BIA/Kelsey Marketplaces 2010: Key Takeaways From Day 1

Rick Ducey, Chief Strategy Officer at BIA/Kelsey just listed his takeaway thoughts from day one of the Marketplaces 2010 conference:

* Video works

  • AT&T : 25% more tracked calls to businesses with video
  • It ain’t easy being a vertical
    • Job Brod (AOL): hyperlocal is a complex space
    • Sam Sebastian (Google): verticals vary by maturity of businesses and customers
    • Brad Peterson (Matchcraft): product sets, margin expectations driven by geo-vertical analysis
  • It’s the platform stupid
    • From software-as-a-service to mobile (leveraging scalable, low cost technology platforms easily accessible)
    • Live help ranks 3rd in what people want
    • DIY vs. DIFM: options are do i) nothing, ii) build, iii) buy, iv) partner
    • Maintain platform agnostic approach, focus on what works for geo-verticals.
  • What advertisers want
    • Budget-based model
    • Optimized campaigns
    • Call tracking
    • Sales tracking
    • Search engine optimization
    • Social
    • Upgrade path
    • Landing pages
    • Sell and support: close, fulfill, support
  • Mobile is the glue
    • Mobile acts like the glue layer between digital and traditional advertising
    • Audience is there, 25% of Americans get news on phones
    • Bundle mobile with existing ad products
    • Mobile is the last mile touch in the purchase funnel
    • Mobile is game changer for advertorial
    • News applications have highest downloads and retention
    • Users look at news applications 11 times per week
  • Content content everywhere
    • Structured and unstructured data
    • User generated content
    • Mayors
    • Community journalists
    • News leads
    • Video
    • Associative content (building and curating network)
  • Rules rule
    • Game mechanics
    • Business rules
    • Local business marketing is “give to get” environment (like social media)

    A Look Back At 2008’s Most Important News and Trends in Local Search and Social Media

    As the year ends, here are, in my humble opinion, the most important news and trends of the year in local search and social media (in no specific order):

    • The major challenges of the newspaper industry. Declining print readership, challenges with monetizing the Web, user fragmentation, lay-offs, stock value decline, etc. 2008 was a very difficult year for the newspaper industry and I don’t think 2009 will be easier with the slowdown in ad spending.
    • Mobile, iPhone & the app store. The launch of the iPhone 3G and the arrival of new “iPhone-killers” devices signaled the beginning of a real tipping point in mobile local search and social media usage. The launch of the iPhone app store also created a new ecosystem leveraging the iPhone’s installed base. At the end of 2008, building an iPhone application is as “hot” as building a Facebook app was a year ago.
    • Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Friendfeed, LinkedIn). Continued usage/buzz growth in social media especially around these four Web properties. Social and user-centric functionalities are a must-have today. Some difficulties around monetization of social media inventory though.
    • Identity (Facebook Connect, OpenID, Google Friend Connect). With the rise of social media come major challenges around personal identity on the Web. Large social properties want to become that official provider of identity. Will explode in 2009.
    • Local video. This was the hottest new ad product at directory publishers everywhere. I’m convinced that the technology is now a commodity but I’m wondering if the product itself will also become a commodity in the near future (i.e. you need videos in your local search site like you need maps, URLs and click-to-talk buttons)
    • Sobering presentations from directory publisher executives at each Kelsey conference in 2008. More realistic, a clearer view of opportunities and challenges in the industry (great assets, local search industry is booming but erosion in major metro areas, etc.). What used to be said behind closed doors is now mentioned openly.
    • Drastic drop in directory publishers stock prices. Deadly combo of credit crunch, slowdown of the economy, too much debt and market perception. Idearc is delisted after losing 99% of its value. RHD also loses 99% of its value. Similar (although less drastic) situations in Europe and Canada.
    • Microsoft’s failed Yahoo takeover (a proposed buy-out at $31 a share) occupied a good portion of tech news early in the year. This would have a created a very interesting company to compete against Google (desktop technology + social media + search). Jerry Yang, Yahoo!’s co-founder, made sure the deal wouldn’t go through. Yahoo!’s share is now hovering around $12.00.
    • AOL buys into the social-networking game with Bebo. A cool $850 million…
    • Geolocation in browser (geode, loki, Google Gears). We’ve seen the first elements of this in 2008 but this is a potential game changer, transforming every web site into a local destionation
    • Facebook replaces their own classifieds with the Oodle platform. In a move I found very surprising, Facebook outsourced local classifieds clearly showing that they don’t realize they’re in the local search space.

