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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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 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

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

How do BIG advertisers compete against the little advertisers in local search?

artsLocal or hyper-local digital media is about as HOT as it can get now.  Helping small marketers compete on the local level through SEO and SEM is a flooded space.  Vendors like Yodle, Yext, and ReachLocal have managed to capture large shares of market with offerings that help small and some mid-size advertisers capture local search traffic.

What about the BIG advertiser?  Who is helping the enterprise advertiser compete on the local level?  They did move into the neighborhood and setup shop.  They did build a huge store, hire local high school graduates and lure the community in with great prices and thousands of SKUs.  So what if maybe a few small businesses fell around them, that’s capitalism!

How does the BIG guy, who has become a dominant  figure locally, leverage digital media to win on a hyper-local level?  Many of my colleagues know of the struggles that enterprise advertisers face on the local level. For example, Bed Bath & Beyond competes against my Great Uncle Art’s Vacuum Store in Queens, NY.  But the search algorithms favor the local retailer so Art wins. Continue reading

Directory Listings Anyone?

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While reading the ClickZ article: Yahoo Launches Listing Management Tool for Small Business, I couldn’t help but chuckle at the fact that the article, which is about Yahoo’s new Localworks program, was on a page that was displaying a banner for Neustar (Localeze) while Localworks is powered by Yext.

This trifecta is a perfect representation of what has happened in local search over the last twelve months.  Directories anyone? Continue reading

Google Tests Pay-Per-Action Ads

On Tuesday, Google announced the wider rollout of their beta Pay-Per-Action advertising program, originally launched on a limited based in June 2006.  Available only in the United States, CPA on Google will enable AdSense publishers to choose from a selection of ads and will have more flexibility in promoting the ads, according to Google. 


When C|Net reported on the original program last June, they stated: “Because they’ll be tied to a purchase, the new ads are expected to be auctioned at higher prices than cost-per-click ads, which costs advertisers every time an ad is clicked on, despite whether it leads to a sale.”   


Pay-per-action advertising is a new pricing model for Google that will allow advertisers to pay only for completed actions that such as a lead, a sale or a page view after a user has clicked on an ad.  The advertiser will define the action, set up conversion tracking and create ads that AdSense publishers can select to run on their sites.  Smartly, Google is including view-thru conversions with a timestamp of up to 30-days for the post-click events so any action that results following the impression within 30-days will be credited back to the advertisement.


Over the last couple of weeks, Google has been taking incremental, but significant steps towards engaging advertisers with programs that recognize their need to be more flexible and receptive to the demands of the market.  There have been mounting complaints about Google’s inflexibilities.  Pricing has been increasing, technology integration has been restrictive, click-fraud was a huge issue, Analytics counts are well below other metric measurements and so on.


In January 2007, President of Interactive Marketing at AKQA Andrew O’Dell was quoted by ClickZ as saying: “We can’t use [Google’s] networks if they don’t allow third party serving … It’s not worth trying to maintain a separate universe. We’re not going to do a buy that’s got 95 percent of our inventory running on an ad server and the other 5 percent sitting there as an outlier.”


Agencies with significant buying power like AKQA have been vocal about how difficult it is to work with Google.  David Smith of MediaSmith was quoted in the same ClickZ article as saying: “We’d love to have them [as partners for branding campaigns], but they’re going to have to listen to what the agency wants, not what they’re trying to sell.”


Google has finally started to listen it, or so it seems.  After all, Andrew O’Dell is not alone when he said: “I think I could increase my Google spend in total [by a factor of two] if their network was competitive.”


In addition, Google must be feeling the pressure of MSN and Yahoo! – especially MSN.  It has been a while since MSN has done anything of significance, but for the first time their share of market has increased.  Granted it was one percentage point, but they went from 10% to 11% last month and Vista and Office 2007 Desktop Search has a lot to do with it.  Finally Microsoft has found its way to the desktop for search and it has done so with what appears to be a useful and attractive tool.  I have the search tool on my desktop and – aside from the hours it took to index my computer – it really flies now.  I found that not only does it find things within my computer really well, but it does a pretty good job at commanding my search needs online.  I still have my Google search bar on my browser which I am well trained to use, but if my browser is not open, I will give the Windows Search bar a shot – and that is a new behavior, which MSN is counting on.


