, 17 Oct 2014

Gannett’s acquisition of Key Ring two years ago was something of a head shaker. Was the media giant diving into online loyalty marketing, an area mostly dominated by financial institution-related companies? Two years later, more light has been shed on the Key Ring acquisition.

Key Ring is a mobile app that lets consumers electronically enter their loyalty card in in one digital location. In this regard, it is like Constant Contact’s Cardstar. What we’ve learned is that Gannett is using the App to drive targeted traffic to its big box and retail circular advertisers from ShopLocal, the sister G/O Digital brand.

CEO Chris Fagan tells us Key Ring, which has 15 full time employees, now provides circular content from 160 retailers. Of these, 90 are providing exclusive content via ShopLocal. Offers can be triggered on user cell phones by geo location or via in-store beacons. You might access “Here is what is on sale at Target” for instance. Consumers can use it to explore and discover what is nearby.

The ShopLocal ties makes it possible to scale all the merchant and brand relationships without having to deal with each merchant and brand – a major barrier for other companies, says Fagan. The app also incorporates 65,000 coupons a month from Clipper Magazine.

What Key Ring really brings to the table is enormous scale. Fagan says the App has a surprisingly high 11.1 million customers. Active users may access it five or six times a month, with the more steady users not only accessing circular content, but the site’s shopping lists. These consumers have really high retention and recurring usage, says Fagan.

Interestingly, the majority of the customers are driven organically by good consumer press and other sources, he says. For instance, the comapny recently got a good mention in Good Housekeeping Magazine that really drove usage. Gannett’s cross media ads in USA Today and on its TV stations have been helpful, but not especially critical.

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, 15 Oct 2014

The initial lineup for Leading in Local: Interactive Local Media 2014 is now officially released. This year’s ILM — our flagship event — takes place Dec. 3-5 at the SFO Hyatt, close to San Francisco and just up the road from most of the Silicon Valley leaders and startups. We expect 45+ hand-picked speakers, and more than 500 senior level attendees for the show, which remains local’s premier networking (and dealmaking) event.

Of special interest: The Local Tech Expo on Day 1, where we’ll feature some of the great technology innovations rocking our local world: everything, potentially, from Google Glasses to Connected Cars. Another key session: The Venture Capitalists. Former local leaders Will Hsu (AT&T) and Michael Yang (Yahoo) give the rundown on local venture from their respective perches at Mucker Labs and Comcast Ventures. We’ll also be showcasing plenty of BIA/Kelsey research, including new survey results on online loyalty marketing that we have been conducting with The Cardlinx Association.

Beyond that, our deep analyst team has developed six key themes in building ILM 2104.

1. Rethink and Extend Local Search. As local search begins to mimic natural discovery, we increasingly look at intelligent personal network and natural language capabilities to enhance and enlarge the search platform.

Google goes deep at ILM, highlighting five key categories that represent its commitment to local. Microsoft is going deep, too. Bing’s Kelly Thomas Nojaim and Ken Weyel have similarly chosen ILM to showcase Microsoft’s Cortana intelligent personal network – it should be a fantastic demonstration. We’re equally excited about Weotta founder Grant Wernick, who will highlight the role of natural language search in local discovery. On a related note: YP CMO Allison Checchi will highlight how YP’s approaching local discovery for the next generation of usage.

2. Social’s Growing Reach and Impact on Local. It’s not just Facebook. Social media has now emerged as a search bypass in some cases, and is being integrated into all measures of local business marketing success.

Pinterest VP Joel Meek keynotes Day 2, highlighting the incredible impact of Pins on every conceiveable local activity. Another Day 2 Keynote: Deseret Media CEO Clark Gilbert and President Chris Lee discuss the impact of native advertising and social on media’s future. Those guys have practically created a living laboratory in Utah. Our marketing automation and social leadership session also takes a broader look at social, with Where2GetIt CEO Manish Patel, MomentFeed Chief Innovation Officer Rob Reed and EuroWeb CEO Christoph Preuss. Preuss provides a uniquely German perspective on social media.

3. The Explosive Growth of The Share Economy. It seems that every vertical is going through the process of Uberification — where consumers can “buy” from lists of pros, enhanced by their social reviews.

We have especially strong players in Home Improvement, with The Home Depot’s Anthony Roddio; Thumbtack CEO Marco Zappacosta; and ex ReachLocal head Zorik Gordon talking about his new venture, Serviz. Also Joining us: Urgent.ly CEO Chris Spanos, who will discuss the Uber model for auto repair.

4. Do it With Me? The biggest questions in local still come down to scale in reaching and serving SMBs, and the utility and value of the services. Is the ideal platform Do It for Me. Or DIY? Our strategist Stacey Sedbrook focus on Do it With Me as a hybrid effort.

Yodle CEO Court Cunningham — one of our highest rated speakers and keynotes. McClatchy/TruMeasure GM Charity Huff and Vendasta Technologies CEO Brendan King are similarly set to share their deep insights. Vendasta is set to showcase some deep market analysis at the show.

