Archive for the ‘General’ Category

YP Re-Launches Website, with Focus on New Personalized Features

Friday, December 13, 2013

Recently, YP announced the re-launch of the company’s website, YP.com. The site has been redesigned to better connect consumers and local businesses through a more user-centric design, improved navigation and a cleaner, more functional format.

“As the leader in local search and advertising, our new website reflects our proven commitment to meeting the evolving needs of our users and advertisers,” said David Krantz, CEO of YP. “The robust set of new features now offered in our online and mobile properties offer users more ways to discover, share and connect with local businesses that can help them get things done.”

The website’s new ‘My Book’ feature enables YP.com visitors to create and manage their own collections of local merchants. With the feature, users can save their favorite businesses and share them with other users.

YP - My Book

In addition to ‘My Book,’ YP has also rolled out new, more personalized features including ‘You Might Like,’ ‘Coupons Nearby’ and ‘Popular Articles & Interviews” to help users discover new options. The presentation of search results and business information has also been updated.

Krantz added, “Product developments, resulting in new features like My Book, are the cornerstones of our success and have positioned us as the go-to partner for both consumers and advertisers. We will continue to build on these offerings and our leading market position by investing in proprietary technologies that deliver high-quality search experiences and ultimately create meaningful connections between merchants and consumers.”

YP is definitely keeping up with trends of customization and discovery based search with these new features. I look forward to testing out the new site the next time I’m on the hunt!

Celebrate America Recycles Day by Recycling Old Print Directories

Friday, November 15, 2013

For the past 16 years, November 15th has marked a key day on the calendar – America Recycles Day. An initiative of Keep America Beautiful, the day is a great reminder about the importance of incorporating recycling more fully into our daily lives.

Here at the Local Search Association, we’re encouraging local businesses and consumers to celebrate America Recycles Day by recycling their outdated print phone directories through curbside recycling and other local recycling initiatives in their communities.

We are looking to communities and individuals to help improve our success rate with recycling outdated print directories. In its most recent Municipal Solid Waste Facts and Figures report (2011), the EPA reported that the paper category including newspapers, directories and other mechanical papers maintains a high recycling rate of 72.5%, but we think we can continue to do better.

Additionally, we are encouraging consumers who prefer online and mobile tools, rather than print directories, to find local information to visit www.YellowPagesOptOut.com to manage print directory delivery to their homes and businesses. The site, which is funded by publishers and endorsed by Keep America Beautiful, provides a free, simple and convenient way for consumers to select which directories they want to receive, or stop directory delivery entirely.

Make sure you head over to www.AmericaRecyclesDay.org to take the pledge to recycle more and see how you can get involved!

Yelp’s Roll Out of Mobile Reviews & Ordering Proves Successful

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Over the summer, Yelp introduced several new mobile tools for its users, including the ability to post reviews of local business via mobile and to complete transactions and orders with local restaurants directly via mobile. Several months later, it looks like these new features are performing well.

Yelp users have posted an average of 10,000 mobile reviews a day since August, accounting for a quarter of all new reviews, according to Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman. The company expects this number and proportion to increase, especially since the ability to write reviews from mobile was just introduced for Android devices.

During the company’s third-quarter conference call, Stoppelman also noted that the quality of reviews from mobile users was similar to those posted from desktop users. He noted that if a mobile review is deemed too short, it is converted to a tip, or shorter blurb, about a business. Stoppelman described the mobile review capability as a “net positive” and that “high quality content should lead to more traffic and more distribution.”

Yelp’s new ordering service is also showing promise. The company indicated that there are plans to extend to retail categories, allowing consumers to book things like spa services, home repair appointments and dental visits. The move represents the next step in integrating local review sites with local e-commerce tools – sites like Seamless, OpenTable, ZocDoc and MyTime have had explosive success in the online ordering and appointment booking space.

It looks like Yelp is making strong moves to diversify the value it offers both local businesses and customers. If you haven’t already, take a look at Neg Norton’s recent Search Engine Land column, in which he discusses the importance of local businesses leveraging new opportunities like mobile ordering to convert customers.

Businesses Can Now Map Custom Data with Google Maps

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Google

Last week, Google introduced Maps Engine Pro, a tool that helps businesses visualize their individual data on the Google Maps platform. The tool allows small businesses to use location tools provided by Google to create both internal- and external-facing maps.

The Google Maps Engine Pro tool uses imported data, including addresses, names, office locations and sales territories to visualize a business on the map. Maps Engine Pro will allow businesses to optimize the locations of people and company assets, engage users and build apps using all of Google’s layers. Maps Engine Pro allows SMBs and individual employees to create their own stylized maps, without specialized training or developer resources.

This new variation is an adapted version of Google Maps Engine, which is a more advanced map styling tool offering a full spectrum of maps creation. The Pro tool has been simplified for business professionals.

“By providing better ways to easily integrate maps into your organization’s operations, businesses now have the ability to use powerful mapping technologies that were once only available to mapping experts,” according to Brian McClendon, VP of Google Maps.

