SoMoConf Speakers to Uncover the ROI in Social Media Advertising

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Not every ad works. Despite the tremendous adoption of social media, ads on these platforms aren’t guaranteed to drive engagement. Fortunately, at this year’s Social + Mobile: Show Me the Money! event,  we are bringing together speakers that will share best practices and success stories on ways to sell, monetize and drive advertiser results on social media.

Among the attendees will be representatives from the world’s largest social media networks including Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and LinkedIn.  These reps will highlight their current advertising offerings and offer counsel on how to get the most out of their platforms.

We are excited to once again partner with Borrell Associates and the Local Media Association for this event, which is scheduled for August 20-21 in Chicago. Check out this video with messages from each of our organizations about what to expect:

As mentioned, we’ve booked some influential speakers who 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
  • And many more…

We are less than 2 months away and look forward to seeing you there.  Register here or for more information, click here.

LSA Member Innovation in Local: Marquette Group

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Today we hear from Marquette Group, a cross-channel, digital agency managing marketing and advertising efforts for a long list of brands, including Edward Jones, ServiceMaster, Bank of America, Roto-Rooter and Nationwide Insurance. The Company began in 1963 as a Yellow Pages agency and over the years has successfully made the transition to digital. Marquette Group is headquartered in Peoria, Illinois with offices in Atlanta, St. Louis and Milwaukee. They recently placed among the 2014 Best Places to Work in Illinois.

We caught up with David Lenzen, EVP sales and marketing at Marquette Group, to learn more:

What local problem(s) does Marquette solve? How?
We’re in good company when we say that erroneous and missing data is a significant concern in the local space. It’s pervasive and the reason we focus intently on data management.

We find that brands typically don’t have a strong platform or strategy for collecting and using localized content. Meanwhile, at the SMB level, the challenge is recognizing the need then finding time to manage and create content across the platforms where consumers are looking–Yelp, Google+, Facebook, Foursquare, etc.

We offer the strategy, the platform, the content management, and of course, the performance analytics for brands and their locations.

What makes Marquette innovative?
We bring innovation to both campaign strategy and the technological developments needed to meet those strategies. Strategic innovation includes not just a client-specific, but location-specific understanding of goals and market nuances. We then construct the marketing programs with a unique mix of providers’ digital products combined with our own search solutions and proprietary client location data management systems.

How does Marquette make the local space better for advertisers?
Marquette Group acts as a single source for building integrated, efficient campaigns to drive results for our clients versus acting as an agency focused on leveraging and selling a singular media type. By bringing simplicity to a complex advertising marketplace and remaining media neutral, Marquette Group focuses on connecting our clients’ national brands to local consumers exactly how those consumers are searching at key moments in the customer lifecycle—regardless of medium or device. Our focus is performance and our loyalty is to the advertisers’ brand and their local lead generation goals.

What is next in local?
Social and video still have a long way to go for local and were highlighted on our 2014 predictions blog. Understanding how to use social and video for lead generation and loyalty building is still new territory for the majority of local businesses. Worth mentioning, too, is the need for greater use of content in social given the growing impact on SEO.


For more information, visit www.marquettegroup.com, email David Lenzen, EVP Sales and Marketing, or follow Marquette Group on Twitter @marquettegroup or find them on LinkedIn.

Google My Business Tips for Multi-Location Businesses

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During last week’s webinar, Andrew Shotland, proprietor at Local SEO Guide, walked through Google My Business (formerly Google Places) issues for multi-location businesses and provided some tips for how to deal with them.  He also provided detail on on-page local SEO tactics including schema.org markup that can improve the display of search results for consumers.

Here are some of the highlights from the webinar:

  • Questions multi-location businesses should ask before deciding on linking to homepage or location page on Google My Business: How many locations?; Which page has “authority” (links)?; and which is the preferred landing page?
  • On Google My Business, do not create new listing when rebranding. Simply change name of business on listing.
  • When changing locations, once again, do not create a new location, but update location once the location opens.
  • While it will take a long time to update, when actual address is missing from maps, some of the primary places to go to update the mapping data include: Google Map Maker, TeleAtlas, TomTom, and OpenStreetMap.
  • It is good to list multiple practitioners at single location (real estate agents, doctors, etc.) but try and differentiate them somehow with different phone numbers.
  • Be the first to upload photos to your Google My Business page in order to prevent other, unrelated pictures from becoming your business profile image.
  • In Google Carousel results, the top two-thirds of your profile photo will be what users see when you show up, so optimize the picture accordingly.

