Posts Tagged ‘local’

Answers to FAQs about LSA|14 in Huntington Beach

Friday, March 14, 2014

When it comes to local advertising and marketing we are still hearing a lot of confusion around what “local” actually means. Is it simply reaching audiences based on location or is it more than that? Well, we have some thoughts on the topic and will be revealing our perspective and the research that backs it up at the 2014 Local Search Association Conference in Huntington Beach, Calif., April 27-29.

But before that, here are answers to some FAQs about LSA|14 that are just teasers to the rich agenda we have planned:

What is the focus of the event?
Simply put, innovation and local. We plan on kicking off the conference by defining “local” and showing you what it looks like today. From there, each session will hit on established practices and innovative ways to drive local consumer actions and ROI. In addition, our Ad to Action Awards will highlight some of the most innovative local ad solutions across eight different categories.

Any big names speaking?
Is Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak big enough for you? But the list of great speakers doesn’t begin and end there. We have about 50 influential speakers booked for LSA|14 from companies like Google, comScore, YP, Bing, xAd, JiWire, Retale, Wanderful Media and many more.

Where is the event?
The Hyatt Regency Resort & Spa in Huntington Beach, Calif.  Bike along the coast, hit the links, learn to surf or just watch the sun set over the Pacific. It’s a beautiful place with plenty to do.

What kind of networking opportunities are there?
The entire LSA|14 event is extremely conducive to making new connections and catching up with old ones. With five networking events, the Expo Hall and lots of networking breaks during the day, you’ll get plenty of chances to meet decision makers within the local ad space.

Are there any speaking opportunities?
While our agenda is almost complete, we are offering sponsored speaking opportunities that we are calling, “Company Spotlights.” This is a great opportunity for those of you looking to introduce or remind the local space of your organization or new solution. You’ll get five minutes of the crowd’s undivided attention on the main stage which is plenty of time to make a splash!

Click here for more information on the LSA|14 conference.

6 Local Tips for Small Business SEO Success

Monday, February 10, 2014

In our monthly Local Search Column on Search Engine Land, I talk about how small businesses can take advantage of opportunities to dominate their search engine results through content they control or can influence.

I outline six tips for local SEO success, including:
1. Properly optimizing information on a business’ website
2. Securing, building and updating business listings on local websites
3. Ensuring an appropriate link strategy
4. Encouraging and responding to online user reviews
5. Engaging with stakeholders regularly via social media
6. Driving media coverage

Read my full column on Search Engine Land for suggested action items for local businesses to leverage each of these tips in their marketing approach. I hope you find it useful!

Franchisors Assert Significant Control Over Local Online Branding, but Also Provide Significant Funding

Friday, August 30, 2013

BIA/Kelsey hosted an informative webinar on August 21, 2013 highlighting results from its Local Commerce Monitor (LCM) study of 600 SMBs.  There were two enlightening points regarding franchise accounts:

  • On average, a franchisor pays 43% of a franchisee’s local online presence costs.
  • 51% of franchisees say their franchisors are “highly involved” in the social media presence of their local businesses.

Here are the slides from the presentation:

BIA/Kelsey’s Local Commerce Monitor Slide 1

BIA/Kelsey’s Local Commerce Monitor Slide 2 Source: BIA/Kelsey’s Local Commerce Monitor (LCM – Wave 17), Q3 2013.

Warren Kay, BIA/Kelsey’s new executive in residence, said, “Franchisors made a mistake in the early days by letting franchisees create a presence that sometimes competed with the corporate entity. Franchisors probably won’t allow individual locations to drive their brand message through social media. And, that’s good.”

In the past decade, there has been a decline in corporate support/funding for dealer/franchise yellow pages and local search programs. But this new information indicates corporations are willing to share in the cost of a franchisee’s local online presence, presenting a renewed opportunity for co-op funding. LSA’s co-op service bureau can be a great resource to agencies and publishers. For more information, contact Local Search Association’s Val Onyski by phone at 248-244-0731 or via email at

BIA/Kelsey will present more findings from Local Commerce Monitor Wave 17 at the September 11-13, 2013 Leading in Local: SMB Digital Marketing Conference at the Hilton, Austin, TX. For more information, click here.

