BIA/Kelsey ILM West 2012 Conference: A Preview


In less than two weeks, BIA/Kelsey is organizing its ILM (stands for Interactive Local Media) West 2012 Conference, a must-attend for anyone in the local media space. Held from December 4 to December 6 in Los Angeles, the team has put another yet another great line-up of speakers and panelists.

As I will be attending, I’ve put together a list of “can’t miss” keynotes and panels:

Day 1 (December 4)

  • The ILM West Kickoff: The View From BIA/Kelsey. That’s when the analysts share interesting data on “local”. Helpful for all those PowerPoint presentations you’ll be preparing in 2013
  • Opening Keynote: Bill Gross, CEO, Idealab. Bill Gross. ‘Nuff said.

There’s also panels on venture capital, on sales transformation and on innovative startups. Those are often “hit or miss” but you never know.

Day 2 (December 5)

  • The Google Executive Interview: Todd Rowe, Managing Director – SMB Global Sales, Google. Should be good.
  • Keynote: Jason Finger, CEO, CityGrid. Definitely interested to hear what CityGrid is up to. They’ve been silent recently.
  • SuperForum: Mobile’s Impact on Interactive Local Media: National to Local. Those 4 mini-sessions all focus on local and mobile.
  • Afternoon Keynote: David Krantz, CEO, YP. Like CityGrid, interested to hear the latest news at YP.
  • Targeting Local Audiences: Hollywood Shows the Way. Ah, I love when they bring new industries to the table. Lots to learn usually.

Day 3 (December 6)

  • A Discussion With Ben T. Smith IV, CEO, Wanderful Media. This one should be very very interesting. Ben’s company has been very active lately, including a huge $22M funding roundfrom newspaper companies in September.
  • Keynote Speaker: Dan Levy, Director, Global SMB Markets, Facebook. Facebook doesn’t usually share a lot of new information in these conferences, so stay tuned.

If you want to connect when I’m there, don’t hesitate to ping by e-mail: sprovencher AT gmail

In addition to the conferences, the event is great for networking. If you’re planning to attend and haven’t booked your ticket yet, Use my personal code to get $200 off the registration fees: ILMWSEB


comScore: The State of the Local Search Nation

On day 2 of the BIA/Kelsey ILM 2011 conference,  Gillian Heltai, Senior Director at comScore presented a series of interesting data points to attendees:

  • Total online searches grew 9% year-over-year to exceed 19.3 billion searches in September 2011
  • 2.8 billion of those searches were “local” (a growth of 9% from last year). Local searches growth is decelerating
  • IYP (Internet Yellow Pages) searches are down 20% year-over-year
  • 1.7 billion click-thrus to directories and regional/local content sites were generated from search in sept 2011
  • Top organic search terms by click-through rates: driving directions, white pages, yellow pages, maps, los angeles
  • 10% of US display ads are locally targeted
  • 3 of every 4 mobile subscribers own a device with GPS capability
  • Over one third own a smartphone
  • Mobile search usage grew 25% year-over-year with 26% penetration in September 2011
  • Search is the top activity of mobile browser users. Social networking is second.
  • 88 million mobile subscribers access local content on a mobile device, up 28% from a year ago.
  • Nearly 40% of mobile users access local content on their device in September 2011, compared with 75% for smartphone owners
  • 16.3 million smartphone owners scanned a QR code, 43% in a retail store, 42% from a product packaging.

Bob Pittman on Brand Building

Bob Pittman, CEO, Clear Channel Media Holdings (and MTV co-founder amongst other accomplishments) was the opening keynote speaker yesterday morning at the BIA/Kelsey ILM West conference in San Francisco.

In a search engine marketing world, where many people think brand advertising is dead, Pittman presented a compelling integrated marketing model (loosely based on the AIDA model) that shows brand building is key to generate sales. It goes as follow:

o Arouse a consumer’s interest in a product/service (through big reach and passion)
o Remind them of their interest until purchase (via reach and frequency)
o Allow them to research the product/service (via interactive apps with scale)
o Let them effortlessly find where to buy the product/service (dealer locators)
o Let them hear advertising messages when in the buying mindset
o Reinforce their purchase decision – retention
o Encourage and facilitate word of mouth – (via viral marketing  and social media)

He also explained that brand is the thing that happens when consumers are predisposed to buying your product and have stopped comparison shopping. That’s also an interesting insight.

