Posts Tagged ‘Greg Sterling’

Industry Veteran Greg Sterling Joins LSA to Lead Strategy & Insights Offering

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

I am thrilled to announce that Greg Sterling, one of the best recognized experts on local advertising and media, is joining the Local Search Association as our first VP of Strategy & Insights.

Beginning August 18th, Greg will lead a new role at LSA designed to identify and analyze industry trends and guide the development of new markets and revenue streams for our more than 300 members.

In today’s Last Mile Advertising environment, our members are constantly asking for LSA’s help in better understanding what shifts are taking place in our industry, and determining what they can do to better anticipate and respond to those changes. Over the past year, we have made a significant investment to meet our members’ needs by expanding our analytics and insights function, including partnering with Thrive Analytics and launching the LSA Metrics that Matter Database.

By bringing Greg on board, we are further demonstrating our commitment to providing unmatched thought-leadership and strategy expertise to our full spectrum of local advertising members. In his role, Greg will improve our efforts to collect and consolidate insights across the Last Mile Advertising spectrum. He will advise corporate management for our existing and prospective members on ways to leverage LSA research to build stronger business strategies.

Additionally, Greg will frequently share his findings through whitepapers, alerts and posts right here on our blog and serve as a subject matter expert with business and trade media. He will spearhead program development and serve as an active participant at our conferences, including the annual LSA event in April.

Greg will also continue to serve as a contributing editor for Search Engine Land and Marketing Land, and author his own blog, Screenwerk, on online and offline media.

Please join us in welcoming Greg into this new position. He is a fantastic partner and collaborator, and we couldn’t be more excited that he is joining LSA to build our Strategy & Insights capability.

Follow Greg Sterling on Twitter at @gsterling and visit his personal blog, Screenwerk. 

Top 5 Local Ad Stats of the Week: Indoor Location

Friday, July 11, 2014

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!

LSA|14: Back to the Future: Discussion of Past & Current Predictions in Local

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

In our final session at the 2014 LSA annual conference, three of our industry’s preeminent analysts – Matt Booth, CEO of Connectivity, Neal Polachek, independent digital media analyst and board advisor, Buzzboard, Inc., and Greg Sterling, senior analyst, Opus Research – engaged the audience in an open session about past and current predictions in local.

As Greg noted, “predictions have logic” at the time they are made, even if they don’t pan out in the long-term.

The panel overviewed questionable past predictions, including:

  • “Google will buy Yellowbook”
  • “Google with be successful in the radio space”
  • “TellMe will push Microsoft into the forefront of mobile services – voice search would be important in mobile services”
  • “Pay per Call will be big… really big ($4B by 2009)”
  • “Video will become a major form of SMB advertising”
  • “The print Yellow Pages will be gone by 2015”

The group then shared mostly accurate past predictions:

  • “Print usage decline will accelerate in 2010”
  • “Mobile will overtake desktop search”
  • “The ‘presence, performance, permanence’ construct will endure”
  • “Verticals will begin to gain significant market share”

New predictions made by the group included:

  • “Google will build and push new SMB products to augment SEM”
  • “Focus will shift from consumer acquisition to customer retention”
  • “Amazon will score big with SMBs beyond Amazon Web Services”
  • “Legacy vertical sales organizations will offer digital solutions (e.g., American Tire Distributors)”
  • “Facebook will field a local SMB sales channel”

In closing, the audience shared some of their own new predictions:

  • “Real-time integration with local inventory by 2016”
  • “Delivery timing will continue to be pushed up more and more – with same-day delivery becoming more mainstream in the next few years”
  • “Admission of traditional SMBs fully integrated into local search”
  • “Digital advertising companies will fail. Those focused on transactions will succeed” (Yelp vs. OpenTable)
  • “Distinctive branding is going to become a lot more important – especially in the local sector – within the next 3-4 years”

LSA|14: Vertical Experts on the Advantages of Being Vertical

Monday, April 28, 2014

Neal Polocheck, independent digital media analyst and board advisor at BuzzBoard, Inc., and Greg Sterling, senior analyst at Opus Research, moderated a lively panel this afternoon on the advantages of vertical offerings in the local marketplace.

