Category Archives: Local Mobile

Loci 2012 – Lisa Barone

photoA new contributor to the Loci series this year is Lisa Barone. Hired in September by Overit, she oversees Overit’s marketing consulting, social media and content divisions and serves on the agency’s senior staff. She is known internationally for pioneering many of the best practices and strategies for social media, marketing and content in the online, digital world.

OK that’s the official version. My version? Lisa is a unique voice that never fails to put the whole mishegas of internet marketing into perspective for both SMBs and marketers. She is a fearless observer in a world that is all too often full of fear. If you can’t tell, she is one of my favorite writers in the industry. Her current writing can be found at Overit and SmallBizTrends.

On her G+ profile she notes that “I save brands. Most often from themselves” and takes what should be a self evident position in saying: “I am morally opposed to this. All of this”. The same could be said of her relationship to marketers. She saves us from ourselves and often provides a compass to follow.

Here are some articles that influenced her thinking about local in 2012:


How to Optimize Your Business For Local Search and Social Marketing

This super-meaty post from Neil Patel serves as an incredible resource for small business owners. Whether they’re just getting started marketing their business on the Web or if they’ve been doing it for years, there’s still something to take away from this post.

Local and Mobile Domination: Harnessing the Changing SERPs

During December’s BlueGlassX event, Michelle Lowery blogged an awe-inspiring presentation from Michael Dorausch about how to absolutely dominate local search. With his presentation, Michael walks SMBs through the process of generating links through content and opens everyone’s else eyes on HOW and WHERE to find unique content inspiration. Stuff you haven’t even thought of! What I love about Michael is that he’s not an SEO. He’s just a really, really smart business owner who is doing amazing things to conquer the SERPs and grow an engaged customer base.  Michael’s slides are also included in Michelle’s session recap.

Running a successful business means becoming a master at earning buzz and bringing eyeballs to what you’re doing.  Here, Startup Nation compiles a great list on how to get media coverage for your startup. It’s a Must Read for all local business owners. You can’t wait for press to come to you. Go get it.

Google Acquires Incentive Targeting For Coupon Programs

Mike Dudas of Google just tweeted that Google has acquired Incentive Targeting to power highly targeted manufacturer and private label coupon programs. He noted that “Incentive Targeting..[does] for retail couponing what Google [does] for online advertising: make simple, relevant, measurable, & effective”

It would appear that the acquisition is for both talent and IP. And as Greg Sterling points out strategic. The company website notes that their “patent-pending technology allows non-technical marketing executives to design sophisticated, relevant promotions—and measure ROI in real time—directly over the Internet”. The product is interesting because it will deliver the coupon either via cell phone & social networks or via traditional methods of print and register receipt AND closes the loop for easy redemption and tracking.

It is an intriguing acquisition in a number of ways. It obviously puts Google directly into the coupon business. In the past they have never committed to couponing in any significant way and it had been said that Larry Page in fact had a disdain for coupons. Their past behaviors have certainly reflected a certain schizoid, on again off again approach to coupons.

This product, while currently serving large chains and manufacturers, could readily scale down to a single merchant and fit into the SMB dashboard/integrated marketing portal that is rumored to be in the works. Imagine a single location grocery store or our local 30 location chain being able to have an advertising person easily issue coupons across media & track the results in real time. It sounds like a winner to me. It could obviously move beyond groceries as well.

Now lets hope that it sees the light of day sooner than Google’s last local purchases of PunchD and TalkBin.

NetMarketShare: Mobile Market Share Passes 10% for First Time

Netmarkshare is reporting that aggregate mobile usage has passed 10% across all websites for the first time. The bulk of that usage is attributable to iOS which comes in at ~60%. Obviously not all of that usage is truly mobile as the iPad has become an early evening and late night alternative to desktop browsing. It is now time for tablets to be tracked separately from mobile phones so that the market can better understand the distribution of usage.

It is also interesting to note that Google has a market dominating 89% share in the mobile search market. So while usage on mobile devices might be moving away from browsing Google’s domination in the market makes it obvious that focusing your mobile ranking efforts there is a no brainer.

Blogging From Remote Locales – iPhone as a work station

Last week was an exciting week for me. During the Tuesday afternoon session of Getlisted Local University it became clear that big changes were going on at Google with an interface upgrade AND Google+. Jeff Huber, Google VP of Local and commerce, kept leaving juicy comments on my blog and I just didn’t want to be off the grid….

But we had scheduled some family time at a friend’s cottage at Rondeau Provincial Park in Ontario. The problem wasn’t that we had scheduled family time, my family understands and even enables my blogging addiction. It was that there was NO wifi for 20 miles although there was some sporadic cell coverage. Because I travel rarely and when I do, have access to hotel wifi, I don’t have 3g for my laptop.

