Tag Archives: Facebook

Survey: SMB’s Wasting Their Time With Social Media

Ouch.  The digital fanatics’ aren’t going to like this one:  As reported in the USA TodayMost small businesses feel like they are wasting their time on social media, according to a new survey.

The survey indicated that about 61% of small businesses don’t see any return on investment on their social-media activities, according to a survey released from Manta, a social network for small businesses. Yet, the big disconnect is that almost 50% of those SMB’s say they’ve increased their time spent on social media.  What’s going on?

In reality, many small businesses just don’t have a true place they fit in yet when it comes to social media.  Most SMB’s will jump in because of peer pressure, or media pressure, or the perception that their business will be left behind even if they have no clue what they’re trying to get out of a social-media campaign. The quote of the day in the article is from Stephanie Schwab, CEO of Crackerjack Marketing:

“Just thinking that Facebook alone will send droves of customers to your doorstep is a mistake a lot of people make”

Why are SMB’s getting into social media anyway?  The study indicates that:

  • 36% said their goal was to acquire and engage new customers,
  • 19% said to gain leads and referrals,
  • 17% said to boost awareness.

And I’m willing to bet that 90+% of them think it’s cheaper than traditional media like print Yellow Pages.  And it may be at the onset.  But isn’t it usually true that you get what you pay for?

Take this one SMB quoted in the article:

“…Regina Hartt, owner of Hartt’s Pool Plastering in Turlock, Calif., says social media hasn’t helped her business because there are too many disreputable companies in the construction business, and no amount of “Likes” on Facebook is going to sway a prospective customer to spend $5,000 to $40,000 on a pool-plastering job. Hartt created a Facebook page for her business over a year ago, but she says out of the 200 to 300 jobs she does a year only three or four come from people who have found the business online…”

How many jobs do think this pool company could get from a print and online Yellow Pages ad program over the course of a year?  I would be willing to bet it far exceeds what they are getting from Facebook.

Perhaps the industry can help SMB’s through this dilemma.  Aren’t we the people who do the “fact finding” on each and every call to help identify where a business stands?   And aren’t we the industry that has simple, one stop solutions in print, online, and mobile?

Folks, we just need to show them the “power of yellow…”

Search Starts Here – A Preview of the Upcoming Local Search Association Conference

It only comes once a year, and it’s about to happen again. The Local Search Association annual event – Search Starts Here: A Blueprint for Making Local Pay Off will be kicking off April 13-16 at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas.

This year’s event has a diverse agenda and speakers from across the pond and the search space to discuss current industry trends, lessons learned,  success stories, new technology applications, and useful innovations in the local search industry.

To get a better understanding of what to expect at this conference we sat down with Association president Neg Norton find out more.  The conversation occurred just after the Associations major legal victory against the City of Seattle’s distribution ordinance.

LSA2013Conference

YPT:  With the court victory in Seattle, will we see you doing a couple of big victory laps at the conference?

Norton:  I would but I don’t want to pull a hammy! There is no doubt that a lot of our efforts have been focused on legislative activities over the past year. Clearly, this was a big win for the industry. However, we need to keep doing what we’re doing, promoting the Opt-Out site, honoring consumer choice and ultimately getting the industry back on a path to growing again.  We plan to get into all of that at our upcoming conference. We’ve got a great agenda and some really top-notch speakers.

YPT:  We noticed your recent announcement about your keynote speaker. Tell us more.

Norton:  We were excited to announce that Jean-Pierre Remy, CEO and President of PagesJaunes Groupe will be our keynote speaker on opening day.  What’s exciting about this is that PagesJaunes is one of the greatest transformation stories across any media; newspaper, magazine, YP as they moved from print to digital media.

PagesJanunesGroupeFor those that may not know, PagesJaunes is the Yellow Pages publisher in France. Approximately 59% of their $1.5 billion in annual revenue comes from its digital offerings.  They also enjoy 45% margins. So Jean-Pierre Remy gets credit for having led this remarkable transformation from France’s traditional print publisher into one of the world’s most progressive local search companies.

For publishers in North America, Jean-Pierre can provide some insights on how to use their “cash cow” print products to help fund their digital development as the transformation continues. Generally, many companies are still trying to find the most effective and efficient way to market an array of products and services to local businesses with limited budgets.

