Archive for the ‘Research & Data’ Category

Top 5 Local Ad Stats of the Week: Paid Search Advertising

Friday, August 1, 2014

When it comes to reaching consumers, paid search ads offer a great way for local businesses to target based on location. For this reason, this type of ad pulls in tons of ad dollars around the world.  According to a study by ZenithOptimedia, global paid search spending is expected to reach $55.7B this year.

In addition to targeting based on location, marketers sing the praise of paid search ads because they allow control over everything from keyword triggers to the time of day the ads appear in search results.  Best of all, the most common form of paid search ad runs on a pay per click (PPC) model, meaning advertisers only pay when someone clicks on their ad.

Here are some stats that give a glimpse into the current state of the paid search ecosystem:

  • Google accounts for 84% of the world’s paid search market share. (Covario)
  • 85% of retailers said search marketing (including paid and SEO) was the most effective customer acquisition tactic. (Shop.org/Forrester Research)
  • Computers (desktops, laptops, etc.) captured 72% of total paid search clicks in Q4 2013, with phones pulling in 17% and tablets accounting for 11% of total clicks during the quarter. (Kenshoo)
  • Mobile devices will account for 50% of all paid search clicks globally by December 2015. (Marin Software)
  • Five of the top personal luxury companies spent nearly $22 million on Google AdWords desktop and tablet text ads across their brands in 2013. (AdGooroo)

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

More Connected Devices Means More Consumers Searching Online for Local Businesses

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Even in a world where Google’s influence has turned the company into a verb, the number of consumers conducting online local searches is still growing.  According to BrightLocal’s 2014 Local Consumer Review Survey, “more people are searching for more types of businesses in 2014 versus 2013.”

Source: BrightLocal

As you can see from the chart above, almost all of the business verticals included in the survey grew in the past year.  The most notable exception is restaurants, which saw a nearly 10% decrease in searches. BrightLocal says this is more a reflection of the respondents and isn’t any cause for alarm.

The other verticals that saw a decline from 2013 include Tradesmen and Accountant/Solicitors, however, the decline for each was negligible. On the other hand, the verticals that saw some of the most growth include Hair/Beauty Salons, Gym/Sports Clubs and Realtor/Surveyors.

Overall, the most searched for businesses fell into what BrightLocal called “lifestyle” businesses which refers to restaurants, general shops, clothes shops, hair salons, etc.  These businesses are visited more regularly by more people and therefore harvest more local searches.

This trend of more searches across more verticals aligns with growing adoption and usage of digital technologies.  As smartphones and tablets proliferate – particularly tablets which saw shipments increase 52% in 2013 – the Internet is becoming more accessible and, therefore, so is local search. As you can see in the graph below, the world is getting connected.

Source: KPCB estimates based on Morgan Stanley Research and ITU data.

Given the already impressive penetration of these connected devices, online “findability” is absolutely critical for any business and its importance will continue to grow as device adoption does.  And this isn’t just for the up-and-coming, tech savvy consumers that are 18-24.

An Ofcom report found that the number of people over 65 using tablets jumped from 5% to 17% between 2012 and 2013. Similarly, according to a study we released this year with Thrive Analytics, older generations — including Boomers and Seniors — are embracing mobile as a local shopping companion.

Connected devices are increasing in number around the world, are being used by all age groups and are offering a plethora of ways for consumers to find, connect with and select local businesses.  If nothing is certain except death and taxes, the need for businesses to get online is not far behind.

Top 5 Local Ad Stats of the Week: In-Store Purchases

Friday, July 25, 2014

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!

Top 5 Local Ad Stats of the Week: Online Privacy

Friday, July 18, 2014

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!

Top 5 Local Ad Stats of the Week: Indoor Location

Friday, July 11, 2014

Indoor location marketing is a promising way to reach consumers when they are extremely close to the point of purchase. While there are some privacy concerns to consider, indoor location is already winning over major retailers and brands as a new way to connect with relevant, on-the-go consumers.

As an intro to how it all works, check out Greg Sterling’s webinar from last year that provides an overview of the indoor location marketing ecosystem, various technologies in use, indoor analytics and the way in which online-to-offline tracking is revolutionizing ROI.  Sterling is also holding the 2014 Place Conference in less than two weeks that will dive deeper into the indoor location opportunity.

