From Mobile to Millennials: Ten Themes For Local’s NEXT Phase

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Social media, video, apps, on-demand and millennials. These are just a few of the emerging trends and themes that will define the coming months and years of the local commerce universe.

We’re in the thick of planning BIA/Kelsey NEXT and recently went through the exercise of pegging these top themes that will define the conference’s two-day program, as well as the next two years. These themes will thread throughout the program and arise in several sessions.

For now, here they are as a standalone list. Click each one to drill down to its details and related sessions.

1. Connectivity is the New Gravity

Mobility and always-on lifestyles have conditioned us to expect everything at the push of a button. Successful apps will build on the mobile device’s new role as the “remote control” for the physical world. Today that’s local search and on-demand apps. Tomorrow…the Internet of Things.

2. Millennials are What’s Really NEXT

The oldest millennials are 35, meaning they fully occupy the all-important 18-34 demographic. That makes examining their buying behavior more important than ever. But what makes them tick? Their unique attitudes compel fresh thinking for building local apps and business models.

3. Apps are the New Search

As user engagement shifts to mobile, native apps replace the search-centric web as the front door. This shifts the paradigm from active search to passive discovery. Google and others are innovating to live in this world, including Google Now, deep linking, and app interoperability.

4. Social is Taking Over Local

Facebook Pages are now the most popular local ad medium (BIA/Kelsey). But they could merely be an entre to other things Facebook has up its sleeve. That includes Messenger as an SMB communication tool in the short term, and immersive virtual reality (Oculus) in the long term.

5. Digital Video is Local’s NEXT Hit

The iPhone 6s shoots 4K video. That and social distribution have made video more attainable and powerful than ever. But its local opportunity won’t be advertising; it will be content marketing such as how-to videos. Scalable production and distribution will be the success factors.

6. The On-Demand Economy Enters Phase II

The local on-demand economy is displacing local search and advertising in certain categories (taxi anyone?). But is it a fit for all local verticals (R.I.P Homejoy)? As we enter phase II, We’ll see lots of contraction, M&A and new success factors for matching supply & demand.

7. Programmatic’s NEXT Phase: Local

Programmatic advertising is the culmination of advances in ad operations, automated workflows, and data science. It’s yield management for publishers; and campaign optimization for marketers. After its nascent stages at the national brand level, it’s coming to a local campaign near you.

8. Evolving from Ads to Action

The in-app “buy” button is the new black. But the trend is now moving local with Facebook’s “call” button and Google’s home service bookings, among others. These action buttons will be the “new click,” and contribute to 162 billion annual mobile calls to businesses by 2019 (BIA/Kelsey).

9. Adtech and Martech Get Hitched

Advertising and marketing have evolved separately, but are now combining into a new chemical compound of automation, big data, analytics, and attribution. This is bringing previously unseen precision to audience targeting and cross-device campaign management.

10. Local Attribution: The NEXT Battleground

Tracking ad performance to offline transactions has been the holy grail of local advertising for decades. “Performance-based” search was once the answer. Now, the portability of the smartphone brings real offline attribution within reach (literally). But the proof is in the execution.

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For anyone interested in attending BIA/Kelsey NEXT, note that there’s a price increase this Friday. You can register here and check out the agenda here.  

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