Archive for the ‘Members’ Category

Highlights from 2014 Ad to Action Awards Webinar Series

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

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

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

Monday, July 28, 2014

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!

LSA Member Innovation in Local: MatchCraft

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

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.

YP’s Mobile Properties Attract Users with Spending Power

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

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.

LSA Member Innovation in Local: Search Influence

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

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

Google Turns Local Product Searches into Delivery Business

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

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.

Upcoming Webinars to Highlight Ad to Action Award Winners

Monday, July 14, 2014

We are excited to announce that next week we will be holding two webinars featuring all of our Ad to Action Award winners.  Representatives from each winning company will give attendees deeper looks into the functionality, benefits, targeting and ROI benefits associated with their product or solution.

Join us to learn more about these innovative offerings:

Part 1: Tuesday, July 22 at 2pm EDT

  • Business Listings: Local Listing Manager™ by Rio SEO
  • Implementation: AdMax® Local by The Search Agency
  • Video: TargetView by Sightly
  • Social Media: Likes for Lives by Search Influence

Part 2: Thursday, July 24 at 2pm EDT

  • 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

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.

We hope you’ll join us!

Think Tank Chicago: Exploring Local Advertising on a Dark and Stormy Night

Monday, July 14, 2014

Ryan Vaspra, SVP of product and operations at Sightly, shares his thoughts on our recent Think Tank Chicago event which brought together local advertising leaders from companies including Facebook, YP, R/GA, Twitter, MediaVest, Ifbyphone, Marquette Group, Cars.com, Where 2 Get It, CityGrid Media and SMG Local Spectrum. The group discussed exciting new ideas and trends in local that have the potential to take our industry to the next level.

As lightning flashed and thunder crashed outside the 80th floor windows of the Aon Building in downtown Chicago, a group of local marketing thought leaders convened for dinner and spirited discussion – an industry “Think Tank,” graciously hosted by the Local Search Association.

The group was comprised of a diverse set of executives from agencies, publishers, media, and technology companies like Sightly, the online video ad tech company I represent.

The theme of the evening was an exploration of “how local advertisers are using various media outlets to drive clicks, calls and store visits,” what the LSA introduced this year as “Last Mile Advertising.”

From the offset, the discussion focused on what local advertisers want from marketing and advertising solutions and what providers’ pricing should be.

Many participants didn’t feel our industry necessarily needs to provide “free or nearly free” solutions for SMBs as incentives for them to try our products, especially if the value is evident. Simple? Yes.  Effective? Yes.  But simple and effective solutions are rarely free or inexpensive.

Some agency executives felt it’s our job to provide fairly priced, effective solutions but not worry about saving all SMBs from their competitors. In local business, those who are smart, savvy and willing to learn are usually the ones that survive. Conversely, to paraphrase one exec, “Those who don’t get it, usually don’t get that they don’t get it.”

Finally, our best takeaway was that the group felt agencies and service providers provide value by bundling and integrating marketing solutions. Otherwise, SMBs tend to “hopscotch” from tactic to tactic, treating each marketing solution as a stand-alone solution. In reality, bundled solutions create a much more valuable multi-touch, integrated marketing presence for the SMB in its local market than any individual tactic does at any given time.

It was a one-of-a-kind event and LSA brought together a very impressive and influential group of professionals from a diverse set of locally focused companies. The intimate setting made it easy for us to dive deep into the issues impacting the local space.  With such varied experiences and perspectives in one room, we came away from the meeting with insights that are extremely valuable for the future of local.

About $450M of Digital Co-Op Ad Dollars Are Left Unused

Friday, July 11, 2014

During this week’s webinar, Marianna Tishchenko, business development at PaperG, walked through digital co-op advertising for publishers and agencies and shared some recent industry trends.  She shared some data to show why digital co-op presents a huge opportunity for local advertisers and discussed what’s keeping all the offline co-op spending from going digital.

