Posts Tagged ‘Google’

Google Turns Local Product Searches into Delivery Business

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

To date, Google product searches have delivered fairly relevant local results, but have failed to translate those results into actual purchases.  Now, Google is introducing a new platform to that helps consumers move from product searches to real-life transactions.

The offering, called Google Shopping Express, allows consumers to buy products from several major participating retailers through Google’s interface. In turn, Google will take a single-digit percentage cut of each transaction and then deliver the purchased product from the physical retail store to the consumer on the same or next day. Instead of operating massive warehouses and store inventory – along the lines of Amazon – Google simply acts as a facilitator of local product transactions.

Currently, the service offers products from the likes of Target, Costco, Toys “R” Us and Whole Foods, and is operational in New York City, San Francisco and Los Angeles. A source told Re/code that Google execs have set aside around $500 million to expand the service nationwide. According to Tom Fallows, head of Google Shopping Express, the company is “willing to sustain that investment over time as this gets going.”

While there is the obvious benefit of using Google to help sell local products, it will be interesting to see how they incorporate small retailers in the mix.  At this point, the service looks well suited for retailers that offer specialty, one-of-a-kind goods that aren’t available anywhere else. On the other hand, the local drug store with common brand name products might struggle to compete with the pricing flexibility of national chains like Walgreens.

Once again, it looks like small local retailers face an uphill battle when it comes to competing with the influence of national retailers.  If Google plans to continue this partnership model for Google Shopping Express, we can only assume that the national brands will have priority over small local retailers that offer the same products with less reach.

We’ll be keeping a close eye on how this new Google offering resonates in the market and what impact it has on local product sales.

LSA Member Innovation in Local: Google

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

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

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

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.

SoMoConf Speakers to Uncover the ROI in Social Media Advertising

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

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

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

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.

SoMoConf to Feature Instagram, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and YP

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The top social media platforms – Instagram, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest – have made impressive strides in their advertising offerings over the past year. So have the leading local directory providers such as YP. That’s why we’re very excited to hear the latest updates from these major players in the social and mobile space at Social + Mobile: Show Me the Money!, in Chicago, August 20-21.

Both social media and local search have become integral to many consumers’ daily lives. From advertising a local business on YP to posting a sponsored story on Facebook, these tools have the ability to attract the eyeballs of a massive number of consumers – making them great places to advertise.

Just take a look at the average monthly active users for each platform:

  • Facebook: 1.23 billion
  • Google+: 540 Million
  • Instagram: 150 million
  • YP: 75 million
  • Pinterest: 70 million

Come hear representatives of these companies discuss how they are working to make advertising on these channels easier and more effective. While at the event, we will also walk-through case-studies of social and mobile strategies that are driving results.

Check out the agenda to learn more. Through June 30, use the code “SocMob100″ while registering to receive $100 off the ticket price.

Google, Yahoo, Amazon, Facebook and Twitter Set Sights on SMBs

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Google introduces Google My Business; Yahoo “wants to help people worldwide to start, build and grow their businesses”; Amazon is reportedly launching a marketplace for local service providers; Facebook is traveling the country courting SMB advertisers; and Twitter develops an online SMB curriculum for Twitter Ads. All of this news crossed the wire within the last two months and highlights just how intense the SMB marketing and advertising space is becoming.

According to Google, Google My Business looks to make it “easier than ever to update business information across Google Search, Maps and Google+.” In the past, managing local listings and content across all of Google’s properties has been difficult for SMBs, but this new tool represents a strong commitment to SMBs.

Another search giant – Yahoo –  is developing stronger tools for SMBs. According to a report from the Silicon Valley Business Journal, Yahoo is working on a tool that interprets sales, visits and conversion data to provide businesses with recommendations on what advertising and marketing solutions they should invest in. For instance, if mobile is a strong fit for a business, Yahoo would recommend its mobile ad product, Yahoo Gemini.

One of the biggest stories comes from Amazon. The company has plans to launch a new marketplace for local services, according to a report from Reuters. The new offering will compete directly with existing local market players such as Yelp and Angie’s List, as well as home improvement chains such as Home Depot and Lowe’s,  which provide resources for customers to connect with local service providers.

The social media players that are investing in SMBs are pleased to see that businesses are increasing their marketing spend and time spent on social. According to a recent study by Social Media Marketing University, the majority (54.4%) of U.S. SMB marketers said they had increased their social media marketing spend this year.

For Facebook, traveling the country to New York City, Chicago, Miami, Austin and Menlo Park, is just the beginning of efforts to capture more SMB ad dollars. These “Facebook Fit” workshops follow the launch of the Small and Medium Business Council, which aims to put more of a face behind Facebook, build a small business community and boost advocacy.

Twitter is entering the second year with its self-serve ad products and is simply trying to promote the ad solution. With an emphasis on education, the company has developed “an awful lot” of content, including an online SMB curriculum, intended to help marketers reach customers on Twitter.

The local space is clearly heating up, and this is great news for SMBs. More competition within the space should lead to better price points. On the other hand, providers of local advertising and marketing solutions will need to have products and solutions that differentiate themselves from the rest of the pack with measurable ROI and transparent practices.