Neal and Greg started with the thesis that an enormous amount is at stake for those in local who are focused on vertical offerings. They said that because Google owns local horizontally, companies need to approach vertically in order to compete. Neal and Greg said that there were numerous start-ups focused on “owning” local verticals because they are still available. Greg said that given the rise and success of verticalization, those who fail to verticalize their ad sales may be left behind.

Neal and Greg introduced their panel of three vertical experts, who overviewed their company’s offerings:

  • Sendi Widjaja, CTO, Avvo, said his site is the largest legal marketplace in the U.S. Avvo helps consumers make smart legal decisions through real-time inquiries to real attorneys. He said that his site facilitates the answering of 60,000 legal questions per week. He also noted that his site provides in-depth attorney directory information, as well as provides profile and grades for every attorney nationally.
  • Chris Spanos, CEO and co-founder, Urgent.ly, detailed his company’s mobile web app for towing, which launched in DC within the past month. Urgent.ly helps consumers who need help now and don’t have towing coverage or need better coverage. He said his company helps connect towers with those who need their assistance, and vis-versa.
  • Ben Smith, CEO, Wanderful Media, provides a comprehensive collection of local sales available through 500 newspapers across the country. He said his company’s goal was to help consumers find local retail savings.

In discussing the benefits of verticalization, Ben said that if one looks at his company’s offering and user experience, they would find a completely different approach than what is provided through a horizontal offering. He noted that depending on what category a consumer is searching – salons, home improvements, dining, etc. – the core idea of the user experience is different. He said there’s no way an enterprise offering can provide a different promise to each consumer each time, in each category they’re searching.

Chris agreed. He noted that in the towing space, the goal is to create a user experience that connects the consumer with the right provider right away.  He said that verticals provide an opportunity to provide a deeper, richer experience that is difficult for a larger property to do – except through vertical partnerships.

Ben said that mobile provides multiple ways to reach the consumer and capture their attention that bypass the traditional search engine experience. He gave kudos to Yelp for achieving direct search within its mobile app that can bypass Google search. However, he said that companies like Google and Yelp can’t serve the consumer from end-to-end like a tailored vertical. Yelp, for example, provides a standard reviews option across categories, while a tailored vertical customizes its reviews option to be specific to that category.

Sendi talked about the initial challenges his company faced in getting started and in demonstrating that it could provide ROI and value to busy attorneys. He said the company benefited from being led by a lawyer who could speak their clients’  language  He also said that his company was interested in serving as a thought-leader to its lawyer clients and providing the transparency that they’re looking for on where their advertising spend is going.

When asked about the cost of securing a consumer to use their vertical offerings, Ben said that the cost to get a consumer to download a broadly used app ranged between $0.30-$2.00. Sendi talked about how useful it is prompt the consumer to download a mobile app at the moment they first arrive on the site. Chris noted the benefits of web apps that do not require downloads.

In closing, Ben said that unless one decides on the vertical they want to own, they are not going to own anything. Chris highlighted the opportunity to provide a richer experience through individual verticals. And Sendi discussed the value of knowing one’s consumer and supplier – doing the right research and interviews to determine what else can and should be done to cater to both sides.

Greg Sterling Highlights Opportunities with Indoor Location Technology

Monday, December 2, 2013

During his webinar, Greg Sterling, industry expert, gave an overview of the indoor location marketing ecosystem, various technologies in use, indoor analytics and the way in which online-to-offline tracking will revolutionize ROI.  Some takeaways from the webinar include:

  •  Web-influenced offline spending is worth nearly $2 trillion annually.
  • Large majorities of internet users do research online before buying in stores or engaging local service providers.
  • People consult their smartphones for price and product information before deciding whether to buy.
  • The big opportunity for local marketers with indoor location is tracking online to offline activity.
  • 59% of searches on Yelp are from mobile.
  • Smartphones at critical mass
  • Basic location infrastructure in place (mobile network + WiFi) to make indoor location work
  • Consumers are widely using smartphones in stores and are willing to share location for benefits
  • Brands/retailers want the data and want to have “conversation” with their customers near POS
  • 40% to 50% of search/lookups on various YP sites are from mobile (globally)
  • Nearly 50% of Groupon transactions in Q2 (North America) came from mobile
  • Google Maps has more mobile than PC users (as of Q4 2012)

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.

