BIA/Kelsey ILM West 2012 Conference: A Preview

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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

Google: Cracking the Local Ad Market is the Biggest Priority

Google’s failed attempt to purchase fast-growing Web coupon provider Groupon has not deterred the Internet search giant from the local advertising market. In fact, Susan Wojcicki, a Google senior vice president who oversees its advertising business, said that cracking the local ad market is the her biggest priority.

“That is my biggest focus,” said Ms. Wojcicki, one of Google’s early employees who was interviewed during the D: Dive Into Mobile event at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in San Francisco. “How can we enable you, when you’re walking around, to find out the best local offers around? As an advertiser, how can I find out if someone saw my ad and went to a store? The local market is a huge market, we’ve always wanted to be in it.”

via Google Executive Says Local Advertising Is Top Focus – Digits – WSJ.

What it means: if anyone had any doubts about the importance of local for Google…

Highlights From the Most Recent BIA/Kelsey Local Commerce Monitor and User View Surveys

On day one of the BIA/Kelsey Marketplaces 2010 conference, Steve Marshall (Director of research at BIA/Kelsey) shared highlights from two studies they’ve been doing regularly for years, the Local Commerce Monitor and the User View.

First, the Q3 2009 Local Commerce Monitor. The survey measures where small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) are spending their advertising and promotional budgets and how their media usage and spending habits are evolving

  • Penetration of online media (77%) exceeds Traditional Media (69%) for the first time in Q3. That’s the percentage of SMBs using each type of media to promote themselves.
  • Newer businesses much more oriented to online media. For businesses created less than 3 years ago, 30% of their budget is dedicated to online. Overall average is 21.8%.
  • 32% of businesses plan to use social media and blogs to promote themselves in the next 12 months.

Second, the February 2010 User View. The survey focuses on how U.S. consumers are evolving their use of traditional and online information sources to find and locate local serving businesses.

  • BIA/Kelsey is seeing more and more fragmentation in local shopping. Consumers say they used 7.9 different sources to for local shopping information in the last year. That’s up from 5.6 in 2007.
  • 82% use Internet as Primary or Secondary source for product purchases smaller than $500
  • 45% use Internet to research non-routine purchases before buying
  • 27% completed most recent product purchase bigger than $500 online
  • Membership in social networks continues to explode: 67% are on Facebook, 30% on MySpace, 20% on Twitter and 14% on LinkedIn. Two years ago, only 16% were on Facebook and Twitter didn’t exist!

Twitter's Future According to Loic Le Meur

Loic Le Meur takes a stab at predicting Twitter’s future and lists 30 predictions on his blog. Here are some related to local media:

  • “It will reach masses of people”. Reaching masses of people means “mass media” but with a strong local tangent.
  • “Status updates will be open across social software. All social software will have status updates”. I make the same claim in the “perfect local media company” presentation I’m doing at the Local Social Summit tomorrow.
  • “We will laugh thinking we were updating them all manually. Location will be one of the most widespread status update”. From a local point of view, expect mobile devices to ping Twitter with our permission.
  • “Live reviews of any place and product will deeply influence it though”. Ah! Couldn’t agree more. This is the biggest opportunity and threat for traditional local media.
  • “Promos by brands and retailers will have big success for last minute deals”. This will be the core monetization model of real-time conversations and search for local media. Newspapers & coupon companies are already well positioned for this kind of product. Directory publishers not so much.
  • “Talking to shops and restaurants via Twitter will become standard and will get opt in coupons as we enter a shop, based on location”. This is the natural evolution for small businesses. First they will listen, then they will engage and offer promos.
  • “Hyperlocal news sites with Twitter geotagging feature”. Obviously, Twitter will be a powerful broadcast mechanism for local news.
  • “Google will have its own Twitter and won’t acquire Twitter”. This means traditional media publishers will have to contend with two (three if you count Facebook) major worldwide competitors (or coopetitors depending how you see the world).

Le Meur is also the organizer of the LeWeb conference happening in Paris in December. I will be attending the conference as an invited blogger.