5. Mobile, Mobile (Video). The emergence of Mobile as a true advertising and media channel has had wide ranging implications for local. One area we’ll focus on: the use of mobile for local video. This area is busting loose.

Datasphere SVP Gary Cowan will detail the company’s advanced mobile video program, while StudioNow President Dan Corts and Media Distribution Solutions COO Brian Russell provide insights into scaling video with style.

6. Go Deep with Analytics and CRM. Local businesses need to see the ROI. And with the rising impact of social, they especially need better guidance in their campaign planning.

Salesforce VP Randy Wootton — a longtime BIA/Kelsey favorite from his Microsoft days –lays out how CRM plays in our space on Day 3. Also on Day 3: First Data SVP Krish Mantripragada shows how “you are what you buy” via the Insightics analytics platform. And our Call Management and Analytics Superforum provides real insight into what can be done. Marchex’s Brooks McMahon, IfByPhone�s Irv Shapiro and CallRail’s Mark Sullivan are set.

Sound good? You may easily register here.

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, 15 Oct 2014

Local marketing has gone beyond advertising, but the industry’s success is still measured in ad dollars. This relates to our “operating system for the SMB” analysis, and was defined further at the SMB Digital Marketing Conference (video below)

In reality, advertising and related marketing technology constitute just one stack,¯ argues BIA/Kelsey’s Rick Ducey. To measure local’s success, consider how it interoperates with other stacks, including operations, data, content and commerce.

Each stack maintains independent strengths yet interoperable functions, which will be a core construct in BIA/Kelsey’s future analysis of local media. We’ll start with the video below.

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, 15 Oct 2014

Yelp’s SMB offerings can be summed up in three tiers according to BD lead Peter Curzon. We interviewed Peter on stage at our SMB Digital Marketing Conference in a session about “what works” in mobile for SMBs (video below).

The three tiers according to Curzon are:

Free Profile: Claim your profile, update your information and some limited reporting on business leads from the profile
Enhanced Profile: Greater level of control over your profile, including slideshows, and greater level of reporting and adding specific calls to action
Advertising Bundle: Advertise throughout Yelp, governed by its algorithm for ad placement within similar categories, searches, and location targeting (includes mobile)

“You have profiles and ads,” said Curzon, “which makes sense to think about it that way because ads are driving consumers back to your page, and if your page isn’t rich and engaging in the first place, consumers aren’t going to engage as much. Our profiles that have photos users spend 2.5x times as much time on that listing as one that has no photos.”

Yelp gets a lot of attention in tech media, but this SMB-facing angle doesn’t get as much play. We broke this down in about a year ago, but a lot has changed since then — particularly with quickly growing mobile user engagement for Yelp.

Yelp’s Q2 earnings were also quite strong with 61 percent YoY revenue growth, 44 percent reviews volume growth and 40 percent of reviews now coming from mobile. In the video below, we discuss these factors plus Yelp’s foray into short-form video.


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, 14 Oct 2014

Dex Media announced today that former Yellowbook CEO Joe Walsh will take over as its President and CEO, replacing Peter McDonald.

It has been widely rumored for some time that Walsh was in line for a key role at Dex Media. Walsh and his former Yellowbook colleagues Gary Shaw and Gordon Henry have recently been doing consulting work at Dex Media. Their presence sparked rumors that a succession plan was in the works, likely involving Walsh, 51, replacing the 64 year old McDonald, who came out of retirement to run SuperMedia, which later merged with Dex One to become Dex Media.

Walsh was a popular leader at Yellowbook, but he left the company in 2011, not long after its parent company Yell (later renamed hibu) brought in a new management team led by Mike Pocock. Since leaving hibu, Walsh has consulted and served on boards and has remained visible at local search industry conferences.

Walsh’s leadership of Yellowbook changed the U.S. Yellow Pages landscape.  Through expansion and acquisition, he built the publishers from a small regional independent into a roughly $2 billion giant that challenged incumbent publishers, particularly in major markets.

Yellowbook’s push into large markets was advanced when it was acquired by British Telecom (later Yell). Major metros had once been considered too expensive for small publishers to take on, but BT gave Yellowbook the necessary financial wherewithal. Walsh’s mantra was that the then utility based incumbent publishers (one of which he now runs) charged too much for their advertising, while Yellowbook offered small business advertisers a lower cost per lead.

While it may take a little while to get a sense of where Walsh wants to take Dex Media, his appointment does raise immediate speculation about another wave of industry consolidation. Back in 2011, Walsh gave a keynote address at a BIA/Kelsey conference in which he made the case for the ultimate consolidation of the major U.S. directory publishers.

In that address, Walsh said his analysis showed that consolidating two major directory companies would help stabilize revenues declines and improve margins. Much has transpired since that presentation, including the Dex One/SuperMedia merger, which created the company Walsh now leads.

Walsh and McDonald will take questions on the transition on Dex Media’s November 4 Q3 earnings call. One question that may come up is whether Walsh still advocates consolidation.

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