LSA Annual Conference Welcomes Influential Speakers from Google, Groupon, YP and more

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The speakers and panelists coming to our 2013 “Search Starts Here” Conference in Las Vegas include experts, veterans and thought leaders from all areas of the local search space. The biggest names in digital, mobile, social and print media will discuss many strategic and tactical topics that are driving the local search industry forward.

In addition to the great keynote speakers from Solocal Group (formerly PagesJaunes Groupe), Facebook and CityGrid, here are some more exciting subjects and speakers you can’t afford to miss:

SMB State of the Union
Greg Sterling (Opus Research)
Neal Polachek (Industry Observer)

Making Transformation Happen
Paul Plant (Radicle Consulting)

What’s Working in Mobile
Tim Garcia (Moasis)
Dan Hight (xAd)
Tae Kim (Google)
Michael Rubin (YP)

State of the Industry
Bill Dinan (Telmetrics)
Neg Norton (Local Search Association)

Print Directories in a Multi-Platform World
Matt Centofanti (YP)
Eric Webb (Marquette Group)
Dave Wolf (Linkmedia 360)
Emil Morales (TNS)

Sales Differentiation in a HYPER Competitive Selling Environment
Bob Sanders (AXIOM)

Building the “Local Commerce Operating System”
Ethan Anderson (MyTime)
Dave Gilbertson (Constant Contact)
Sean Harper (Groupon)
Bob  Gregerson (hibu)

Finally, as announced earlier, we also have some great workshops and breakout sessions with Yelp, Yext, edō, Supermedia and many more.

To learn more about all of our impressive speakers, visit our Speakers Page and don’t forget to check out the agenda for all the great content planned for the conference.  Register today and we will see you in Vegas!

Day 2 at the BIA/Kelsey ILM Conference

Thursday, December 6, 2012

After a “musical” networking event Tuesday night that kept everyone entertained, Day 2 of the BIA/Kelsey ILM Conference kicked off yesterday with several strong presentations, including an interview with Google’s Todd Rowe and a keynote by CityGrid’s Jason Finger.

My favorite panel, “Search for It! Local Online Retail Innovation,” featured a great group including comScore’s Matt Archer, Where2GetIt’s Manish Patel and Kenshoo Local’s Paul Wicker. In just a half hour, the group discussed key insights into this year’s holiday shopping figures and product listing ads (PLAs).

To provide some context on where things stand in the online shopping space these days, here are some quick facts:

  • The 2012 shopping season is off to a great start, up online sales up nearly 17% year-over-year.
  • PCs still leading the way for online shopping, according to Archer.
  • Cyber Monday sales have leapfrogged from $484 million in 2005 to $1.4 billion this year!
  • Research shows that sales via mobile and tablets are gaining quickly, with tablets dominating the evening hours, as shoppers use them from the couch or in bed while watching TV.
  • Mobile apps dominate access for most of the leading pure-play online retailers, with Amazon and eBay topping the list.

Wicker, who in a past life worked as a YP sales rep, described how his time in the job led him to love working with SMBs. He said he wants to help SMBs better understand the value of PLAs. Wicker talked about how Kenshoo Local has developed an algorithm to help SMBs increase the impact of their PLAs, noting that beta tests so far have showed positive metrics in terms of cost per call and ad effectiveness.

Patel said the solution for SMB advertisers is to embrace the online ecosystem by claiming their locations and verifying the consistency and accuracy of their data. He said no matter the size of one’s local business or number of locations, each one should have its own website to ensure accurate local content and optimized search results.

The panel closed with an interesting discussion of the ways to attract service companies to employ their own version of PLAs – or in this case SLAs: service listing ads. While all agreed that strong e-commerce capabilities are a requirement, the group felt that SMBs have a long way to go in that area.

The panel did a great job of leaving the audience wanting more, and several folks lined up to chat with the panelists at the session’s conclusion.

