The idea that everything is local came through in this morning’s session, “Buy Side, Sell Side: Top Insights from Yelp and U-Haul” featuring two speakers sharing insights from opposite ends of the media purchase.
Elnora Cunningham, Director, Local Search, U-Haul International
Pete Hancock, Senior Director, Head of National Sales, Yelp
The core question they tackled was, What really matters to national brands and franchises when they target locally? Yelp works with top brands around the world. U-Haul has been a leader in using the Web and mobile to localize its global franchises.
Yelp is a media brand know for being very local and SMB focused. The company has only recently shifted its focus to the national market and has had to figure out how its offering applied to national to local brands.
“We have been selling into local markets for eight or nine years now,” Hancock said. “We built it intentionally to be very simple. We built a lot of tools around single location business.”
The key challenge for Yelp is helping national advertisers have same level of content on their Yelp listings as a popular local business would get, with ratings, reviews, photos and so on.
Yelp looks for ways to build the content that drives search when user generated content may not be forthcoming. This means branded profiles, photos, and a specific call to action in each profile. Any elements that are unique to the specific location are helpful, Hancock said. Yelp is also giving brands an API to allow them to plug their review feed into third party of their choice, which enables them to share their review data on other websites, for example.
Cunningham is a veteran of U-Haul who oversaw its transition from a business focused on print Yellow Pages advertising to one focused on search. She said localization is now central to everything they do.
“Everything is local,” Cunningham said. “Today, if you are not using a local approach, you are not in business.”
U-Haul is an unusual brand because it does so much of its media buying itself via an in house agency.