Special Kelsey Group Presentation: Local 2.0: The Evolution of Local Search

Aug 21, 2008 - 2:29 pm 1 by

What percentage of online searches are local? If you consider searches that end up having some influence on local buying activity, the opportunity is put into perspective. But there are still large gaps between the point of search and the point of purchase. How are online mapping, shopping engines, and directories starting to fill these gaps with user-generated content, video, or inventory data that funnel searchers towards local businesses? And how can marketers utilize these tools to get local searchers to pick up the phone, schedule appointments, or show up at their stores? Moderator: Michael Boland, Senior Analyst, The Kelsey Group Speakers: Ian White, CEO, Urban Mapping Peter Hutto, VP, Business Development & Sales, Local.com Joel Toledano, Co-founder & CEO, Krillion Steve Espinosa, CEO, eLocal Listing, LLC Meredith Papp, Product Marketing Manager, Google

Local is a huge market opportunity with lots of challenges. Very fragmented, and lots of different companies emerging and improving the space.

Peter Hutto is first up to speak.

Strategy for Local.com is aggregation. Pulling content, functionality, and advertising from different places.

Most of the big players are all in the space - trying the same combination of strategies.

Engagement: Ratings and reviews. The big thing now is video, lead by Citysearch, 24 months ago. Every big player has a video initiative right now.

Technology: All the major directories, yellow pages, etc. are changing algorithms to cater to a local model.

Data initiatives - lots of local neighborhood info.

Functionality - mapping, shopping.

Google - most of us get our traffic from Google, so it's important to play the game figuring out the organic and paid side .

Core challenges - it's a fragmented and messy market. Huge market opportunity, but no single face.

A look at players in the space.

Oodle- doing a great job at classifieds. Krillian- local big box retailers with product availability. Nearbynow- covers the mall vertical. Stepup- store inventory and promotion for small businesses. Kriyari- customize online malls for major retailers. Shopping.com- traditional portal.

Ian White is up next.

Comes from the printed map space. Where he started.

What percentage of queries are local? 80% of dollars are spent near the home. Up to 40% of queries are local - maybe. Data is a bit out dated. Came from an AOL study. Roughly 5% of search terms have the city or state. 2% of queries leverage neighborhood boundaries. .05% search terms use ZIP codes.

An early example of user generated content was a bunch of printed documents by two law students name the Zagats in the late 70's (of Zagat.com). Didn't do the work themselves. Packaged others reviews. Not something new, but good example.

Original local search - the Yellow Pages. Factoid - Why are they yellow? Because they ran out of white paper. 1857 was the first directory for local merchants.

Local search to do list - 1) take lessons from past 2) Get the data right (insights, spatial, and inventory) 3) Long tail geo modified keywords.

Geotargetting currently sucks. Bid on long tail geo modified keywords. Allows to target in a more granular way.

Thank you!

Joel from Krillion is up next.

Krillion does real time location based product search. Different from online search and online purchasing to the extent that they are completed in physical stores near the consumers. Work with manufacturers, retailers, publishers, and search engines. Reach the consumer who is researching online, and will go out to buy the products. Cover the major big box retailers. Over 1 billion SKUs! Has 85% US market share across the different categories.

Key is that consumers research online and buy offline. 95%+ of all commerce transacted is in a physical store. 72% of the research is done online.

Where are consumers researching? Manufacturer's sites. Retailer sites, search, and shopping engines. Go to a variety of sources so need to spread information everywhere.

Several years ago, this data did not exist. Krillion powers "in stock" availability for sites. Constant updates of inventory and prices. Real time in store product available. Key to lead gen and driving real time sales is real time data.

A case study: Panasonic - power the "where to buy" feature. Used to be a consumer dead end - just could research data. Now they can show you where to get the products and allow online purchases - with in store pickup. Great for mom and pop stores without websites. CTR's of over 70% have been shown. Quite significant for retailers.

25% of the time, products are out of stock or not located near the consumer. Last month, rolled out a product which now recommends related products that may be in stock. No more consumer dead ends.

Distribution network - launching with 2 major search engines soon. Powers a new iPhone app with all their data called "The Find".

Steve Espinosa is up next.

Local listings should stand out in rankings. Goal is to get lots of 5 star reviews.

Merchant verification - showed a 1.8x increase in calls for a client with a merchant verification icon.

You want to scan and analyze the Google and Yahoo! result sets. Often you will see local portals in the top 10 results. Instead of trying to outrank, take advantage of this and optimize on the local portals and engines.

Link to your local listing from your website. Use anchor text with a good key phrase. Google is more likely to rank a source like Yahoo! Local rather than your website if your site is new and has little to no links.

Video - SEO, conversions, and citations. Likes to create small commercials for customers. When creating video for clients, create a new page on your site. Surround it with the same description or tags you would submit to Youtube. Standard optimization of the page. Send links to your Youtube videos. Will see videos get included in universal search. Video optimization is still in its infancy. Can take advantage of this.

Enquiro has a study showing that companies received 2.2x more attention on the results page if the company had Adwords and organic results on the same page. Their research shows that 3.34x more likely if there is a video on the page.

Web references - Local listings are not usually linked to. Rely on scanning the web, and see how many times the business is mentioned on the web, and that's counted as web reference. Videos can be attributed as web references if you do proper linking.

Research your competitors and look at their web references. Go there to create web references. The source of the citation matters. "Amount" of web citations does not guarantee rankings.

Bonus tip - free phone tracking by Google. Create an audio campaign - go through the process - right at the end there is a "call reporting" link - where you can generate up to 20 unique phone numbers. Can use the call tracking feature without charge now, it's a hole in the system. Don't need to complete the ad creation process to take advantage of list.

Next up is Meredith from Google.

Meredith works in the traditional media products division. Will share stories of advertisers who saw great results using print, TV, and audio through the Google network.

We know it's important to be found in search. But if you limit focus to just search, you are missing opportunity. Customers are not yet looking for you in many cases.

Within the Adwords console, you can place ads via these mediums, and can manage them within a single interface.

Case study: Blue Nile - a diamond retailer. Wanted to target 6 strategic markets. Ran print ads using Google. Used unique URL and unique offer. In markets where they ran print, revenue increased by 29%. They also tried a new ad format - the consumer response tag. When ran ads with this tag, revenue and engagement increased 6.5x.

Can target by demographic, geography, section of paper, days, time, etc.

Case study: Golf Now - sells unsold Tee times. Expanded into new areas in the US. Wanted to increase presence in a few markets. Ran print campaigns in relevant sections, as well as audio. Huge spike in sales by accessing print and audio in adwords account allowed efficient targeting within one interface and tracking it.

1700 different channels across the US, partnered with Clear Channel. Can target by state, market, format, zip code, and demographics. Audio ads offer event triggers - for example weather based products. Can create ads and have them played given the weather condition.

Case Study - the Hanley Center Drug Rehab Center. Goal was to reach new potential enrollers beyond local market. Ran national TV campaign using Google TV ads. Used day parts, and also targeted specific shows. Measured brochure requests. Saw a 40% increase. After the TV campaigns, identified what specific markets were most receptive, and able to up the ad buys in those markets.

Can access up to 96 cable networks in the US. Most excited part is collecting anonymous data from set top boxes, and share that data with us. Not only tell us impressions, but can also get data on second by second basis. What percentage of audience watched the ad till the end.

Google Analytics can also measure TV and Audio. Analytics will be able to measure Print campaigns very soon.

Contributed by Avi Wilensky of Promediacorp.


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