    A Look Back At 2008's Most Important News and Trends in Local Search and Social Media

    As the year ends, here are, in my humble opinion, the most important news and trends of the year in local search and social media (in no specific order):

    • The major challenges of the newspaper industry. Declining print readership, challenges with monetizing the Web, user fragmentation, lay-offs, stock value decline, etc. 2008 was a very difficult year for the newspaper industry and I don’t think 2009 will be easier with the slowdown in ad spending.
    • Mobile, iPhone & the app store. The launch of the iPhone 3G and the arrival of new “iPhone-killers” devices signaled the beginning of a real tipping point in mobile local search and social media usage. The launch of the iPhone app store also created a new ecosystem leveraging the iPhone’s installed base. At the end of 2008, building an iPhone application is as “hot” as building a Facebook app was a year ago.
    • Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Friendfeed, LinkedIn). Continued usage/buzz growth in social media especially around these four Web properties. Social and user-centric functionalities are a must-have today. Some difficulties around monetization of social media inventory though.
    • Identity (Facebook Connect, OpenID, Google Friend Connect). With the rise of social media come major challenges around personal identity on the Web. Large social properties want to become that official provider of identity. Will explode in 2009.
    • Local video. This was the hottest new ad product at directory publishers everywhere. I’m convinced that the technology is now a commodity but I’m wondering if the product itself will also become a commodity in the near future (i.e. you need videos in your local search site like you need maps, URLs and click-to-talk buttons)
    • Sobering presentations from directory publisher executives at each Kelsey conference in 2008. More realistic, a clearer view of opportunities and challenges in the industry (great assets, local search industry is booming but erosion in major metro areas, etc.). What used to be said behind closed doors is now mentioned openly.
    • Drastic drop in directory publishers stock prices. Deadly combo of credit crunch, slowdown of the economy, too much debt and market perception. Idearc is delisted after losing 99% of its value. RHD also loses 99% of its value. Similar (although less drastic) situations in Europe and Canada.
    • Microsoft’s failed Yahoo takeover (a proposed buy-out at $31 a share) occupied a good portion of tech news early in the year. This would have a created a very interesting company to compete against Google (desktop technology + social media + search). Jerry Yang, Yahoo!’s co-founder, made sure the deal wouldn’t go through. Yahoo!’s share is now hovering around $12.00.
    • AOL buys into the social-networking game with Bebo. A cool $850 million…
    • Geolocation in browser (geode, loki, Google Gears). We’ve seen the first elements of this in 2008 but this is a potential game changer, transforming every web site into a local destionation
    • Facebook replaces their own classifieds with the Oodle platform. In a move I found very surprising, Facebook outsourced local classifieds clearly showing that they don’t realize they’re in the local search space.

    A Look Back At 2008's Most Important News and Trends in Local Search and Social Media

    As the year ends, here are, in my humble opinion, the most important news and trends of the year in local search and social media (in no specific order):