Right before Jean-Pierre we have Paul Plant, Founder & Principal, of Radicle Consulting who has worked a lot with John Pierre’s team. Paul will comment on his work with PagesJaunes as well as a recent report published by the MIT Sloan School of Business/Cap Gemini Consulting titled “The Digital Advantage” that featured PagesJaunes.

 YPT:  Tell us more about the overall agenda

Norton:  The agenda has a good mix of strategic and tactical topics including discussions about transformation, sales effectiveness, what’s working in mobile, how print directories fit in the product mix, the Hispanic market and a lot more.

On Day 2, we just added Jason Finger, CEO of CityGrid and Dan Levy, Director, Small Business, at Facebook where he is responsible for sales, marketing, and service for the millions of small businesses who use Facebook to connect with their customers and grow their businesses.   He’s going to talk about the new Facebook’s “Nearby” feature that has captured a lot of press recently.  We expect he will share insight into some of the recent updates to Nearby as well as plans for future updates such as the addition of information from third-party services.

Facebook’s Nearby combines the social elements of Facebook with its geo-location services by allowing users to find local spots that friends have checked into or “liked” such as restaurants or other local stores and businesses. In addition to social information, users are provided with addresses, contact info and hours of operation for these local businesses. Facebook also goes a step further by tapping into the hugely successful online reviews space with features that allow users to rate and review local businesses and recommend them to friends.

Prior to Facebook, Dan started his own marketing business – Justarrive, and spent seven years at PayPal.

 YPT:  You really are pulling in some big digital players for speakers.

Norton:   It’s a good mix of key players across the local search space.  Greg Sterling is working with us on the agenda and he’s helped tremendously with the content and is also participating as a speaker.

YPT:  What are you expecting in the way of attendance at the event?

Norton:  Our internal goal is 500. We’re cautiously optimistic as we are actually ahead of pace in registrations from where we were in prior conferences, and we’re also doing well on sponsorships, but there are still several sponsorship positions available. It’s a great way for people to have their businesses featured at the event. People can call Terri Stabnick at 248.244.0743 or email her at terri.stabnick@localsearchassociation.org to find out more.

 YPT:  In a time of tight corporate travel budgets, why should people want to attend this event?

Norton:  We try to present an event that has strong content so people can come learn from others who are doing interesting, creative things. We also have a lot of opportunities for people to network, to get to know others in the industry better. And of course, it’s Vegas so there’s always an opportunity to have a little bit of fun.

 YPT:  Is there any discounted pricing for the conference still being offered?

Norton:  Yes.  If people register by February 13th they can receive the Early Bird rate, which is $200 off the full registration price.

 YPT:  Are you still planning to do the Strategic Exchange Sessions?

Norton:   Most definitely.  And if people sign up today for a Strategic Exchange Session (SES) sponsorship, they also get one full registration to the conference on the house! But they have to hurry. The sessions are where attendees can meet and discuss strategic opportunities with the industry’s key partners and suppliers.  We have sold out sponsorships for the sessions at our last couple of conferences.

Sunday’s agenda starts with our annual golf tournament, the Strategic Exchange Sessions, and in the evening the Industry Excellence Awards ceremony.  Just a reminder for your readers that the Industry Excellence Awards, which showcase the industry’s most creative marketing ideas, plans and communication tools, creativity, know-how and implementation compare to the competition are still open for submissions until February 8.   (For past winners, categories and more, click here!)

YPT:  What can we expect to be different this year?

Norton:  This year you might expect to see a lot of new faces in the crowd, people from Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Yelp, and other heavy hitters from the online space.  In addition, we plan to feature start-ups with new products/services during the Lightning Round session.  We started this last year and people really liked it!

YPT:  What can we expect to hear in your presentation?

Norton:  Good question. I’ll have to start thinking about this! Obviously, I am going to talk about the marketplace changes and how the LSA is evolving to ensure we continue to meet the needs of our members. We had a lot of success this year and we want to make sure we keep the momentum going we earned this year.

We are really looking forward to seeing everyone in Las Vegas at the Planet Hollywood Casino & Resort!