Pure Fix Cycles, a distributor of custom-made fixed-gear bicycles, is using Maps Engine Pro to identify sales opportunities across the company’s target markets, hoping to expand its business. The company’s founder, Jordan Schau, is finding the new tool useful from a customer service standpoint:

“Looking at a spreadsheet of 100 accounts on the East Coast, I would have no idea where any of them are. I uploaded that spreadsheet [to Maps Engine Pro] and I can say ‘Customer service team, check out this map. When a customer calls, [we can] send them to a store that have a lot of inventory’ or send them to stores that order from us often.’”

Being able to visualize and easily identify location patterns is incredibly important for businesses looking to properly delegate their local marketing spend. Local businesses looking to grow their customer base would be wise to look into the tool to map out customer data. For instance, a business could input data from its rewards program to see which parts of town customers are coming from to help guide where in the city to focus marketing dollars. Additionally, small businesses could map purchases to determine product-buying patterns in their locale, providing insights on which products to market more heavily in different areas.

It’s exciting to see what new mapping technology is bringing about not just for consumers looking to find their way, but for small businesses looking to harness insights to drive business goals forward.

Canada’s Yellow Media Appoints Julien Billot as New President and CEO

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Yellow Media announced on Monday the appointment of Julien Billot as its new President and CEO. Yellow Media is the leading media and marketing solutions company in Canada and operates properties and publications including Yellow Pages print directories, YellowPages.ca, Canada411.ca and RedFlagDeals.com.

The company’s board of directors’ key focus was to “identify a senior leader with experience in executing and delivering digital transformations, a deep understanding of the media industry as well as a keen knowledge of the challenges facing traditional local search enterprises.”

Billot brings more than 20 years of leadership experience within the global media industry. He most recently served as executive vice president and head of the media group at Solocoal (formerly PagesJaunes), France’s largest local search firm, which has had a remarkably successful transition to digital over the past few years. Prior to Solocal, Billot was CEO of Lagardère Active’s digital and new media group.

Yellow Media

Earlier this year, Yellow Media restructured to focus on digital products and shift its existing print customers to online advertising packages. The company is hoping Billot will aid them in this transformation. At Solocal, Billot grew digital revenue share from 35% to 58%, and increased the profitability margins of the company’s digital offerings. Prior to that, he grew Lagardère’s digital and new business group’s global digital business, multiplying revenues six times in three years.

Billot’s experience with Solocal will be an asset as Yellow Media looks to make the same journey in Canada.  I look forward to seeing Billot’s efforts realize positive change for our industry on this side of the Atlantic!

TripAdvisor Partners with American Express to Add Greater Credibility to Online Reviews

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Fake online reviews and other questions about review authenticity have been a hot topic of discussion recently. In response, TripAdvisor and American Express have partnered on an interesting initiative to bring greater credibility to the online review process and provide AmEx card members with access to promotions and other special offers.

The new partnership will allow AmEx card members to see reviews from other card members and leave reviews of their own. AmEx card members will be able to connect their cards with their personal TripAdvisor profiles, designating them as an “AmEx Traveler.” All reviews left by card members will be marked as an “Amex Card Member Review,” confirming that the reviewers used their cards to make purchases at those locations.

American Express“Card members trust other card members’ recommedations,” said Leslie Berland, AmEx’s senior vice president for digital partnerships and development. “Their views, their insight, what they’re doing, carries a weight and relevance.”

The partnership also provides exclusive hotspot lists, including lists of hotels and restaurants trending with other AmEx members around the world, as well as special discounts, offers and savings, which can be synced directly with users’ AmEx cards.

American Express

American Express

The partnership is a win for TripAdvisor and Amex, as well as Amex businesses and card members. By verifying that reviews are left by those who made purchases, the companies are helping to restore authenticity and trust to the review process. AmEx users also consider themselves part of a select group, so showcasing reviews left by AmEx members adds an additional sense of credibility for other AmEx members viewing them. And by incorporating AmEx branding and showcasing special promotions throughout the site, the company is making it easier for TripAdvisor users to use their AmEx card at the point of purchase with businesses that accept the card.

I think this partnership serves as a great example for other companies in the online review space of how to tackle this growing issue of online review authenticity, while providing additional integration benefits for consumers along the way. It will be interesting to see what other similar ideas come forward from TripAdvisor and its competitiors.

Google Shopping Bridges Gap Between Online Shopping and In-Store Purchasing

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Google

Last week, Google Shopping added exciting new features to its product listing ads. For the first time, users can determine which products they’re shopping for are physically available for purchase at local retail stores.

Google Shopping has traditionally allowed consumers to research and compare products, and then connect with retailers online to make a purchase. These new features add a local aspect by showing nearby availability for the products consumers are searching for. If a product is available in the searcher’s area, the user may see a “local storefront” when they click a product ad. This lets the user know if the nearby store has the particular product in stock – and any similar products in stock – before they actually visit in-person. A searcher can also find additional details about the local store including business hours, location and pricing.

Google Shopping

On Google’s blog, Google Shopping senior product manager Paul Bankhead discussed how these new features benefit local retailers:

“Both local availability for Product Listing Ads and the local storefront are based on a local product feed managed through Google Merchant Center, which allows retailers to provide users with up-to-date, item-level price and availability information for each physical store…These local features help retailers leverage the scale of Google Shopping to market items sold in their physical stores.”

