Archive for the ‘Annual Conference’ Category

SoMoConf to Provide Local Media with Latest on Social and Mobile Opportunities

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

As digital advertising spend continues to chip away at traditional media spend, many local media organizations are looking for new sources of revenue and ways to serve their clients. Social and mobile solutions provide these organizations with a variety of new opportunities to expand their product line and help SMBs attract new customers.

We are excited to partner with Borrell Associates and the Local Media Association for the upcoming “Social + Mobile: Show Me the Money!” conference, taking place August 20th-21st in Chicago.

At this year’s event, we’ll hear from the heaviest hitters in social and mobile, digital agencies and clients on the best ways to make money from these platforms.  The event also promises superb networking by bringing together professionals from three leading local media organizations, along with a variety of receptions and other ways to get to know one another.

Notable speakers will include:

  • Ted Zagat, Ads, Facebook
  • Lutz Finger, Director Data Science & Data Engineering, LinkedIn
  • Joel Meek, Head of Partner Online Sales & Operations, Pinterest
  • PJ MacGregor, Brand Development Lead, Instagram
  • Greg Stuart, Global CEO, Mobile Marketing Association
  • Luke Edson, VP of National Markets, YP
  • And many more…

So if you work for a local media organization and you want to learn what your colleagues are doing to grow digital revenues, SoMoConf is for you. You’re bound to make some new connections and leave with fresh ideas on how to drive sales.  Click here to learn more.

SoMoConf to Feature Instagram, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and YP

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The top social media platforms – Instagram, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest – have made impressive strides in their advertising offerings over the past year. So have the leading local directory providers such as YP. That’s why we’re very excited to hear the latest updates from these major players in the social and mobile space at Social + Mobile: Show Me the Money!, in Chicago, August 20-21.

Both social media and local search have become integral to many consumers’ daily lives. From advertising a local business on YP to posting a sponsored story on Facebook, these tools have the ability to attract the eyeballs of a massive number of consumers – making them great places to advertise.

Just take a look at the average monthly active users for each platform:

  • Facebook: 1.23 billion
  • Google+: 540 Million
  • Instagram: 150 million
  • YP: 75 million
  • Pinterest: 70 million

Come hear representatives of these companies discuss how they are working to make advertising on these channels easier and more effective. While at the event, we will also walk-through case-studies of social and mobile strategies that are driving results.

Check out the agenda to learn more. Through June 30, use the code “SocMob100″ while registering to receive $100 off the ticket price.

Social + Mobile Conference to Return to Chicago Aug. 20-21

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

As social media platforms develop more ad offerings and capabilities, and mobile moves towards becoming consumers’ primary screen, there are significant opportunities to monetize these outlets.  So we are pleased to announce that we will once again be working with Local Media Association and Borrell Associates to bring you Social + Mobile: Show Me the Money!

If you are charged with growing social and/or mobile revenue at your local media company, then this event is for you. Speakers will provide case-study examples for both social and mobile revenue strategies along with updates from major social players (Instagram, Facebook, Google confirmed).

Sessions include:

  • “Why Service Categories Are Perfect Targets for Social & Mobile”
  • “3 Best Moneymaking Social and/or Mobile Strategies”
  • “How Targeting Local Mobile Devices Drives ROI and Engagement”
  • “How Regional Retailers Are Using Social and Mobile to Grow Their Business”
  • “Using Social to Build & Engage Your Audience”
  • “Why Service Categories Are Perfect Targets for Social & Mobile”
  • …and much more!

Also, we are currently accepting submissions to the Case Study Contest for a chance at a free registration and paid accommodations for SoMoConf.  If you have a proven idea that has generated a positive ROI in social and/or mobile media then submit before midnight Friday, June 6 for a chance to win.

Check out the agenda to learn more or use the code “SocMob100″ and register through June 30 to take $100 off the full registration price. Register today!

Don’t Miss these Highlights from LSA|14

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The 2014 Local Search Association Conference in Huntington Beach, Calif. brought together a long list of influencers, decision makers and innovators in the local advertising and marketing space for a three-day, jam-packed agenda. The event, which covered everything from the “National Advertiser’s Perspective” to the way consumer traffic is fragmenting across media types and digital properties, highlighted the challenges and opportunities facing the local space.

Whether you missed our event or just want a refresher on what was covered, we’ve uploaded a full range of conference content for you to access on-demand:

  • SlideShare: We’ve uploaded all of the presentations used during the event, including slides from the Idea Lab sessions.
  • YouTube: After reviewing hours of footage, we posted video highlights from each session on our YouTube channel.
  • Local Search Insider: We discussed key takeaways from many of the conference sessions on our Association blog.
  • Search Engine Land: In our monthly column on Search Engine Land, LSA President Neg Norton shared his top 10 key takeaways from the conference.