BIA/Kelsey: U.S. local digital ad revenues rise to $23.3 billion in 2011

As I get prepared for two exciting days at London’s sold-out Local Social Summit 2011 this week, BIA/Kelsey just released an early taste of their latest U.S. Local Media Annual Forecast.


  • Total local advertising revenues for 2011 will be $135.9 billion, down from the $136.2 billion it forecast earlier this year
  • Traditional media segments such as Yellow Pages and newspapers are experiencing the largest downward revisions
  • U.S. local online/digital advertising revenues will rise to $23.3 billion in 2011, compared with $22.3 billion predicted earlier this year
  • Local online/ digital advertising revenues will be 17.2 percent of total local advertising revenues in 2011, up from the earlier forecast of 16.4 percent. By 2015 that share will increase to 25.4 percent, up from the 24.7 percent originally predicted
  • The overall local media market will grow slowly over the next five years, at a compound annual growth rate of 1.7 percent, reaching $149.4 billion by 2015

The rest/details of the forecast will be revealed at their next conference ILM West 2011, in downtown San Francisco, December 12 to 14. I will be attending the conference. BTW, I just reserved my hotel using Hotwire and I found a 4-star hotel within walking distance for $109/night. See you there!

The Daily Deals Industry in Numbers

(picture by Kenny Herman)

Jim Moran, Cofounder at Yipit, took the stage this morning to share with us many interesting quantitative data points about the daily deals industry.

About the daily deals market:

  • It has low barriers to entry. Yipit has identified 400+ daily deal sites in North America
  • That number has been increasing rapidly because of white-label technology platform providers and the entrance of major media companies in the space.
  • The market has high barriers to scale though. You need to scale sales, geographies, salespeople, number of deals, media buying (to advertise your service), subscribers, offer deal personalization and increase conversion in order to truly scale. Jim showed a great slide showing the “virtuous cycle of daily deals”.
  • Looking at a slide that presented the types of stakeholders in the ecosystem, you could clearly see that the next big opportunity is “Merchant Agencies”, that would negotiate deals across providers.

In the top 20 markets (February 2011 data):

  • Groupon had $39M in revenues (#1 player)
  • Livingsocial: almost $12M in revenues (#2 player)

Top daily deal verticals by revenue:

  • Hair removal
  • Food/grocery
  • Massage
  • Outdoor adventures
  • Spas
  • Automotive services
  • Yoga

From a merchant economics point of view, Yipit found:

  • A breakage rate smaller or equal to 20% (this is the percentage of deals unredeemed)
  • That deals became profitable for merchants if they were able to retain 19% of coupon buyers
  • High merchant satisfaction: 93% said they would use a daily deal site for another promotion
  • Some ad spend shifting: 43% say we’re reducing other advertising spend after running daily deal.

His biggest surprise from the data they collected: the gap between Groupon and LivingSocial seems to be narrowing. You can review his complete presentation here.

Following Jim Moran’s presentation, we heard from Eric Eichmann, COO at LivingSocial. Here are the interesting tidbits from his keynote:

  • LivingSocial describe themselves as “the local commerce expert helping people discover new experiences in their neighborhood”
  • Daily offers is a pivot for LivingSocial (like Groupon). They used to be a Facebook applications developer.
  • Their pillars of success are: local, mobile, social and commerce
  • They like to target neighborhoods as opposed to cities
  • They launched “Instant deals” in their mobile app. They are real-time mobile deals.
  • LivingSocial today: 12 countries, 230 markets, 24 million members, 1200 employees

David Weinberger’s Thoughts on Local and Social

On Monday, I probably watched the best keynote I’ve ever seen at BIA/Kelsey conferences. David Weinberger, co-author of The Cluetrain Manifesto, author of Everything is Miscellaneous, and Senior Researcher at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University gave us his thoughts on local/social.

I will never be able to capture his whole speech in this post but here are some of the thoughts that blew my mind.

Talking about networks and markets, he obviously said the very famous “markets are conversations”, describing them as being connected, real and out of control but he also added “markets are networks”. People are shopping for things (like  a new car) and this base of shoppers is changing every minute as people drop out of that process and new people come in.

Talking about huge networks like Facebook and Twitter, he explained to us why these networks happened so quickly. He told us the web is made of interests, people talking about stuff. They have an interest and they’re meeting with people with similar interest. meeting of interest. If we engage on the Net with other people online, it’s because we share the same interest. The big question is what happen when companies arrive and want to have a conversation. Traditionally, businesses have a single interest: profit. Consumers are weary because interests are not necessarily aligned. Why would I engage on the Net with companies if we don’t share same interest?

