Posts Tagged ‘Microsoft’

Defining Local: Last Mile Advertising

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

After interviewing executives from a range of advertising agencies, platforms and experts including R/GA, Sears, Twitter, Microsoft, YP, Groupon, Mashable and the IAB , we found that there is still a lot of confusion around what “local” actually means.  Overall, the feeling is that the local space isn’t clearly distinguishable from advertising as a whole, but there is a strong conviction that it could and should be.

This is where we believe “Last Mile” can bring some clarity.  In my blog post on Street Fight, I define the Last Mile Advertising space and explain the three pillars that make up this space: Seek, Discover and Consider.

Check out my full article at Street Fight.

Yell Appoints Scott Moore as First Chief Digital Officer

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Back in May, Yell CEO Michael Pocock made news when he said, “digital will be approximately three quarters of our business by 2015, versus 25% as it is today.” Now Yell is further illustrating its commitment to building its digital business with the announcement today of Scott Moore, a former Microsoft executive, as the company’s first chief digital officer.

According to Yell’s press release, Scott will lead the creation and development of the U.K.-based company’s new generation of products and services that will enable small and medium-sized enterprise customers and their consumers to capitalize on the digital opportunity. His appointment demonstrates Yell’s strategy that will see the company transform its current print and online advertising business to become a leader in the emerging local eMarketplace, which will comprise of an innovative platform and digital portal where consumers and local businesses can connect and transact.

Scott, who will report directly to Pocock, will be based at a new Yell office to be opened in Seattle that will act as “a central hub to coordinate Yellow’s worldwide digital development activities.”

Scott comes from MSN where, as partner and executive producer, he was responsible for transforming Microsoft’s online consumer service and driving adoption of Bing, its search engine. Previously, he was senior vice president and head of media at Yahoo!, and has held senior roles at Microsoft businesses including MSNBC.com, Expedia Travel, and Slate.com.

We congratulate Scott on his appointment and look forward to seeing the results of his work.

Google to Acquire Motorola Mobility

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

In a move that is rocking the mobile industry, Google announced this week that it will purchase Motorola Mobility. If approved by regulators, the move will turn Google, which develops the popular Android software now used by 2 in 5 smartphone users, into “a full-fledged cellphone manufacturer, in direct competition with Apple,” according to the New York Times.

In a post on Google’s Official Blog, CEO Larry Page said that the acquisition will not change Google’s commitment to running Android as an open platform, which is currently used by popular manufacturers including Samsung and HTC. And while many of these manufacturing partners said they supported the deal yesterday, analysts recognize that relations could sour over time as if these companies begin to view Google as more of a competitor than partner.

The deal is raising widespread speculation about the future of mobile. Will manufacturers now shy away from Android and adopt Microsoft’s mobile platform? Are Nokia and Research in Motion (BlackBerry), both struggling manufacturers with a significant number of valuable patents, next in line to be purchased?

We’ll be keeping a close eye on the fallout from the Google-Motorola deal as it relates to our business, which has increasingly leveraged the Android platform in recent years to deliver browsing- and application-based local search offerings on mobile and tablet devices. Whatever changes take place, we’re   sure our members will be quick to adapt their offerings to provide the best local search experience wherever consumers are looking.

comScore: Smartphone Subscribers Up 8%; 2 in 5 Now Use Google Android

Monday, August 8, 2011

Last week, comScore released its quarterly mobile trends report, and the findings revealed some interesting takeaways related directly to our business.

The number of U.S. smartphone subscribers – those most likely to take advantage of our industry’s mobile directories and location-based apps – continues to rise at a rapid pace. Approximately 78.5 million people in the U.S. owned smartphones during the three months ending June 2011, up 8% from the preceding three month period.

Google Android, the most popular smartphone platform, continues to gain market share. Today, 2 in 5 smartphone subscribers (40.1% share) use Google Android, up 5.4% from the prior reporting period. Apple strengthened its #2 position with 26.6% share of the smartphone market, up 1.1%. RIM (Blackberry) ranked third with 23.4% share, down 3.7%. Microsoft (5.8%) and Symbian (2%) rounded out the top five, both down as well.

On a related note, a new study from Jumptap, a mobile ad network, found that smartphone platform use varies by geography. The study showed that consumers with Apple’s iPhone tend to congregate in the Northwest and Midwest, while Google Android users are more likely to be found in the South and Southwest. BlackBerry is dominant in a handful of states, including New York.