Check out all of the above, and then mark your calendars for our 2015 Local Search Association Conference, April 20-22, 2015 at the Loews Hollywood Hotel!  Stay tuned for more details in the coming months!

2014 Ad to Action Award Judges Comment on Winning Entries

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

After scoring our Ad to Action Awards entries and determining each category winner, some of our influential judges sat down in front of the camera to discuss their selections. In the video, the judges talked about what they felt made each solution innovative and capable of driving consumer actions. At the end of the video, we featured some footage of the winners taking photos and enjoying their private lunch with Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak at the 2014 Local Search Association Conference.

With 60 entries strewn across eight categories, winning was no small feat! Our inaugural Ad to Action Awards was a true competition of merit.  The winners represented a diverse array of solutions that included campaigns, platforms, solutions, software and more.

Find out all about the winners in our 2014 Ad to Action Awards video featured below:

Top 5 Local Ad Stats of the Week: Key Takeaways from LSA|14

Friday, May 9, 2014

Now that we have had some time to digest all of the content that came out of LSA|14, we wanted to share our Top 5 key takeaways from our event in Huntington Beach last week.

We heard from influential speakers that work for major players in the local space including Google, Bing, YP, LivingSocial, comScore and many more.  We also had the opportunity to listen to Steve Wozniak, the Apple co-founder, which was a real treat.

Given our long list of powerful speakers, it wasn’t easy selecting the Top 5 key takeaways from the event. Nonetheless, here they are:

  • Prediction: The focus in local will shift from consumer acquisition to customer retention. (Back to the Future Panel)
  • “Your smartphone is becoming like a friend – your most trusted advisor in the world.” (Steve Wozniak, co-founder, Apple)
  • Almost 80% of mobile searches end in a purchase, with nearly 75% of purchases occurring in-store. (Gian Fulgoni, executive chairman and co-founder, comScore)
  • Four tips in earning a national advertiser’s business: provide incremental ROI, respect client’s time, get to the point and come recommended. (Alexis Nahama, VP marketing, VCA Animal Hospital)
  • Last Mile Advertising is a new way to talk about “local.” The concept represents locally targeted ads or messages delivered close to the point of purchase that help facilitate consumer actions. (Neg Norton, president, Local Search Association)

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

LSA|14: Back to the Future: Discussion of Past & Current Predictions in Local

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

In our final session at the 2014 LSA annual conference, three of our industry’s preeminent analysts – Matt Booth, CEO of Connectivity, Neal Polachek, independent digital media analyst and board advisor, Buzzboard, Inc., and Greg Sterling, senior analyst, Opus Research – engaged the audience in an open session about past and current predictions in local.

As Greg noted, “predictions have logic” at the time they are made, even if they don’t pan out in the long-term.

The panel overviewed questionable past predictions, including:

  • “Google will buy Yellowbook”
  • “Google with be successful in the radio space”
  • “TellMe will push Microsoft into the forefront of mobile services – voice search would be important in mobile services”
  • “Pay per Call will be big… really big ($4B by 2009)”
  • “Video will become a major form of SMB advertising”
  • “The print Yellow Pages will be gone by 2015”

The group then shared mostly accurate past predictions:

  • “Print usage decline will accelerate in 2010”
  • “Mobile will overtake desktop search”
  • “The ‘presence, performance, permanence’ construct will endure”
  • “Verticals will begin to gain significant market share”

New predictions made by the group included:

  • “Google will build and push new SMB products to augment SEM”
  • “Focus will shift from consumer acquisition to customer retention”
  • “Amazon will score big with SMBs beyond Amazon Web Services”
  • “Legacy vertical sales organizations will offer digital solutions (e.g., American Tire Distributors)”
  • “Facebook will field a local SMB sales channel”

In closing, the audience shared some of their own new predictions:

  • “Real-time integration with local inventory by 2016”
  • “Delivery timing will continue to be pushed up more and more – with same-day delivery becoming more mainstream in the next few years”
  • “Admission of traditional SMBs fully integrated into local search”
  • “Digital advertising companies will fail. Those focused on transactions will succeed” (Yelp vs. OpenTable)
  • “Distinctive branding is going to become a lot more important – especially in the local sector – within the next 3-4 years”

LSA|14: Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak Shares Passion for Innovation & Opportunity

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Steve Wozniak covered a wide range of topics including his childhood and early career motivations, initial successes at Apple, his relationship with Steve Jobs, thoughts on Apple’s business today, predictions for consumer technology, and more in his highly anticipated featured appearance at our 2014 annual conference.. LSA President Neg Norton moderated the session.

