According to Borrell Associates, US local digital advertising spend is expected to increase this year by 31%. As SMBs make the transition from print to digital advertising tools, they are coming across a variety of challenges that is making this transition difficult. Given the complexity of some of these technologies, and their uncertainty of who to trust, SMBs are lagging behind their competition. During this webinar, Ginny Sandhu, Sr. Product Marketing Manager at Bing Ads, will explain how, with the right tools, SMB service providers can make this transition quick and easy.
Bing’s search advertising tools and solutions help clients reach customers within a budget and with the support needed to get started, optimize and measure results. Bing products and services include free online presence, advertising networks, pay-per-click networks and management services and search engine solutions.
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.
It’s always interesting to see how different demographics use new technology. As marketers, we are always seeking insights on new trends and usage statistics to guide our current campaigns and future plans.
I came across the below infographic, “Women + Mobile: The Unbreakable Bond,” which highlights research by Time Inc. and Nuance Digital Marketing on the value women place on their mobile devices: 60% of women compared to 43% of men consider a mobile device their most important device. Specifically, the infographic provides an overview of when and how women are using their mobile devices, and their overall perceptions of mobile advertising.
During their recent webinar, Blair Vincent and John Silverman of xAd discussed the growing opportunities with mobile location-based advertising and the new and exciting implementations that have recently come to light. They talked about how mobile is expanding the reach of any marketing mix for their clients by amplifying, while refining the target area and audience focus. Finally, they highlighted some current successful implementations of mobile-location advertising used alongside traditional placements and the value therein. Here are some of the takeaways:
There are 5 times as many cell phones in the world as there are PC’s.
Just 11% of time spent on mobile is used for search which is why display ads can be helpful when trying to get in front of consumers the other 89% of the time.
Location is the real world cookie in that it provides the necessary data to give relevant, timely mobile messages, similar to the way cookies inform advertising on browsers.
Locally relevant ad messages are just as important as the targeting. Leveraging local events, weather and the like is critical.
Apply mobile targeting technology to current traditional media placements to amplify audience reach and campaign performance.
Understand how local audiences prefer to interact with your brand or business.
Continue to analyze and re-focus messaging and calls to action for optimal performance.
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.
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!
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.
“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.
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.
Paul Kiefer of Dex Media, Matt Krug of hibu and I have been at the Illinois Municipal League conference in Chicago speaking with aldermen, trustees, mayors and other city officials about Yellow Pages and the the industry’s consumer choice program: YellowPagesOptOut.com. We estimate we have interacted in varying degrees with approximately 500 city officials from across the state including many suburbs of Chicago.
It was a very lively conference with significant interest and traffic in the exhibit area. The industry and our opt-out site received very positive responses from almost everyone we talked to and many expressed an interest in promoting the site. We also heard repeatedly from most people that they do continue to utilize the print directory, but appreciate the opt-out option for their constituents.
This conference was extremely productive and should help our efforts to stay ahead of any attempts to legislate phone book delivery in the state of Illinois. A big thanks to all of our participating publishers that help sustain these efforts.
As mobile location-based advertising opportunities expand, new and exciting implementations have come to light. Mobile expands the reach of any marketing mix by amplifying, while refining the target area and audience focus. In this webinar, xAd’s Blair Vincent, director of strategic partnerships, will dive into current successful implementations of mobile-location advertising used alongside traditional placements and the value therein.
xAd works to connect businesses with their target mobile consumers. They are the largest location based mobile ad network in the U.S., aggregating and managing over 30 billion location-specific ad requests per month, billions of business listings, and over one million national and local advertisers.
Last week, Google Shoppingadded 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.
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.
During Local Market Launch’s recent webinar, Gideon Rubin, chief marketing officer, talked about the importance of having a local mobile presence and the key differences for national brands and SMBs. He said that these businesses need to invest their efforts in the basics—from mobile optimized local landing pages, to verified business profiles across search, social, directory sites and mobile apps. Here are some takeaways from the webinar:
Local mobile searches convert into action 90% of the time.
Give the customers what they want when searching on mobile: phone, address, hours of operations, maps and other contact info.
Don’t forget to include latitude and longitude and other location meta data so Google and the other mobile properties know that you are relevant for local mobile search results.
Enhanced data will allow you to show up in more searches. Once you show up, this enhanced data, like photos and description, will help you convert browsers into customers.
Claimed profiles will lock your brand in so it cannot be hijacked by competitors or your customers. They will also help you show up higher in search results and look more credible once you do show up.
Syndication, link building is crucial. This will help push your business up in search ranking results.