    • The major challenges of the newspaper industry. Declining print readership, challenges with monetizing the Web, user fragmentation, lay-offs, stock value decline, etc. 2008 was a very difficult year for the newspaper industry and I don’t think 2009 will be easier with the slowdown in ad spending.
    • Mobile, iPhone & the app store. The launch of the iPhone 3G and the arrival of new “iPhone-killers” devices signaled the beginning of a real tipping point in mobile local search and social media usage. The launch of the iPhone app store also created a new ecosystem leveraging the iPhone’s installed base. At the end of 2008, building an iPhone application is as “hot” as building a Facebook app was a year ago.
    • Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Friendfeed, LinkedIn). Continued usage/buzz growth in social media especially around these four Web properties. Social and user-centric functionalities are a must-have today. Some difficulties around monetization of social media inventory though.
    • Identity (Facebook Connect, OpenID, Google Friend Connect). With the rise of social media come major challenges around personal identity on the Web. Large social properties want to become that official provider of identity. Will explode in 2009.
    • Local video. This was the hottest new ad product at directory publishers everywhere. I’m convinced that the technology is now a commodity but I’m wondering if the product itself will also become a commodity in the near future (i.e. you need videos in your local search site like you need maps, URLs and click-to-talk buttons)
    • Sobering presentations from directory publisher executives at each Kelsey conference in 2008. More realistic, a clearer view of opportunities and challenges in the industry (great assets, local search industry is booming but erosion in major metro areas, etc.). What used to be said behind closed doors is now mentioned openly.
    • Drastic drop in directory publishers stock prices. Deadly combo of credit crunch, slowdown of the economy, too much debt and market perception. Idearc is delisted after losing 99% of its value. RHD also loses 99% of its value. Similar (although less drastic) situations in Europe and Canada.
    • Microsoft’s failed Yahoo takeover (a proposed buy-out at $31 a share) occupied a good portion of tech news early in the year. This would have a created a very interesting company to compete against Google (desktop technology + social media + search). Jerry Yang, Yahoo!’s co-founder, made sure the deal wouldn’t go through. Yahoo!’s share is now hovering around $12.00.
    • AOL buys into the social-networking game with Bebo. A cool $850 million…
    • Geolocation in browser (geode, loki, Google Gears). We’ve seen the first elements of this in 2008 but this is a potential game changer, transforming every web site into a local destionation
    • Facebook replaces their own classifieds with the Oodle platform. In a move I found very surprising, Facebook outsourced local classifieds clearly showing that they don’t realize they’re in the local search space.

    YouTube videos in Google Maps: Local Video SEO

    Google just announced that you can now embed YouTube videos in merchant profiles in Google Maps. Videos are displayed in the “Photos & Videos” tab in the extended listing bubble that appears when you click on a listing.

    “Local business owners can easily add YouTube videos along with other content such as business details, photos, and descriptions to their listings. To do so, simply upload your videos to YouTube and ensure that the ’embed’ option is turned on. Then, associate your video to your business listing through the Local Business Center.” A bit difficult for the average small merchant but fairly easy if you run a local SEO program.

    The Google blog points to this example, I Dream of Cake in San Francisco.

    I Dream of Cake San Francisco Google Maps YouTube Videos

    What it means: most major North American directory publishers have launched their local video offer in the last 12 months (often powered by TurnHere or Weblistic). I think this will drastically increase the value proposition for those local videos, if publishers agree to distribute their videos in YouTube and Google Maps. I think they should do it and leverage the enormous amount of traffic found in those two sites.

    Southwest Airlines Uses YouTube to Reply to YouTube Attack

    Great use of social media (YouTube in this case) to reply in context to a newscast (posted on YouTube as well) that portrayed Southwest Airlines as bad guys in a possible case of unruly passenger behavior.

    too pretty to fly Southwest Airlines

    Best quote from one of the passengers in the newscast: “I think they were just discriminating against us because we were young decent-looking girls. I mean, nobody else really on the plane looked like us except us”. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FA2r_uCJUc0)

    Southwest Airlines Response to Unruly Passenger Behavior

    Best quote from SouthWest’s spokesperson (in the reply): “I just want to assure you that we welcome pretty people on-board our flights, we just ask that you leave your bad behavior at home”. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aPdSs3AiRhA)

    You can’t invent these things!

    (via Stuart Macdonald’s Twitter feed)

    Oops! We Forgot to Atomize Our Business Model!

    A couple of news articles caught my eye last week. Mediapost reported on a TV exec seminar hosted by Havas’ Media Contacts unit. Talking about the online video revolution, Mediapost says major TV providers are moving aggressively online–and not only to their own online destinations, but in an array of “distributed” online content options to deliver their programming directly to consumers regardless of where they are on the Web.”

    In addition, TorrentFreak discussed data from Mininova (one of the largest torrent listing sites) showing that “ 50% of all people using BitTorrent at any given point in time do so to download TV-series, quite an impressive number. In total, over a billion TV-shows are downloaded every year, and this number continues to rise.”

    Our friend the Atom

    Flickr photo by Marshall Astor

    What it means: recently, all savvy media industry strategists have been talking about content atomization and clearly, in the TV industry, TV channels are being atomized by new Web technology. Whereby, in a traditional cableco world, channels used to be the basic content building blocks (think about how your cable TV subscription is structured), TV shows have become the new atomic element.

    But there’s a problem.