 

BIA/Kelsey SMB Kicks Off Busy Fall Conference Schedule

We are entering a busy industry conference season starting next week with the BIA/Kelsey SMB Digital Marketing 2012 conference, which takes place Sept. 17-19, in Chicago.
 Time is running short to join the digital marketing community, which is gathering to discuss the incredible SMB marketing opportunity for media, commerce, and engagement solutions. As of this point BIA/Kelsey has assembled an impressive lineup of nearly 50 speakers from across the SMB digital marketing space, including keynoters from Demandforce/Intuit, Constant Contact, Dex One, Facebook, Groupon and ReachLocal and featured speakers from Google/Wildfire, Deluxe, Yelp, Angie’s List, Belly, and many more.

YP Talk is looking forward to a conference program which is designed to provide valuable takeaways with topics that include local sales strategies, merchant outreach, SMB engagement/promotions, local search, social media and mobile strategies.   This conference historically offers the rare opportunity to meet with leaders in the SMB digital marketing solutions space.  Organizers are expecting more than 400 senior executives from over 150 companies at the conference.  To see the current list of companies attending go to: http://www.biakelsey.com/SMBDigital/companies.asp.

Save some money:  LinkedIn members who are also BIA/Kelsey group members can receive an additional $200 off the registration price by using the promo code SMBIN when registering.

SIGN UP TODAY. The registration price increases Sept. 17. Register today with promo code SMBIN at for greatest savings.

For a more international flavor, consider attending the 2012 ADPAI Annual Conference in Bangkok on November 5-6, 2012.  This event being run by the Asian Local Search and Media Association (ADPAI) will have major players in the local search and media space for the

The agenda is focused on the regional opportunities arising from the explosive growth that the social, local and mobile spaces have been experiencing in Asia.  We can verify there is a lot of action in Asia as we found in our interview with ADPAI Chairman – Oscar Sousa Marques, the CEO of Directel Macau yellow pages (full interview here).

Session discussions will also include how to re-train and reorganize your sales force so to effectively sell digital media, how to identify and make the most of opportunities that lie in mobile advertising, how regional companies can use social media as a tool for acquiring and maintaining customers, and much more.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Neal Polachek
  • James Sanders, Google
  • Charles Laughlin, BIA/Kelsey
  • Peter Buxton, Yellow Search Today
  • Mattias Wedar, Eniro, Sweden
  • Trevor Nadeau, Turkey Yellow Pages
  • Pavel Dolezal, SEO/SEM/SMM Specialist, Czech Republic

All the information is available online at www.adpai.com including the registration form and the sponsorship packages.

The ADPAI event is then followed by the Yellow Search Today!  Annual Conference which will be held November 14-15, 2012 in Hamburg, Germany.  Peter Ch. Buxton of Buxton Independent Consulting and Jesper Simonsen of J.S. Consulting ApS, who combined more than 30 years of operational and practical experience in the directory markets of Europe, have changed the events focus somewhat to the broad market of operators offering online, digital and mobile advertising services to the small and medium–sized business.

This event will have a theme of how to drive revenue by effective customer segmentation:

  • Which products do we offer to which  segments?
  • How does segmentation increase the salesperson’s credibility?
  • How do we put segmentation into action?

It is also an event which provides attendees with a great opportunity to meet fellow industry colleagues and develop new relationships.

Success is a .07% Click Thru Rate??

Facebook, the current darling of Wall Street, is being hammered in the stock market today, down some 10%+ based on their earnings just released.  Why?  Simply put — because their sales were lower than expected.  I think I know why.

In a recent article on Mediapost titled: “Is Clickthrough Rate Still A Good Measure For Success?”, in the body of the article is the punch line from recent Facebook Ads engagement data:

“More statistics emerging on Facebook advertising statistics. I still am baffled that marketers are so lathered up about them. POINT-ZERO-SEVEN percent CTRs?”

I have to admit I am too. The writer went on to talk about “a program last year that generated a 14% conversion rate” (now that’s not bad). The friend/experts response was even better:

“…Don’t doubt there are some instances. But when the CTRs are on average that low, I can’t fathom why a medium or small business would even try…..”

What is interesting about this remark is that in their recent earnings call, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg offered that sales to local SMB’s were “… the holy grail of the Internet” and that Facebook is uniquely positioned to capitalize because of the 7 million businesses that market from their Pages each month.

I turned to the fountain of all knowledge on the web for another comparison point, Wikipedia, to get this gem about CTR’s in general:

The average click-through rate of 3% in the 1990s declined to 0.1%-0.3% by 2011.  Since advertisers typically pay more for a high click-through rate, getting many click-throughs with few purchases is undesirable to advertisers….”

