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The Battle Of Google V. Amazon

Proposed by Ari Kaufman

As Google Chairman, and former CEO, Eric Schmidt recently explained, “Many people think our main competition is Bing or Yahoo. But, really, our biggest search competitor is Amazon. People don’t think of Amazon as search, but if you are looking for something to buy, you are more often than not looking for it on Amazon.” (Business Insider, October 2014)

Over the last year, Google has introduced a series of pieces to its proverbial puzzle, perhaps even its master plan. Google will soon evolve from a search engine, into a monetization platform for online and in-home commerce. Most of all, Google will disintermediate retailers and brands both online and in the physical world.

A gigantic puzzle piece is Google Express, with which the goliath company transitions from the virtual world to the physical world, and walks directly into your home. Google Express offers consumers the opportunity to shop online and receive same-day delivery.

Continue reading

Placeable Webinar With AAA: How Targeted Local Marketing Drives Success

10Placeable CEO and AAA Carolinas Head of Digital Marketing Discuss How National Brands Can Boost Marketing Success

Placeable and AAA Carolinas are joining together for a webinar about the impact of local marketing on the success of national brands. It will provide a firsthand look at how AAA Carolinas implemented a local digital marketing strategy that drove an 816% year-over-year increase in organic web visits—and a 2,344% increase in mobile traffic.

The webinar will feature Placeable CEO, Ari Kaufman, and Head of Digital Marketing at AAA Carolinas, Heather McBrien, who will look at how Placeable’s proven local digital strategies benefited the AAA club. The successfully executed program not only increased web traffic, but also improved the quality of those visits—translating into greater revenue for AAA’s insurance, travel and automotive business lines.

What: “Act Like a Local: How AAA Carolinas and Placeable Teamed Up For Local Success” Webinar

Who: Placeable and AAA Carolinas

When: Tuesday, August 26 at 1:00 p.m. EDT

Where: Register here

“Local marketing has a tremendous impact, but many brands are still struggling to create and implement an effective strategy,” said Ari Kaufman, CEO, Placeable. “We are excited to demonstrate how national brands can become locally competitive with the right partners, tools and strategy.”

For more information or to register, click here.

Act Like a Local – Enterprise Advertiser Wins

Your investments in branding and national advertising will only be impactful if customers can consistently find you online and at your doorstep.  Too often brand campaigns result in missed opportunities, frustrated customers and lost trust in the brand because of bad location data and missing information.  To compete successfully in local markets—and to avoid wasting marketing resources—national advertisers must adapt their digital marketing strategies to better align with consumer search behaviors, emerging geo-location technologies and competitive imperatives.

While consumers do seek opinions on brands from friends, family or reviews, when they want a specific product, page or brand web site they use natural search.  In fact, according to Forester Research, more than half of all consumers use natural search when they are looking for a product, service or brand.

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Accepting the BIAKelsey GOLOCAL Award

go-local-logo-agendaThis past week, at The BIAKelsey Leading in Local conference in Atlanta, Kelsey distributed its new GOLOCAL awards in three categories – Sales/ Revenue, Innovation and Strategic use of digital marketing.  Nearly forty entrants were considered for these three categories and three finalists in each category were brought to Atlanta for the announcement of the winners.

Placeable was a finalist in the Strategic use of digital marketing for the successful partnership with AAA CarolinasHeather Mcbrien of AAA Carolinas and I represented the team and I presented an overview of what we had accomplished together to the audience, which included empowering AAA Carolinas to emerge as a fierce competitor in their local markets across all three of their primary business units (car care, travel and insurance).  These results included:

  • Indexing some 1200 authoritative local landing pages for 230 locations
  • Generating 800% increase in organic traffic
  • Producing 35K new visitors per month
  • 25% conversion rate on all unique visits to phone calls, registrations and appointments

Included in Heather’s description of some of the softer benefits that have been generated by our campaigns together was that of the decrease in the number of tire kickers that have been generated.  Specifically, Heather described that the quality of leads generated are now far more qualified and in active transaction mode as opposed to window-shopping. Continue reading

Local Retailers Win When They Optimize for Local Search

modifiedA related article entitled “Local Search Marketing, Accuracy Trumps Distribution” may be viewed on CMO.com

Retail success has long been largely dependent on physical location. Selecting commercial space requires consideration of many factors including demographics, socio-economics, competitive proximity, traffic patterns and more.  Multi-location retailers apply a great deal of strategy when opening a store.  Mall retailers will swap locations when premium space becomes available so that they are more visible to consumers passing by.