In addition to getting a sneak peak into PaperG’s solutions that help facilitate digital co-op advertising, here are some other takeaways from the webinar:

  • Online co-op marketing is worth $1.7 billion today with $450 million left unused due to lack of participation. (Borrell Associates)
  • There are 4500+ co-op programs available in the U.S. for digital, print, radio, mobile, SEM, billboards and many other forms of advertising.
  • The obvious benefit of co-op advertising is that it gives local dealers “free money” from manufacturers which makes advertising more cost-effective.
  • With U.S. digital ad spend expected to grow to $61.35 billion by 2017, co-op will grow with it.

Check out the entire presentation below:

For access to all of our past webinars and a look at what’s to come, visit http://bit.ly/LSAwebinars.

The Local Listing Management Hat-trick: Optimized Data, Listing Syndication and Roll-Up Reporting

Thursday, July 10, 2014

As part of winning in the Business Listings category of the Ad to Action Awards, Rio SEO‘s Bill Connard, VP of local search solutions, will provide monthly insight into the world of search engine optimization (SEO).

Last month, I praised major data aggregators for their contributions to the accelerated evolution of local search. Capitalizing on their overall benefits requires a three-prong approach.

One of those prongs, roll-up reporting, is often the missing link for top brands trying to better understand how their optimized, syndicated local data is performing in organic search across the key search engines, niche directories, mobile apps, in-car GPS devices, and review sites.  Reporting is the last of three key components that make up the local listing management hat-trick:

    1. Cleansing and optimization of brand data.
    2. Syndication and distribution of that optimized data to the entire local search ecosystem.
    3. Roll-up reporting of data correctness and changes to listings.

Despite the tedious analysis of massive amounts of granular data, most marketers are still without proper insight into what is or is not working with local SEO.  Automated reporting and adherence to best practices addresses these issues, especially when managing hundreds or even thousands of locations.

Cleansing Inaccurate Business Listings Address Poor User Experiences and Dissatisfaction

Ensuring local business information accuracy is a must, as incorrect information can prevent consumers doing a search, from finding your business or worse, going to a competitor.

Regularly reporting your presence across major search engines and the local search ecosystem ensures accuracy and delivering on user expectations. Features like citation tracking and monitoring provide brand insight into what is being displayed and where. Any inaccuracies can then be tackled individually or in bulk.

Syndication/Distribution of Optimized Data = Control and Valuable Backlinks

Once companies have cleansed their local data of incorrect business listing information, they’re ready to syndicate their location information to:

  • Google+ Local;
  • Yahoo Local;
  • Bing Maps; and
  • Top data aggregators (Infogroup, Acxiom, Localeze and Factual).

Syndicating or submitting clean, consistent local business information to the top aggregators is key to driving measurable ROI around targeted products and services in hyper-local markets. Data aggregators give brands ultimate control over their listings and add search engine validation, while building more backlinks and completeness of profiles and ultimately increasing search rankings. Marketers who automate this process are best positioned to drive brand campaigns and strategies through their local listings.

To get a quick start, read this local SEO guide to listing syndication.

Roll-Up Reporting Means Powerful Search Ranking Intelligence

In any online campaign, marketers need effective tools to track, measure and report on all activity and results. Top brands are quickly adopting local reporting solutions to gain a 30,000-foot view and track local successes across the major search engines, data aggregators, and niche directories by location.

The following items should be tracked to measure local SEO success and ROI:

  • Ranking on search engines
  • Local search rankings
  • Citation consistency across the ecosystem
  • Traffic from all engines, directories, and niche sites
  • Link activity analytics, driving directories, coupons, click-to-call, etc.
  • Number of reviews per location on Google+, Yelp, Yahoo, etc.
  • Average review ratings on Google+, Yelp, Yahoo, etc.

Both organic and local search rankings should be tracked to give marketers a complete view of their search performance down to specific locations and the ability to monitor search rankings for targeted keywords as well as competitors – over time. Knowledge is power; having this level of intelligence and hyper-local insight at your disposal makes each and every business and marketing decision that much more informed. For more insight on local search reporting, join our live webinar Tuesday, July 15, or after that date go to www.rioseo.com to view a recording.