    The content is being atomized but the main TV business model (30-second ads) was built to be part of a larger element, the TV channel. Ads used to fill, i) the “empty spaces” between shows and ii) planned 3-minute interruptions during the show. In the first scenario, those empty spaces don’t really exist anymore as shows become the basic element and BitTorrent is disrupting the second scenario by offering easily accessible ad-less versions of your favorite programs.

    Guess what. Someone forgot to atomize the TV business model while they were busy atomizing the content.

    So, how do you atomize TV’s business model? Is it all about product placement, sponsorships, pre-roll ads? Do you move to a user-paid subscription model for individual shows? And BTW, is the future cableco the equivalent of a RSS reader for online videos?

    And what does it mean for other media, newspapers for example?

    In the case of newspapers, from a content point of view, news articles are the new atoms. This is the way news information travels online. But, in that situation, newspapers’ business model has been blown to bits (no pun intended). Let me explain. Like TV channels, newspapers are inserting ads in the empty spaces around news articles. These spaces don’t really exists anymore, so how do you monetize? News article sponsorships? A-la-carte article user-paid
    subscriptions? This one is not easy as journalism ethics (rightfully so!) have kept news article and ads completely separated. How do you bring ads closer to the article without breaking readers’ trust?

    What about radio?

    For the traditional FM radio industry, individual songs are clearly the basic atom of content. But those are so easy to find online through legal (music streaming services, iTunes) or illegal means (BitTorrent again). As for their business model, radio stations insert ads around songs. Again, these slots don’t exist in an atomized world. Maybe radio stations should invest in original content or better DJs (Wired calls them robo-DJs in “Why things suck”)? Can radio stations move online as trusted brands and become real music aggregators/recommendation engines? It might be too late. So, is FM radio as we know it screwed? Maybe more than people think. That one again is not easy to solve.

    And finally, directory publishers?

    As for directory publishers, their business model is currently in the ranking of directory listings. But those individual listings might be the new content atoms. And if they are, it means that the ranking structure does not exist anymore. Is it now the merchants’ phone number and a pay-per-call model? Is it pay-per-click to individual merchants? Given that directory content is all about advertising, atomizing content does not impair a directory publisher from atomizing their business model but it just needs to be properly executed. I believe pay-per-call and pay-per-click to individual merchants might definitely be the way to go.

    Conclusion

    If you’re atomizing your content, don’t forget to atomize your business model! This blog post raises important questions about future traditional media business models. I don’t have all the answers at this point but I meant this post as a wake-up call to stimulate deeper strategic thinking in all traditional media firms.

    The Kelsey Group’s 2008 Local Media Trends: “A Pivotal Year for the Global Yellow Pages Industry”

    The Kelsey Group (TKG) just released their 2008 Local Media trends. They believe 2008 will be a pivotal year for the global Yellow Pages industry. Here are the highlights:

    • Print local media: TKG wonders if the directory business will continue to be as recession-proof as it used to be, as more ROI-driven online local ad products are launched. For large US urban areas, they also talk about the creation of print opt-out plans, important market rescoping and the launching of new directory formats. They also expect higher cannibalization of traditional media sales, mostly from search engine click packages.

    • Online local media: 2008 is the year where user-generated content becomes a critical aspect of consumers’ decision-making process. Merchants will be widely invited to join that conversation as well. In addition, auto and real estate verticals will continue to develop in the local search context, new devices will lead to new sources of searches and local search inventory will increase drastically.

    • Sales: 2008 will continue to see the uphill struggle to build independent local sales channels.

    • ROI/Performance-based products: this year, we will see the beginning of the untethering of print and online usage and more use of robust ad reporting. TKG thinks that 2008 is the year where the promise of pay-per-call gets realized as multi-channel management becomes a critical success factor.

    • Verticalization: from a seller perspective, high ad spend categories will attract lots of sales competition from many different sources: SEO/SEM firms, newspapers, vertical sites, start-ups, etc. In national sales, we will see more ad localization.

    • New products: Video, Mobile and Outdoor, with a mention that “video is where the immediate action is”.

    You can find the Praized blog’s 2008 predictions here.