Today, however, location means more than capturing the passer-by.  Location also means being found by the digital searcher.  70% of consumers research local products and services on a desktop and then use their mobile device to get where they want to go.  A consumer that has decided to visit your store is in buy-mode.  Will they find you?  Did you take steps to ensure that a consumer would know that you changed locations in the mall?  Will your store be located where the “X” marked the spot?  Is the premium location really premium if a consumer shows up at the doorstep of another business instead of yours?  How much revenue will you miss out on?

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5 Leading Indicators of the Future of Local Search

logo041211The local search market is changing. On the buy-side, enterprise advertisers are starting to assert their control, demonstrating that they can leverage large footprints to compete in local with clean distributed data, and accurate claimed citations. Consumers, meanwhile, increasingly want to use their mobile devices for more activities than navigational search, expecting to be able to buy and not only find goods and services nearby.  Read more at: StreetFight Magazine

Unlock the power of location data (part IV – sample case study)

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In August of this year, LocationInsight rebranded as Placeable to strategically align the mission of the company with driving enterprise advertisers to become placeable. Following suit, we have released several case studies that demonstrate the results that enterprise advertisers have experienced after becoming placeable.

The third case study example is a global financial transaction company with an inadequate conversion rate of online to offline customers at the location. With more than a half-million locations, this was a significant problem. Continue reading

Unlock the power of location data (part III – sample case study)

UntitledIn August of this year, LocationInsight rebranded as Placeable to strategically align the mission of the company with driving enterprise advertisers to become placeable. Following suit, we have released several case studies that demonstrate the results that enterprise advertisers have experienced after becoming placeable.

The second case study is a global credit card and ATM company with a challenge of providing accurate location data to the ecosystem when they have hundreds of thousands of ATM locations around the world. Continue reading

Unlock the power of location data (part II – sample case study)

Untitled

In August of this year, LocationInsight rebranded as Placeable to strategically align the mission of the company with driving enterprise advertisers to become placeable. Following suit, we have released several case studies that demonstrate the results that enterprise advertisers have experienced after becoming placeable.

A national consumer insurance company client had a huge problem with citation conflict and low search engine confidence. They were experiencing poor ranking for all of their locations. Continue reading

Unlock the power of location data (part I)

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Location information has the potential to be a powerful strategic asset for digital marketers. Especially for enterprise advertisers with many locations that are trying to compete on the local level.

Web maps, web site store locators and mobile results are strong drivers of consumers to a business location. Accurate location information is obviously essential to the effectiveness of these drivers. Social networks, directories and search engines (i.e., SEO) are also very valuable delivery agents of consumers. Establishing data continuity and maintaining consistency of location information across these channels can make all the difference between a strong consumer brand experience and a sour one. Continue reading

What’s happened to Local Search? Where did we go wrong?

UntitledLocal is mainstream. You’re no longer cutting edge or ahead of the curve when you use buzz words like “local search”, “hyper-local” or even the super cool acronym, “SoLoMo” (which seems like more of an emerging neighborhood than a search term to me). Look at the agendas for upcoming trade show conferences such as SMX, where entire days are structured around local

25% of every search on Google is a local query and that number jumps to nearly 45% when you combine mobile with desktop. 56% of mobile usage is search, and half of all mobile-search is local.

Digital media has become consumed with local. Especially search. Not just for SMB, but for national brands. Having multiple locations and information about each of those locations are recognized assets across the industry. Continue reading

Behavioral Targeting, What Ethics?

Earlier this month, Doug Wintz gave us an inspiring article in iMediaConnection.  The Ethics of Behavioral Targeting offers a glimpse into what behavioral targeting could be like in the offline future.  Transfixing our imaginations into the likeness of the futuristic worlds painted by author Philip Dick, Wintz helps us to question interactive advertising beyond the banner.  But there is a big leap between the 728×90 banner and the beams of light that could be reading our retina in the shopping malls. 


