As the demand for dependable call-tracking tools intensifies in the SMB marketplace, WebVisible — the Irvine, California-based local online marketing provider — has unveiled upgrades to its portfolio of services to enable more focused ad geotargeting and greater call-tracking capabilities for businesses.
WebVisible has boosted its Geneva Platform to serve locally targeted ads for its clients across all search engines. CEO Kirsten Mangers told BIA/Kelsey that not only will SMBs be able to calculate their advertising radius across an entire city or ZIP code, but they can also “drill down to individual blocks within the radius to focus their marketing efforts on high or low penetration areas.”
Enhanced geotargeting feeds into call-mapping features provided by the company’s Merchant Center 1.6, giving clients smarter tools to distinguish “bona fide leads” from peripheral ones.
Mapping shows advertisers exactly where calls are originating from within their radius. The platform is interactive, so SMBs can then grade calls in order to earmark effective leads and block unwanted calls. They have the autonomy to say “what is a good call and what isn’t.” WebVisible then can apply its algorithm on the back-end to adjust marketing campaigns for more efficient bidding and targeting. And, as dictated by its SMB partners, it can also create alerts tied to their call blocks.
The entire suite is designed to, as Mangers put it, address “the elephant in the room” for call tracking and pay-per-call providers: distilling qualified leads from irrelevant ones. Easier said than done, she reminded us, because what is “bona fide” to one business may not be to another. Only when this issue is definitively resolved can SMBs, resellers and agencies all evolve to true transaction-based, performance-based models.
Yext has already introduced voice recognition and processing technology to help merchants better understand their leads, a developing sweet spot for WebVisible, too. Mangers said it would enable the company to scan voice recordings for a deeper contextual understanding of how to handle these calls, which is pivotal in addressing online churn.
Mangers also updated us on new partnerships that WebVisible is brokering. The firm has several deals brewing in Asia and is redoubling efforts outside the U.S. because “publishing partners are 18-24 months behind us in creating viable online products” (though many are ahead in mobile). It announced a partnership with McClatchy Co. in April in which the newspaper conglomerate plans to fully integrate WebVisible’s marketing platform across its 29 markets by the end of 2010 to bolster local sales.
As for location-based mobile services, Mangers personally is an eager early adopter but cautions against putting cart before horse until the market matures to a greater level of standardization in which reach can be gained through more aggregated, trackable distribution. “App-vertising” is an important future initiative, but in the meantime, it’s “back-to-basics” for SMBs, with some handy new tools in their kits.