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.

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

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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.

Yelp Adds New Direct Message Feature

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These days, local marketing best practices highlight the importance of one-on-one engagement with consumers more than ever before. A company’s product or service may be exemplary, but in our increasingly digital and social environment, consumers are often paying just as much attention to how well businesses interact with them and address their questions and concerns.

In a move that reflects this trend, Yelp recently introduced a new feature that allows users to directly message a business via its business’ listing page. The tool, which is available to any business that has claimed its Yelp listing, relays user messages directly to a business through its Yelp account as well as via email. The email feature is a nice perk because it allows businesses to read and respond to user messages directly from their email account without logging into Yelp.

Yelp’s new tool is a great idea because it creates a simple and easy-to-use way for consumers to communicate directly with businesses and visa-versa. Consumers generally need to call a business or visit its website or social media pages to request the information they are looking for. Now, consumers will be able to contact a business they find via Yelp without leaving ever leaving the platform. Businesses often want the ability to easily mine and respond to potential leads. Now, they will be able to view and respond to inquiries directly from their email inbox.

It really all comes down to convenience. Rather than navigating through mechanized voice prompts or website pages, consumers want the ability to reach out to businesses for what they need wherever and whenever they conduct a search. In order to accommodate this, businesses want faster mechanisms for addressing consumer feedback that don’t require them to take many additional steps.

The sticking point will be how well businesses take advantage of this new tool. Unanswered or delayed messages can become a problem – especially since Yelp will publicly track business’ response times to inquiries. Yelp will also allow businesses to turn off the direct message feature. If businesses go this route, it could send a bad signal to Yelp users about how much the business values them – potentially leading to lost leads.

Yelp’s ability to continuously innovate its product offering to reflect consumer and business trends has given the company a big advantage in the local market. We’ll be watching to see how this new tool is used within the market and whether both consumers and businesses catch on.

LSA Member Innovation in Local: NinthDecimal

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Today we hear from NinthDecimal (formerly JiWire).  NinthDecimal is a mobile audience intelligence platform building a comprehensive understanding of people by connecting their digital and physical lives. Ninth Decimal’s precision, scale, and advanced data science enables the most accurate understanding of audiences, providing clients with actionable insights and massive campaign reach that drive meaningful business results. The company brings mobile audiences to market through audience targeting, campaign measurement, insights and analytics – which drive continuous growth.

We caught up with Andrew Katz, national sales manager at NinthDecimal, to learn more:

What local problem(s) does NinthDecimal solve? How?
We connect local businesses with their target audience to drive brand awareness, foot traffic to their stores, and sales. This is accomplished through our mobile audience intelligence platform, Location Graph™. Location Graph allows us to deliver the right ad to the right consumer in the right “marketable moment,” motivating them to take action – from visiting a store to making a purchase – that increases brand awareness and revenue. Through the precision of our approach, we give local businesses the highest return on their marketing campaigns.

What makes NinthDecimal innovative?
NinthDecimal not only allows companies to connect with customers in ways not possible before, but it is also changes the way advertisers identify target audiences and connect with consumers. Our audience intelligence is based on data that matters – from offline purchase data, to devices used, to location and CRM data – allowing us to truly understand the consumer, predict their future behavior, and thus deliver target audiences that yield powerful results from marketing campaigns.

How does NinthDecimal make the local space better for advertisers and/or consumers?
NinthDecimal’s audience intelligence platform is designed around the individual, allowing advertisers to engage with their target audiences on a true one to one level at scale across a billion devices. For consumers, instead of being served irrelevant ads, they are viewing highly personalized ads that are most relevant to their individual lives.