Gee, you think so?

Someone help me out here.  If CTR’s are less than half a percent, why would any SMB spend money on Facebook when even a direct mail campaign would bring better responses for the targeted area that business is after???  Has a sub-one percent response rate become the new definition of an “effective” advertising campaign on the Internet?

And people say print Yellow Pages is irrelevant these days?  Seriously?

 

It’s always the right time to advertise in the Yellow Pages

The nice folks at American Express sent me an article about when the best times are to tweet and post on Facebook, times when you can get the maximum exposure.  These emerging social media are examples of  new platforms that some marketers are frothing over to use their advertising dollars on, I assume to help grow their businesses.

Any guesses??  Early morning?  Late at night?  For the record, beyond the YPTalk.com website, I use both Twitter and Facebook to share business information with the greater industry, but have always been a bit doubtful that these platforms could ever really attract and retain customers anywhere near as well as Yellow Pages.

The source of this analysis was Bit.ly, the URL shortening service which recently analyzed retweets and clickthroughs that tweets get when they’re posted at certain times of the week and times of day. Bit.ly also analyzed Facebook links.

And the results were….

Time to Tweet:

For Twitter, peak traffic time for Twitter in general is around the 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. EST window, Monday through Thursday.  As an marketer, your best chance at getting the most clickthroughs is 1 to 3 p.m. EST Monday through Thursday.  Posting after 8 p.m. should be avoided and Bit.ly even noted in a blog post: “….Specifically, don’t bother posting after 3 p.m. on a Friday, since as far as being a gateway to drive traffic to your content, it appears that Twitter doesn’t work on weekends.”  Wow.   That doesn’t sound like a very effective advertising platform.

More depressing news is that the half-life of a link on Twitter is something like 2.8 hours.

Getting More Likes:

For Facebook, traffic starts to pick up about 9 a.m., but Bit.ly suggests waiting to post until 11 a.m. Facebook traffic begins to fade after 4 p.m.   The absolute highest number of clickthroughs comes at 3 p.m. EST on Wednesday, with links posted from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. picking up the highest average clickthroughs.  Links posted after 8 p.m. and before 8 a.m. perform terribly.  As with Twitter, weekends are less than ideal.  But if you miss Wednesday at 3 p.m. there is always next week.

The Bit.ly analysis conflicts a little with a study from last month by Buddy Media, showing that Thursday and Friday were better for engagement on Facebook. One possible reason for the difference was methodology as Buddy analyzed 200 clients’ Facebook posts over a two-week period, in addition to the comments and Likes spurred by those posts, whereas Bit.ly focused just on the sharing of links.

As a disclaimer of sorts, Bit.ly adds that it is important to keep in mind that these times are meant only as “a guide”, and may not apply to breaking news. In addition, the ideal post times may vary by a  particular business, customer, or type of content.

Yellow Pages:

So let’s take this theme a little further.  When is the best time for someone to use a print, online, or mobile Yellow PagesAnswer24/7/365.  Results are not limited to 1 to 4 pm EDT on alternate Thursdays.

So why should a savvy SMB advertise in the Yellow Pages?  Answer:  to be available to those buying customers  24/7/365.  Three examples of why that’s important:

  1. Do you know when a strong wind is going to blow down your fence (as mine just did several weeks ago)?
  2. Can you predict when the garage door opener is going to jam and not work (as in the door will not open so I can’t get the car out of the garage) like it did on a recent holiday for me?
  3. Why is it  that the dog always seems to get sick and need professional veterinarian care on a Saturday evening?

I’m sure you can think of dozens of other similar life events that occur when you least expect them, or even those purchases you know you need to make for something you are not an expert in.   Where would you turn?  Facebook?

It may not be very sexy, but the Yellow Pages work, every day, weekend, holiday, at any time the need arises for a local product or service.

 

 

Why Facebook Will Kill The Yellow Pages

Actually, those of you that know me, have probably already figured out that this is a leading, bogus title.  Even if this is the latest, hottest, newest, most exciting thing from Wall Street, I seriously don’t think Facebook is going to make a dent in the local advertising.  Why?   Because there are already some serious clouds forming in its over-hyped empire.

Now don’t get me wrong – I enjoy some of the info sharing with widely dispersed friends and family that Facebook can bring.  I just don’t see this as the local advertising nirvana that it is being made out to be by some.