Here are some stats that give a glimpse into this emerging space:

  • Indoor location and place-based marketing will surpass $10 billion by 2018. (Opus Research)
  • Beacons in retail stores resulted in a 19x increase in interactions with advertised products, and a 6.4x increase in the likelihood that a shopper kept an app that sent them a beacon message on their phones. (InMarket)
  • Public WiFi is the basic location infrastructure needed for indoor location marketing, and the number of WiFi locations nationally increased 293% from 2009-2013. (NinthDecimal)
  • 72% of smartphone owners used devices while shopping in stores during the 2012 holiday season. (Pew)
  • Indoor maps and services to reach more than $2.5 billion by 2017. (ABI Research)

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

Report: The Native Advertising Opportunity for Local Marketers

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Today, we are releasing a free Digital Advisory Report on Native Advertising. The report takes a comprehensive look at the growing native advertising landscape by highlighting the opportunities and challenges it presents, providing best practices and reviewing recent case studies.

As agencies and publishers can attest, native advertising is quickly becoming one of the hottest trends in advertising. Spending is growing faster than many other forms of digital advertising. In social media alone, BIA/Kelsey estimates native advertising will grow to $5 billion in 2017, from $3.1 billion this year. Much of the activity is stemming from mobile, as marketers look to follow the fast growing number of consumers who consume media on smartphones and tablets.

Smart marketers, publishers, and agencies are adopting their approaches to incorporate native advertising. Check out the report on our website. And while you’re there, take a moment to review our other research reports.

3 Online Video Stats that Matter Most to Local Marketers

Monday, July 7, 2014

As part of winning in the Video category of the Ad to Action Awards, Sightly’s Robert Helstrom, vice president of marketing and strategy, will provide monthly insight into the world of video advertising.  Robert helps craft and execute the go-to-market strategy for Sightly’s TargetView platform.

You may have seen the recent Cisco study predicting that by 2018, 79% of all Internet traffic will be video. That’s significant in that it points out just how much video we consume—and will continue to consume—on all our screens.

But what does that mean to you, your clients and the brands and products you tend? Let’s put it in terms we marketers can appreciate:

  1. 190 million Americans watch online video each month: We are in the midst of a seismic shift from single-screen TV to multi-screen video viewing, and if you or your clients don’t have a strategy to reach this massive new audience yet, now’s the time to get cracking.
  2. 53% of YouTube viewers are 35 or older: Yep, online video is mainstream now. The audience is watching everything online—from traditional TV to original content to comedy, sports clips, product reviews, how to videos, news, health, education, you name it.
  3. Americans now watch 30 to 35 billion video ads each month: Not videos, video ads—i.e., commercials that appear in online videos. And that number represents an increase of more than 200% in the past 18 months.

More about the difference between video marketing and video advertising in our next article, BTW. For now, just imagine running 15 to 30-second commercials online, where you can measure exactly how many people watch them and you only pay for full views.

Want to learn more? Download the latest brief from our Founder & CEO, Seize the Advantage in the Exploding Video Ad Market, and discover 5 ways you can use new technology to gain advantages in the burgeoning online local video advertising market.

Bing Study: Online Search Trends Vary By Device During Different Times of Day

Monday, June 30, 2014

Building rapport and gaining visibility within a community can be difficult for SMBs if they are not targeting through the right media at the right time. To ensure a successful message, it is important for SMBs to first understand who to target, and then also when to target them.

Bing recently released a study that tracked the time periods that consumers are most commonly browsing the Internet. According to the study, weekdays and weekends have distinct search patterns.

On weekdays, consumers are more likely to use a PC until 6 p.m., before switching to either a mobile phone or tablet through approximately 10 p.m. Given the typical workday times, this finding makes sense.

Source: Bing

On weekends, however, when the average consumer is not at their place of work, he or she uses the Internet more frequently, and the separation between the devices is much less substantial. On Saturday-Sunday, searches via desktops are consistently high from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. across PCs, mobile phones and tablets.

Source: Bing

Based on study findings, if an SMB’s weekday media campaign is chomping through PC budget in the early morning or mobile budget in the early afternoon, it is likely missing the prime times to reach consumers on those platforms. Aligning campaigns with the most popular search times on particular devices can lead to significantly greater visibility..

Whichever combination of platforms consumers use to access the Internet, reaching them is all a matter of timing. For a message to succeed, SMBs should gauge when their consumers are typically using each device. This can be a crucial factor in determining whether a campaign will be successful.

Automation is Transforming Local Advertising for the Better

Monday, June 23, 2014

These days, many SMB owners struggle with building an effective presence for their business across the growing number of local media platforms. There’s no question that local advertising providers are working hard to help SMB owners overcome the challenges of creating and implementing an integrated approach. However, the costs associated with maintaining labor-intensive management platforms, managing campaigns and fulfilling sales commissions often hinder the ability of providers to offer SMB owners with adequate solutions that fit within their limited budgets.

