, 29 Oct 2014

BIA/Kelsey projects phone leads driven by mobile search to reach 72 billion annually by 2018. Our Local Commerce Monitor meanwhile pegs phone calls as the most valuable form of customer lead. That’s especially true in high value verticals like professional services.

These factors are all coming together to make the phone call “the new click”. This involves lots of moving parts such as demand generation, search marketing, call sourcing, and call analytics. You can see all our past coverage of these topics here.

The topic will also be center stage at our Leading in Local: Interactive Local Media conference in San Francisco (Dec 3-5). We’ll have a heavy hitter roster of call monetization players to discuss what’s working, not working and where value will lie in the coming months.

The selfie video above goes into greater depth, and you can see our speaker roster below. We hope to see you at the conference.

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, 29 Oct 2014

Local’s 800 lb. gorilla is always Amazon. It has already had a huge impact on retail via showrooming. Now it has invaded Groceries, and is heading towards Services. Plus it wants to provide a full range of promotional and fulfillment services for SMBs via Amazon Offers, Amazon Web Services and other services.

At Leading in Local: Interactive Local Media, which is Dec. 3-5 at the SFO Hyatt, we’ll talk up and down Amazon and its impact on local with Brad Stone, the author of “The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon.” (We’ll probably get some copies as door prizes for audience members). Stone, who won the Business Book of the Year award for The Everything Store, also serves as Bloomberg Businessweek’s senior writer in San Francisco.

The show itself continues to build and build — it is likely to be one of the biggest yet.

Some of the highlights of the two-and-a-half-day show — out of many — include a keynote from Pinterest VP Joel Meek; two sessions dedicated to Google and its transformation of local; a VC session with Mucker Labs’ Will Hsu and Comcast Venture’s Michael Yang; a keynote from YP CMO Allison Checchi; a keynote from Yodle CEO Court Cunningham as Yodle preps its IPO; and a dual keynote from Deseret Media’s Clark Gilbert and Chris Lee, taking the lessons of disruptive media to heart in their remaking of the media company. Gilbert and Lee recently did a briefing for the BIA/Kelsey analysts – it was, by far, the most enlightening briefing for us this year.

We’ll also be presenting a great deal of cutting-edge BIA/Kelsey research, including findings from our exclusive survey of top loyalty executives, where we have worked to see what is working, what is not and where the momentum lies. Great insights are coming in. The Cardlinx Association has partnered with us on the survey, and Cardlinx head Silvio Tavres will be co-presenting.

Author Brad Stone, Recipient of Business Book of The Year

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, 28 Oct 2014

Location based ad targeting, when done right, can achieve 2x-3x greater performance according to Verve Mobile president and GM Tom Kenney. We interviewed Tom and YP’s VP of Digital Jeff Federman during our SMB Digital Marketing show last month (video below).

But what do we mean by “location based ad targeting?” The term is thrown around so loosely these days and no one stops to define it. We did just that before discussing performance deltas and, more importantly, the tactics that can achieve those results.

For example, it’s not just about where the ad shows up, but location relevance in what the ad contains. That means things like ad creative and calls to action. Ironically, that goes back to ad fundamentals that aren’t necessarily new.

“If you have crumby inventory, poor creative, and bad messaging, it doesn’t matter how good you can target the ad to a consumer,” said Kenney. “Location is an enabling capability, it’s not the solution… the solution is all the other stuff in the marketing mix that you were doing previously such as world class messaging and presentation.”

There’s also a fair share of emerging ad components such as dynamic distance feed indicators (How close are you to the closest store?). Kenney says that when dynamic distance feeds weren’t used in their A/B testing, performance dropped by 40 percent.

Other tactical areas worth examining include proper calls to action in ad units, such as click to call.  Both panelists agree to the growing importance of driving phone calls to SMBs, especially in high-value verticals like professional services that want the phone to ring.

And as always, local ad sales is a key topic. YP has a unique high-touch approach, afforded by it’s direct SMB sales channel. And the economics work out well, given more favorable margins from owning both the sales channel and the user touch point (the YP app).

We discuss these matters throughout the session, which can be seen in its entirety below. You can also follow the chapter links to jump around to various subtopics Those are also listed and linked below for your convenience.

Stay tuned for lots more conference video as we gear up for our next conference, Leading in Local: Interactive Local Media, taking place December 3-5 in San Francisco. We’ll continue the discussion there.

Video Chapters

Defining Location Based Mobile Advertising
Macroeconomic Factors Governing Mobile Advertising
Mobile Local Ad Performance
Mobile Local Ad Tactics
The Call is the New Click
SMBs as Ad Buyers: Mobile Local ad Sales Tactics
Case Study

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, 28 Oct 2014

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U.S. mobile ad revenues will grow from $13.25B this year to $41.63B by 2019. That’s according to BIA/Kelsey’s Local Media Forecast.  The overall forecast is broken down into media such as Online, television, and YP.  Today I’m highlighting the mobile piece.

