As the local search industry continues to evolve at a rapid rate, we at the Local Search Association are working to keep our members ahead of the game. During this webinar, we will give a look ahead at 2014 and discuss some of the issues that we think are going to be game changers in the local advertising space. In addition, we will talk about how we are bulking up our membership benefits, developing stronger insights and analytics, creating more opportunities to partner and, overall, working to become leaders in local.
The Local Search Association is the largest trade organization of companies focused on print, digital, mobile and social media solutions that help local businesses get found and selected by ready-to-buy consumers. The mission of the Association is to lead, serve, grow and advocate on behalf of companies that help local businesses through results-driven marketing and media services. Association members include U.S. and international directory publishers, search engine marketers, online listings and review sites, digital advertising agencies and mobile search providers.
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)
Online reviews and ratings are having a huge impact on the local search space. As platforms like Facebook, Google and Yelp give reviews more importance and improve their ability to filter out fake ones – and government officials crack down on dishonest practices – consumer trust and use of reviews can only be expected to grow.
In my Street Fight article, I discuss how reviews and ratings are some of the most powerful pieces of information in local search. Not only are they impacting SEO for local businesses, but they are significant influencers of consumer action.
We’re joining with Yellow Pages publishers to announce that we’re making it even easier for consumers to customize the delivery of directories to their homes and businesses.
Starting today, consumers can visit the mobile-optimized version of www.YellowPagesOptOut.com to manage the delivery of phone directories directly from their smartphones and web-enabled tablets.
The new mobile-optimized version of www.YellowPagesOptOut.com, managed by the Local Search Association in collaboration with the Association of Directory Publishers, will allow consumers to customize directory delivery from wherever they are – seamlessly and effectively.
Yellow Pages publishers have always said that it doesn’t make sense to deliver a directory to someone who doesn’t want one. The consumer choice website at www.YellowPagesOptOut.com is made available by Yellow Pages publishers at no cost to residents, businesses and state and local governments. In order to protect consumer privacy, we ensure that contact information collected through the secure website is used for the sole purpose of updating publishers’ distribution lists and is not used for marketing or sold to third parties.
In our Local Search column for Search Engine Land this month, I discuss new research that found that even though ready-to-buy consumers are increasingly using their mobile devices to search for local business information, most are turning to alternate sources aside from smartphones to actually complete their purchases.
The findings beg the question: what is it about smartphones that is inhibiting consumers who search via mobile from following through with buying products and services?
In the column, I outline four recommendations for local businesses to help spur mobile transactions: optimizing their website for mobile; using actionable, informational and reassuring mobile messaging; leveraging local e-commerce business tools; and establishing digital storefronts.
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.
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.
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.
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.