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.
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.
Here are the results from a study by Harris Interactive that asked marketers what works best in reaching local markets.
These results are right in line with what our clients are asking for in the ad builders we build for them. More than ever brand managers want digital outputs in addition to the more traditional newspaper ads and brochures that are already being generated online by their dealers.
The reason is simple. More consumers are spending more time online than ever before and certainly when searching for a product, it’s the number one place consumers go first.
When you combine the brand message with local promotions, local prices and the extra services that are offered by a local retailer, you have everything a consumer needs to make a purchase decision.
Exposing a co-branded dealer microsite in your dealer locator results page (instead of sending an interested consumer to the dealer’s site loaded with competitive information), as a landing page for a banner ad campaign or use it for a landing page in a local Google search campaign. It makes a lot of sense according to this study.
I’m picking up this story from the Guardian in England, so I won’t vouch for their numbers but even if they’re half right this should put a scare into US newspapers thinking of putting up a paywall for their content.
The Guardian story claims that almost 90% of the Times of London online readers have abandoned the site rather than pay a fee to read the articles.
This information won’t help US newspaper publishers sleep any better as many, including the New York Times, have announced plans to charge readers to view articles online within the coming year. Free is a stubborn thing to take back once your customers have gotten spoiled by the concept. Not to mention the fact that so much of the content newspapers want to charge for is available free elsewhere on the Internet.
So what is a newspaper to do? They’re losing money on the print edition and can’t seem to charge enough for online advertising to offset the cost of providing the site while also enduring the losses from the print edition.
I don’t have an answer for them but I’m concerned about the ultra fragmentation of local advertising that will take place if such stalwarts of local advertising fall by the wayside. Will we have to find the best local blogs in every city and negotiate a banner ad buy with each one of them? I hope not.
Local advertising has been all about technological change these past 10 or 15 years as the Internet has become the place where consumers spend their time. Recently we read where White Page phone directories are becoming a thing of the past and yesterday we saw where Amazon sells more e-books than hardcover books.
In the past three months Amazon claims to have sold 143 e-books for every 100 hardcover books during the same time period. In the past four weeks the ratio was even greater at 180 e-books to every 100 hardcovers.
What all this means to those of us looking for better ways to advertise to potential customers locally is that we have to adapt to technology and provide our retailers with the tools they need to play in the digital arena. Yesterday’s online ad builder that helps produce print materials is still relevant, just not as relevant. It’s time to add microsites, banner ads, local search campaigns, fan pages and more to the mix.
Here’s a great quote,