With the smartphone market growing fast – and ongoing shifts taking place in the different mobile platforms consumers are using (and where they are using them) – our industry needs to remain agile, and create and adapt future offerings to take advantage of areas of growth.

As our 2011 State of Local Search study showed, there is an expanding appetite for local content among mobile subscribers, with more than 77 million mobile subscribers now access local content on their mobile devices. The time is now to build offerings that will help local business advertisers reach this significant audience wherever and however they are searching via mobile.

Yell Group Announces Strategic Partnership with Microsoft

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Here’s some exciting news that grabbed my attention: this week, the British local search provider Yell Group, which owns Yellowbook here in the U.S., announced that it is forming a new global strategic alliance with Microsoft.

According to the press release, the deal will allow both companies, to “[take] advantage of their complementary strengths and expertise in the delivery of innovative online advertising and business solutions to assist small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) reach and engage consumers.”

Components of the deal include:

  • Microsoft and Yell will capitalize on Microsoft’s various search platforms (including Bing and Yahoo! Search) by joining together to offer compelling search, mobile and local advertising solutions to SMBs. Bloomberg reports that business listing results on yell.com will now appear on Bing.
  • Yell will offer its 1.3 million customers across the U.S. (through Yellowbook), the UK, Spain and Latin America with the full suite of Microsoft’s SMB productivity and business software and cloud services, including Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft Dynamics DCRM and emerging SMB-focused communications solutions.
  • Microsoft will help Yell accelerate its new cloud-based services, which will provide Yell’s customers will access to these new digital offerings.

This new Yell-Microsoft partnership is yet another example of how local search companies are coming together to leverage one another’s strengths to deliver even more value for their customers. As we’ve seen, the linking of our industry’s established local sales teams with new technologies and advertising platforms is proving to be a major driving force for future opportunities.

DMS ’10: Microsoft Seeking Local Connections

Thursday, September 16, 2010

U.S. small business advertising will be a $15 billion opportunity by 2013, and Yellow Pages companies will continue to serve as an important channel in connecting local businesses with new offerings, said Randy Wootton, VP of Global Search and Online Marketplace for Microsoft Advertising.

Wootton noted that in the past, local businesses were limited to print Yellow Pages, newspapers, and radio for their advertising needs, and that they were only required to speak with sales reps a few times a year. Today, the local advertising space has quickly become overwhelming for local businesses, who are unable to make sense of the wide variety of opportunities available, everything from video and banner ads, to SEO and website development, and speak to dozens of sales reps to meet their needs.

Ultimately, local businesses need three things: trust, leads, and cost/ease, according to Wootton. He said local businesses are looking to make the advertising process simple again, save time and make money, and feel valuable and back in control of the world around them.

Wootton said the Yellow Pages industry will continue lead the partner pact as the “first-stop” for local business search because they are the trusted advisor that can help local businesses make sense of their advertising options. He called on the industry to take advantage of Microsoft’s advertising offerings, which with its partnership with Yahoo provides a large new audience for local businesses to reach.

DMS ’10: Yahoo’s Lem Lloyd: We Need to Tell the Local Story

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Lem Lloyd, VP of North America Channel Sales at Yahoo, said that there is “tremendous interest” from advertisers in developing local marketing opportunities, but that the challenge remains for how the industry can “tell the local story in the right way”.

Lloyd said that Yahoo’s new partnership with Microsoft means the company will be able to provide more opportunities in the marketplace than it had previously and provide a real alternative to Google, which has long dominated the market.

Lloyd talked about how Yellow Pages companies are increasingly offering more digital products to their clients, and that Yahoo wants to work with those partners who think big, are interested in developing meaningful strategic relationships, and are willing to invest in training their sales forces. He also expressed satisfaction that partners are frequently asking to be active participants in Yahoo’s local strategy, whether it’s offering suggestions for how new products are designed or asking to be the first to sell a new offering.

Finally, Lloyd noted that now is not the time to come down on local pricing but to focus on better illustrating why local is important and valuable to advertisers.

