Google is Rolling Out Its Fixed-Fee Local Ad Product

For a flat monthly fee of $25, businesses can enhance their listings that appear on Google.com and Google Maps with a yellow tag that emphasizes specific information such as a coupon, video, website, menu, reservations, photos, or a custom message. Tags do not affect the ranking of the listings, and we clearly indicate which parts of the search result are sponsored.

Google Local Ad Product Tags

via Google LatLong: Google Tags rolling out nationwide.

First found on Blumenthals.com.

What it means: related to my previous post about local monetization, Google is now launching a fixed-fee product called “Tags”. This has been the bread and butter of online monetization at directory publishers. The model is proven and will resonate with small merchants. Question: why did it take so long for Google to launch this?

Update: thoughts from Greg Sterling on this announcement. He adds “The mobile distribution of Tags may ultimately turn out to be more significant than on the PC.”

Facebook to Introduce Location Context/Sharing at F8 Conference?

Via Gigaom.com this morning:

Finally, it is widely expected that Facebook is going to announce some kind of location capability at f8. By adding place tagging, in one fell swoop, they could gain the largest single userbase for updates tagged with location. The check-in behavior popularized by the likes of FourSquare would become more easily usable for its more mainstream audience. This was the approach Twitter announced at its own developer conference last week.

But as users start adding location context to Facebook data, there will be more opportunities to make use of social actions married to geo-location. Aggregating people around location will make it much easier for people to socialize and interact offline. It also opens up the opportunity to go after the lucrative local market, another place to compete directly with Google. Facebook could soon have pages for every local restaurant and hair salon, accompanied by user likes, shares and comments and enabling offline businesses to have closer ties with their users. That would give Yelp a run for their money, too.

What it means: There goes the neighborhood.  Om Malik clearly spells out the local revenue future for Facebook and interestingly enough, Malik says Facebook will “compete directly with Google”, not directory publishers…

Update: AllFacebook.com doesn’t think Facebook will introduce anything related to location.

Google/Twitter Become More Local

Google is going after local search in a big way, especially with mobile and enhanced place listings. Now it is pushing more local searches through its auto-suggest feature on Google.com. When you start typing in a keyword, the suggestions that you see are now geared to your location. Previously these were already specific to a country, but now they are by city.

via Google Suggest Becomes More Local.

What it means: Google continues its  march towards a “local” Web. As I’ve stated before, they’ve won the “utility” war from a search perspective. The opportunity in “local/social” still remains open but for how long? Twitter’s announcement this week that they’re going to enable “places” as a geo-location proxy is important and I predict Facebook will announce something “local” at the F8 conference next week. Traditional local media companies are not innovating fast enough.

Mobile Search is Local Search

Speaking at a Mobile Marketing & Advertising event in Las Vegas to coincide with CTIA Wireless 2010, Diana Pouliot – director of mobile advertising at Google – revealed that one-third of all Google searches via the mobile web pertain to some aspect of the searcher’s local environment.

via Google Says Local Intent is Behind One-Third of Mobile Searches : Mobile Marketing Watch – The Pulse Of The Mobile Marketing Community.

What it means: mobile devices are clearly revolutionizing local media and local search. The next frontier is certainly mobile monetization. Many people think check-ins might be the next performance-based local media product.

Google Becomes a "Local" Search Engine

Google has just turned on a nifty location feature in search. Now, you can refine search results with a “Nearby” button, which will filter your results that cater to your location. So if you do a Google search for Italian restaurants, you can click the “Show Options” button to access a “nearby” filter to see results for Italian restaurants in the city/area you live in. You’ll also be given local business results as well.

via Google Enhances Local Search With “Nearby” Filter.

What it means: Google is now officially a “local” search engine, with every search being a possible local search. One more step towards the Local Wide Web!

BIA/Kelsey: More Than Half of All Ad Spending Is ‘Local"

[praized subtype=”small” pid=”66afa9c1b5e4cd2f613f200ec61d955d” type=”badge” dynamic=”true”] just released their forecast for US Local advertising revenues for the 2009-2014 period.

Highlights:

  • U.S. local advertising market will grow to $144.9 billion in 2014 (CAGR: +2.2%)
  • Spending on traditional media will decline from $115 billion in 2009 to $108.2 billion in 2014 (CAGR: -1.2%)
  • Spending on online/interactive media is projected to grow from $15.2 billion to $36.7 billion (CAGR: +19.3%)
  • Meaningful recovery beginning in 2012
  • 55 percent of all ad spending is with local media

BIA/Kelsey is also preparing their next conference MarketPlaces 2010. Happening at the [praized subtype=”small” pid=”a998a4e65a611a1cd4e2711025422ec1″ type=”badge” dynamic=”true”] from March 22 to March 24, the theme of the conference is “local verticals”.