By the time you are reading this, Facebook will have completed its initial IPO stock offering, and with a final price at $38 a share, it should raise about $18.4 zilllion (ok, billion), becoming the second-largest U.S. IPO ever.  That’s a lot of cash no matter what you think of their business model.

Facebook is also one of the few profitable Internet companies to go public recently — it had net income of $205 million in the first three months of 2012, on revenue of $1.06 billion. In all of 2011, it earned $1 billion, up from $606 million a year earlier. That’s a far cry from 2007, when it posted a net loss of $138 million and revenue of just $153 million.

But at these kinds of valuation levels, the expectations will be huge.  And as we know in the Yellow Page industry, everyone will be gunning to take a piece of their pie.  Therein lies the rub.  So let’s look at the cracks already appearing in their armor.

Problem, #1 – Expectations require results, big results

To meet these over inflated expectations, Facebook will need to cook up new streams of revenue that indicate a future beyond its current revenue model of just advertising. Last year, advertising represented 85% of Facebook’s revenue of $3.7 billion. At its IPO, Facebook will likely be valued at about 100 times its current profit, meaning it must fuel growth by somehow figuring out how to squeeze a lot more value out of its 900 million users.

For example, their latest revenue test came a week or so ago when the company began charging users in New Zealand as much as two New Zealand dollars ($1.53) a post to ensure that their own friends see what they write. The service, dubbed “Highlight”, seems contradictory to Facebook’s long-standing pledge, emblazoned on its home page, that the site is “free and always will be.” The service is similar to one for marketers, called “Reach Generator”, which Facebook introduced in February, for brands to pay per “fan” to reach those users 75% of the time with marketing messages.  Naturally, some users have been puzzled by Facebook’s fee to make posts show up more often. Maybe they just need to add an asterisk to that free pledge.

A Facebook spokesman was quoted as saying that the company constantly tries new features. “This particular test is simply to gauge people’s interest in this method of sharing with their friends,” but declined to say how the experiment was going.

The problem is that Facebook already has a reputation of fast and furious product introductions that don’t always stick. For example, it abandoned a major 2007 initiative called “Beacon” that sent data from external websites to Facebook, and a 2011 effort at selling daily deals, similar to what Groupon offers.

Problem # 2 – The return on their advertising sucks

As I’m sure you heard, General Motors has announced it is withdrawing its advertising on Facebook because it just wasn’t seeing the results they expected. GM currently spends about $40M on its Facebook presence, with about $10M of that for advertising. But GM isn’t the only company to see weak results for its Facebook ads: Wordstream estimated that Facebook ads have an average click-through rate of just 0.051%. That’s barely half the 0.1% rate typically seen for Internet ads, and a small fraction of what Google has (0.4%). Moreover, analyst noted that Facebook’s 6.5% Q/Q revenue decline in seasonally weak Q1 compares unfavorably with the 1% increase posted by Google’s display ads for the same period, and that from a much larger base.

Problem #3 – Most advertisers have no idea how to use Facebook to their advantage

If you do a quick Google search you will see a whole rash of stories on this.  Given the experience the Yellow Page industry has with SMB’s, where those marketing a range of products often see sales calls now running 2 to 3 hours, why would we think that these same SMBs would understand Facebook seamlessly?  And the bigger question is that if they struggle with this newest, hottest of internet sites, what does that say about the future of social network advertising?

Problem #4 – Users don’t trust the site

One benefit of print Yellow Pages has always been its huge trust factor amongst consumers.  For Facebook, a recent global survey by the digital marketing agency, Greenlight, revealed that a full 30% of people ‘strongly distrust’ Facebook with their personal data.  Additionally 44% confirm they would ‘never’ click on Facebook sponsored ads, and 31% indicated they rarely click on them.  That kind of distrust and lack of interest in Facebook as an advertising vehicle does not bode well for Facebook’s advertising programs.

 

We’ll have to see what the future holds but the early signals aren’t showing me any indication that Facebook is a platform to connect buyers and sellers.  To communicate and share with others, yes.  But to find local products and services?  Not yet.  Not even close.

 

DMS 11: The Must Attend Industry Event of the Year

BIA/Kelsey is confirming speakers for its annual conference, Directional Media Strategies 2011, where discussions will focus on the small-business marketing solutions marketplace.  The conference will be held Sept. 20-22 in Denver.