He said he didn’t like the expression “social media” as media has traditionally stood between people but that’s not happening with social media because “we are the medium”. We are a medium that passes things along. We move it because we found it interesting and thought that you would find it interesting as well. The stuff we share is so compelling that we put our reputation on the line to pass it along.

He also talked about the impact of social media on our sense of time. It used to be, when you graduated, you lost track of people. You only saw them again when you went to your reunion. If you left a job, you lost track of your former colleagues. Our kids will have their friends/colleagues/contacts with them for the rest of their lives because why would you push someone outside of your memory, delete them, unless they’ve done something bad?

And with mobility, we get ubiquitous connectivity. We can connect with any of our contacts at any time. We’re now filling “moments” all the time, for example, when we’re waiting. We’re filling up everything, with no empty time. We’ve reached plenum, a plenum of interests, filled with what we care about.

Talking about “local”, he said it’s becoming embedded in the Net more and more but that when we get to ubiquitous access, things will change. The Internet will match our real lives. We are inventing the “blur” between online and offline (the real world).

As for things that are challenged by social in the local space, Weinberger mentioned pricing. Owners were used to set their prices but with daily deals, for example, they’re losing some of that pricing power. The notion of inside and outside the store is also blurring. We want to know everything about a business. The outside is becoming the inside. The shared common space where we engage with one another is becoming the inside of the store. A good example is the mayorship in Foursquare.

He concluded by mentioning three imperatives for local media companies (and merchants): Align, add, and get out of the way. It’s not about you. Consumers know better than you what they need, what they want.

Lior Ron: Google Hotpot is About Collecting Relevancy Signals

At the BIA/Kelsey ILM East 2011 conference this morning, we heard from Lior Ron, the Group Product Manager for Google Places (including Maps and Hotpot).

A couple of interesting information points came out:

  • Google Places contains 50M places around the world
  • They felt they were missing “people” in the local equation and that’s why they launched Google Hotpot
  • Hotpot is all about organizing the web around people and places and is a local recommendation engine.
  • Hotpot now has generated more than 3M reviews and ratings (see this BIA/Kelsey post from last week for more data points)

Lior Ron said that Hotpot is not about Google building another silo or reviews site. It’s about collecting short signals to enable better ranking/relevancy. A few conference attendees were not convinced by that statement.

Seven Drivers of Interactive Local Success

In a short presentation yesterday afternoon at the BIA/Kelsey ILM East 2011 conference, Peter Krasilovsky presented several slides about the local media industry. In them was, I think, an interesting nugget of information: The seven drivers of interactive local success within a media organization.

They are:

  1. Strategic separation of business units. This is key to develop a solid new business that’s not encumbered by traditional thinking and conservatism. In the words of the BCG Matrix, it reminds me of the need to nurture “rising stars” that will eventually kill “cash cows”.
  2. Investment.  A must. In addition, risk-taking must be rewarded, not punished.
  3. Social media
  4. Search
  5. Geotargeting
  6. Multiple users and business touches. Fragmentation brings with it the need to re-aggregate to help advertisers make sense of the media/advertising/social media landscape and create substantial value.
  7. Mobility. Creates ubiquity, permanent access to the internet.

I would add Human resources to that list. You need visionaries/thinkers that can innovate and execute quickly. That’s a huge challenge for traditional media company today.

In Boston Next Week for the BIA/Kelsey Conference

Next week, from Monday March 21 to Wednesday March 23, I will be in Boston for the next BIA/Kelsey conference: Interactive Local Media East 2011.

Here are the presentations I’m most looking forward to:

Day 1:

  • Definitely the keynote from David Weinberger, author of “The ClueTrain Manifesto” and “Everything is Miscellaneous.” Definitely a huge inspiration for Needium (remember “markets are conversations”?). Can’t wait to get his insights on local and social.
  • The keynote from Evan Cohen, GM, Foursquare. The geo-local/social startup from New York has added a lot of interesting functionalities in the last few days.
  • The SMB panel. Good qualitative data always comes out of this discussion.

