Study: National Brands Miss 86% of Local Feedback

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Screen Shot 2013-04-01 at 3.36.12 PMEver tweet a complaint about the endless line at your local Walgreen’s? Don’t expect a quick fix because there’s a good chance it went unheard.

That’s because national brands miss 86% of the local consumer feedback published through social networks, according to a new study by VenueLabs, which provides local analytics for large companies. The numbers reflect the marked growth in consumer interaction with national brands at a local level, and the increasing opportunity for hyperlocal companies to build services to help enterprise access the opportunity.

The study (which should be taken with a grain of salt give the company’s place in the market) showed that big brands like Best Buy, Qdoba, BP, and KMart are missing upwards of 90% of the feedback published by consumers. These comments typically do not include an explicit mention of the company’s name but have an implicit reference to the brand’s location through an attached check-in or geo-tagged post.

“We have seen a massive consumer shift to the always-connected smartphone and location-aware mobile apps, and it is fundamentally changing the ways that consumers interact with brands,” said Neil Crist, CEO at VenueLabs. “The context of [location] is a transformative element.”

After launching as a social publishing dashboard in 2009, VenueLabs pivoted the product away in 2011 from its initial focus toward an exclusively brand-focused analytics service. It’s product, which it sells as subscription software, essentially functions as an automated content management system for brands, identifying consumer feedback, analyzing the content, and routing the information to the right parts of the organization in real-time.

Since its pivot, Crist says the company has gathered steam. Today, over 2,800 brands use its core product, VenueRank, which provides brands with a performance score for each location based on sentiment analysis of consumer feedback. With a portion of these brands now paying for its paid analytics services, the company is profitable, and is just now moving its 40-person staff into a new office in downtown Seattle.

The opportunity, which VenueLabs as well as other local analytics firms like MomentFeed and Hearsay Social have found recently is being driven in part by increased spend by brands in other mobile-local channels. In a recent study by BIA/Kelsey, the research firm estimated that national advertisers will spend more local dollars on mobile than online media in 2017.

“The brands that are more set up with local infrastructure are the ones that are starting to point their advertising/marketing dollars to local,” said Crist. “If a brand is making a decision to start experimenting with mobile ads… that means they’re thinking about having the right people in place to not only execute, but also measure and listen and support the local efforts.”

Part of the problem facing companies looking to build local products for brands is overcoming the chicken-and-the-egg problem implicit in the adoption of any new technology. National brands may not have the operational structures in place to bring the type of centralized oversight over local interactions, which this new technology allows, into its corporate structure. Moreover, vendors, which are building local products for enterprise, whether it’s a mobile targeting solution or local analytics product, need to invest as much in developing an integratable back-end as they do on innovating the product from the front-end.

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Steven Jacobs is deputy editor at Street Fight.