Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Top 15 Insights From Research

Google, Ipsos and the MMA (Mobile Marketing Association) recently conducted a study about mobile users and smartphone usage.
Here are the top 15 insights for US businesses from that research. 

Smartphone Market Penetration
1. 31% of the US population uses a smartphone.
2. 54% of US smartphone users have been using them for less than a year.

*Click on the graph to load a larger version.
Smartphone Use
3. 34% of smartphone users say they are likely spend more time on their smartphone in the coming year.

*Click on the graph to load a larger version.
4.  77% of smartphone users use their phone to browse the internet.
5. 60% have used their phone to search for a product.
6. 69% have used their phone to look up directions or map.

*Click on the graph to load a larger version.
Smartphones and Search
7. 51% of smartphone users report using their phone to search for a local restaurant or bar.  
8. 53% of smartphone users report using their phone frequently to conduct searches compared to 79% of desktop users.
9. 61% of smart phone users only look at the first page of search results compared to 26% of desktop users.
10. 36% of desktop users will look at the second page of search results.
*Click on the graph to load a larger version.
Local Search
11. Over 50% Of Local Searches On Mobile Devices Result in Follow-up Actions
12. 50% of smartphone users that conduct a local search follow-up with a visit to the business - 50% of them make an in-store purchase.
13.  46% of smartphone users conduct local searches on their phone regularly.
*Click on the graph to load a larger version.
14. 30% of smartphone users report responding to a Mobile Ad by clicking on ad or going to website.
15. 35% of smartphone users rarely or never see a Mobile Ad.

This research clearly reveals the magnitude of this new marketing channel and the opportunity that exists for mobile and local marketing campaigns to influence consumers.
So, is your business ready for the Mobile Local Revolution?

The Power Of Local Search - Mobilized

Over 50% Of Local Searches On Mobile Devices Result in Follow-up Actions
Or to put it another way - 1 out of every 2 people follow-up with a business they see in a local search on their mobile device. Also, more than 50% of searchers that follow up with a visit to the business make an in-store purchase. This is according to some recent research conducted by Google, Ipsos and the MMA (Mobile Marketing Association) and is outlined in the graph below.
This research underscores the power of mobile local search in impacting consumer behavior and it cannot be ignored by businesses who want to compete in a changing consumer landscape.
*Click graph image to load larger version.

RevLocal can help businesses to be found and stand out against their competitors in local search.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Top Ten Insights Fom Local University- (As Observed From Twitter) held their Local University workshop today in Western New York. Unfortunately this local search marketer was unable to attend and was relegated to "observing" via Twitter.
Nonetheless there were a lot of good insights shared by those present via the #localu hash tag.
Here is list of the top ten insights from that Twitter Feed:
  1. 63% of small businesses don't have an online presence.
  2. 97% of consumers are looking for information online
  3. 40% of local searches happen on mobile devices
  4. 40% of local searches are for local services/products
  5. Google & Bing use social signals as part of the ranking algorithm
  6. 70% of people trust online reviews
  7. 14% of all people you ask to review your business will do so.
  8. Sites that blog tend to get 55% more traffic.
  9. Google assembles your business listing from every imaginable source.
  10. Know Google better than Google knows Google.

Other Good Insights/Tips:
  • Make your WhoIs info matches your Google Places listing.
  • Not everyone uses your site navigation... offer multiple routes to your critical information.
  • Create a separate page for every business location and build links to it.
  • Meta descriptions should be written like Ads.
  • Social takes work and time- If you want to be noticed you have to share something interesting.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Google Maps To Charge - A Scary Halloween Story?

The BBC recently reported that as of January 1, 2012 Google will begin charging for the use of the Google Maps API service. The charge is intended to only apply to extensive use of the API, classified as more than 25k hits per day. It is expected that the charge will amount to $4 per 1,000 hits above the 25k threshold.