My solution? An iPhone with just enough accessories that allowed me to “keep on posting”. Here are the details of my setup for those of you that want to travel lightly, aren’t willing to pony up for a Macbook Air with a Verizon card and are willing to make a few compromises.

-my iPhone
-an Ultra Pod stand. cost: $24.99
-an Apple wireless keyboard. cost: $49.
-the mobile WordPress app

Total cost: $75 + tax.

The WordPress iPhone app has gotten very good, the keyboard is simple to sync and is very light and the tripod serves triple duty for me as a bike accessory, AV stand and a monitor display when blogging. You could cut costs on both the stand and the keyboard but both are durable and very functional in this configuration (and they look good too 🙂 ). The only thing holding me back from traveling exclusively this way is my need for last minute PowerPoint updates prior to presenting.

I’d be curious to hear of others who have made the switch to a smartphone instead of a laptop as travel device.

Mapquest 4- Free Turn by Turn on the iPhone

I very rarely drive to places unknown and thus am in little need of turn by turn navigation. Certainly not enough to buy a dedicated GPS device and not enough to warrant investing $99 in the iPhone TomTom app.

But it turned out that it was best for me to drive to Getlisted Local U in Grand Rapids this past week and since I was traveling solo I decided to use Mapquest 4’s iPhone app with turn by turn capability. I had 3 legs to the trip; Olean to a near in Detroit suburb, Detroit to Grand Rapids and Grand Rapids to Rondeau Provincial Park in Canada. With but one glitch, I can report that the performance of the product was superb… it reliably alerted me of upcoming turns, had very accurate maps and even went into a reduced volume mode when I was talking on the phone so that I could hear its instructions in the background

I can’t speak to its global use or even its value in far away places where road data is likely to be less accurate but as a general purpose tool it performed very well almost all of the time.

The one exception was when attempting to get onto the bridge to Canada in Detroit…. the entrance was under construction and between the GPS and the detour signs I was caught in an endless loop across the highway several times and not finding the entrance. When I finally saw a state road sign that read:
Follow the detour signs NOT your GPS (idiot was implied) I realized that Mapquest was not the only GPS experiencing the problem. The mass of cars of which I was but one, seemed to be guided by the same bad instructions, and all successfully made it onto the bridge and into Canada.

As smart phone penetration has reached such high levels and the quality of free turn by turn products hits “good enough” levels, the role of the low end dedicated GPS devices will continue to decline.

The market is reflecting this reality. TomTom bought TeleAtlas for $8 billion several years ago. The combined company is now worth a fraction of that and things don’t look rosy for them going forward. Certainly a $99 app isn’t going to save them.

With Google going their own way on map data in the US and Bing partnering so closely with Nokia, the opportunities for TomTom/TeleAtlas seemed to be dramatically diminished in the low end. Its not clear who would want to buy the combo either.

Ah well life in local is tough.

Kudos to Mapquest for a mobile product well done.

Why ATT, Verizon & Disco Should be Looking over their Shoulder -> iMessage

At last week’s iOS5 introduction the big news across the internet was Apple’s deep OS integration of Twitter. Truth be told, it is an important development, one which makes sense for both Apple and more importantly for Twitter. The move was a typical Apple finesse, threading the wildly competitive social arena needle in a way that gives both Apple and Twitter a distinct edge in their respective battles with Google and Facebook. It is a move that could take Twitter from a well known, but not broadly used product and quickly attract a significant portion of Apple’s 200 million iOS devices to their user base. It will instantly make Apple’s mobile products more effective as a social & curation platforms. It could also facilitate Twitter’s and Apple’s entree into the deals and check in arena or other local services.

But an even more important, although somewhat less noticed, announcement came in the form of the new iMessage. The announcement was nowhere near as widely disseminated receiving a mere 2,470,000 mentions in Google’s index last week  compared to the 145,000,000 mentions that the iOS5/Twitter union brought. Did the crowd miss something (with this exception)? I think so and it was a momentous event. Apple is going after a bigger pie, texting. And it was apparently done with no prior knowledge on the part of the telcos and took them by surprise.

Texting is one of the world’s most popular forms of communication. While somewhere on the order of 13% of the US population use Twitter at least once per month, 72% of adults 18 and older with cell phones send and receive text messages on a daily basis.  But penetration is but half of the story. Usage is also orders of magnitude higher with texting. On average users send 10 texts per day but in the 12-17 demographic it rises to an average of 112 per day. Users embrace their most intimate and connected social circle via texting. Its usage patterns (and the data generated from it) much more closely reflects and predicts user activities than even Facebook or search behaviors. Texting is the ultimate local, social product.

