Upcoming Webinars to Highlight Ad to Action Award Winners

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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

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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.

Top 5 Local Ad Stats of the Week: Indoor Location

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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!

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

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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

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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.

LSA Member Innovation in Local: Google

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This week we caught up with Oliver Vidinovski, strategic partner manager of premier partnerships channel sales North America at Google, to learn more about Google’s SMB Channel Sales Partner Program: 

What local problem(s) does Google solve? How?
Local business is a big part of the Google Channel Sales team. With 63% of SMBs in the market not having a website, it’s critical to assist local businesses in becoming digitally engaged. We do this through our partner network, lovingly known as the Google SMB Channel Sales Partner Program.

“The Channel Sales Partner program represents a strategic alliance between Google and a number of hand-picked top-tier companies & organisations who market, sell, and service Google’s digital advertising products to SMBs, enabling them to diversify and expand their revenue base.”

What makes Google innovative?
Our mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. We provide solutions to our advertisers across mobile, search, video and display to help them with their advertising goals and help them get found across Google’s properties.

How does Google make the local space better for advertisers and/or consumers?
Through Google’s Partner Program, local businesses have access to our partners who are trusted digital media advisors that help these businesses become digitally engaged.

What is next in local?
Google is a mobile first company. The next wave of exposure is across mobile and multiple devices. Being present in the NOW (or what we call the “Zero Moment of Truth”) is paramount to the success of local business and their advertising. Here are a few infographics that highlight this changing landscape:

To learn more check out Google’s Mobile Playbook and for more info on Google’s SMB Channel Sales Partner Program, you can contact Oliver at ovidinovski@google.com.

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

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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.

Report: The Native Advertising Opportunity for Local Marketers

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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

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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.

Capitalizing on the $1.7 Billion Digital Co-Op Opportunity

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Please join LSA and PaperG for an exclusive webinar presentation next Thursday, July 10 from 2 pm – 3 pm EST.

In this webinar, PaperG’s Marianna Tishchenko will walk you through digital co-op advertising for publishers and agencies and share some recent industry trends and why you should care. She will cover what’s keeping all the offline co-op spending from going digital and what digital solutions and resources exist to help you overcome them, making the process painless and simple.

PaperG is the leader in local display. Named one of Forbes’ 100 Most Promising Companies in America, the company makes digital display advertising efficient and effective. The company’s technology and cloud workflow streamlines ad creation so that anyone can make high quality, cross-platform ads within minutes — a process that has historically taken days or weeks. PaperG has already powered hundreds of thousands of digital display ad campaigns for major media companies like YP, Dex Media, and Digital First Media, saving them time and money.

Spots are limited so reserve your seat today!