In the local search marketing world we become somewhat anxious whenever we hear about proposed changes to Google Maps. And certainly news that Google is going to charge for something related to Maps is somewhat disconcerting. However it is not time to panic or scream... yet.
As of right now this change will only affect third party sites that make extensive use of the Google Maps API, such as travel websites. Furthermore, it is estimated (albeit by Google) that this charge will only impact 0.35% of users.  Therefore, businesses who market via Google Places are in the clear for now.
So, maybe this is just a scary Halloween story that does not have a frightening gory pay-off.
Or, maybe this is just the beginning of that scary story where the monster killer starts out on the first step and then creeps onto the second step and then the third and so on until he is right outside your bedroom door. Everyone get ready to scream.
Happy Halloween.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Why Local Search Marketing? - (Infographic)

We here at RevLocal take local search marketing very seriously. We do not just market businesses to their local consumers. We help businesses grow.
This infographic depicts the process and ultimate purpose of effective local search marketing.

As a business expands their online presence so that they are listed in more and more local data sources with consistent data, their prominence increases. If the business engages consumers by posting pictures, responding to reviews, and sharing offers, Google begins to see them as a local business that matters. So, they will show up higher in the local search results. This means increased visibility with consumers looking for the services or products that this business offers. When local search marketing is done right, more of these consumers become customers. More customers leads to business growth. Business growth leads to  new opportunities and the creation of new jobs.
This is the deep purpose and motivating force behind why we do what we do. At the end of the day, for us it is not about clicks or impressions. It is not about fancy graphs or being an SEO expert. It is all about helping a business to grow and find success where they may not have found it before.
In this economy, it is a powerful thought for us that someone who does not have a job today maybe working tomorrow because of local search marketing and RevLocal.
This keeps us awake at night and pushing through the day- We are the economic recovery plan.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Google Announces Faster (3rd Party) updates to local business listings.

Google Announces Faster updates to local business listings
With the announcement of faster and more automatic updates to business place pages, Google has caused a turmoil in the local search world.
The issue here is not the speed or the automation, but really the source of the information that will be used to make these updates. Google intends to make changes to place pages (after notifying the business owner by email) if they receive data from third party sites or end users that seems to be more recent.
In an effort to assuage its business users Google touts this as a measure they are taking on behalf of busy business owners who do not have time to keep their place pages up to date. This sounds a little bit too much like positive spin.
More than likely this move is an effort to respond to the aged data Google has for unclaimed and under maintained business listings. As more and more users utilize local search and more competitors enter the field (ex. MQVibe) the recentness, relevance and accuracy of Google's search results becomes increasingly important to their ability to maintain market share.
This is where it becomes tricky. In it's attempt improve the quality of its search results to please end users, Google is risking irritating its business users who pay to advertise. Perhaps this makes sense in the equation of how search marketing works. After all, without consumer traffic, what does Google have to incentivize businesses to spend the time claiming and managing theirs listings or to spend money for paid ads?
It is also possible that this move is being undertaken to combat the rise of fraudulent (spammish) listings which are being created by less than reputable local search marketers. These listings often contain tracking phone numbers or are for "virtual" offices of out of state businesses with no actual local presence. Such listings and practices are an anathema to Google, whose ultimate goal is to "create a digital representation of the real world."
Ultimately it comes down to a matter of control. Businesses want to control how they are represented online and Google wants to control the quality and integrity of the data it presents to searchers. One would hope that there is some middle ground solution that can be struck between the two. A solution that limits the effectiveness of "black hat" techniques without punishing legitimate local search marketing efforts.
Despite all the frustration it may cause, perhaps this change is it.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Local Search Marketing News - The Daily Round Up

The latest edition of Local Search Marketing News is out.
You can read it here.
This is a daily online news "paper" compiled from local search experts around the web.
It really is a collection of the finest and most recent articles related to local search marketing.

If you have any suggestions on other resources that need to be added, please let me know.