, 19 Dec 2014

Every December, BIA/Kelsey analysts are challenged to make predictions for the coming year in their coverage areas (directories, mobile, sales, search, social, transactions & loyalty, video). This year’s batch, BIA/Kelsey’s 2015 Analyst Predictions came out last week on the eve of our Leading in Local: Interactive Local Media conference in San Francisco.

BIA/Kelsey analysts submitted more than 20 predictions, and from these the strongest 10 predictions made it into the 2015 report. This year’s crop covers a diverse range of topics, reflecting the breadth and diversity of the analysts’ knowledge set.


Future Ahead


Last week at the ILM conference, three analysts offered a preview of this year’s predictions during a luncheon for BIA/Kelsey clients.

Prediction: The Era of Full-Circle Marketing Arrives

BIA/Kelsey Senior Director of Industry Strategy and Insight Abid Chaudhry predicted that seamless full-circle marketing – the ability to combine offline and online into a single trackable campaign – will become reality in 2015. “The combination of evolving call tracking, routing, automation technology and mature location-based marketing solutions will for the first time give marketers total click-to-purchase visibility of their marketing funnel,” Chaudhry said.

Here is Abid discussing his prediction at the client lunch:

Prediction: Angie’s List Sold, Subscriptions Dropped

Managing Director Rick Ducey shared his prediction that Angie’s List will be sold and turned into a free site in 2015. “Ratings and reviews for home improvement sites have gone mainstream,” Ducey said. “Soon there won’t be room for a premium model such as Angie’s List, which is already seeing less than 40 percent of its revenue from premium subscriptions. Buyers may come from major media – Gannett was once interested – or perhaps one of the digital powerhouses (Google, Amazon, Yahoo).”

 Prediction: New Era of Same Day Delivery Deferred

Sometimes analyst predictions are as much about what won’t happen as what will. VP & Chief Analyst Peter Krasilovsky believes the new era of same-day delivery will be slowed down by economic realities and poor synergies with existing products. “eBay is already pulling back on its efforts, and we’ll see others – amazon, Walmart and Google – also  begin to pull back from early tests,” Krasilovksy explained. “But impulse buyers will still have several options, including the continued growth of Online Order/Pick Up in Store (or neighborhood location.)”

2015 Predictions 2

The full 2015 predictions report is available for download to clients of BIA/Kelsey’s advisory services.

Note: This post was originally published on December 12 and was updated on December 19 to include a video link.

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, 15 Dec 2014


Surviving the shift from tradition to digital revenue may not be the most challenging transformation for media companies. Speaking at BIA/Kelsey’s recent Leading in Local: Interactive Local Media conference,Christopher Lee, president of Deseret Digital Media, offered a primer on staying ahead of revenue’s transition from traditional to digital to “mobile ready.”

One of the key’s to making this shift is developing a strong native advertising capability, and Deseret is an early leader among media companies in mastering the art and science of native.

Lee says Desert Digital Media has two digital revenue buckets. The first is display (which he describes as “90 percent at risk”) and the second is “mobile ready,” which is growing by about 30 percent annually, according to Lee. Assessing the mobile-readiness of revenue is a critical test of a media business’s sustainability.

While CPMs are currently low, through skilled targeting, CPMs can grow over time. So what defines mobile-ready revenue? Here is Lee’s list:


Deseret has been particularly innovative in native advertising, building its own internal capability and developing an evolving set of KPIs and best practices. Lee says native packs a much bigger punch than more tradition forms of online advertising like banners.

The average native article on Deseret’s online properties generates 13,424 views, only slightly below the 13,836 that editorial articles receive. Lee estimated it would costs $39,000 to get 13,000 brand engagements with a brand using banner ads.  With native, Lee said advertisers for “much lower cost get the same result.” Deseret sells native in packages that include content creation and posting, with clients free to use the content on their own properties as well. In some cases Deseret will distribute the native content via social media and email marketing, for additional fees.

However, Lee did acknowledge that native is not a fit for all advertisers, particularly not very small ones.

He also captured a primer on how to develop an effective native advertising capability on the following slide:


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, 11 Dec 2014

Apple Pay won’t have the near term transformative effect on proximity payments that everyone seems to think.  It will get there eventually, as “chicken & egg” hardware compatibility issues work themselves out in 2015. In the meantime, in-app payments will be where Apple Pay shines.

As opposed to in-app payments for virtual goods like app upgrades, songs, ringtones, etc., I’m referring to in-app payments for services that are fulfilled offline. This is the emerging on demand local services (ODLS) space popularized by Uber and taking over several local verticals.

We held a session at ILM ’14 last week on ODLS that was a highlight of the show. We’ve also written extensively about it. Lastly, I gave a presentation to kick off the show which, summarized our view of payments and ODLS. A replica of that presentation’s slides and voiceover can be seen below.

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, 10 Dec 2014

Court Cunningham has as good a handle as anyone on what makes small-business advertisers tick. As CEO of Yodle, Cunningham’s daily challenge is figuring out how to optimally sell digital marketing solution to SMBs. It’s a vexing problem that has challenged some of the best minds in local search.

In his wide ranging keynote presentation last week at BIA/Kelsey’s Leading in Local: Interactive Local Media conference in San Francisco, Cunningham shared his observations and what does and doesn’t work when going to market in the SMB space.

On Marketing Automation: Most SMBs do not have the budget for the big solutions (e.g., Marketo). Marketing automation comes in to solve that problem. Increasingly, success is being measured by revenue. Marketing automation will eventually be integrated into payments.

On DIY v. DIWM v. DIFM: SMBs need help. Among “Plus Spenders” (SMB advertisers in BIA/Kelsey’s Local Commerce Monitor survey spending more than $25,000 annually), 70 percent say they want assistance. “People will pay with their time or with their money,” Cunningham said. “The low end of market pays with its time.” Most of the dollars are in the “Plus” area, and those businesses are willing to pay for DIFM and DIWM solutions.

On CRM for SMBs: Marketing to existing customers is the most efficient way to sell. To do it, you need more data than just an email address. High impact CRM requires integration into vertically focused systems (e.g., automotive, etc.). The divide between acquisition and retention marketing is quickly blurring. Many activities now involve both.

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, 10 Dec 2014

One of the underlying technologies driving the exploding call monetization space is speech to text processing. I keep telling people that the opportunity will only grow as speech recognition technologies themselves do. And voice processing is an area that’s young and naturally improves over time.

Towards that end, Ifbyphone announced a partnership with speech automation specialist LumenVox. Ifbyphone will plug this technology directly into its Voice360 hosted IVR platform which should enable some vertical integration advantages; and make the overall package more effective and holistic.

“In our industry today, so much emphasis is placed on call data and analytics,” Steve Griffiths, SVP Marketing and Product Strategy told me. “This is a critical component of our solution, but an often overlooked fact is that the quality of the call experience — what actually happens on the phone — must be top notch as well. The best reporting in the world does not do much good if your customers are wrestling with hard to use IVRs and phone trees.”

Griffith’s comments resonate, given the volume of calls to businesses coming from mobile — 72 billion annually by 2018 according to our forecast. That increases the uncertain variables under which calls happen, including reception, wind, background noise, etc.. LumenVox will alleviate that.

This is just the latest in call monetization, which is one of the most underrated areas of advertising media and technology today. The call is the new click, as we keep saying. For more, see the blog posts and white papers we wrote on the topic this year. There’s much more where that came from in 2015.

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