The top line figures above include search, display, SMS, video and native social (i.e. FB news feed ads). The latter are growing quickly and have caused us to dial up our overall forecast. It’s important to note that these figures do not include tablets (for reasons mentioned here).

In addition to ad formats, the mobile ad pie can also be segmented by targeting scope: Location targeted mobile ad spend will grow from $4.3 billion this year to $17.9 billion in 2018. That equals about a third of overall mobile ad revenues, growing to 42 percent in 2019.

Drivers for this growth include mobile usage (which skews towards local intent) and advertiser evolution to follow that usage. Another important factor is the premiums associated with location targeted ads. Those are developing from their performance and their demand.

We’ll release a more in-depth set of slides to BIA/Kelsey clients next week and will discuss the figures during our Leading in Local: Interactive Local Media conference, Dec 3-5 in San Francisco. Meanwhile the data are summarized below.

– U.S. location targeted mobile ad revenues are projected to grow from $4.3 billion to $19.3 billion from 2014-18, a 35 percent CAGR.

– This is defined as advertising targeted based on a user’s location.

– It includes large national advertisers and SMBs.

– Location specific ad copy or calls to action (i.e., call local store), will also classify a given ad as location targeted.

– Driving this localized share:

– Adoption of mobile local advertising tactics (i.e., geo-fencing, click-to-call, click to map) by national advertisers
– National advertisers’ natural evolution to adopt effective, increasingly available, and currently undervalued mobile local ad inventory
– Innovation among ad networks and ad tech providers (e.g., Google’s Enhanced Campaigns, xAd) will provide impetus for this transition

– SMB adoption – a slow but growing share of localized mobile advertising – will likewise impact revenue.

– Evolving SMB savvy and growing propensity to self-serve with offerings like Google AdWords and Facebook (pull)
– Accelerating mobile innovation, sales and bundling efforts of local media companies (push).
– Example: Yelp earlier this year partnered with YP, meaning YP’s 4,000 local sales reps will now be armed with Yelp advertising packages, which include mobile presence and distribution.

– Increase in localized mobile campaigns that results from the aforementioned advertiser adoption shifts will be coupled with premiums for location-targeted ads.

– Ad premiums referenced in the previous point will result from higher performance for location targeted mobile ads vs. non-location targeted ads.

– These performance deltas (such as click through rates) are a function of:

– Higher relevance, immediacy and alignment with consumer local buying intent, all of which are more prevalent in mobile than in other print and digital media
– For example, half of mobile searches have intent to find local information or products, compared to the 17 percent of desktop searches that carry comparative local intent

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, 23 Oct 2014

First Data, the payment processing giant, has been building up a suite of services that would take the company far beyond payment processing and inject it squarely in the middle of SMB marketing.

The suite as currently configured includes the Clover Point of Sales system; Insightics analytics of transactions; Gyft virtual gift card services; and Perka, a sophisticated loyalty program for SMBs. Each of the services works independently, but are also increasingly integrated as well.

Perka was purchased by First Data roughly one year ago; in tandem with First Data’ purchase of Clover. Competing with Belly, Five Stars, SpotOn and other loyalty services, Perka now has over 1,000 merchants, and has recently increased its monthly fee for new customers from $50 to $59.99.

Co-founder Rob Bethge recently talked with BIA/Kelsey about the service’s progress under First Data – a sale which Bethge says has given it a chance to scale on a global basis– technologically and commercially – much faster than if it had been a standalone company.

Bethge says the company is just now “commercializing” with First Data’s various channels, including the use of up to 1,700 First Data sales reps of various stripes reaching out to SMBs. The service’s latest feature is the addition of proprietary wireless Beacon technology with rolling security codes, which will be provided for free to subscribers. The technology, which requires consumer opt-in, allows stores to know precisely who is in their store at any time – a favorite merchant feature, says Bethge.

Among other things, stores could theoretically craft special promotions based on this knowledge. The service, which is Bluetooth enabled, also allows easy transactions when consumers hands are full (i.e. if they are carrying a baby or a cup of coffee).

Theoretically, using the Beacon, consumers can turn on the feature for the morning at some stores, and then turn it on for other stores in the evening. The Beacon technology also enables individual merchant apps, in addition to Web access. “It allows for very location oriented offers,” Bethge says.

Interestingly, Bethge says the Beacon service would not have had an impact when Perka was first introduced in 2011. At that time, “less than half of locations had WiFi. Now it is not even a question.”

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