Will the New Yahoo CEO Focus on Local Businesses?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

In my Local Search column on Search Engine Land this month, I discuss Yahoo’s recent appointment of Marissa Mayer as its new president and CEO, and the opportunities that presents for local businesses should she decide to focus on reinventing the company’s once dominant local search platform, Yahoo! Local.

Mayer, who previously served as the Google executive in charge of local, maps and location services, lives and breathes local. She is also an expert in creating innovative user experiences in the space. I argue that if Mayer makes local a priority at Google – which still commands one of the largest audiences on the Web with 700 million monthly users – that local businesses will have yet another platform to actively consider for local advertising.

In my piece, I overview what Yahoo! Local looks like today and provide some thoughts on where Mayer might take the platform next. Click here to reach the full column.

BIA/Kelsey MLM SF: Mobile and Social – Where’s the Sweet Spot?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Jed Williams, analyst and program director, Social Local Media, BIA/Kelsey hosted a panel this morning entitled “Mobile and Social: Where’s the Sweet Spot?,” which overviewed the growing role of mobile and social in consumers’ everyday lives. Participating in the discussion was Mike Ghaffary, director of business development, Yelp; Beau Haugh, co-founder and CTO, Localmind; and Steve Jang, CEO, Schematic Lab.

Some interesting takeaways from the panel:

  • There are more than 105 million smartphones in the U.S.
  • 75% of smartphone users are conducting local searches
  • 80% of consumers prefer ads that are locally relevant
  • Consumers check their phones an average of 40 times per day
  • 91% of consumers keep their mobile phones within arms length 24 hours a day

Steve said that the traditional goals of building websites were ensuring that content was viewed and attracted impressions. He said that the mobile phone is a great agent to capture and share experiences quickly, and noted that we all want our apps to be useful, powerful and provide a feedback loop. He also said that the reality is that the majority of us don’t travel everyday – but are eating, drinking and going to concerts locally, so local and social content is extremely important.

Beau said that mobile apps should be intuitive and navigate the way consumers want them to, providing them with a quick in and out. He said that if the process isn’t immediate, that the chance of achieving initial engagement is more difficult.

Mike noted that Yelp has an enormous database content and that the challenge is how its ported and what experiences are made new. He said that Yelp has decided to make every strategic decision with a “mobile lens.” For instance, restaurant reviews are subject to an algorithm that uses reviews to create rankings for specific dishes. He also talked about Yelp’s efforts to create specific apps for tablet use.

Mike also discussed the value of the check-in and the importance of developing a level of experitise through Facebook and Twitter. He said consumers are really looking for local, authentic experiences in their mobile searches.

McDonald and Norton Say Industry Has Opportunity in Mobile-Focused Future

Monday, April 23, 2012

Peter McDonald, CEO of SuperMedia, and Neg Norton, president of the Local Search Association, kicked off the Search Starts Here conference with looks at where the local search industry is headed and how the Association is serving members.

“It’s no surprise to anyone we’re in transformation,” McDonald told the audience.  “It’s a land grab and we have to transform this business.”

McDonald said that Internet and, increasingly, mobile are the future and represent an opportunity for the industry.  Even with the changes, print Yellow Pages still play a relevant role in local media, McDonald said, with 76% who use print making a purchase.  He also pointed to metered line data from CRM Associates that showed that 266,314 measured lines produced 45,365,795 calls in 2011.

Given the complexity of print, Internet, mobile, and social, McDonald said that local businesses can’t figure it out and that the industry’s 16,000 local marketing consultants are in a great position to help them.

“I can tell you that small businesses are absolutely confused … We have to help them with their Google Places page, Facebook, mobile site, reputation, Yellow Page ad.  If we want to keep them, we have to give them results.”

Going forward, McDonald pointed to four things the industry must do to win:

  • Move fast.
  • Partner like we’ve never partnered before.
  • Work hard on customer relationships – not a once a year thing.
  • Produce results.

Neg Norton said that the broad industry changes also impact how the Association serves members.  He pointed specifically to mobile’s role as a driver in both industry and world events like Occupy Wall Street and the Egyptian revolution.

“You have to remember the role we play in this world of instantaneous information and conversation.”

