In an effort to promote their own user reviews, yesterday Google made a major change to the Google Places listings, their local business directory. Prior to the change, viewers would see reviews that Google pulled in from third-party sites such as DemandForce.com, InsiderPages.com, CitySearch and many others. Search Engine Land did a great job of explaining these recent changes in this article.
US Online Ad Spend Poised to Grow 20% in 2011
JUNE 8, 2011
Video remains fastest-growing format while search gains most new dollars
Online ad spending is returning to pre-recession growth levels, with steady increases projected through 2015 as marketers continue to invest more in digital channels.
eMarketer expects US online advertising spending to reach $31.3 billion this year, a dramatic 20.2% increase over 2010 spending. By 2015, nearly $50 billion will be spent on online ads in the US.
“The internet has become as fundamental as television to advertisers,” said eMarketer principal analyst David Hallerman. “As consumers continue to increase their time spent online and as a resurgent economy continues to bolster ad budgets, we’re going to continue to see an influx of dollars toward the internet. More ad formats, such as video, and more channels, especially social media and mobile, are also key contributors to the spending gains.”
US Online Ad Spending, 2010-2015 (billions and % change)
eMarketer benchmarks its US online ad spending projections against data from the Interactive Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers, for which the last full year measured was 2010.
Online video ads continue to be the fastest-growing format, with an increase of more than 52% predicted this year. Spending on sponsorships is rising quickly as they experience a resurgence due to branding-oriented campaigns. Banners, search, and classifieds and directories will also show strong increases this year.
“High inventory and lower pricing have made banner and video ads increasingly attractive formats for brand marketers, many of which have seen their online ad budgets grow during the past year,” said Hallerman. “The rise of Facebook has been another prime factor in display ad growth.”
US Online Ad Spending Growth, by Format, 2010-2015 (% change)
Search will continue to take the lion’s share of ad dollars throughout the forecast period, and eMarketer predicts search ad spending will reach $14.38 billion this year. Banners, with $7.61 billion in spending in 2011, will represent nearly a quarter of online ad expenditures.
US Online Ad Spending Share, by Format, 2010-2015 (% of total and billions)
Online video’s spectacular growth is still coming from a fairly small base, worth $2.16 billion this year. But by 2013, video ad spending will outstrip classifieds and directories, making it the third-largest online ad format.
“Marketers increasingly see the internet as a place where brand advertising, especially in the form of video advertising, is effective,” said Hallerman. “Combined with greater targeting and measurement than marketers get with TV ads, the growing consumption of online video has done more to attract brands than any other online ad format.”
I’ve been telling clients and colleagues alike since 2009 that pay per click advertising is becoming less and less effective. Using sophisticated eye-tracking equipment and “heat maps” (which can tell us where people are looking when they land on any web page), several studies now prove that users spend more time looking at the organic search results versus the pay per click advertising usually found in the right margin and at the top of most search engines.
Emarketer.com just rolled out another revealing study indicating that while paid search was viewed less than 30% of the time depending on the search engine, organic search results were viewed 100% of the time.
Is mobile marketing right for your small business?
With millions of mobile phones in use around the world, the potential to communicate with current and future clients is limitless. Small business owners can use both SMS (short text messaging) and MMS (multi-media text messaging), which can add video and audio files to messages sent to clients.
Why Mobile Marketing?
But what is mobile marketing exactly? According to the Mobile Marketing Association, it’s “a set of practices that enables organizations and businesses to communicate and engage with their audience in an interactive and relevant manner through any mobile device or network.” [Read more]
Google has just launched Boost, a location-based ad product for local businesses.
Built on Google Places, Boost beta is available in San Francisco, Houston and Chicago right now and will roll out to more cities soon.
Boost ads show up when users search for local businesses; they appear in the “sponsored links” section of Google’s web search and Google Maps, as well. Ads will appear when the right combination of vertical keyword (e.g., “restaurants”) and location keyword (e.g., “San Francisco”) is met.
The ads can contain basic location information, such as the address, business name and phone number, as well as more consumer-focused tidbits, including a star ratings, number of reviews received and a special Maps marker.
Business owners can create Boost ads from within their Google Places account. Initial setup is simple, and campaign management is automatic; all the business owner needs to do is set a budget, and Google’s advertising algorithm takes care of the details of placement and frequency.
We see this product as a preemptive strike against Facebook Places advertising. (To date, Facebook has only announced cursory guidelines for Places use by businesses; no ads are yet being sold for this product.)
Courtesy Mashable.com: Continue reading the rest of this article at Mashable/Business
“How can I boost local business fast using the internet?”
That’s one of the most common questions a local business owner will ask me. The short answer…Increase Your Online Visibility! There are so many marketing strategies to increase the visibility of your business on the internet and surprisingly, you can get results pretty quick.While many of these marketing strategies are readily available online for you to learn and implement, the reality for you and so many other local business owners is you’re far too busy running your business. If that’s the case, you probably don’t have the time to learn internet marketing, let alone implement the necessary strategies to boost local business. That’s where the professional services of a SEO (Search Engine Optimizer) can come in handy. They are already skilled in the area of internet marketing and the results they can produce to boost local business will usually far outweigh the investment put forth to engage their services.
