Archive for category Local
Marissa Meyer explained more about Google Business Photos at Social Loco early last week – an extension to Google Maps that allows business owners to have photos taken by Google of the interior of their business. She also explained that Google’s two pillars of Local are Maps and Places. Only available in selected cities so far but includes London.
Facebook Deals launched in Alpha in 5 US markets. Most interesting about this is the way that Deals are promoted to users living in those markets. Deals has been given a high priority space on the left-hand navigation as well as a pop up when the user logs in. The pop up asks the user for even more granular location information (ie Zip code) rather than the city that the users have already entered. Clearly, Facebook is planning to hit the location relevancy hard. No news yet on whether the Zip codes captured at this stage will be usable for Facebook advertising.
Great news for Local Mobile Marketers with a new Smartphone user study released by Google in late April. News for Local Marketers is that 9 out of 10 Smartphone searches result in an action (purchasing, visiting a business, etc.), and 88% of these searches result in action being taken within a day – Mobile = Fast conversion!
A sad day for Local blogging with the ending of the Guardian Local experiment. Three local blogs in Cardiff, Edinburgh and Leeds were highly valued in the community, but deemed unsustainable in the current format. Will Perrin from Talk About Local makes some incredibly wonderful points – mainly around the balance between community vs commercial sustainability, and Ed Oldfield gives us a bit more info about the commercial and advertising side of the experiment.
Tim @ The Daily Infographic published an excellent summary of the Deals space – Facebook Deals vs Google Deals vs Groupon vs Living Social. Not really news but a nod to a helpful resource!
Finally, eBay continues on a shopping spree for businesses that give them local capabilities with their acquisition of local media and advertising company Where. Here’s TechCrunch’s announcement and summary of eBay’s Local aspirations.
When you buy a car, suddenly you start noticing all the other cars that are the same as yours, so much so that you’re convinced that there are more than there were before.
The transition between marketing ‘generally’ and then marketing ‘locally’ is similar. When you’re working in an agency that specialises in Local Marketing, suddenly you wonder how you missed all the stuff going on in the Local Marketing space. It’s so fundamentally obvious that in the battle for relevancy, proximity matters. Everywhere you look, people are talking about local – and not just as an intangible theory, but as an actual ‘thing’.
An actual ‘thing’, you say?
A highlight of the series of Maroon Peugeot 307s is the launch of a new US hyper-local industry trade publication StreetFight a few days ago. They’ve positioned the service as a collection of everything that’s happening in the hyper-local space, including vouchering, check in services, and local news sites. Then there’s the super-massive Patch.com hyper-local news service based in the US run by Arianna Huffington. EveryBlock (US) and StickyBoard (UK) community noticeboards have redesigned and launched respectively. Talk about Local‘s community efforts are ongoing and the Big Society ideas continue to generate meaningful conversation. These are just a few of the bigger things that are going on, but community activities and new ways to use technology to help communities engage are popping up every day. So too are hyper-local, hyper-relevant marketing opportunities.
People continue to have debates about the definition of the words hyper-local, localisation, local marketing… whatever we end up calling it in the history books, we’re part of a shift. The UK’s take on local is a little different to the US’s as pointed out wonderfully by Joni Ayn Alexander, but the main point is the same. It’s a thing.
A thing with big agencies predicting daft numbers like 42.5 billion dollars by 2015.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who hasn’t looked at a local community noticeboard for years, but I do remember a time when the notice board at my local Spar was the best place to find second hand furniture, recommendations for cleaners, and local events. And community noticeboards are the next thing to fall under an entrepreneur’s gaze and go digital.
EveryBlock – @everyblock
In his blog post about the relaunch, founder Adrian Holovaty says ‘The current crop of Web social media tools is focused on people you already know‘. Instead of focusing on existing relationships, EveryBlock connects people with a common interest – a location.
You can look up a postcode down to extreme granularity, or look for suburbs or cities, and ‘follow’ them almost like you’d follow a person on Twitter.
Users in the neighbourhoods can message each other and hold conversations almost like a discussion board or forum. EveryBlock also takes ‘stuff’ from the net and aggregates that ‘stuff’ by location. Yelp reviews, new local photos on Flickr, lost-and-found ads on Craigslist, real estate listings, local Meetups – all based on a location you’ve defined.
In short, EveryBlock amplifies the stuff already out there, just by making it hyper-local and hyper-relevant.
Mashable covered the relaunch as a community site and LostRemote also did a piece on them. It’s not available in the UK yet, and no doubt still has a lot of traction to gain in the US before it hops over to us, but you might as well head over to the homepage and vote via Twitter for London to be their next city.
StickyBoard – @stickyboard
StickyBoard ‘is based on the belief that strong communities make for a better, more fulfilling quality of life’. Users can read news, find local services, check out a calendar of events and post business reviews. Local businesses can advertise in one of several verticals, with Community groups advertising for free.