These new local features, available for both mobile and desktop, are rolling out to a limited number of U.S. national retailers, including Sephora and REI, with plans to expand availability in the future.

I think Google’s focus on how to drive online searches to make in-store purchases is a step in the right direction. Hopefully in short order, we’ll see this functionality roll out to more local retailers including small and medium-sized businesses. This could help SMB retailers compete with larger stores on a much broader scale.

hibu Launches New Advertising Campaign: ‘hibu. Made for Business’

Friday, October 11, 2013

hibu, the UK-based local search provider and parent company of Yellowbook in the U.S., is launching its first advertising campaign since rebranding last year.

The ten-week multi-channel campaign, entitled “hibu. Made for Business,” is focused on “helping small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) compete with big business in the battle for mobile and online customers by providing solutions built for SMEs by hibu designers and digital experts.”

The campaign promotes hibu’s three key digital products for SMEs – websites, search and display advertising – and  highlights the company’s do-it-yourself digital services as well as its personalized design services.

By using everyday language and graphics drawn by the top illustrators from around the world, hibu’s new advertising campaign creates a distinctive brand personality. The new campaign is designed to show SMEs that hibu’s team of designers and digital experts have the tech expertise and personal touch to help them compete online.

Hibu advertising campaign

In an interview with MarketingWeek, Laura Broderick, global CMO of hibu, said that the execution of the advertisements, including illustrations, is designed to help hibu stand from among its competitors:

“We didn’t want to just show the product, but the emotional side of the business. A lot of our legacy is about the relationship we have with customers. If you look at our competitors…you do see a variety of [marketing] treatments but we want to stand out not just in terms of messaging but also in the media we use.”

hibu is rolling out its advertising campaign across outdoor, digital, social, national press and radio, as well as internal media , including its magazines, print directories and Internet Yellow Pages. The campaign will appear first in the UK and U.S.; plans for Spain, Latin America and the U.S. Hispanic markets are currently in development.

I think the campaign looks like it will definitely help strengthen hibu’s position as a multi-channel marketing partner for local businesses looking to compete with larger competitors. I’m looking forward to seeing how this campaign resonates with small business owners and marketers. Great job hibu!

Social Media Users Turning Popularity into Currency

Friday, October 4, 2013

Earlier this week, I caught a CBS this Morning story that took a close look at the much buzzed-about trend of Instagram food photography.

The story noted that some savvy local business marketers are helping avid social media users turn their cuisine photo sharing hobby into “social currency” through freebies and discounts in return for geo-tagged photos at their establishments. For example, Bang Bang Pie Shop in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood is giving free baked goods to customers with more than 500 Instagram followers who take geo-tagged photos of food at their restaurant.

I think this is really creative and innovative way for local businesses to make a big impact with very few resources. Through little effort on their part, businesses are encourging customers to spread the word about their offerings through their own networks. As research has told us, consumers place high trust in their personal connections, so any reference from them is golden.

A Chicago-based startup is helping to increase this trend by connecting popular social media users to local businesses looking to market themselves through word-of-mouth. Popular Pays is an app that gives users with “online influence real world value” by allowing them to swap a piece of their social media presence for free items or discounts.

Unique approaches like these are enabling local businesses make a big impact on a very targeted scale. But the question remains, are these programs a good idea, or a bit too unorthodox?

New YP Ad Campaign Promotes ‘The New Way To Do’

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

YP

This month, YP is debuting a new logo and tagline, “The new way to do,” as part of a multi-channel brand and advertising campaign to highlight the company’s “commitment to be the most efficient tool to getting the job done.” The campaign highlights YP’s mobile app, which underwent a major resign late last month.

YP

YP is positioning its mobile app as a better alternative for people who are busy, want to get a lot done and need YP to connect them with businesses that can help. For example, one ad features the line, “search and you shall only find. yp and you shall finish,” followed by the phrase, “18 million businesses, one app.”

In an interview with Ad Week, Alex Kaminsky, VP of brand and advertising at YP, said YP stands out from search engines, review sites, social networks and other products that provide local business information:

“I wanted to be very explicit that we are not a social media business. We’re not about just searching. We’re about getting things done….The Googles, the Yelps, the other companies – they have great products and they have terrific brands, but I think we have a more active approach to helping people get stuff done.”

YP is rolling out its new campaign with outdoor ads in New York and San Francisco, and will extend to Los Angeles and Atlanta next month. The company is also introducing display, search and pre-roll video ads, as well as radio and event sponsorships at festivals and sporting events.

YP Campaign

Additionally, MediaPost reports that YP is building a Facebook app that will invite people to post and share their to-do lists, including “I need to rake leaves this weekend” and “find a wedding gift.” The app will use keywords and geo-targeting to connect people and make recommendations on local companies to help.

I think YP’s new branding, as well as the creative and social media tools it is introducing to support its roll-out, will help position the company as a unique alternative in an increasingly crowded market. I look forward to seeing how the campaign plays out over the coming months.