What is next in local?
We believe what’s next in local is bridging the gap between big data and SMBs. At NinthDecimal, we leverage big data to attain the most comprehensive understanding of consumers, helping local businesses connect with their target audiences on a deeper level than ever before. Because of the precision, accuracy, and scale of our data, we are able to help local small businesses engage with only the most relevant customers, and with meaningful messaging that induces an emotional connection – thus maximizing the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns.

For more information check out the case study below, visit www.ninthdecimal.com or contact Andrew at akatz@ninthdecimal.com.

Ninth Decimal & Microsoft Audience-Targeted Mobile Ad Campaign Case Study from Local Search Association

Top 10 Tips for Local Search Success

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Business owners today see all the different ways that consumers are seeking out, discovering and considering local businesses, and they don’t know where to start their marketing efforts.

In our column for Search Engine Land this month, I offer my 10 tips for best positioning local businesses in today’s ever-changing local search environment. These include:

1)     Ensure key information about your business is accurate & accessible

2)     Populate your top local business listings

3)     Build a website with the user experience as the key priority

4)     Optimize your website for search

5)     Start a blog to provide a steady stream of content

6)     Leverage visual content, including photos and videos

7)     Ensure your business website is mobile-friendly

8)     Engage on social media channels used by your target customers

9)     Encourage reviews to add credibility to your business

10)  Pay attention to your success – and adjust your approach as necessary

Click here to read my full column on how to integrate each of these tips into your local business strategy.

Automation is Transforming Local Advertising for the Better

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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

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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!

How Simplification of Local Solutions Can ‘Lift’ Business

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Today’s post is brought to you by our guest contributor John Klein, managing director at Cevoh.  Cevoh is a Management Consulting Firm that provides guidance to improve business equity along five key offerings: consulting, elevating customer value, validating performance drivers, optimizing results and harmonizing people assets. Visit www.cevoh.com for more.

John Klein, Managing Director, Cevoh

In my discussions with a local media organizations and local search providers, there is a common pain point or thread that exists throughout the space. For most, the commonality that connects them is the need to develop robust digital offerings while managing an incredibly complex legacy business. At CEVOH, we’ve spent some time trying to better understand this, how the complexity happened and what to do next and I think there is good news to consider.

When you count all the products, items, rates, market prices, bundles, discounts and exceptions – a large multi-product publisher will have millions of iterations to keep track of. This sounds like an exaggeration, but it’s not. Much of this is with the legacy business, but some traditional publishers and digital pure plays have duplicated some of this complexity with their digital offering and the customers, reps and fulfillment groups struggle with this. It causes confusion around the value story, and there are too many choices.

The reps can’t keep up with all the products/prices and try to make-do while understanding the differentiators of choice because the increments between each choice are too small. Many reps tell me they have to pick a few ‘favorites’ to focus on. But this can make it hard to follow another rep and the ‘inherited complexity’ from separate companies makes it nearly impossible to “merge” and extract the efficiencies.

When it comes to the SMBs, they are interested in offerings that are more clear and transparent. Complexity is burning time and energy, bridling all employees. Innovation, systems and processes are taxed.

While it may seem risky to move away from a formula that has proven so profitable in the past, adapting to client needs and desires is more critical than ever in today’s market – a market that offers plenty of alternatives for an unsatisfied client.  Simplifying the menu of services makes sense and can help drive some meaningful improvements to the space. Here are some of the benefits to this approach:

  • Sales reps can focus on the value of each offering rather than trying to explain the differences and complexities.  A clear, focused and easy to understand presentation is much more effective than a convoluted one and helps with a sales rep’s credibility.
  • Clients are more willing to commit to purchase something they understand and are comfortable with.  They are more likely to say “yes”.
  • Clients will pay for “easy” as demonstrated by companies who have leveraged its sale-ability.  Staples still uses the “easy button” effectively and Apple monetized easy over free when users migrated to iTunes from Napster.
  • Removing complexity makes room for new/innovative products, important segmentation approaches and leads management initiatives that didn’t get traction before.

In summary, trying to transform the business to digital with all this complexity is like trying to run a race while pulling an old car.  So view simplification as a way to lift your revenues and bring greater value to your customers.

Feel free to contact me at john.klein@cevoh.com to keep the conversation going.