StickyBoard’s community beliefs are strong, but the website needs to get critical mass from advertisers in order to give the users a reason to be there. Given that it’s launched only a few months ago it’s hardly surprising to see empty news feeds and available advertising spaces. The first burrough was Ealing and you can see a lot more activity in that suburb than let’s say Camden.
So while EveryBlock connects local people and let’s them share community news while aggregating existing local content, StickyBoard connects local people to local businesses and events and is a platform for advertising. Both interesting, both local, both innovative.
Ever the experimenter, Google are testing new results pages where local natural listings and maps feature far more prominently than ever before.
With local now storming up the agenda across the search sector, large national and international brands need to strategically plan and support their local networks like never before.
Read a full write-up of the pilot pages here, at Mike Blumenthal’s excellent “Understanding Google Maps and Local Search” blog. (Details of the discovery were provided to Mike by Linda Buquet of Catalyst eMarketing).
Click the image below to see an actual size version.
At a recent conference in Seattle (SMX Advanced), Bing presented metrics about the differing timescales of the search process between fixed line and mobile searchers. Understandably, the process for 70% mobile users is done and dusted within an hour, as we assume that the information is either immediately vital, or only fleetingly important.
The source of this data is from Greg Sterling on the Internet2Go.net blog and their key outtake was “most of these mobile search queries are commercial (directly or indirectly) and they’re going to be fulfilled or completed, in the majority of cases, in the real world — offline.”
So, how are you prepared for mobile, informed, immediate customers?
Google announced today that they are rolling out Tags in the US. Essentially, the idea is that the Places page can now allow advertisers to highlight tactical promotions within the 7-pack display (below).
These yellow tags cost the advertiser a flat fee of $25 per month, and, with this increase visibility, are expected to lead to an increased usage of the voucher functionality of the Google Places page. Certainly, this off-site promotion logically seems to assist on-site conversion through promoted content.
For Google, it creates another advertising revenue stream, and with even only limited take-up, it seems a strong area for consistent and ongoing income. As Mike Blumenthal commented in his blog “Google has noted that 2 million businesses have claimed their listings. If there is even only a 10% adoption rate, it will mean income of $60 million/year for Google. I would guess that the uptake will be higher than that and once one 7-Pack entrant adds a Tag, there will be a certain pressure, logic not withstanding, for others in the 7-pack to do so as well.”
The new feature is also available immediately on Google Mobile, ensuring blanket coverage across Google’s US properties.
The remaining question, other than when we see this rolled out the the UK, has to be how effective, or indeed how much more effective will these offer-led links be, over and above standard links, or indeed standard sponsored links?
This article from Ben Bold on Wallblog.co.uk prompted Andy Edwards to ask me, “Thoughts?”, so having written mine to him, I thought I’d share mine here too.
My take is:
- It’s lots of bubbles waiting to converge
- Real time ROI will be the killer app (imagine local store manager creating vouchers, pushed in real time, and turned off when sales target reached – actually better than that, imagine automated vouchers from the stock system)
- If Facebook gets it right, they’ll clean up. But I don’t think they’ll get it right because I think they’ll use advertising dollars ahead of conversion as a metric – which I’m willing to be wrong on.
I like the idea that this is “the final big gold rush of Web 2.0.” but I don’t believe it is, because there is always the next thing. For example, nothing much being done with “time” as the connector – we’ve done data, relationships, location, time is next, but don’t ask me how or why…
As mobile web access becomes more and more ‘normal’ and we start to expect all the features provided by GPS locators (nearby restaurants, taxi firms, friends and events), it won’t be long before it feels strange that your main PC or Mac doesn’t know where you are.
Google’s Chrome browser has just released a ‘location aware’ beta development version. Soon your laptop will be just as ‘1984’ as your smart phone.
This site (openlylocal.com) has launched a Hyperlocal website directory.
You will find it here: http://bit.ly/62vquU
It’s small, but growing and it’s raison d’etre can be found here (http://bit.ly/5SmHS6).
It’s safe assume that there will soon be hyper local sites for all communities. All shapes, sizes and political persuasion – some commercial, some not.
Is there one near you?
This one’s a short summary
This one’s a longer, fuller explanation
We can see that Google is starting to drag reviews of local businesses in from non-traditional review sources. Hyperlocal sites and blogs are now supplementing review based sites’ (e.g. Qype) content and actual reviews.
- you don’t have to be flaming (or praising) a company in Google Maps for it to show up there (surely only time before live Twitter feeds show to? With sentiment scores?)
- off hand comments regarding dealers/retailers will get more directly effective publication right in the Places page
Local social is picking up. Hyperlocal is gaining a new audience. Search is the route in. As I said. Merging.