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Greg Sterling wrote an interesting column in the YPA’s Local Search Guide, and on his own blog, about the growing importance of video in local search.

He gives lots of good examples of local video ad programs either launched or in development at DexOnline,, MojoPages and most notably Spot Runner and TurnHere. I would add Citysearch’s announced intentions (as part of the general revamping strategy that included the Insider Pages acquisition) to launch local video ads in May.

He characterizes video as quickly becoming a “must have” in local. Some may see it as a fad, driven by the explosion of popularity and interest around amateur-generated YouTube clips. But video has clear advantages in local, and it is going in a direction where it could indeed become table stakes.

There is a great deal that has to happen, and many balls in the air as they say, before a definable ecosystem forms around this. These include adoption curve issues among small businesses, SMB tech savvy, economies of video production technology, and more developed distribution models (we’ve blogged about some of these dynamics here, here and here). But the experimentation happening now in the marketplace is very interesting to watch, and the many questions raised amid this experimentation are important to address at this embryonic stage.

There will be a video focus at this year’s Drilling Down on Local conference, with Spot Runner CEO Nick Grouf keynoting. There is also a video panel on Day 1 (agenda here) in which we’ll try to answer many of these questions. In addition, we’re looking at ways of showing “live” local video ads, as real examples that will lend a certain degree of veracity to this discussion, which always seems to happen on a theoretical level. Greg also provides some nice examples of local video’s advantages at the links above.

Speaking of Greg, he’ll be on a panel titled “The Big Thinkers,” which will serve as a closing bookend to the show. It will be nice to have him back on stage at a Kelsey event.

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