Poll: Local Searchers Tend to Visit Stores within Five Miles of Location

Friday, May 23, 2014

An often cited statistic is that 80% of consumer spending is made within 20 miles from home.  But a recent poll by Google – in partnership with Ipsos MediaCT and Purchased – reveals that local businesses may want to focus on customers even nearer.   Approximately 70% of consumers who searched for local business information on a computer, tablet or smartphone said they visited a store within five miles of their location.

The poll also reinforced today’s immediate gratification culture in showing how “near and fast” factors influence in-store purchases.  30% of consumers said they would buy in-store instead of online if they knew they were close to a store that sold the product and 35% would do so knowing they could get the product quickly.

The poll illustrated a rather straightforward point – that the proximity of a store has a tremendous impact on whether or not a consumer visits it, and thus, getting store location information to consumers nearby, whether it be through search results, business listings, or geo-targeted ads, is critical to driving in-store visits to local businesses.

Another interesting result from the Google poll was that there are definite differences between smartphone and tablet use for local search.

For example, the on-the-go nature of the smartphone searcher tends to make a store visit more likely, with the poll showing that half of consumers who conducted local search via smartphones visited a store within a day. This is compelling when you consider that two-thirds of local purchases still take place in brick and mortar locations, and it demonstrates the opportunity in the use of mobile local search to drive in-store visits.

Meanwhile, just 34% of computer/tablet local searches lead to store visits and the majority (76%) of these searches take place from home.  While tablets are often lumped in with smartphones in the definition of “mobile devices”, the poll shows that tablets are used primarily at home and not on-the-go.  Tablets are more often used earlier in the path to purchase as 83% of consumers researched products on a tablet/computer compared to 53% of those that used their smartphone

Overall, the poll results suggest that a smartphone local search is more likely to lead to a store visit because the consumer has a stronger intent to do so, especially those that are on-the-go. In addition, the poll findings show that proximity is one of the deciding factors on whether or not a consumer follows a local search with a store visit.

If we consider stores within five miles of a consumer to be in the “sweet spot,” what drives a consumer to visit one store over another within that range? While ratings and reviews are often cited as key differentiators, advertisers need to think more broadly about their comprehensive online presence (branding, social media, websites, etc.), which can help set businesses apart while simultaneously boosting search rankings.   Just don’t forget to include location information in all of your content!

Top 5 Local Ad Stats of the Week: Key Takeaways from LSA|14

Friday, May 9, 2014

Now that we have had some time to digest all of the content that came out of LSA|14, we wanted to share our Top 5 key takeaways from our event in Huntington Beach last week.

We heard from influential speakers that work for major players in the local space including Google, Bing, YP, LivingSocial, comScore and many more.  We also had the opportunity to listen to Steve Wozniak, the Apple co-founder, which was a real treat.

Given our long list of powerful speakers, it wasn’t easy selecting the Top 5 key takeaways from the event. Nonetheless, here they are:

  • Prediction: The focus in local will shift from consumer acquisition to customer retention. (Back to the Future Panel)
  • “Your smartphone is becoming like a friend – your most trusted advisor in the world.” (Steve Wozniak, co-founder, Apple)
  • Almost 80% of mobile searches end in a purchase, with nearly 75% of purchases occurring in-store. (Gian Fulgoni, executive chairman and co-founder, comScore)
  • Four tips in earning a national advertiser’s business: provide incremental ROI, respect client’s time, get to the point and come recommended. (Alexis Nahama, VP marketing, VCA Animal Hospital)
  • Last Mile Advertising is a new way to talk about “local.” The concept represents locally targeted ads or messages delivered close to the point of purchase that help facilitate consumer actions. (Neg Norton, president, Local Search Association)

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

LSA|14: Emerging Start-Up Tech in Local Media

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Google Head of Business Development, Channel Sales, North America Jon Sofield led an afternoon panel about emerging start-up technology in local media.  Members of the panel included William Hsu, Mucker Capital; Farbod Shoraka, BloomNation; Amit Jain, Bridg; and Jim Johnson, ServiceTitan.

The panel discussed how big data is impacting the local space.  Hsu said that the investment in big data started about three or four years ago, indicating that the market is probably about halfway through its investment period.  He said that as investment slows down, companies will look more at how they can put that data to action.

Jain agreed that putting the data into action is what brings value to a business.

“It’s real time, a lot of data.  You’re tracking every single activity every single minute.  You’re tracking that data and trying to figure out behavior changes.  So it’s becoming a way to learn in real-time and react on a real-time basis.”

“The reality today is you can process a lot of data in real time and really take actions on it … That’s what creates value.  Technology allows you to process lots and lots of data, and that wasn’t possible yesterday.  What real-time big data is doing already to our lives is making the consumer experience so much different than it used to be.”

So how do startup local search providers help in this complex environment?  Shoraka says it’s all about transparency.

“We came in strongly that we’re fully transparent in what we’re going to do.  Sharing consumer information … it immediately created that form of trust.”

Before closing the panel, Sofield asked which companies will lead in local technology in the future:

  • Hsu: Google
  • Farbod: Amazon
  • Jain: Square, Paypal, Apple
  • Johnson: Google