So Google is on the move, again.  They are taking steps to increase their stride.  First it was banner ads, now we’re talking about video.  And now we have CPA.  Google is creating destination sites, and beginning the process of creating its own content and will soon have the command of its own communities (think Gmail, YouTube).  They offer analytics with Urchin and it is not limited to Google campaigns but rather to any advertising initiatives.  Granted it’s not the best measurement tool, but it works for the small-to-mid size advertiser and there is the long-tail.


So what’s next.  Are they going to step up and answer Andrew O’Dell’s call?  Do they recognize the onslaught of media dollars waiting to flow in with banner advertising when an ad server can be used to manage campaigns on Google?  They have brought the CPM model to the table with banner ads.  They have search integration with their API for Adwords which has been taken advantage of by most of the major ad servers already.  All they need to do is step forward and allow ad servers to pump the banner campaigns through.  Now that CPA is here, it would not be much of a bigger step to allow those campaigns to report through as well.


To me it is clear that slowly, as their foothold continues to stretch and they reach further out into more areas of the online advertising arena, they are beginning to recognize that they have to open some doors of the vault just a crack in order to make it a little easier for companies to work with them.  Maybe they will let a little more light into the room, slowly.  Hopefully so.  But the signs of some listening are there.


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Is Google Selling Paid Search Ads That Violate Trademark Law

Wendy Davis talked about EFF: Trademark Search Buys Protect Free Speech in Media Post’s Just An Online Minute last week.  “A federal appellate court is getting ready to decide whether Google’s method of selling paid search ads violates trademark law.”  Can you imagine if the entire concept of buying another company’s name on Google were to become a violation of trademark?


 


I know that “…the case is nearly identical to a lawsuit brought by insurance company Geico. In that case, a trial judge in December 2004 decided the key issue in Google’s favor,” but just imagine the possibilities.


 


First of all, every B2B player is guilty of buying their competitor’s name when buying search on Google, MSN, AOL and the other engines.  If that becomes a trademark violation it would be HUGE.  The number of keywords, and the combination of keywords would be drastically reduced that one could buy.  Furthermore, the keywords that remained available for one to buy would go WAY up in demand.  Words like ad server would shoot from $1-$10 to $50-$150! 


 


When my company buys all the other ad server’s names (which c’mon, we all do it) we buy it at reasonable auction rates.  But if we could no longer do it, we would be relegated to only buying descriptors.  Buying competitor names simply would no longer have a justifiable ROI.  And all of the competitors in the space would be competing for those descriptor terms too.  Search advertising as a whole would become terribly more expensive and far less justifiable.


 


My wife said to me last week, “did you know that the average person using the internet has no idea that the listings on the side of a search engine are paid listings?”  Of course I could not believe what she was saying, being so close to the industry myself.  My wife works in Healthcare Insurance and has no data to support her statement.  How could she possibly know what she was talking about I thought?  But I also thought about it for a minute and something else that my wife does came to mind.  She ‘surfs’ the Internet.  She literally sits in front of the computer and clicks on things late at night.  She follows links and goes places.  And I know this is a popular past-time.  I don’t do it.  I am very focused online, in-and-out, on-and-off.  I do what I am there to do and I get off.  Granted, I spend hours doing it.  But I never really surf.  So maybe she is right.  Maybe the average individual really doesn’t know those are paid listings.


 


If advertisers buy their competitors names, then there is a benefit to it all.  When a user types in a company name, competitors show up – giving the user other options to consider.  This is not good for the primary company that was entered, but it’s good for the other advertisers and it’s good for the user.  Take away the right to buy your competitor’s names and you lose all of those listings.


 


My wife also told me that she clicks on those side listings.  I do too sometimes.  The paid listings can get you to the products you want more quickly sometimes – especially the obscure ones.  If you know they are paid listings, nobody is getting hurt.  If you don’t know, you’re still benefiting.


 


Back to the negatives.  If you can’t buy your competitors names, all of those listings will no longer be there when you type in a company name, like Nike.  If I were type in Nike today, Adidas and Starter and some shoe companies would all pop up.  If you could no longer buy Nike, then only Nike would come up and the user would lose out.


 


Wendy says: “people use search engines to discover information not just about companies, but also about their competitors and critics. It’s easy to understand why some companies might not be happy with this state of affairs, but their recourse is to offer better or cheaper goods or services, or to counter critics with arguments, as opposed to filing trademark infringement lawsuits.”


 


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