My Next Events: Kelsey, YPA, EADP

I thought it was a good opportunity today to list the next three events I will be attending.

1) The first one is [praized subtype=”small” pid=”66afa9c1b5e4cd2f613f200ec61d955d” type=”badge” dynamic=”true”] ‘s MarketPlaces 2009 conference in Los Angeles. Definitely looking forward hearing Jeff Berman (President, Sales and Marketing at MySpace) talk about verticals and local, Jay Herratti (CEO, Citysearch) discuss the latest Citysearch initiatives (maybe some fresh Facebook Connect data?) and Chris LaSala (Director of Local Markets, Google) talk about any Google Local initiatives. The conference is on March 16, 17 and 18 (yes, in 10 days!) at the [praized subtype=”small” pid=”d919d1d277951c5164c26320a00b783fe1″ type=”badge” dynamic=”true”].

2) I will also be attending this year’s [praized subtype=”small” pid=”85bbe9714ba1f95167e8691d35364b0a8c” type=”badge” dynamic=”true”] conference. Believe it or not, it will be my first time after almost 10 years in the industry. They invited me to speak on a blogger panel with my friends Mike Boland and Greg Sterling. Can’t wait to hear Carol Johnson (COO, Sensis Yellow and White Pages) talk about “Sustaining Yellow and White Pages Growth” and Malcolm Gladwell talk about “Outliers”. The conference is April 26, 27 and 28 at the [praized subtype=”small” pid=”2824998ee1a44bb195b97335593818ba2c” type=”badge” dynamic=”true”].

3) Finally, a month later, I will be in sunny Barcelona at the EADP conference. I will be talking about “blended search”. Their line-up of speakers is amazing with many CEOs and Head of New Media divisions speaking at the event. The conference is May 28 and 29 at [praized subtype=”small” pid=”fe88067181f3c2b456ee063861fe1985″ type=”badge” dynamic=”true”] (probably the most beautiful hotel I’ve ever stayed in!).

If you want to sit down and chat at any of these events, send me an e-mail seb AT !

Mobile Advertising Revenue Forecasts: 2008 US Revenues are 30 Times Higher than Canada

The same day, both the Kelsey Group and IAB Canada released ad revenue numbers forecast for the US and for Canada respectively. As you’ll see, if my US friends thought the mobile ad market was nascent in their country, they’ll be surprised by how insignificant it is in Canada (although it’s difficult to compare apple-to-apple as the IAB mostly covers 2006 and 2007 revenues).

First, highlights from the Kelsey numbers:

  • U.S. Mobile Ad Revenues will grow from $160M in 2008 to $3.1B in 2013 (81.2% growth per year)
  • U.S. Mobile Local Search Ad Revenues will grow from $20M in 2008 to $1.3B in 2013 (130.5% growth per year)
  • The percentage of mobile searches that have local intent will increase from 28 percent in 2008 to 35 percent in 2013
  • There are currently 54.5 million mobile Internet users in the United States, representing 25 percent of online users
  • Approximately 15 percent of iPhone applications are local.

US Mobile Ad revenues breakdown Kelsey Group 2008 2013 

The Kelsey Group also announced the launch of a new advisory service covering the mobile Web. The service will be lead by Mike Boland.

IAB Canada also released the results of their first “Mobile Advertising Revenue Survey/Report” covering the mobile Web market in Canada. Highlights:

  • Revenues grew from $1.1 million in 2006 to $2.66 million in 2007 (or growth of 143% year-over-year).
  • Standard SMS is by far, the dominant Mobile advertising vehicle generating almost $2 million (or 75%) of the total $2.66 in net revenue in 2007.
  • Revenues are expected to almost double again in 2008, to $5.2 million.
  • Mobile search revenues in Canada in 2007 were 0$ (!?!)

IAB Canada Mobile Advertising Revenues 

The IAB also asked mobile marketers what would be the expected challenges for the next 12 months. They mention:

  • The small size of the Internet-enabled Mobile audience
  • The constraints posed by the current Carrier/Provider business model
  • The Low levels of Advertiser/Agency understanding and comfort with Mobile as a viable advertising medium
  • The ability/need for Mobile marketers to demonstrate Mobile’s return on investment from the get-go.

What it means: we knew we had it bad in Canada in terms of the mobile ecosystem (expensive data plans, smart phones are just starting to arrive, etc.) but I didn’t think it was that bad. US mobile ad revenues for 2008 are expected to be 30 times higher than in Canada. And it’s really nothing compared to the revenues generated by the mobile telecommunications industry in Canada. According to StatCan, revenues of the wireless telecom segment in Canada totaled $12.8 billion in 2006 (thanks to Ianik Marcil for providing me the data source). Clearly, “thar’s gold in them thar hills” but we need better conditions for the ecosystem to thrive in the long term.

iPhone Local Search Apps: Jumping the Shark Already?

As most people following the tech industry know, July was “iPhone 3G” month. In the local search space, the Kelsey Group (via Mike Boland) recently published an analysis of 25 representative local search iPhone apps. I haven’t read the document but I’m sure it’s excellent as always.

In a case of “I don’t know if I should be laughing or crying” though, I stumbled upon this Information Week article that talks about a restaurant app called UrbanSpoon (I’m pretty sure it’s not in the Kelsey Group report…). Here’s what it does:

When you start UrbanSpoon, it asks for permission to check your location. Once it does, you get a slot-machine-type interface with three thumbwheels: One containing names of local neighborhoods, one containing a list of cuisines, and one containing price ranges, from one dollar-sign to four. You can select any of the criteria manually, and lock that choice in. Then, give the iPhone a shake, and the device’s built-in accelerometer will detect the movement and set the wheels to spinning. I’ve found two good shakes do the job. Or, if you’re feeling lazy, you can press the “Shake” button at the bottom of the screen. The wheels spin with suitable sound effects, and when they’re done, you get a restaurant recommendation.

Not sure it’s useful but it’s certainly very clever. It seems to be working as the UrbanSpoon blog reported 300,000 downloads on July 23rd.

UrbanSpoon iPhone app

What it means: Hmmm… Clearly, if you’re in the local search space, I think you want to have an iPhone app/iPhone-compatible site out there (or be working on one) just to appear to be competitive. But I suspect we’re already close to “jumping the shark” in the space. The signal to noise ratio seems to be quite high and Apple controls the storefront. Regarding the UrbanSpoon app, the Information Week reviewer mentioned something I thought was really interesting: “The application is as good as any Internet-based restaurant finder — which is to say it’s mediocre. It’s no substitute for talking to trusted friends, or going out and trying and finding new restaurants on your own.” Again, word of mouth seems to be the #1 trusted source for local search referrals. Quoting Roberto Rocha (who was recently quoting an unnamed social media expert), “Whoever figures out how to bottle the friendly referral will be the next Google.” He might be right.