This conference has evolved since it started back in the mid-1990’s.  The current DMS ’11 program will feature more than 50 senior executives from across the SMB marketing solutions landscape. Among the speakers headlining the event are Rita Fabi, head of market solutions, global customer marketing and
communications, Facebook; Joe Walsh, president and CEO, Yellowbook; Clare Hart, CEO, Infogroup; Tom Higley, CEO, Local Matters; Nir Lempert, CEO, Golden Pages; Ben Smith, founder, MerchantCircle; and Bill Dinan, president, Telmetrics.

We have all seen how small and medium-sized businesses are using an increasingly diverse, complex mix of traditional and digital marketing tools and technologies. For example, BIA/Kelsey’s most recent Local Commerce Monitor study showed a major jump in the average number of different media used by SMBs for local advertising and promotion — from 3.1  in 2009 to 4.6 in 2010.
Most of the change has come from the addition of digital media to their
traditional advertising programs.

“For today’s small businesses, marketing has gone beyond simply making the phone ring,” said DMS ’11 Conference Chairman Charles Laughlin, senior vice president and program director, BIA/Kelsey.  “SMB marketers now require a complex mix of products and services to drive leads, measure performance, manage customer relationships and engage customers.”

Laughlin indicated that DMS ’11 will bring together innovators and thought leaders to examine the components of modern SMB marketing and analyze where the biggest opportunities are for players in the local-social-mobile ecosystem. The agenda features three SuperForums, BIA/Kelsey’s fast-paced, self-contained mega sessions, each focused on a single topic:

Day 1 SuperForum: Performance Media

Pay-per-call or pay-per-click has always been an attractive idea.  In theory, it cuts through the uncertainty and inefficiency of advertising. But it has never been quite that simple. In this SuperForum, you will catch up on the evolution of performance media and explore the most cutting-edge models for measuring calls, clicks and conversions. 

Day 2 SuperForum: The Social-Driven SMB

Are Facebook and Twitter great marketing vehicles for SMBs? What
are the best ways for SMBs to get engaged with social media? Is there a play
for publishers to help SMBs build and maintain a social presence for SMBs?
BIA/Kelsey’s Social Local Media advisory service will provide major insights as we drill down into the impact social media is having on SMB advertising.

Day 3 SuperForum: Customer Acquisition and Retention

Acquiring and retaining customers has never been more critical for
SMBs, and this is even more true for the local media companies selling products and services to SMBs – Yellow Pages publishers, SEM firms, social networking sites, ad networks and others. This special session will explore the latest thinking on acquiring and retaining SMB advertisers.

Additional session highlights include:

  • Mobile Ad Networks: The Stakes for SMBs
  • SMBs and Self-Serve: Ready for Prime Time?
  • SMB Perspectives on Daily Deals
  • Location-Based Services: SMB Initiatives
  • Local Display: Coming to an SMB Near You
  • Demos: Local iPad Apps — The Next Phase

When we asked Laughlin why companies and industry professionals should be attending the conference, he noted four major reasons:

  1. It is for companies that understand the need for new partnerships      and relationships to grow their businesses.
  2. It frames which questions they need to be asking (and solving) to      be leaders in this evolving advertising space
  3. This conference offers a detailed look at how innovative companies are approaching the small business opportunity. It’s a must attend for those who want to stay at the leading edge of industry transformation.
  4. Provides industry professionals with unique networking      opportunities to develop relationships that can go well beyond just    setting up a LinkedIn profile or Facebook page.  BIA/Kelsey events have always been known for their superior networking opportunities.  This event should be no different.

For more information about DMS ’11, including the complete agenda, list of speakers and companies attending, visit www.biakelsey.com/DMS2011. NOTE:  conference prices increase August 20th!  Conference participants should also consider booking their hotel room now! Special DMS ’11 room rate only available until Sept. 2

Free webinar this week

Because BIA/Kelsey believes that DMS ’11 will be of critical importance to companies involved in directory publishing, local search, coupons, group buying, newspapers, location-based services and social media, on Thursday, August 4th, the company will host a free conference preview webinar at 2 p.m. EDT / 11 a.m. PDT, titled, “The Hot Digital Advertising and Social Trends for Small-Business Advertisers.”  For more information and webinar registration, go to: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/535703200.