Twitter's Future According to Loic Le Meur

Loic Le Meur takes a stab at predicting Twitter’s future and lists 30 predictions on his blog. Here are some related to local media:

  • “It will reach masses of people”. Reaching masses of people means “mass media” but with a strong local tangent.
  • “Status updates will be open across social software. All social software will have status updates”. I make the same claim in the “perfect local media company” presentation I’m doing at the Local Social Summit tomorrow.
  • “We will laugh thinking we were updating them all manually. Location will be one of the most widespread status update”. From a local point of view, expect mobile devices to ping Twitter with our permission.
  • “Live reviews of any place and product will deeply influence it though”. Ah! Couldn’t agree more. This is the biggest opportunity and threat for traditional local media.
  • “Promos by brands and retailers will have big success for last minute deals”. This will be the core monetization model of real-time conversations and search for local media. Newspapers & coupon companies are already well positioned for this kind of product. Directory publishers not so much.
  • “Talking to shops and restaurants via Twitter will become standard and will get opt in coupons as we enter a shop, based on location”. This is the natural evolution for small businesses. First they will listen, then they will engage and offer promos.
  • “Hyperlocal news sites with Twitter geotagging feature”. Obviously, Twitter will be a powerful broadcast mechanism for local news.
  • “Google will have its own Twitter and won’t acquire Twitter”. This means traditional media publishers will have to contend with two (three if you count Facebook) major worldwide competitors (or coopetitors depending how you see the world).

Le Meur is also the organizer of the LeWeb conference happening in Paris in December. I will be attending the conference as an invited blogger.

Oxford’s Word of the Year Proves Local is in the Zeitgeist

Locavore is the word of the year for 2007.

According to the Oxford blog, “The “locavore” movement encourages consumers to buy from farmers’ markets or even to grow or pick their own food, arguing that fresh, local products are more nutritious and taste better. Locavores also shun supermarket offerings as an environmentally friendly measure, since shipping food over long distances often requires more fuel for transportation. “The word ‘locavore’ shows how food-lovers can enjoy what they eat while still appreciating the impact they have on the environment,” said Ben Zimmer, editor for American dictionaries at Oxford University Press. “It’s significant in that it brings together eating and ecology in a new way.”

My “Why Local is in the Zeitgeist” post from last September had already foretold that announcement.

(found via Greg Sterling’s blog)

Local Tuesday: I’m all for it!

Chris Linnett over at the LocalPoint blog suggests that we should create a new milestone day during the holiday shopping season and he calls it Local Tuesday.

So today, we all know Black Friday and Cyber Monday as key annual milestones in this economy’s shopping season. Well those of us immersed in all things local need to unite and create yet another day for the pundits to notice. How about “LOCAL TUESDAY”? This would not be just a one-day wonder, but would symbolize the importance that local information and advertising have on purchases throughout the holiday season – and the entire year, for that matter. (…)

Point is, as much as Cyber Monday reflects a megatrend of dollars and shopping moving online, Black Friday reminds us that the vast majority of consumer retail spending is still occurring at local brick-and-mortar businesses. Local Tuesday would celebrate the fact that online and offline have merged and blended, both from the business and the consumer perspectives.

I’m all for it! Local shopping is good for the economy and the environment. We should underline its importance in our lives.

Kelsey ILM 07 Conference: Next Week!

I am attending the Kelsey Group’s ILM 07 conference next week in Los Angeles (e-mail me at seb AT praized.com if you want to connect). Taking a look a the various speakers and presentations, here are the ones I’m most looking forward to:

Kelsey ILM 07

Wednesday November 28

1) Industry Overview by the Kelsey Group Analyst Team. Always interesting and insightful.

2) Jake Winebaum, President, RHDi, CEO, Business.com. I’m dying to know how RHD will leverage Business.com in their core strategy.

3) Jay Herratti, President, Citysearch. Will Citysearch’s strategy change with Herratti on board?

Thursday November 29

1) Chamath Palihapitiya, VP of Product Marketing & Operations, Facebook. Will we learn about Facebook’s local strategy?

