Posts Tagged ‘local’

Top 5 Local Ad Stats of the Week: SMBs

Friday, May 16, 2014

A recent infographic from Docstoc notes that there are 28 million small businesses in the U.S.  While the ad spending power of SMBs pales in comparison to national brands, marketers see a tremendous opportunity with SMB advertisers because of their strong numbers and need for local ad solutions.

As the local advertising space continues to fragment, many SMBs are at a loss.  Slow to adopt digital and mobile solutions, inundated with sales calls that make them even more confused, and unable to adequately track the effectiveness of their campaigns, SMBs struggle in determining how they spend their limited ad budgets.

Here are five key stats that highlight how SMBs today are thinking about local advertising – and demonstrate the challenge and opportunity facing local marketers in engaging them:

  • SMBs plan to allocate just 26% of their total ad budget to digital and online media. (BIA/Kelsey)
  • On average, SMBs get five sales calls per week and listen to only one of them. (Borrell Associates)
  • 78% of SMBs stated they would prefer to work with one trusted source for all their advertising needs. (Thrive Analytics)
  • 56% of SMBs don’t do any measurement or tracking of their marketing to determine effectiveness. (Yodle)
  • The average SMB spends $400 per month on marketing. (BrightLocal/

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: Data Promises Big Changes in Local Shopping

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

This morning’s first panel, moderated by Steven Jacobs of Street Fight, showcased new data technologies that will revolutionize the future of local.  The panel speakers included Florent Peyre, co-founder and COO, Placemeter; David Shim, CEO, Placed; and Sri Palasamudram, chief evangelist, Retailigence.

Peyre shared how his company, Placemeter, is analyzing video streams from both public and crowd sourced cameras to help businesses.

“Once you have coverage, you start seeing very interesting consumer facing applications … We push our data into existing applications that have millions of users.”

He gave the example of a consumer looking for a nearby coffee shop.  Existing apps already provide listings of nearby coffee shops, but Placemeter can add another layer of information, for example, which coffee shop has little wait time.

New York City’s uber-popular hamburger chain Shake Shack has put technology in place to help navigate the lengthy lines at its Madison Park location.  Shake Shack broadcasts a live video stream to show customers the length of the line. Placemeter uses the publicly available stream and processes it.

“That’s somewhat interesting but doesn’t tell me anything.  It doesn’t tell me when the line is going to get shorter and how long it’s going to take to get a burger.  We measure how long the line will take you and how many people are in the line.  So it moves from just you looking at it to where you can plan your day around it.”

Shim’s company, Placed, is measuring actions in the real world in a different way.  Placed has built a panel of 150,000 consumers that allow the company to measure where they go 24/7 via mobile device apps.

“That default has made it possible to measure what’s happening in the physical world – really looking at the data and seeing what’s happening in stores.  We’re going to see it continue to push that way.  It’s going to get to the point that it’s like Web – where you can measure drop off rates, etc.”

Shim shared an example of how this technology can help businesses measure advertising ROI.  A client that executed a mobile ad campaign for $100,000 had tracked only 155 orders for the campaign.  However, using Placed data, the client was also able to measure stores visits, and found that the campaign generated 13,000 visits to the store because of the ad, proving a higher ROI for the campaign than originally believed.

Palasamudram’s company, Retailigence, is aggregating product data from local stores to make it searchable.  With one million products in the database, consumers can perform a quick keyword search and see which stores nearby have the product they need.

“As a consumer it gives you tremendous convenience so you don’t have to go store to store.”

Palasamudram said that consumers are often delighted to find that many nearby businesses have the products they need, not just the usual suspects or vertical retailers that you would immediately think about.

LSA|14: Reducing Complexity for Digital Ads With A Balance of Control and Automation

Monday, April 28, 2014

The “mobile is local” theme continued in this morning’s session with Ginny Sandu, senior product manager, mobile and local advertising for Bing Ads.

Sandu outlined Bing’s strategy as three fold:

  • Eliminate complexity for small businesses: Helping businesses transition from print to digital that removes complexity.
  • Enable local task completion: For most local businesses this means driving calls and walk-ins.
  • Measuring local ROI for SMBs: Providing tools for the SMB to measure the success of their programs.

“We could make things, easier, simpler, and cheaper for small businesses, however when the rubber meets the road, you want to make sure your advertisers are getting the ROI they are looking for,” said Sandu.

Recognizing that complexity is one of the biggest barriers to local businesses achieving ROI from a mobile ad spend, Bing has developed a new product called Bing Ads Express, which is currently in beta.

The Bing Ads Express concept employs a light, simple signup approach, with a pay-per-click model and no keywords to chose.  Despite the simplified approach, business can still target where they want their listing to show, the radius in which the business should appear in ads for users, what the budget should be, and the number of clicks a business can expect to receive.

This product is particularly appealing to partners who have clients with relatively small digital spends.

“If you have a client with a digital spend of a $150, you don’t want to spend four to five hours for them on it every week.  A lot of our partners expressed interest in something where the complexity is reduced.”

Sandu said that the key lesson for Bing has been striking the right balance between control and automation, and that they are taking lessons learned from Bing Ads Express to apply to the entire Bing Ads platform.

“People want automation but they want some bells and whistles that allow them to maintain control.”

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.