Several years ago people screamed about the use of cookies: “VIOLATION OF PERSONAL PRIVACY!”  The industry cried that we must educate the population so that they realize that cookies are not bad, spyware is bad.  Antispyware came out, and adware came out.  People now feel protected from persistent spyware and third-party cookies now get deleted 45% of the time.  The dust cleared from the cookie fight and yet cookies are still in common practice.  The funny part is that people still don’t understand cookies.  But the industry has moved on; it has stopped trying to educate and now the next crisis has moved to the forefront – behavioral targeting.


BT still involves the use of cookies but the technology is less of the issue.  It is the overall concept of tracking and oversight that people care about.  Once again there are those in the industry that are trying to educate, but then there are many of us that know that you can’t educate people coming from a position of fear.  Moreover, once politicians get involved it’s about swaying popular opinion and not about providing rational explanations.  Remember that some people get charged by the fight while others stay in the background, continuing to develop and position their cards so that they are ready when the dust clears.  A new crisis always moves to the forefront to replace the existing one, right?  Where will you be when that happens?  Battle scared or primed?


Is it ethical to behaviorally target?  Is the internet really free?  Is it ethical to target consumer behaviors like catalogers do?  Doug has a fair argument when he says we probably won’t even care by the time the technology is mainstream.  Right now there is kickback on behavioral targeting, but that doesn’t stop publishers and networks from offering it or from advertisers from buying it.


So where are the ethical lines in all of this?  Publishers use site-side analytics to track your patterned behavior while you are on their site.  It is their site.  You use much of it for free.  So is it ethical?  Is it okay for Safeway or Kroger to track your shopping habits in the supermarket?  You get discounts for using that shopper’s card that also tracks your behavior.  What about Amazon keeping track of your book-buying preferences?  You get recommendations right?  You get benefits in return for providing information about yourself, even online.  So where is the difference between what we have come to accept offline and what we protest online?


Why do people get so crazy about the web?  The point of the whole thing is to put advertisements that are more relevant in front of you.  Contextual advertising has done a great job at this and nobody seems to complain about that.  In fact a lot of people don’t even know that the links along the side of the Google and Yahoo pages are paid listings, nor would they necessarily care since they are usually relevant links that often lead to qualified destinations.  Relevance.  If Behavioral targeting has the ability to present a user with advertisements that are relevant, is there still an ethical violation? 


P-ersonal I-dentifiable I-nformation (PII) is the red line that can’t be crossed and yet it is crossed all the time in the offline realm.  I think that in the end it’s not a question of ethics.  It’s a question of fear.  The futuristic movies like the Minority Report scare people.  They don’t get it and other people take advantage of it to promote their own agendas (like politicians looking for platforms).


 Customer re-targeting introduces the ability to recognize customers – not anonymous individuals – anywhere on the web in real-time using first party ad serving.  Advertisers can recognize their existing customers, not based on events but based on customer profiles.  This is identical to what already goes on in the offline world.  A different message can be positioned to a customer than to a non-customer based on customer profiles – not based on event-based behaviors.  Is this a violation of privacy?  We can go around and around on this one, like we did with the cookie.  And it is the cookie battle that leads me to believe that the smoke will clear before we settle it.  When the next technical invasion comes to the forefront it too will shadow this one.  Maybe it’ll be iTV, which will be more invasive and wider-spread when it hits people while they are relaxing in their living rooms! 


You can go down the ethical rabbit hole if you want with behavioral targeting, just like you can jump into the political debate or stand up on the soap box and try to educate.  But frankly, people will continue to develop and drive forward with anonymous event-based targeting, customer re-targeting, site-side analytics and first party applications that empower advertisers to message to users with the most relevant information, advertisements and content.  Operating as if the dust will clear as oppose to getting caught up in the fight makes more sense.  Helping the web to become an increasingly more efficient use of people’s time with behavioral targeting techniques is not a violation of privacy, it is a provision of relevance.


Reactionary with Insight

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