News U Can Use – May

These news items are brought to you by Kuk & Baldwin.  Use this information in your account prep efforts:

AIR CONDITIONING UPGRADES.
In some parts of the country, air conditioning (AC) contractors are seeing an uptick in business, due in part to an available tax credit for upgrading to more efficient systems.   Central AC systems typically last 15 years, but heavy users may want to upgrade sooner – and even if an AC system is only 10 years old, switching to more energy-efficient equipment will cut the cost of running it by 20% to 40%.   In most cases, homeowners who want to upgrade a central system would leave the existing ductwork in place but would still have to spend $2500 to $4000 to replace the condenser and compressor.   Window units are typically
replaced every 7-8 years (Money, 5/11).

RINGS AND WEDDINGS.
Diamonds are still a girl’s best friend and make up 30% (and $55 billion) of all jewelry bought in the US in a year – but although the average engagement ring price is now at $5392, over 44% of engagement ring buyers spend $2500 or less.   The number of marriages in the US, while declining in the last three decades, seems to have flattened at about 2.1 million a year – and the majority are formal weddings that carry an average cost of $26,984.   That includes an average of $1099 spent on the wedding dress, typically at a bridal shop (Parade, 5/1/11; USA Today, 4/28/11; Smart Money, 5/11).

GARDENS AND FLOWERS.
The average US household spends about $180 a year on flowers, of which
$63 goes for flowering plants.   Regarding the latter, a garden industry rule of thumb is that for every $1 spent on flowering plants, $3 more is spent on accessories like hoses, garden gloves, and shovels.   All those dollar signs are why chains like Home Depot and Lowe’s are ramping up their flower plant ventories, along with accessories.   For example, Lowe’s has been testing flower plants for the last few years and typically picks 10 a year to sell.   All that big box activity means small local garden stores need to find ways to differentiate themselves – and then get the word out (Personal Journal, 4/27/11).

Find out how to be at the top of your sales performance by
clicking on www.kukbaldwin.com.

 Other recent media/advertising news:

Media Results:  Recent news about advertising media and general has been active.  Here are a few key examples:

 ZenithOptimedia Reduces Global Advertising Forecast

When you add up rising energy prices, the Japanese earthquake/tsunami, and political upheaval worldwide, ZenithOptimedia has decided to scale back its prediction for global ad spending for 2011 from a 4.6% increase over 2010 to a 4.2% increase, with total spending pegged at $470.8 billion. U.S. ad spending is pegged at rising 2.5% to total $155.2 billion this year. Source

Advertising Comeback Seen in Hard-hit Michigan
While overall global ad spending picked up last year from the depths of a recession in 2009 in a modest recovery, even in the state of Michigan,
one of the hardest hit Midwestern states by the downturn. “If the first
quarter of 2011 is an indication of the remainder of the year, we’re going to
have a great year,” said Bob Blanchard, CEO of Hanon McKendry in Grand
Rapids. Source

Local Radio sales Up 3.7% in 2011
Ad revenues at local radio stations will increase 3.7% this year
for a total of $15.1 billion, BIA/Kelsey forecasts. That follows a 5.4%
increase driven by political ads in 2010. The firm expects local ad sales,
including online ads, to hit $18 billion by 2015. Source

Weekly News Magazines Seeing Advertising Gains (except Newsweek)
With the notable exception of Newsweek, U.S. news magazines posted
gains in ad pages for the first quarter, with growth of 36% at the relative
upstart The Week and 49% at Bloomberg’s redesigned Businessweek. Newsweek, however, saw a 31% drop, signaling work still to be done for new owner Sidney Harman and Editor Tina Brown. Source

Digital Out-of-Home Advertising Putting Up Solid Gains
Digital out-of-home media emerged as the biggest percentage gainer among all media in ad revenues for 2010, with a 24.5% jump in spending to $1.1 billion, according to the Digital Place-based Advertising Association. The DPAA notes the ad gains in this particular sector were largely unaffected by political spending, which adds long-term significance to the results.   Source 

TV Ad Dollars Coming Back to Pre-Recession Levels
Don’t look now but TV ad revenues are on track to return to pre-recession levels over the next year, even despite strong growth in online marketing, this according to eMarketer. In fact, television is currently leading the way in the US traditional ad market among other media, most of which show some recover, but just not as quick. Source

