2013, and Yellow Pages companies will continue to serve as an important channel in connecting local businesses with new offerings, said Randy Wootton, VP of Global Search and Online Marketplace for Microsoft Advertising.

Wootton noted that in the past, local businesses were limited to print Yellow Pages, newspapers, and radio for their advertising needs, and that they were only required to speak with sales reps a few times a year. Today, the local advertising space has quickly become overwhelming for local businesses, who are unable to make sense of the wide variety of opportunities available, everything from video and banner ads, to SEO and website development, and speak to dozens of sales reps to meet their needs.

Ultimately, local businesses need three things: trust, leads, and cost/ease, according to Wootton. He said local businesses are looking to make the advertising process simple again, save time and make money, and feel valuable and back in control of the world around them.

Wootton said the Yellow Pages industry will continue lead the partner pact as the “first-stop” for local business search because they are the trusted advisor that can help local businesses make sense of their advertising options. He called on the industry to take advantage of Microsoft’s advertising offerings, which with its partnership with Yahoo provides a large new audience for local businesses to reach.

DMS ’10: Google Opens Arms to Partnerships; Creates Global Partner Council

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Todd Rowe, director of global SMB reseller partnerships for Google, opened up the morning session today by offering a look at changes Google is making to the way that it approaches its channel partnerships.

“The decision was that we want to invest and grow in that very significantly,” he said.  “This business is much more channel centric, channel oriented, meaning there’s no way we could do this ourselves.”

Rowe, who joined Google just seven weeks ago to strengthen channel partnerships, outlined a number of changes Google is making to accomplish its goal.

“Let the expertise lie where the experts are.  That’s you.”

First, Google has created one single global organization around the channel to pool resources together in critical mass and given it its own revenue responsibility.  This new structure gives the channel business more visibility with Google management making “what you do and what you need is much more important.”

Google also plans to share its product roadmap with partners to open greater dialogue and create a more channel-oriented roadmap.

Recognizing that partnerships can’t be one size fits all, Rowe suggested that Google is more open than ever to creating arrangements that help the partner accomplish its goals.  “Given complexity and evolution of this industry … there are many different partnership types, and we’re broadening and expanding that.”

In order to meet the demands of this new commitment on the channel, Rowe is doubling the size of his organization so that there are fewer partners per partner manager.  And to further open the lines of communication between Google and channel partners, Rowe announced that it would create a global partner council made up of industry players to meet on an annual basis.

Greater collaboration was a common theme in Rowe’s talk.

“If it’s been more than a year since you met with senior management at Google, it’s too long.”

DMS ’10: Dex One Knows Action-Based Selling

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Stephen Gibbons, vice president of marketing of Urban Strategies for Dex One, gave a look at how the company is approaching the growing performance-based selling trend.

“There are a thousand moving pieces on this puzzle,” Gibbons said.  “When we talk about a leads-based program, we talk about action-based.”

Any advertiser who participates gets Dex One’s full suite of products, and will have a number of actions measured, including calls, clicks, texts, and emails.

“We value actions differently,” he said.  For example, a call has a higher value than a click, text or email.

Gibbons admits there are a number of challenges that come along with an action-based program.

Small businesses are often very reluctant to change their telephone number, which is needed to track the calls.

Another issue is helping the small business understand that the value of an action is not equal across all platforms – for example, a call generated from Google search may have different value than a call generated from dexknows.com.

Finally, the success of performance-based programs lies in the field with the sales team.

“We’ve got to have our marketing consultants very well trained … making sure they understand the nuisances of the proposition is very important.”

DMS ’10: Yahoo’s Lem Lloyd: We Need to Tell the Local Story

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Lem Lloyd, VP of North America Channel Sales at Yahoo, said that there is “tremendous interest” from advertisers in developing local marketing opportunities, but that the challenge remains for how the industry can “tell the local story in the right way”.

Lloyd said that Yahoo’s new partnership with Microsoft means the company will be able to provide more opportunities in the marketplace than it had previously and provide a real alternative to Google, which has long dominated the market.

Lloyd talked about how Yellow Pages companies are increasingly offering more digital products to their clients, and that Yahoo wants to work with those partners who think big, are interested in developing meaningful strategic relationships, and are willing to invest in training their sales forces. He also expressed satisfaction that partners are frequently asking to be active participants in Yahoo’s local strategy, whether it’s offering suggestions for how new products are designed or asking to be the first to sell a new offering.

Finally, Lloyd noted that now is not the time to come down on local pricing but to focus on better illustrating why local is important and valuable to advertisers.