Latest Local Marketing Merger Aims for Scale in Critical Listings Management Sector

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Uberall’s acquisition of Navads highlights the importance of listings management and its integration with reputation management. Street Fight’s latest survey of multi-location brands shows a correlation between use of both these types of services and the overall effectiveness of local marketing.

Uberall and Navads are similar companies. Both are based in Europe (Uberall in Berlin and Navads in Amsterdam), with a handful of big, blue-chip US customers. They offer fairly similar products: centrally managed listings management and tools to monitor and respond to social media customer reviews. Both offer white-label services for agencies and others to resell, and mostly self-serve offerings for small- and medium-sized businesses. Navads has deep integrations with mapping both in apps and cars; Uberall has been in reputation management longer.

The merger is clearly a play for scale in enterprise local marketing, with US and global aspirations and an eye on the biggest player in the sector: Yext. (Disclaimer: Street Fight parent company Brandify is a competitor in this segment.)

Analysis of Street Fight’s June survey of 250 local marketing managers and decision-makers at big brands shows how important listings management is for them, and how it integrates with reputation and review management. We asked survey respondents what tools and services they used to manage and evaluate their local marketing effort, and compared those that said they used listings management (24%) or reputation management (36%) with the overall base. The figure below illustrates how many of the listings management service users said their local marketing was “very effective” at its objectives, compared with the average. There’s a strong correlation between listings management usage and effectiveness. Across the objectives, the listings management users were 36% more likely to rate their efforts very effective. The difference is particularly notable for increasing lifetime customer value.

The group that used reputation management also saw an improvement in effectiveness, though not quite as big a gap. Naturally, there’s an overlap between the groups. Nearly 30% of the reputation management users also used listings management, and over 40% of the listings management users used reputation management. Note that only a single-digit percentage of brands said they didn’t manage listings or reputation. The groups I’m comparing here and in the prior post thought enough of each respective service to make it a key part of their overall local marketing management strategy.

Brands have similar staffing strategies for each. Most have dedicated staff, and over 35% use a mix of internal resources and partners. Around one in five brands outsources either function completely. The partnership approach appears to be the most effective, using our correlation analysis. Working with a specialist company that has its own technology—rather than a generic or social media agency—appears to pay off better for reputation management than for listings.

The figure below shows which sites, publishers, or apps multi-location brands think are most important for their business information and listings. No surprise, two thirds of them had their own local sites in their top five, but they appear to value Facebook above Google offerings. We saw similar perceptions for a brand’s reputation. In fact, Facebook ranked even higher for reputation, topping local sites and with a wider gap over Google, behind only the brand’s corporate site.

The respondents who used listings management services for local marketing management rated Google 10 points higher, though still below Facebook. They were also far more likely to list Apple Maps and other mapping apps in their top five. They’re right.

While Facebook continues to improve its platform as a local marketing vehicle—and that still needs work—the social media giant appears to focus its local efforts on SMBs and work more on branding with enterprise advertisers. Meanwhile, Apple Maps may be getting more accurate, but still have a long way to go before they’re a fully-featured marketing tool.

Google Maps and mobile- and car-based maps in general are playing an expanded role in completing local transactions and communications as well as search/discovery/review. Marketers will see far more local customer engagement and conversion on maps in the next 18-24 months than they will in voice-based search, although that’s the next big thing.

David Card is Street Fight’s director of research.

Click here to learn more about listings management at the Brandify Summit: Building the Next Generation of Local.