Local internet marketing is most effective when leveraging several marketing strategies through a process called search engine marketing (SEM). SEM is composed of both paid search and natural search results. The most common natural results are achieved through a process known as search engine optimization (SEO) which, if done right, can have a long term effect in generating more local business for reasons we’ll be discussing in other posts. Another method, which can generate immediate business and can be quite expensive if it’s not done right, is Pay Per Click (PPC). This usually involves selecting one or more specific keywords relative to your business and paying for search engines to drive local consumers to your website or blog. Other methods include Video Marketing, Article Marketing, Press Releases, Local Directory Submission and Social Media Marketing. Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the past five years, by now I’m pretty certain you’re aware of the power of Social Media Marketing.” Social Media and Local Search are on a major collision course over the next couple of years. The internet is going local and if your customers can’t find you, your business could suffer in a major way. Most local business owners aren’t even aware that there are two ways to use social media. The first is to make friends and the second is to make money. The biggest mistake many local business owners make is attempting to make friends and make money simultaneously. After trying that and failing, many local business owners throw in the towel and say “it just didn’t work for me!” We teach our clients how to use social media marketing effectively to boost local business and build name recognition through branding. If you think social media is just a fad that will soon pass and that you can “get by” in your business without it, you’re taking a huge gamble with your business. Watch this video below and if that doesn’t change your mind…well, I’m not sure what will. Bottom line, social media is here to stay so you may as well use it to your advantage!
Q. Can Social Media Help You Boost Local Business?
A. In A Monumental Way!
Now that you’re pretty clear you need to be using the internet if you’re a local business owner, you’re probably asking that same question I hear all too often, “How can I boost local business fast using the internet?” and I’m about to show you some strategies that will put you on what I call the internet visibility fast track! I’ve listed below 7 Powerful Marketing Strategies that you can put to work immediately to boost local business pretty quick:
1. Local Directory Listings – Make sure you have listings in as many of the free local directories as possible. Definitely have your business in Google Places and the local business directories for Yahoo and Bing. There are plenty of online tutorials that provide step-by-step instruction on how to publish your listings.
2. Email Marketing - If you don’t have an email form on your website or blog, you’re not building a list of customers and prospective customers to market to using email marketing. Most local business owners don’t even realize that their biggest profit centers are in their existing customer base. It’s absolutely critical to stay in close contact with your existing customers and email marketing is the best and most economical way to do it. A recent study found that Email Marketing delivers about $51 for every $1 spent. Try getting that return outta your print ads and yellow pages!
3. Social Media Marketing – USE IT! Start with the three most essential ones; Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook – more specifically, a Facebook “Like” Page for your business.
4. Video Marketing – Get your local business its’ own YouTube Channel to start! It’s a phenomenal way to generate leads. Currently, YouTube is The 2nd Largest Search Engine In The World! Video marketing is extremely powerful in reaching new local consumers. This is one of the most effective methods we use to boost local business fast. Watch this video below to get an idea of just how awesome video marketing can be for your business.
5. Start Blogging – Search engines love fresh new content and this is the perfect place for you to share your ideas, tips, tricks and just about anything else related to your product, service or industry that your readers (prospective customers) will appreciate. Blogging doesn’t have to take a lot of your time and if you don’t have the time, you can always hire people to post about your topic for as little as $6 – $8 per post. Not to mention, your blog can be the perfect place to capture email addresses to build that list we mentioned in No. 2 above. Also, with the explosion of growth in video through sites like YouTube and Vimeo, “Vlogging” is quickly gaining popularity. These are dedicated blogs using the medium of video to channel their message to their audience.
6. Article Marketing – Write a unique article about your product, service or business once a week…or at the very least, once a month. Article submissions will add to your online visibility and there are dozens of free directories to submit them to. Make sure to include a link to your website at the end of your article.
7. Press Release – So many local business owners think they have to be IBM or Microsoft to submit a press release. You could be Joey’s Pizza Parlor and submit a free press release on your new “gluten-free, non-dairy, thin-crust pizza.” It doesn’t matter what the size of your business may be, anyone can leverage the power of a press release. Don’t discount this strategy, it’s very effective.
By now I’m sure you realize that we’ve only scratched the surface when it comes to local search marketing for your business. There are really so many strategies that fall under the umbrella of SEM and SEO that any local business could begin using to quickly rocket to the top page one in search engine rankings. If you haven’t leveraged any of these three strategies, don’t get overwhelmed. Everybody starts somewhere. If you’d much rather leave it all to the professionals, don’t hesitate to give us a call. As a matter of fact, if you’re currently spending a good part of your advertising budget on “old school” offline print ads, yellow pages and other advertising channels, you can easily redirect a portion of that budget towards getting the professional help you need.
We can implement smart internet marketing strategies that are designed to boost local business fast so shoot us an email or give us a call when you’re ready. We can conduct a preliminary evaluation of your business and provide you with a detailed analysis of what strategies would be most effective to start with and what we can work on moving forward. If you’re not quite there yet with your budget, at the very least implement these 7 strategies above as soon as possible. Before you know it, you’ll have more new business than you can handle!