Internet Advertising Surpasses Newspapers For First Time

Following up on the prior story, which noted that media other than TV are not recovering as quickly comes the news that spending on U.S. Internet ads rose 15% to $26 billion last year.  This gorw means online is still outpacing traditional media and has now surpassing newspaper ad revenue for the first time.  Source

Online Media News:  Discussion about online advertising is always active.  Recently, that hasn’t changed.  Here are a few key examples:

Digital Magazine Sales Count Towards “Paid Circulation
It all depends on how you count them.  We’ve noted that iPad and digital-edition sales of magazines are officially being counted towards circulation guarantees made to advertisers, per a new guideline from the Audit Bureau of Circulations.  But one twist is that the digital editions and the print editions may have different ads, raising some confusing among media buyers. Source

Google, Yahoo! and others offer ad opt-out icons
With some very vocal concerns coming out of lawmakers in Washington about consumer privacy online, Google and Yahoo! are introducing ad icons that link to tools that allow users to opt out of tracking. Likewise TRUSTe and DoubleVerify are launching similar services that first link to an ad information site. Source

Facebook Testing Ads Based on Real-Time Social Chatter
Facebook is testing an ad-targeting system that is supposed to monitor user chatter and serve up ads in real time related to the most recent conversations. Hmmm.  Analysts say the system could help marketers get through to users who say they find much of Facebook’s advertising irrelevant, but that the system’s success or failure will ultimately depend on its ability to provide pertinent content. “You might have the potential of seeing some unfortunate ads if not targeted correctly,” Debra Aho Williamson says. Source

Mobile Media News:  No topic is hotter now than anything related to mobile, especially mobile marketkng.  Here are a few key examples:

Borrell — Mobile Will Play a Larger Role in Local Advertising
Borrell Associates believes that advertisers will allocate nearly 18% of their online budgets to local media in 2011, compared with about 15% last year. The firm notes that mobile advertising is helping fuel the growth in local advertising and could account for up to two-thirds of local spending within just five years. Revenues at Groupon and Autotrader.com already exceeds online spending at newspapers, TV and radio stations in about 20% of local markets. Source

Cheaper Kindle Come With Ads
Amazon plans to launch a Kindle e-reader that sells for $114,  about $25 less than the lowest-priced version of the popular gadget. But, but,  but — users of the new Kindle with “Special Offers” will have to  view advertising on the home page as they’re choosing which digital books to read. General Motors’ Buick brand, P&G’s Olay line and Visa are reported to be interested in being the first Kindle advertisers, according to Amazon.  Source

Media Research:  It has been an active time for research data especially regarding newer media and social networking.  Here are a few key
examples:

Marketers Missing  The Real Keepers of the Purse Strings
Did you know that women control 80% of  spending in the U.S., and businesses don’t effectively market to women are “leaving millions of dollars … on the table,” according to Susan Fabry.    In this article she offers five tips to help “make this consumer feel understood.” Marketers should acknowledge women, join their circle (especially on the Internet), understand their similarities,  respect their differences and be prepared to grow with them. Source

Study: Almost all U.S. Homes Will Have Access to Broadband by 2016
Interpublic Group’s Magna Global has reported that the number of U.S. homes that are expected to rise from 84.7 million at the end of last year to 99.4 million by the end of 2016, while households with broadband will go from about 76 million to 97.9 million.  For the record that is less than the percentage of homes that receive print Yellow Pages.  Source

Nielsen Says Groupon Users Less Affluent & Educated than LivingSocial’s
Ok for all you social media fans, LivingSocial users, compared with those who use its bigger rival, Groupon, tend to be wealthier and younger and are better educated, according to  Nielsen. LivingSocial users are 49% more apt than the typical American Web user to earn $150,000 or more (which is closer to a typical print Yellow Pages user than Gropon), vs. 30% for Groupon, and are more apt to be under 35 and possess bachelor’s or graduate degrees. Source

Research Say TV is a Major Influencer in Buying Decisions?
Hmmm.  According to a survey by Deloitte, 7 in 10 Americans rank TV viewing as their top media activity, and more than 8 in 10 say TV ads have the biggest influence on what they buy. I’m curious about this since the same study indicated that three in four Americans also multitask during their TV time, with 4 in 10 spent online, 3 in 10 talking on mobile phones, and about one in four IMing or writing text messages.  Seriously?  Source