In an article I wrote for Search Engine Land this week, I offer my predictions for what’s ahead for local search in 2010.
Recent statistics from the National Federation of Independent Business point to a small uptick next year in key small business metrics including sales, earnings, credits and optimism. If those positive signs gain momentum, 2010 promises to be an exciting year – but not without its challenges.
My predictions include:
1. Mobile will drive local search growth: Projections show that mobile local search ad revenue and mobile local searches will increase significantly over the next few years. In 2010, the winning providers will be those who can make sense of this quickly changing platform and deliver programs that offer quality sales leads to advertisers. Already, Yellow Pages companies have launched iPhone and Android apps along with mapping technologies that deliver relevant local information to users on the go.
2. Local search providers will vie for social: Social media ad spending is rising quickly because advertisers know that significant trust exists between online social communities. AT&T has said it will launch a service that allows business to authentically tap into social networks to serve local business information to consumers. Superpages has already launched a Twitter search tool that illustrates this trend towards social.
3. Local print advertising will decline but won’t disappear: Many have predicted the death of print media for some time. However, the perception of the usage decline in the printed directory far exceeds the reality of what is actually happening. While the quantity of print Yellow Pages references is gradually declining, the quality of those references is still very high.
4. A hybrid marketing approach will win: Yellow Pages sales representatives have essentially become advertising consultants to small business, who can offer portfolios of options ranging from owned products to partner products. It’s more important than ever to consider a hybrid approach because today’s consumers get information from a multiple of places before making a purchasing decision.
You can read my full piece at Search Engine Land here.