Trying to develop a marketing strategy for local advertising is a difficult task today as consumers are abandoning the tried and true print mediums for online sources of information. While gaining brand presence on social sites isn’t on the top of the list of things to do (Google local-search is number 1) it’s worth experimenting with.
TMP Directional Marketing’s fourth annual Local Search Usage Study came out recently and it included this chart:
THE IMPORTANCE OF LOCAL BUSINESS INFORMATION OFFERED ON SOCIAL SITES
I was surprised to see how much information consumers expected to see on these sites. It really seems that consumers expect the social sites to act as a retailers Internet site. And, we know retailers like having a social site because it’s free and they have complete control of it.
Now the challenge is to get brand approved information, images and text into the retailers hands so he can easily add it to his social site. The best way to do that is through your ad builder, let the dealer build a microsite and incorporate that into his social site. The information is controlled by the brand, customized by the retailer and distributed by the retailer without any publication costs. Sounds like a great plan.
TMP Directional Marketing’s fourth annual Local Search Usage Study came out recently and it’s loaded with good information.
Here’s a good overview chart taken from the study.
It’s telling us that online continues to grow year over year as the place consumers go for local business information and Local Search should continue to be a major component of your online strategy.
I’m still amazed at the strength of the Internet Yellow Page sites as I find them to be confusing and difficult to work with. However, making sure your retailers are listed in these IYPs is worth the effort.
Print is still relevant but certainly not the player it once was and now should be where co-op dollars come from to fund the continued growth of online.
We’ve known it for sometime that the Internet has changed the way people shop for products. It’s not good enough anymore to trust in-store displays or even salespeople as the majority of consumers do research well before they get in their cars and head for a retailer. According to a recent Pew study 58% of Americans research products online and 78% of Internet users have at least occasionally done online research for a product.
The research also shows us that the more educated, wealthier consumers are most likely to do research online but even the majority of low income, less educated consumers understand the value of online research.
In addition to income and education it’s also reassuring to see that there is no difference between suburban and urban consumers with regard to product research online.
Overall every segment listed above is over 50% so full steam ahead with every effort to provide a better consumer experience online. The Internet is where buyers and sellers meet on purpose.
According to their blog, here’s what Google demonstrated at yesterday’s Interactive Agency Bureau’s MIXX Conference in New York, during their keynote address entitled “Display 2015 Smart and Sexy” :
The Teracent technology is really exciting for marketers who are trying to combine national display ad buys with landing pages customized by the local dealer. It sounds like that dream may becoming a reality fairly soon. We’ll keep an eye on this for you, when they’re ready we’re ready.
Here’s another prediction from this blog entry:
That’s exciting, too.
The Internet is a wonderful thing as it brings us new and better ways to advertise in local markets. However, two of the challenges are to stay current with the technology and the terminology. The IAB just released Targeting Local Markets: An IAB Internet Advertising Guide and at the very end they show this chart.
Of course nothing is perfect and some of these definitions overlap one another. For example, Google search is also IP-based so they know someone is in Cleveland when they search for ” lawn mower” and Google shows a local Cleveland retailer’s ad. Google also fits the Search definition as it reacts to someone searching for “lawn mowers in Cleveland” and will show the same local retailer’s ad.
GPS is a more accurate version of the IP based process and for now is mostly associated with mobile searches where we can determine your map coordinates through your phone.
The technology is changing and somewhat confusing so I applaud the IAB for adding some definition to our discussions.
Now, tell me what you think “cloud computing” means today.
Total advertising money spent locally is increasing in spite of the fact that traditional local advertising spending is down.
During a recession local retailers think harder about every advertising dollar they spend and it’s becoming clear that they are seeing the value of online advertising according to this survey.
We’ve seen this happening in the real world too and think it’s a good trend because consumers are online and therefore retailers should be there too.
The challenge for brand marketers is to control the brand online locally. The best way to do that is to host, maintain and control landing pages for your retailers. Let them customize a landing page, that is brand friendly and then host the page(s) so you can track clicks and continually improve upon the message.
In fact, if you don’t control the landing pages I don’t see any way you can confidently say your dealers are following your guidelines (what they show you for approval can be changed in seconds).
And, the best place to deal with online advertising for your retailers is inside of a traditional online ad builder.
There are lots of reasons why a brand wants to have an online ad builder. Controlling the brand message all the way down to retail is the best reason. Followed closely by saving production costs. Well, now there’s a third and it’s just as important as the other two.
Brand managers need a tool to control digital media at retail and a good ad builder is just the answer. Take the same assets, workflow and instead of just outputting traditional media files, output and host a digital page. Now you can control your brand on a dealer’s ad banner landing page, a local Google landing page and even publish to the dealer’s own web site.
In fact, if you don’t have a way to control digital pages like this, you’ll lose control over your brand online.
The latest numbers are out on who is winning the search wars and it’s still Google.
What’s important about this month is that it is the first time that Bing has beaten Yahoo. As you can see Bing’s growth has been at the expense of Yahoo and the floundering AOL sites. Google has been strong and steady but not growing.
This battle is important for us to watch because through our ad builder we buy local search campaigns for independent dealers, Google’s 65% share gets our attention and all of our dollars. At some point in the future, when Bing reaches about 33% share, we’ll add Bing to the choices for our retailers. Right now Bing’s not worth the extra cost and confusion.
We’ve seen survey reports that show 80% of web users use at least two channels to evaluate a product purchase decision. And, nearly 90% of marketers according to a survey by Alterian say that it’s vital or extremely so to have campaigns integrate between channels.
While integration is important it’s not easy to accomplish according to this report:
Recently we’ve seen our clients recognize the value of an online ad builder where the retailers can build more than just traditional media outputs. Now we’re adding landing pages for banner ads, landing pages for local Google campaigns, dealer sites for use in a brand’s dealer locator and e-promo pages to name a few.
The beauty is that dealers build these digital outputs from the same approved content that they use to build their traditional ads. Now a brand manager has complete integration and control for multiple retail channel marketing.
Online ad builders get more valuable every day.
According to a recent report from Borrell Associates, overall ad spending in 2011 will grow by less than 5% but local online ad spending will grow by 18% in 2011.
They further go on to explain where the growth is coming from:
It’s clear that ad dollars continue to move from the old media to the new and now it’s time for local banner ads to have their day. When your retailers start to use local banner ads the key to success isn’t what the banner ad looks like or even how it performs, the key to success is the landing page and how it performs. That’s why if you have an online ad builder it’s not good enough to allow your retailers to build an effective banner ad, you also have to build, host, maintain and monitor the landing page. The landing page is where the brand message gets delivered and the cash register rings.