To kick off the 2nd day of Rocks Digital 2016, we have Greg Sterling, VP of Strategy & Insights of the Local Search Association, blogger at Screenwerk and a contributing editor to Search Engine Land and Marketing Land, leading online blogs on search and digital marketing.
Let’s explore the mad, mad, MAD future of local search, and certain breakthroughs in the epidemic of local search.
- Local search is about “ready to buy” intent and online to offline purchase behavior.
- The internet has escaped its desktop prison.
- More complex path to purchase.
- Increasing visibility re offline consumer actions (location analytics).
- Increasing sophistication of technology (search -> assistant).
- Blurring of offline and online worlds (for consumers and producers).
“All mobile queries are potentially local.”
~ Chandu Thota, Google Director of Engineering
Most search queries that carry buying intent are ultimately local because they will likely be fulfilled in a store, dealership or by an offline service provider. Ultimately, people are not going to buy a car or fridge online.
Google may be more inclined to treat the same query as local.
The Purchase Path
- Via an app – 19.6%
- On mobile web – 52.8%
- Via desktop/laptop – 48.3%
Awareness | Interest | Decision | Action
Mobile is KING
More than 50% of Google’s queries come from mobile devices on a global basis.
70% of Yelp searches come from mobile.
New Search Experiences
- Billions of mobile devices/new hardware
- New UI/UX experiences
- Improved voice recognition and NLP
- Machine learning/AI
- Metaphor of the virtual assistant replacing search
Using Voice Search By Age
- 71% of 18-29
- 59% of 30-43
- 39% of 44-53
- 38% of 54+
“The assistant is conversational – an ongoing two-way dialogue between you and Google that understands your world and helps you get things done. It makes it easy to buy movie tickets on the go, to find that perfect restaurant for your family to grab a quick bite before the movie starts, and then help you navigate to the theater. It’s a Google for you, by you.” – Google, May 2016
Buyers are harder to reach, and figuring out how to bridge the gap between so many tools and dashboards. The top 5 challenges for large businesses today are the following.
- 52% – Identifying and engaging our most valuable customers
- 51% – Differentiating brand and experiences against competitors
- 39% – Implementing strategies that help drive traffic to stores
- 37% – Exceeding direct competitors and online pure-plays from a sales perspective
- 36% – Keeping up with customer demands for more seamless brand experiences
People want more functionality, so they don’t need to use so many apps. Mobile consumers want to complete tasks. Users want personalization and relevance. Location is very forward but beware of being too personal.
84% of consumers think advertising interruptions while watching digital content are too frequent.
92% of consumers get frustrated with interruptions in videos because of poor internet connection.
63.2% never want to get notifications from brands.
Millennials are blocking ads!
Small Business Issues
- Average number of media types/channels used by SMBs to market: 7.8 in 2016.
- It’s strategic, competitors are doing it.
- Most small businesses do it themselves.
- Measure ROI – 74% not using tools to measure ROI.
- Trust issues – only 1 in 5 of small businesses (18%) trust their employees.
New Kinds of SEO
- LBO – location base optimization
- Audience targeting and validation
- Offline to online retargeting – figure out your marketing opportunities
- Meeting consumer expectations (existential issue)
- Embracing predictive and conversational search
- Making search more “transactional”
- Optimizing and distributing content across the ecosystem to multiple consumer touchpoints
- Not alienating customers with bad ads/marketing
The most important thing to remember, though, is to put the customer at the center of the whole process. Most organizations don’t really care about their customers, and it’s all about being customer-centered. Offer your consumers helpful information, and be genuinely concerned and interested in them.
Click for PDF of slides.