‘Search Starts Here’: 2013 SMB State of the Union

Monday, April 15, 2013

Industry analysts Greg Sterling and Neal Polachek delivered an “SMB State of the Union” address this morning. Their key message was that small businesses are facing heavy competition and need the industry’s help.

Neal compares the current situation with the rise of big box retailers like Wal-Mart, Staples, and Dominos years ago. He says now the same phenomenon is happening within the service sector in areas like dentistry, beauty, and auto maintenance.

Greg put the problem small businesses are facing simply: When making buying decisions consumers choose the “path of least resistance” and big brands have the resources to provide a more streamlined process.

With so many digital platforms available, small businesses are having trouble keeping up. Analysts are finding that businesses are investing in SEO, social, and other online marketing functions however they may not be developing comprehensive approaches. Owners often lack the knowledge to optimize their marketing strategy and don’t have the time to address inaccuracies on search engines and online directories.

Small business owners want and need a partner they can call to help manage their digital marketing presence so that they can focus on their core business. Neal predicts there is a $3.9 billion opportunity for the industry to help small businesses move from their current fragmented approach to best practice on digital platforms.

Implied Intelligence Test Proves Yellow Pages Sites Beat Google in Accuracy

Monday, April 16, 2012

Last year, results from our “Local Media Tracking Study” conducted by Burke showed that consumers consider Yellow Pages listings the most accurate when compared to other local search media. Now a new listings accuracy test conducted by Denver-based Implied Intelligence confirms what consumers have said along.

According to an article by Greg Sterling on Search Engine Land, Implied Intelligence hand-checked 1,000 independent, U.S.-based local business websites and compared the information it captured to data on major local search websites including Bing Maps, Citysearch, DexKnows, Foursquare, SuperPages, YP.com and others. Each site was scored on whether it listed the business, contained duplicates, included accurate information, and the amount of additional content it incorporated (e.g., content beyond business name, phone number, etc.).

As the chart above indicates, Internet Yellow Pages websites YP.com and SuperPages beat out Google and other local sites when it came to listing duplicates and phone and address errors.

Additionally, YP.com beat out Google and other local sites when measuring the amount of additional information incorporated in a listing, including the business URL, hours of operation, and other helpful background.

When measured collectively, both SuperPages and YP.com bested Google Maps and other local sites on all accuracy measures.

I think this study reinforces our belief that local businesses and consumers benefit from the unmatched accuracy of Yellow Pages listings. The high quality of Yellow Pages listings has been recognized within the local search industry itself, as various search engines and local sites have entered into agreements with Yellow Pages companies to incorporate and supplement their listings. I’m glad to see that as we move into the online and mobile space, Yellow Pages providers are continuing to lead the field in this important measure.

Local Mobile Search Roundup: Google Android Dominates, Apple iPhone 4S Launches, Superpages Debuts New Mobile App

Friday, October 7, 2011

Google Android Continues to Grow Share of U.S. Smartphone Market

comScore released its monthly mobile subscribers study this week, and the results represent an ongoing trend in the industry: Google Android up, Apple iPhone flat, RIM BlackBerry down:

  • Google Android: 43.7% in August, up 5.6% from 38.1% in May
  • Apple iPhone: 27.3% in August, up 0.7% from 26.6% in May
  • RIM BlackBerry: 19.7%, down 5% from 24.7% in May

Additionally, the report had some interesting stats on usage:

  • 70% of U.S. mobile subscribers used text messaging (+1%)
  • Browsers are used by 42.1% of subscribers (+2.3%)
  • Applications used by 41.6% of subscribers (+3%)
  • Social networking + blogs accessed by 30.9% of subscribers (+2.3%)
  • Games played by 28.5% of subscribers (+1.6%)
  • Music listened to by 20.7% of subscribers (+2.1%)

As our industry continues to embrace new opportunities in mobile, it’s important for us to keep a close eye on these developments so that we can leverage areas of growth and recognize platforms in decline. For example, it’s increasingly clear that RIM’s BlackBerry is a fading leader in the mobile space.