The automation phenomenon stands out as a potential solution for struggling SMBs and local advertising providers because it helps to lower the costs of developing and fulfilling local media campaigns. It’s a trend that is quickly catching on in the industry, representing approximately 20% of all digital advertising revenue today and still on the rise, according to the IAB.

There are several exciting automated local solutions making their way to market. For instance, Connectivity recently introduced a new product that automates the list-building of customer emails and phone numbers – with the end goal of enabling complete marketing automation.  Additionally, companies like The Search Agency, Rio SEO and Sightly are using automation to make search engine marketing (SEM), search engine optimization (SEO) and video advertising, respectively, more affordable for SMBs and national brands alike.

In a recent white paper, The Search Agency said that automation is an attractive solution because it “offers…the ability to both lower the cost of on-boarding new customers and dramatically lower the costs of ownership, in a marketplace that will become increasingly competitive as search becomes the dominant source of directional leads for all levels of SMBs.”

In an October 2013 article, Street Fight outlined notable corporate partnerships in today’s local marketing landscape. The story illustrated the current shift from targeting specific media types towards enabling a more technology- and data-driven approach. Partnerships like Yelp and Booker are allowing more efficient local ad solutions that bring together massive amounts of consumer data. This creates an opportunity to automate and therefore, drive downs the costs of implementing ad solutions.

“…What’s shaking up the industry is the introduction of cloud-based business management systems…into the marketing mix,” said the editors here at Street Fight. “Marketers can write algorithms to connect supply and demand, automating the way businesses and consumers interact locally.”

The Search Agency is doing that already with AdMax® Local, its automated SEM solution for SMBs. According to Chris Travers of Universal Business Listing – who recently judged this solution for the Local Search Association’s Ad to Action Awards competition – AdMax Local “automates the targeting for the advertiser by using the available technologies in SEM and then interprets it for them. I expect this would be a popular tool for advertisers who are baffled by the complexity, and for the resellers who have struggled with selling SEM to small businesses.”

Separately, Rio SEO has developed an automated process that helps multi-location businesses improve their SEO.  Given the unique challenges associated with managing, optimizing and distributing local business listing information within search results, accuracy is critical for every business, and automation helps achieve that.

Rio SEO offers a local CMS platform to serve as a single point of contact for optimizing and correcting listings on all major platforms, including Google, Bing and Yahoo. According to a recent Search Engine Watch post by the company’s Bill Connard, “automating the process of populating, verifying, and updating your listings on these networks makes this a far less daunting task with a higher quality outcome.”

Finally, automation also has the ability to more effectively manage the mix of high spend/low volume and low spend/high volume advertisers. While agencies have traditionally put their eggs in big brand baskets, there is an opportunity to develop better and cheaper ways of engaging SMB populations with smarter solutions.

Sightly is making waves in this area with its new TargetView solution.  While automation in video is not necessarily a new idea, Sightly has developed an automated video ad buying system that allows SMBs and their marketing partners to reach prospective customers with video ads tailored just for them on the devices, in the locations and at the moments they are watching.

Sightly’s offering provides affordable, locally relevant video advertising to SMBs at scale. As consumers continue to increase consumption of online video and, therefore, video ads – online video ad views totaled 28.7 billion in March 2014, according to comScore – automation will enable SMBs to improve their traction in video.

As more local solutions enter the marketplace, raising visibility for solutions across all forms of local advertising will be critical in helping both local advertising providers and SMBs achieve success. With approximately 28 million SMBs nationwide, there is a huge opportunity for providers to create effective and profitable automated solutions that benefit these businesses everywhere.

Top 5 Local Ad Stats of the Week: World Cup

Friday, June 20, 2014

Coverage of the World Cup is driving a tremendous amount of traffic across devices.  From the casual viewer watching their favorite team, to the fan who watches every game on every device imaginable, a plethora of consumers have been tuning in to the games and events tied to this year’s competition.

Major world events like the World Cup, the Olympics and – on a more regional and even local level – elections and other professional sporting events all hold significant attention from a large number of consumers.  As a result, advertisers are leveraging the World Cup conversation across devices and platforms to generate exposure for their brands.

Here are five stats that reflect not only the opportunity for advertisers during the World Cup, but show just how fragmented consumers are across devices:

  • About half of the world’s population is expected to watch the World Cup. (Offerpop & Crimson Hexagon)
  • $5.7 billion will be spent on World Cup sponsorships and commercials. (Offerpop & Crimson Hexagon)
  • Nearly half of adult U.S. Internet users said that being able to watch the soccer games on multiple devices was important to them. (YuMe)
  • Brazil alone will see a 27% e-commerce boost, totaling $16.6 billion in business. (Brazilian Ecommerce Association)
  • 21% of Millennials say that mobile will be their primary platform for World Cup updates. (Briabe)

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