Norton showed 2011 data from Burke that finds seven local media sources – search engines, Yellow Pages, store circulars/email promotions/coupons, newspapers, print white pages, and social networks) have at least 25 percent monthly reach.

“Consumers are using a wide variety of media sources pretty regularly.  If you’re a small business person, that’s a complicated thing to figure out.”

Norton said the industry is in a great position to win in the changing market.

“When you look at direct mail, coupons, we’re selling all this stuff … We’ve got a great lineup of products that can help business”

Norton also spent time reviewing the Association’s efforts to improve dialogue with communities looking at print Yellow Pages legislation.  The Association has brought together a coalition of stakeholders – led by former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb – to help legislators understand the valuable role Yellow Pages companies play in communities.  The efforts have helped ensure that no new print legislation has passed since last year’s San Francisco law.

Norton said that legislators are increasingly aware of how the industry’s products and services promote the idea that consumers should buy locally, which in turn builds economic prosperity; generates taxes, jobs, and growth; encourages vibrant and diverse local shopping economies; and encourages sustainability.

Norton said the industry’s role in delivering this value back to communities is critical.  “All of you make it easy and free for consumers to find information about local businesses.”

Telmetrics Experiences Record Pay Per Call Growth; Call Durations from YP Greater than Paid Search

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

There’s some very interesting news out this week from Telmetrics, a leading provider of advertising call measurement solutions, which announced that adoption of its pay per call offerings is up more three times year-over-year, tracking 348% higher in Q1 2012 than Q1 2011. As many of you know, pay per call tracking enables marketers to evaluate consumer phone response to ads by providing valuable ad feedback and consumer call intelligence.

According to Telmetrics, while pay per call usage is growing among all local search media channels, mobile advertisers and SMB programs are driving the increases. Additionally, the company said that it is seeing call duration increase more than 20% year-over-year as advertising providers continue to optimize their local search programs through pay per call. Call duration is a reliable indicator of lead quality and typically indicate a positive propensity to make a purchase, the company said.

Telmetrics data shows that mobile call durations are the longest at 3.5 minutes/call, followed by print Yellow Pages (2.8 minutes/call), Internet Yellow Pages (2.7 minutes/call) and paid search (2.2 minutes/call). As Screenwerk’s Greg Sterling notes, mobile’s leading position makes sense since “mobile users tend to have a greater and more immediate needs than online users.” Sterling also points out that the data argues that “print YP leads are of better quality than paid search.”

I think this data echoes our own research that has consistently shown that “ready to buy” consumers frequently turn to Yellow Pages. These results are worth pointing out to local advertisers who may need additional context on the quality of leads they might expect from Yellow Pages and other local search offerings.

Learn more about Telmetrics at the 2012 Local Search Association annual conference, “Search Starts Here,” April 21-24 in Boca Raton, Florida. Telmetrics President Bill Dinan will participate in an executive interview at 12pm on the final day of the event.

BIA/Kelsey ILM East 2012: Tom Buono, Andy Slater Kick Off Morning Session

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

BIA/Kelsey CEO Tom Buono opened up this morning’s session with an intriguing overview of a new product being offered to his clients – Media Ad View.  The service, which provides both “snapshots” of the marketplace and in-depth forecasts of ad spend categories, covers 12 types of media, 12 general ad categories and  digital information for 93 categories.  In addition, BIA/Kelsey clients can get data through geographic profiles by category.  Make sure to check it out!

Next up on this morning’s agenda was Andy Slater, vice president, Digital Agency Sales at Katz 360, who discussed the political ad spend and innovations in campaign communications. Slater estimated the 2012 ad spend at approximately $8 billion.  He went on to say that outreach has become far more sophisticated as campaigns are using more innovative ways to target the right audience. Using cookies to aggregate information about purchases, donations, geography, voter registration and other factors, online campaigning is rapidly becoming far more effective.

Slater also described how broadcasting is driving their audience and advertisers’ traffic to their websites to provide a richer experience through more robust and mature site offerings.

For more on the ILM East 2012 agenda click here, or follow hashtag #ILMEast on Twitter.