Apple Unveils iPhone 4S

In a widely-anticipated announcement this week, Apple unveiled its next generation iPhone. But the news was somewhat disappointing to consumers, who were expecting the launch of iPhone 5, not the debuted iPhone 4S. Nonetheless, Apple says the new phone, which carries the same external design of iPhone 4, has a faster dual-core A5 processer, a camera with double the resolution and sharpness for crisp photos and video, and faster load time for web pages and video. The device also features Siri, a voice-controlled personal assistant, which among other things allows users to speak online searches. It will surely be interesting to see how this change affects our industry’s ongoing work in the mobile space – Siri sounds like it will be a powerful tool in helping consumers find local businesses.

Apple, which said iPhone 4S will also be available for the first time on Sprint, also announced that the older version iPhone 3GS will be available free to consumers with a two year contract. Given all of these developments, we’ll be keeping a close eye on how iPhone’s market share fairs in the face of Android competition over the next few quarters.

Superpages.com Launches New Mobile App

Superpages.com released a complete redesign of its Superpages mobile application user-interface and search engine technology. According to a press release shared yesterday, the updated Yellow Pages by Superpages app is easier to use with a new single field auto-complete search, voice search and a category spinner. The app allows users to search the Yellow or White Pages, find business information, maps, driving directs, consumer reviews, movie listings and more. Screenwerk’s Greg Sterling calls the app “more fun, social, [and] useful.Download this 4.0 version of the app on the iTunes app store.

Study: Majority of Small Businesses on Social Media, But Engagement is Limited

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

As we frequently discuss on the blog, social media presents an opportunity for small businesses to interact and build loyalty among their existing customers, as well as attract new ones. It also gives small businesses the ability to help control their online reputation, especially when it comes to negative reviews.

In an interesting post on Search Engine Land, Greg Sterling discusses the results of a new study by Palore which found that nearly six in 10 small businesses (58%) have a presence on either Facebook or Twitter, but that only 22% had a presence on both social networks. The study also indicated that the percentage of small businesses with Facebook pages is nearly double the share of those using Twitter.

Palore’s analysis looked at more than 1,110 small businesses in two categories – restaurants and spas – in Philadelphia and San Diego in conducting its review. It focused only on small businesses with websites.

However, the good news about the high percentage of small businesses participating on social media is dampened by additional results of the study, which found that the level of consumer engagement on these social media pages is generally low. According to Palore, approximately 38% of Facebook pages had fewer than 100 likes, while nearly 45% of Twitter pages had fewer than 100 followers. Only a handful of small businesses’ Facebook pages had more than 1,000 likes (16%) and more than 1,000 followers (19%).

As Greg notes, while small businesses are doing a good job getting on social media, they seem to be having difficultly figuring out how to engage consumers once they’re there. As an industry, we have a lot of work ahead of us in helping to educate small businesses about various ways to use social media to promote their businesses and build their online reputations.

Yell Offers Charity Donations in Exchange for Local Business Reviews

Monday, October 25, 2010

Over the weekend, Screenwerk’s Greg Sterling wrote a post noting that TrustedPlaces, the popular UK local review site purchased by Yell in May, is now fully integrated into Yell.com.

With the integration complete, Yell today announced plans to promote its new offering by launching a major online initiative to drive consumer reviews and ratings of local businesses and services on its website,  while at the sime time generating donations for national and local UK charities.

According to today’s release, Yell.com users will now have the opportunity to write reviews for local businesses such as restaurants, hairdressers and beauty salons, with the service soon to be extended to plumbers and accountants. Under the program, users can select a charity they wish to support, with every review they write resulting in a 25p (approximately $0.40) donation from Yell to that charity. Yell said is is developing a network of national and local charities that consumers can choose from.

I think Yell’s program is a great idea because it builds interest and visibility for Yell.com’s local listings and business reviews, while simulanously allowing consumers to do a good deed for the charities they care about most. I look forward to seeing how much money is raised as a result of this initiative!