The Silicon Valley icon and Apple co-founder described his childhood as one consumed by a drive for exploring innovation and discovery in electronics, math and science. He credited his father, an electrical engineer, for providing him with an education  – “the equivalent of graduate classes” – that drove his interest and knowledge. He talked about building science fair projects, machines and even computers in his early years that set the framework for his later success.

In college, Wozniak said he first realized the opportunity to use the television as an output device that would allow people to see what they were doing on a computer.  Wozniak’s innovations often involved taking larger computer units and reducing the cost and number of chips needed for it to function resulting in an affordable unit suitable for personal use.   It was also during that time period that Wozniak first met Steve Jobs, who quickly became an advocate and partner for selling Wozniak’s inventions. “Every time I’d create something – Steve [Jobs] would say, let’s sell it,” he said.

Wozniak quit college and began working at HP, where he pitched his personal computer ideas five times, without success. It was by starting Apple with Jobs and launching Apple II – the first low-cost, color screen personal computer ever – that Wozniak first saw the potential for his ideas to fuel the creation of a “real company – possibly a big company,” as well as make a global impact.

Wozniak also discussed Jobs’ ambition from the offset for playing a leadership role at Apple. He also spoke openly about the failures of later Apple products such as the Apple III and Apple Lisa, and what could have been done differently that would have helped them to do better.

In discussing Apple today, Wozniak said that he did not think a lot had changed since Jobs’ passing. However, he mentioned being encouraged by recent signs at Apple that it is opening up its ecosystem, referencing plans to introduce iTunes on Android.

Wozniak said that wearable technology such as Google Glass and smart watches represent key trends in the electronics industry. He felt there was a risk that smart watches might go the way of Bluetooth headsets because they simply duplicate a smaller set of functions that are on the phone.  On the other hand, he shared an idea on how flexible display may be incorporated into wearable devices that solve the small screen problem of smart watches.  He also spoke about opportunities in voice, such as Siri. He talked passionately about the possibilities of building software that provides a more human experience and better anticipates human’s real intentions. “Your smartphone is becoming like a friend – your most trusted advisor in the world,” he said.

Wozniak also said that the best innovations come from people who build the technologies for themselves. “I designed Apple II because it was what I wanted for myself,” he said. “The Telsa, Elon Musk designed the car for himself.” In looking at young talent, he told attendees to search for “the person who is a builder – who has built successful solutions in the past.”

Wozniak also spoke about his strong interest in childhood education and encouraging and supporting young people in finding their place in society. He said that to date, the computer has not achieved its promise of revolutionizing education. He said he dreamed of the time when computers can serve as a “student’s best friend … to have feelings for students, to know everything about them. So kids can choose their direction in life much earlier. “

Overall, Wozniak demonstrated a love for technology, a passion for helping others, and a genuine and humble personality that was so enjoyable and refreshing to witness from someone of his stature.

LSA|14: Ad to Action Awards Winners Announced!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Today we are thrilled to announce the winners of our inaugural Ad to Action Awards, a new awards competition we developed to foster new ideas and stimulate thinking to bring to market the best local advertising products.

The awards recognized new or recently introduced 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.

Local advertising providers submitted 60 outstanding solutions for evaluation by a diverse panel of 14 notable experts, analysts, media and practitioners from across the local advertising industry. Our judges reviewed submissions and selected finalists and winners for each category based on those that were most compelling and best address current market needs.

So without further ado, this year’s winners include:

  • Business Listings: Local Listing Manager™ by Rio SEO. Rio SEO’s Local Listing Manager software is the only available solution that can deliver unlimited optimized local business data via bulk feed or API to all the major search engines and data aggregators.
  • Mobile: GeoCookie by Thinknear. The GeoCookie identifies location context, groups location categories and stores data in a usable format that can be accessed in real-time.
  • Social Media: Likes for Lives by Search Influence. The Likes for Lives program is a Facebook fan building initiative that encourages targeted audiences to ‘like’ a company’s Facebook page in exchange for a donation to a choice of non-profit organizations benefiting breast cancer awareness/research.
  • Print: Platform Agnostic Dynamic Location Based Media Planning by SMG Local Spectrum. SMG Local Spectrum’s dynamic tool generates ranking reports that help determine the best directories to advertise in based on a client’s key performance indicators, new and existing locations, rural versus urban locations, budgets, proprietary zip code level data and custom publisher negotiated discounts.
  • Vertical Specific: Weather Triggered Demand Generation by SMG Local Spectrum. SMG Local Spectrum’s solution leverages real-time weather event triggers such as cold temperatures and natural disasters to serve relevant hyper-local messaging via online advertising formats.
  • Video: TargetView by Sightly. TargetView generates hundreds of scalable, affordable, localized video ads for all locations in a brand’s network, using clients’ existing creative or assets from its library and stock sources.
  • Deals/Loyalty/Ecommerce: MyTime. The MyTime website and mobile app allows users to find a business, check availability, read reviews and book appointments in seconds.
  • Implementation: AdMax® Local by The Search Agency. AdMax® Local is a fully automated search engine marketing solution that enables small businesses to benefit from high quality and profitable local search campaigns by producing, managing and reporting on hyper-local, optimally structured, highly relevant and performance-focused SEM campaigns.

Following the awards announcement, winners were invited to a private luncheon with conference speaker Steve Wozniak, the Silicon Valley icon and Apple co-founder, to discuss their solutions and plans for bringing them to market.

Beginning next month, winners will be assigned a dedicated LSA team to secure broad industry support in testing, partnering and promoting their products so they have the best shot of succeeding in the marketplace. Winners will also be highlighted in our communications with members and other industry leaders and influencers, in ongoing outreach to business and tech reporters, and through our digital and social media channels.

Congratulations to this stellar group on your contributions to our industry!

LSA|14: Going Full Digital: Transforming a Traditional YP

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Nir Lembert, CEO of Zap Group, shared his experience in transforming a traditional Yellow Pages company into a fully digital publisher. 

In 2005, the company was Israel’s leading Yellow Pages publisher and print comprised of 85% of its revenue.  The transformation was started by launching sites through specific verticals including lawyers, doctors, and tourism.  But it was largely offering the same information that was available in print, online and the Lembert felt like this was not sufficient to make the transformation to digital.  The company needed to offer something else to be and stay relevant.

Information was not the problem – there’s plenty of information available on sites like Google.  But how do you help your consumers choose what is relevant for them?  Lembert and his team came up with a new vision:

  1. Empower consumers and enabling them to make smart purchase related decisions
  2. Become the main lead generation junction for their consumers.

The company took all the verticals and Yellow pages and merged them under one company umbrella sharing common services for efficiency, but dividing the business divisions into Experts (professionals); Retail and Products; Lifestyle (restaurants, entertainment); and Service Providers (the core of YP).

Each vertical had its own team with expertise in those divisions.  The company also rebranded at that time to become Zap.

Zap built its success on products would help consumers choose or decide or evaluate products and services that they are interested in purchasing as opposed to just providing a listing.  The information Zap provides to consumers to help those decisions include pricing information, reviews, and comparable products.  Zap also provides filters to narrow search results that give the consumer a customized search result based on their wants or needs that can bring a search result of thousands to a small handful of much more targeted results.  Reviews, consumer guides and other supporting information also help with the decision.

Zap launched its online targeted shopping sites in March 2012 with mobile sites released a year later.  The result has been astounding growth over the last two years to the tune of 80% growth in unique users, monthly visits and calls from paying customers.

In 2013 they made the decision to close their print product entirely based on that growth.  So, today they are a 100% digital company.

The decision to close print was not without controversy.  But it is successful.  In 2005 the company’s top line revenue was $210 million.  While there was some drop in revenue during the transition, last year, Zap’s revenue was $190 million and in a couple years they will be back above the 2005 revenue.

For many companies, print is still 50% or more.  Lembert says U.S. publishers, with print products that are still performing, have time and money to invest in the new world.  Zap did not have that luxury and thus went 100% digital.

So what’s next for Zap?  Zap wants to remain in the traditional arena of developing a relationship between the consumer and SMB.  But now they want to be part of the transaction itself.

Some of its new launches that are either live or will soon be launch include the following:

  • Products:  Include prices in product search and become the Israeli Amazon/eBay
  • Services: Launch a mobile payment app
  • Lifestyle and Professionals:  Provide online delivery/reservation/booking systems

One of the biggest changes is that Zap will move to a pay per acquisition or percentage of transaction business model across the board.

Zap is also looking to expand its role as a trusted partner for SMB’s in offering all media services including social media and Web (SEO/SEM), and ecommerce, not just in Israel, but globally.

Zap is knows mistakes it has made and things they’ve learned through this process are relevant for others looking to make a transformation and they would be happy to share their experiences and capabilities with others.