Presentations I’m most looking forward to:

  • Opening Keynote Address: Jon Brod, Executive VP, AOL Ventures
  • Google @ Marketplaces 2010 Sam Sebastian, Director, Local & B2B Markets, Google
  • The New Content Aggregators: Rick Blair, CEO, Examiner.com
  • Keynote Address: Andrew Mason, CEO, Groupon
  • The New Directory/Marketplace Plays with SuperMedia, AT&T Interactive, Local Matters and Merchant Circle
  • BIA Kelsey: 10 Takeaways from Marketplaces 2010

I will be attending the conference. If you’d like to meet, ping me at sprovencher AT praizedmedia.com.

Google/Aardvark: All About Local?

Google announced last week the acquisition of Aardvark, a social question & answer service. Even though the service had only 90,000+ users (as of last October), they had very good buzz amongst the digerati.

Thinking about a potential integration point, John Battelle said that the goal of Aardvark’s co-founder would be to be ” integrated into the main search interface, such that when you ask Google a question, it would give you the option of “asking a human” through the ‘vark service. Now that would be pretty cool.”

As I mentioned in Greg Sterling’s blog, Google already includes Aardvark in Google Labs and says the most popular queries are:

  • Travel tips
  • Restaurant & bar recommendations
  • Product reviews/opinions
  • Local services and entertainment suggestions

Those questions sounds like Yellow Pages searches to me! As most readers of this blog know (Warning! Sales pitch!), my company Praized Media has created a local Q&A module that can be integrated into any local media publisher’s web site. Yellow Pages Group, with their Yellow Pages Answers deployment, is our largest customer using it. When we talk to directory publishers, we suggest integration within search results pages, exactly like Battelle’s speculation above. Local Answers becomes the back-up social search tool for long-tail queries that local search engines can’t answer today. Pre-acquisition, Aarvark was already answering many local queries and you can expect Google to start leveraging the content and the Q&A technology to improve its user experience.

O'Reilly On The Killer Business Model of the Mobile World

E-commerce is the killer app of the phone world. Anyone whose business is now based on advertising had better be prepared to link payment and fulfillment directly to search, making buying anything in the world into a one-click purchase. Real time payment from the phone is in your future.

via The Convergence of Advertising and E-commerce – O’Reilly Radar.

What it means: Tim O’Reilly posits that the future killer business model of a mobile universe is e-commerce. I agree that a mobile device is much more conducive to “action” vs. branding. This means companies that have built solid businesses on directional advertising (coupons, Yellow Pages, Google Adwords, etc.) are better positioned to monetize mobile. Business models need to evolve in the direction of actual actions or transactions though. Pay-per-call, reservations, entering a store (via check-ins?), actual sales will rule the mobile world.

O'Reilly On The Killer Business Model of the Mobile World

E-commerce is the killer app of the phone world. Anyone whose business is now based on advertising had better be prepared to link payment and fulfillment directly to search, making buying anything in the world into a one-click purchase. Real time payment from the phone is in your future.

via The Convergence of Advertising and E-commerce – O’Reilly Radar.

What it means: Tim O’Reilly posits that the future killer business model of a mobile universe is e-commerce. I agree that a mobile device is much more conducive to “action” vs. branding. This means companies that have built solid businesses on directional advertising (coupons, Yellow Pages, Google Adwords, etc.) are better positioned to monetize mobile. Business models need to evolve in the direction of actual actions or transactions though. Pay-per-call, reservations, entering a store (via check-ins?), actual sales will rule the mobile world.

Google to Embrace "Newsfeed" Revolution

Robert Scoble reports this morning that he’s now “heard from three separate Google employees that Google will release a news feed that will compete with Facebook and Twitter”. He gives an excellent description of the products that will serve as building blocks for that feed: Google Profiles and Google’s Social Circles Connections. Scoble says it’s a serious threat to Twitter.

On a related note, ReadWriteWeb makes the case that Facebook could soon become the world’s leading news reader because of the enormous size of the social network and the ease of sharing/commenting information.

What it means: yet more proof that my prediction that we would soon consume all local content in a real-time activity stream format will come true. Traditional media companies: when Google launches this newsfeed, don’t say you were not warned in advance. Embrace the real-time Web and the newsfeed format. It’s becoming a de facto Web standard.