Texting has long been a strong hold of the telcos. For years it is has languished technically while they milked the technology for profit and loyalty. The lack of innovation has not gone unnoticed and last year a number of internet companies (GroupMeGoogle’s Disco.comHuddlFastSociety and FB’s Beluga) started adding group texting and social features to texting via the internet. But these technology innovations, while needed, still require adding a totally new layer of actions to texting, limiting their appeal to the geeky not the main stream. Texting is ripe for a revolution and Apple is driving a semi-truck into the gaping hole left by the telcos, a hole that can not really satisfied by the Disco’s of the world

Here are some of the announced features of iMessage and given its open, internet backbone any number of other feature could be easily integrated:

  • Send Unlimited Text Messages via Wi-Fi
  • Group Messaging
  • Delivery & Read Receipts
  • Secure Encryption
  • Seamless integration with the current text app

Apple’s iMessage brings not just innovation but simplicity of innovation to texting. The enhanced functionality is largely automated and any complexity is totally masked by its integration into the iPhone’s existing and simple Messages app. iMessage will transparently use Wifi if available (no text plan needed), allows for a richer media experience, adds additional functionality like group texting and opens up the many  iPad and iPod as clients. It is built upon the “XMPP [protocol which] powers Jabber IM, Google Talk and Apple’s own iChat Server and local iChat IM over Bonjour ” making it easy to integrate texting with a raft of other services. Something that the current generation of texting products barely considers important.

The telcos learned that the sizzle of the internet attracts customers but that texting keeps them coming back.  Apple understands that and has enhanced texting in a way that should instill incredible loyalty amongst all users but particularly younger ones.

Looking at the recent data from Nielsen shows why this younger demographic is so important to Apple’s future:

Kids Today…

  • Are the Heaviest Mobile Video Viewers: On average, mobile subscribers ages 12-17 watched 7 hours 13 minutes of mobile video a month in Q4 2010, compared to 4 hours 20 minutes for the general population.
  • Are More Receptive to Mobile Advertising than their Elders: More than half (58%) surveyed in September 2010 said they “always” or “sometimes” look at mobile ads.
  • Out-Text All Other Age Groups: In Q1 2011, teens 13-17 sent an average of 3,364 mobile texts per month, more than doubling the rate of the next most active texting demo, 18-24 year olds (1,640 texts per month).
  • Talk Less on the Phone: Besides seniors 65-plus, teens talk the least on their phones, talking an average of 515 minutes per month in Q1 2011 versus more than 750 minutes among 18-24 year olds.
  • Grew Up in the Age of Social Media—and It Shows: While they make up just 7.4 percent of those using social networks, 78.7 percent of 12-17 year olds visited social networks or blogs.
  • Watch Less TV than the General Population: The average American watched 34 hours 39 minutes of TV per week in Q4 2010, a year-over-year increase of two minutes. Teens age 12-17 watch the least amount of TV on average (23 hours 41 minutes per week).
  • Spend Less Time on their Computers: American 18 year olds averaged 39 hours, 50 minutes online from their home computers, of which 5 hours, 26 minutes was spent streaming online video.

This age group doesn’t just text but  are throwing over their TVs, phone and computers for their mobile devices and they READ the dam ads. This is the truly post PC generation that will make the portable connected device like the iPhone, the mainstream computing platform of tomorrow. Apple is creating the products that speak to these consumption patterns.

Apple may be the one company that can penetrate the walled garden that has existed around texting for so long. They are not beholden to the telcos in the same way as Microsoft or Google (although I suppose Google could solve this problem is they so desired) and they offer an integration with the phone that companies like Disco can’t match. Minimally the new technology will create pressure on the telcos to enhance texting. But it could very well also lead to an unseating of the incumbents and bring more innovation and lower pricing to texting technology.

But in making iMessage a compelling, no-brainer and compelling loyalty play, Apple is not just moving into the territory defined by texting usage but they are cementing their relationship for years to come with the generation that defines the future of computing. Its not just the telcos that need to look over their shoulders.

30% of all Restaurant Queries on Google Are Mobile

In a very good online webinar that Google offered called Are You Mobile Ready? they shared some interesting internal data on the percentage of mobile queries. The charts show the % of mobile queries to total search queries from January 2007 through January of this year. Previously Bing had noted that as many as 50% of all restaurant queries are mobile.

In Google’s data the % of mobile queries as a % of total queries range from 15% in the insurance industry to almost 30% in restaurants. It is interesting but not surprising that Christmas peaks are obvious in the consumer electronics chart.

Click to view larger:

restaurant mobile search queries

insurance mobile search queries

Continue reading 30% of all Restaurant Queries on Google Are Mobile