2) The “Localized E-Commerce” panel. I’m a strong believer in the “last-mile of local search” (local product inventory, in-store navigation, tuangou, etc.) but it’s very difficult to execute.

3) The “Future of Local Mobile” panel. As local and mobile is on the verge of exploding, this will either be an incredible panel or will be very boring.

4) A Conversation With Webpreneur Jason Calacanis. Now, this should be fun!

Friday November 30

1) Marchex and The Vertical Opportunity in Local. Marchex has some amazing local assets (localized URLs, VoiceStar, SEM platform, etc.). I’m always interested in learning more about their local strategy and how these assets work together.

2) Injecting ‘Social’ into Local Media. It’s the theme of the Praized blog…

For people attending, see you all next week!

Why Local is in the Zeigeist

As all my readers know, I’m a big proponent of local search. I believe the web will be even more valuable in the future when we have access to deep hyperlocal content and social relationships (local merchants, classifieds, events, politics, etc.). I currently see two major trends in the zeitgeist that favor an explosion in the importance of local in the next few years.

1) Traceability. The various recalls of products made in China are slowly eroding consumers’ trust in imported goods. Even the E. coli scares we had in the last few months are shaking people’s confidence. Buyers are starting to ask questions as to the provenance of products and wondering if they can trust the supply chain. My hypotheses is that the shorter and more local the supply chain, the higher the trust factor will be, and people will figure it out quickly. I think Community Supported Agriculture is a great example of that phenomenon.

2) The carbon footprint movement. People are starting to wonder how much energy it took to produce and bring the products to the store, i.e. what is their carbon footprint? Studies show that local products do not necessarily have lower carbon footprints but I think consumers won’t think twice about buying local products if they have the perception they’re “saving the Earth”. According to FT.com, Tesco, a UK grocery chain, “has embarked on an ambitious labelling initiative that will eventually allow shoppers to compare all its products on their emissions levels in the same way they look at price or nutritional value” In addition, companies like Toronto’s ZeroFootPrint are also leveraging that trend.

RealPeopleRealStuff.com: Craigslist Meets YouTube

(via SpringWise)

What do you get when you cross online classified ads with web-based video? Realpeoplerealstuff.com is equal parts Craigslist and YouTube—a whole new way for customers to reach out to one another to sell their used appliances, automobiles, collectibles, concert tickets and countless other goods and services. “Realpeoplerealstuff.com combines the hottest internet trends in one, easy-to-use site: e-commerce, snarky writing, funny videos, everyone’s desire to be a star and video sharing.”

realpeoplerealstuff Video Classifieds

With a few clicks of a mouse, customers can upload their own video commercials, recorded on their camcorders, webcams, digital cameras or cameraphones. Ads are organized by category and location, and users can enter text descriptions, prices, thumbnail photos and tags along with their video clips. For best results, users are encouraged to engage their personality, creativity and sense of humour when filming their commercials. And who knows? One may well turn out to be the next average Joe or Jane launched into internet stardom. The service is entirely free—for now at least, though there may come a day when, like Craigslist, modest charges apply to select portions.

What it means: I really like the concept as I’m very visual. But I wonder about the quantity of energy needed to produce a video vs. taking a simple picture, even if there are many video-capture devices out there. I remember when I started selling stuff on eBay in 2002. There used to be some barrier to entry if you wanted to post a product picture. Then, eBay introduced one of their coolest seller function: the UPC code product finder. When listing a product in some categories (like videogames), you just need to enter the product’s UPC code to instantly get the default image attached to the product, usually a cover shot. By removing friction, eBay got me to post more stuff for sale. I think Realpeoplerealstuff.com will have to think about how they can remove some of that friction.

I also think that classified advertising is all about local. Right now, local seems to be a second thought to the whole site. They need to embrace local much more to eventually be successful. There’s also a chicken & egg problem with local content. You need local content to make your site relevant to local users. I think Realpeoplerealstuff.com should be looking at doing backfill content deals (maybe with Oodle.com) to improve their local content breadth and depth.