BIA/Kelsey’s Charles Laughlin Previews DMS ’10

Thursday, August 12, 2010

In a free public webinar yesterday entitled “Yellow Pages, Local Search and the Path to New Digital Revenues,” BIA/Kelsey’s Charles Laughlin discussed the current state of the Yellow Pages industry,  and his predictions and  suggestions for providers looking  to transcend the obstacles of today’s changing media landscape.

According to Laughlin, our industry is expanding from its traditional core business—print directories, and by extension, Internet Yellow Pages—to also include a wider range of product areas that will serve as attractive growth drivers moving forward.

Specifically, Laughlin discussed how providers are increasingly looking for the right group of partners to help build and diversify their product offerings to include everything from reputation management to social media, mobile, SEO/SEM, and direct mail.

Laughlin believes changes in the industry can be summarized by the following key themes:

  1. Financial results are driving the need for transformation rather than incremental change
  2. Companies are working furiously to reinvent themselves
  3. The industry’s future depends on success across a wide range of products and services

Laughlin also noted that as the industry adapts to changing consumer behavior, the fundamentals of Yellow Pages advertising are shifting from print-central to digital-centric, where the focus is on the local business’ website as opposed to its directory listing.

Click here to watch the complete webinar.

Laughlin’s webinar served as a preview for the jam-packed Directional Media Strategies (DMS) conference, one of the most important industry conferences of the year, scheduled for Sept. 14-16, 2010, at the InterContinental Hotel in Dallas.

In addition to the high-profile list of speakers and panelists already announced, Laughlin confirmed that Randy Wootton, VP of Global Search and Online Marketplace for Microsoft Advertising, has joined the schedule to discuss Microsoft’s approach to local, where its strengths lie and its approach to partnering with other providers. That will definitely be a presentation worth attending!

For more information about DMS ’10, including registration information, visit the DMS ’10 page on the BIA/Kelsey website.

Microhoo Changes Local Search Landscape for Small Biz

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

In this month’s Search Engine Land “Locals Only” column, I take a look at the impact the Microsoft and Yahoo! search alliance might have on local search.

With “Microhoo” official, the local search landscape for small business is changing – again. While Google maintains approximately 65 percent of the U.S. search market, the alliance between Microsoft and Yahoo make Microhoo, with Microsoft’s Bing search tool, the definitive No. 2 in the local search space.

For local search, implications include:

  • Local businesses will need to consider how they can optimize their content for both engines.
  • Making decisions about where to place Internet advertisements and sponsored key words will become more complicated.
  • Consumers may decide to visit multiple engines before buying.

The bottom line is that the local search space continues to evolve, and competition will mean new opportunities and new challenges. We must help our small business advertisers stay on top of these opportunities, because Yellow Pages representatives are one of the few personal contacts most of them have to understand the evolving local search space.

Bing Claims Cure for Search Overload

Thursday, June 11, 2009

You’ve probably heard some of the buzz about Bing, Microsoft’s new “decision engine” that is being positioned as a major competitor to Google and Yahoo. The name is snappy and some early numbers show Bing is starting off strong.

These early gains may be helped by Microsoft’s $100 million ad campaign focused on “search overload syndrome.” I found the first commercial intriguing and attention grabbing, and the notion of “search overload” resonated with me. We know from our own business that there is more information than ever out there and searchers need simple, fast, and reliable solutions to pinpoint what they’re looking for.

As a Yellow Pages person, I wanted to test how Bing is using our listings in these early days. I quickly discovered that YellowPages.com is heavily integrated into Bing’s local search capabilities – no surprise that the folks at Microsoft would turn to our industry to help build a reliable capability there.

I started with a search for “New York arts and crafts stores” and the first result was a list of five local crafts stores plotted on a map, very similar to the local results you get with Google. I clicked on the full listings link and received more detailed information with two sponsored listings from YellowPages.com right on top.

Then I did a search for “driving schools Kansas City, MO” and found a very similar result, with YellowPages.com sponsored listings leading the results.

If you go to Bing’s local search portal page, you’ll see the YellowPages.com branding sits right at the top.

This is great integration with Bing, and given its desire to be a decision engine, it makes perfect sense. We’ve long been a decision engine for consumers needing to find a local business.

It’s hard to say whether we’ll “Bing” a search term rather than “Google” it any time soon, but we already know that the way people search and access information online is always changing. And if Bing is poised to change the game, Yellow Pages local sales teams will play an important role in helping small businesses make sense of that change.