    What it means: As a regular attendee of Kelsey Conferences, I am usually well aware of most of the local media trends but there are a couple of surprises in there for me. First, the creation of opt-out programs for print directories in some US markets. I did not realize the pressure was high on US publishers to create these mechanisms. The second one is Outdoor as a new product. I wasn’t aware that local media companies were looking actively to sell “outdoor” products. In my mind, it’s the kind of interesting opportunity that’s always discussed but is never “low-hanging fruit” enough to execute. Will be interesting to follow. I also like the call to disconnect print and online usage. TKG was the first organization to warn directory companies not to couple print and online value for too long (back in 2001-2002). What they’re saying is: there used to be a time where bundling print and online usage was useful to sell but online is now strong enough to sell on its own.

    The Kelsey Group’s 2008 Local Media Trends: “A Pivotal Year for the Global Yellow Pages Industry”

    The Kelsey Group (TKG) just released their 2008 Local Media trends. They believe 2008 will be a pivotal year for the global Yellow Pages industry. Here are the highlights:

    • Print local media: TKG wonders if the directory business will continue to be as recession-proof as it used to be, as more ROI-driven online local ad products are launched. For large US urban areas, they also talk about the creation of print opt-out plans, important market rescoping and the launching of new directory formats. They also expect higher cannibalization of traditional media sales, mostly from search engine click packages.

    • Online local media: 2008 is the year where user-generated content becomes a critical aspect of consumers’ decision-making process. Merchants will be widely invited to join that conversation as well. In addition, auto and real estate verticals will continue to develop in the local search context, new devices will lead to new sources of searches and local search inventory will increase drastically.

    • Sales: 2008 will continue to see the uphill struggle to build independent local sales channels.

    • ROI/Performance-based products: this year, we will see the beginning of the untethering of print and online usage and more use of robust ad reporting. TKG thinks that 2008 is the year where the promise of pay-per-call gets realized as multi-channel management becomes a critical success factor.

    • Verticalization: from a seller perspective, high ad spend categories will attract lots of sales competition from many different sources: SEO/SEM firms, newspapers, vertical sites, start-ups, etc. In national sales, we will see more ad localization.

    • New products: Video, Mobile and Outdoor, with a mention that “video is where the immediate action is”.

    You can find the Praized blog’s 2008 predictions here.

    What it means: As a regular attendee of Kelsey Conferences, I am usually well aware of most of the local media trends but there are a couple of surprises in there for me. First, the creation of opt-out programs for print directories in some US markets. I did not realize the pressure was high on US publishers to create these mechanisms. The second one is Outdoor as a new product. I wasn’t aware that local media companies were looking actively to sell “outdoor” products. In my mind, it’s the kind of interesting opportunity that’s always discussed but is never “low-hanging fruit” enough to execute. Will be interesting to follow. I also like the call to disconnect print and online usage. TKG was the first organization to warn directory companies not to couple print and online value for too long (back in 2001-2002). What they’re saying is: there used to be a time where bundling print and online usage was useful to sell but online is now strong enough to sell on its own.

    Pew Internet: Social Media Central to Teenagers’ Lives

    Pew/Internet logo

    Pew Internet just released a fascinating study called “Teens and Social Media”. Teens are clearly embracing the conversational aspect of the web and are precursors to the way we will use the Internet in the future.

    Highlights & data points:

    • 64% of online teens ages 12-17 have participated in one or more among a wide range of content-creating activities on the internet.
    • 39% of online teens share their own artistic creations online, such as artwork, photos, stories, or videos.
    • 33% create or work on webpages or blogs for others, including those for groups they belong to, friends, or school assignments.
    • 28% have created their own online journal or blog.
    • 27% maintain their own personal webpage.
    • 26% remix content they find online into their own creations.
    • 55% of online teens ages 12-17 have created a profile on a social networking site.
    • 47% of online teens have uploaded photos where others can see them.
    • 14% of online teens have posted videos online.

    Additional insights:

    • In the midst of the digital media mix, the landline is still a lifeline for teen social life. Multi-channel teens layer each new communications opportunity on top of pre-existing channels.
    • Email continues to lose its luster among teens as texting, instant messaging, and social networking sites facilitate more frequent contact with friends.
    • Posting images and video often starts a virtual conversation. Most teens receive some feedback on the content they post online.

    For more information, here’s the full report (.pdf).

    What it means: more crystal-ball gazing. This net-native generation will completely change the web. Embrace these trends to be ahead of the curve.