Day 2:

  • “The New Wave of ‘Hyper Relevant’ Media” panel with Tim Condon, Director, New Digital Ventures at Washington Post Co., Mike DeLuca, Senior VP at AOL Local, Matt Idema, VP at Yahoo! Local and Josh Resnik, VP and GM at Gannett Digital Media Network. Still a big believer in hyperlocal content and advertising. We haven’t seen much large-scale traction yet though. It will be interesting to get an update from these guys.
  • The discussion with Maz Sharafi, Senior Manager, Local Monetization, Facebook. Facebook doesn’t usually share a lot of new information. Maybe we’ll be surprised this time!
  • The “National Advertisers and Local Search” panel. I want to hear them talking about their social media strategy and tactics.

Day 3:

  • The discussion with Eric Eichmann, COO, LivingSocial. Interested in hearing what LivingSocial’s strategy is vs. Groupon’s. Also interested in getting their point of view on unsatisfied small merchant daily offer advertisers. I keep hearing about those informally. Is it just the point of the iceberg or is it minimal? Jim Moran from Yipit can probably contribute to the conversation.
  • Also interested in the “Deal Universe: The Big Picture for Coupons and Sales” panel. I’m a huge fan of coupons and I’m intrigued by the impact of daily offers on the couponing/promotion business.

If you want to meet and chat or if you’d like a demo of, don’t hesitate to e-mail me at seb AT

Social and Local: The New Killer Platform

In preparation for their next conference in Boston (which I will be attending third week of March), BIA/Kelsey recently organized a webinar titled “Social and Local: The New Killer Platform”. For the first time (I think), they used a very interesting Q&A discussion format between Neal Polachek, Jed Williams and Andrew Shotland. Here are the interesting tidbits I excerpted from the presentation and some of my thoughts:

Is social media still experimental or can it be measured?

Jed Williams replied that it’s “both” and it depends on size of the business (he probably meant bigger companies are moving past the experiment stage). They see more pressure towards ROI calculation but there will still be experimentation in 2011-2012.

I agree with BIA/Kelsey that we will still see social media trials but I think some sorts of ROI calculation will have to be part of those experiments as well.

What else should be on your radar other than Facebook and Twitter?

Andrew Shotland replied that the social media market is incredibly fragmented. He mentioned blogs and message boards but basically summed it up by saying you should go where your customers are.

I would add Linkedin, Foursquare and YouTube are probably key components of a comprehensive social media strategy. You also need to be interested in up-and-coming services like Quora and Namesake.

How do you create more engagement with your customers?

Williams replied that small merchants (SMBs) must do three things: 1) they must be present and active in social media. 2) they must do real customer service and do it quickly, thoughtfully and personally and finally, 3) they have to empower their audience.

I completely agree that SMBs must be present. Social media (especially Twitter) is currently a land grab with the first local businesses establishing credibility with a huge local consumer base. Customer care is obviously important but that’s not the bulk of the opportunity for small merchants. They have to share relevant content and make themselves useful in their local social media ecosystem, not just be glorified customer care representatives.

How can you really measure social media?

Shotland answered that it’s tricky to measure. For metrics, he mentioned that there’s probably a way to do a pre/post analysis on things like revenues, foot traffic, transactions, positive brand mentions, negative brands mentions, etc.

It’s one of the important things we’re focused on with Needium, our social media lead gen service. Right now, we provide advertisers with a basket of ROI data points including number of fans/followers, number of messages sent on their behalf, number of meaningful conversations we’ve engaged into, number of check-ins at their location and number of clicks to their website. Tracking phone calls will probably become useful in the future.

How should SMBs be thinking about social reputation management? What about media companies?

Williams said it needs to be top of mind and mentioned this is a big big opportunity for media companies.

Today, I would say reputation management for SMBs encompasses two concepts: listings management and reputation management. I’m a big fan of listings management because, in a fragmented local search world, it gives small merchants the assurance that their basic listing will be present everywhere and that the information is the same everywhere. That’s the entry-level product in presence management. As for reputation management (i.e. what’s being mentioned about SMBs in social media), there is certainly an opportunity but it’s probably not as useful as people make it sound. When looking at our Needium small merchant advertisers, most of them have just a few mentions of their name/brand over a given month (versus a large amount of business opportunities). It can be interesting data but SMBs (or media companies) can’t expect a huge volume of natural conversations around them. Reputation management is probably a good social media training-wheel product but I expect small merchants will want to migrate quickly to better, more active social media presence management.

All in all, a very interesting webinar. You can listen to it here and see the slides here.