Payment Technology: If it Ain’t Broke… Start an Entire Industry to Fix it.

Mobile payments is an exciting area of cultural and technological disruption, and at the same time a solution in search of a problem. Somewhere in all the excitement, we seem to have forgotten that paying for things with cash or credit card ain’t broke. We’ve been covering mobile payments closely on this blog and many […]

Phone Leads for Local Businesses: The Unsexy Cousin of the Click

We’re seeing tech and media worlds finally come around to what we’ve been saying for years: phone calls are what businesses want. That’s especially true in high-value categories like professional services, autos, travel and insurance. Clicks and impressions, despite a sexier image, aren’t as valued in lots of cases…

Conference Notebook: The Future of Local Is the Marketplace, Not the Message

The local market has seen a seemingly endless flood of startups come online over the past few years, with many building the next iteration of last year’s feature. But as the market matures, and later-stage startups look to expand their addressable markets, the industry is starting to coalesce. According to data presented at the Interactive Local Media conference in San Francisco Tuesday, the number of M&A deals jumped by 65% this year thanks to strong performance online, but explosive growth in mobile…

Study: Mobile Revenues Growing Faster Than Expected

A new study from BIA/Kelsey finds that mobile advertising revenues may be picking up more quickly than previously thought. In the fall 2013 update to its Local Media Forecast, the research firm projects that U.S. mobile advertising revenues will jump from $7.03 billion in 2012 to over $20 billion in 2017. Meanwhile, local’s share of mobiles spending continues to grow, with local targeting set to touch one of every two dollars spent on mobile advertising by 2017.

Is Content King in Local Too?

In the pantheon of buzzwords overtaking pitch decks and CMO-speak, “content marketing” is the new darling. The term has legitimate grounding to be fair, but like “long tail” and “web 2.0” in days past, its overuse precedes it. Content marketing also isn’t anything new — it’s been done for years, albeit under the ethically challenged “advertorial” rubric among other flavors. Now it’s new, improved, and hitched to en vogue terms like “native.”

Conference Notebook: For SMBs, Content Marketing May Not Be So Easy

Brands are lauded when they post or tweet the right thing at the right time — and many social media evangelists spread the gospel that in an always-on, interactive consumer culture small businesses need to do the same. But that line of thinking neglects the high costs associated with content creation, and ignores the problematic economics of content marketing for small businesses…

Conference Notebook: As Legacy Media Struggles to Adapt, Startups Shift to Software

During BIA/Kelsey’s Leading in Local event in Austin Wednesday, executives from local media and yellow pages companies spoke about the challenge in weaning these companies off still-profitable, but doomed businesses, toward a higher-risk-and-lower-margin future…

Street Fight Daily: McDonald’s Tests Mobile Ordering, ‘Showrooming’ Threat Wanes

A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal content, commerce, and technology… McDonald’s Testing Mobile Order App for U.S. Stores (Business Insider)… Maybe Showrooming Isn’t Killing Retailers After All (Businessweek)… SMB Twitter Followers Show Devotion (eMarketer)…

Dongle Domination: 40% of SMBs Use Mobile Card Readers

A new report from BIA/Kelsey finds that 40% of small and medium-sized businesses already accept payments with a mobile credit card reader, and another 16% of the businesses plan to add capability within the next year. The numbers come amid an across-the-board increase in small business engagement with the digital tools, with social media and mobile advertising also taking a larger chunk of business owners time and money…

Local M&A Activity Hits $7.2 Billion In First Half of 2013

Whether it’s through acquisition or investment, money keeps flowing into the local space. The first half of 2013 saw total investment activity, which includes both M&A and private financing, grow from a year earlier, as the number of deals stayed flat but total reported deal value jumped from $5.2 billion to $7.2 billion over the same period, according to a new report from BIA/Kelsey…

Mobile Local Advertising: Not Just for Early Adopters Anymore

Over the past few years I’ve done some axe-grinding about the lack of location targeting in mobile advertising — and the fact that desktop ad strategies have largely been ported over to the small screen, particularly among large brands and agencies. But in recent months we’ve started to see some of those habits break down, beginning with newer companies in mobile that don’t have to “unlearn” anything to get there…

Efficiently Selling to SMBs: Finding Paths of Less Resistance

We’re entering a more fertile environment for what I’ll call the SMB advertising “Trojan Horse.” Local companies start by targeting SMBs’ CRM systems, payroll, back office management, reputation management and payment processing. From there, local advertising can be unveiled as a “one-stop-shop” upsell…

Report: Local Mobile Ad Revenue to Hit $9 Billion by 2017

Local mobile advertising is set to generate $9 billion in revenue by 2017, but it will take a smaller portion of total mobile ad spend than previously expected, according to a new study by BIA/Kelsey. The research firm revised its earlier estimates for local-mobile spends share from 44% to 38% of total mobile ad dollars in 2012 to account for slower than expected adoption of local strategies among national advertisers and an increase in mobile advertising as a whole.

Conference Notebook: Location Data Takes Center Stage

Scaling access to a small business’s customer data, and using that data to drive marketing, is quickly becoming a differentiating asset in the industry. Data should play a key role in not only defining the audience to whom a message is delivered, but in shaping the content of that message as well…

Conference Notebook: Foursquare CRO Sees ‘Off the Charts’ Engagement With Native Ads

In describing why Foursquare chose to build a native advertising product, the company’s chief revenue officer Steven Rosenblatt yesterday pointed to the difficulties with some mobile ad formats, like pop-ups, saying that it was really easy to screw up the mobile user’s experience with poor ad delivery. As a result, the company has instead moved ahead with its “promoted updates” native advertising product, which launched in August. Rosenblatt said that over 52% of the people who engage with ads are checking in within 24 hours…

Study: Brands’ Spend in Mobile-Local Media to Eclipse Online in 2017

National advertisers will spend more local dollars on mobile than online media in 2017, according to a new study by BIA/Kelsey. The report projects that national spend on local-mobile media will increase six-fold over the next five years, jumping from $1 billion in 2012 to $6.4 billion five years later…

Defining the Local Coefficient: A Conversation with Yelp

A growing chunk of physical purchases are influenced online. And the path to purchase increasingly weaves between different screens. But for conversions, it’s all about offline. The question is how long this will remain to be the case. Out of sheer curiosity, Yelp VP Mike Ghaffary ventured to quantify this…

Is Facebook Local’s Waking Giant?

“Google is the best advertising product in the history of the world… because it’s like advertising at a store,” Business Insider CEO Henry Blodget said recently. “Facebook, meanwhile, is like advertising at a party.” But despite Google’s user-side advantages here, Facebook could have an edge in SMB engagement…

Mobile-Local Shopping Comes Into Focus

Customers are getting poached right under retailers’ noses by Amazon and the rest of the showrooming brigade. So what are retailers doing to combat these challenges as we enter the biggest shopping season in the biggest year of local retail transformation since the invention of the department store? The results so far are mixed…

Local Social Spend Projected to Hit $2.95 Billion by 2016

Local spend on social media in the U.S. is set to jump 1.7x by 2016, according to the Fall Update to BIA/Kelsey’s Social Local Media Forecast. The numbers show a slight reduction in the firm’s earlier projections, which had put the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for local social spend at 28.9%…