#RetailLoco Recap; Innovation Behind Retail Local Search Strategies

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Neil Crist

Neil Crist who is VP of Product at Moz spoke at the RetailLoco Conference hosted by the LBMA (Location-Based Marketing Association) at Moz’ Seattle-based headquarters. He discussed the ‘Role of Local Search Optimization in Local Marketing’ and cited brand and SMB digital marketing agency Moz as having over 37,000 customers globally. He set the tone on Foundational to Local Discovery by stating that ‘when you think about search – it’s amazing how many searches are occurring at once.’

Google SearchesFor instance, Google handles 2 trillion searches each year. Of those searches, 720 billion searches each year on Google.com are coming from the US alone. To put into perspective how powerful organic and local search is, less than 5% of all clicks come from the paid search space while a whopping 15%-40% of clicks come from the local pack alone. The traditional organic space accounts for 60%-80% of all clicks . This is by far the most powerful case to be made for having an accurate, optimized and well-maintained Google my Business profile for your client’s businesses.

Mobile SearchesAs for mobile searches, Crist said 95.3% of clicks go to organic or earned media and only 4.5% goes to paid search results. In earned places it’s more worthwhile, it’s not just about being in directories but it’s important to be in the right apps and assuring your data is correct. Andrew Shotland was recently quoted as saying “paid is day trading, organic is a 401K.” Organic has long been cited as ‘short term pain and long term gain.’ With local assets you have to worry about reputation, organic and most importantly – correct listings data. Crist introduced the term ‘Ambient Search’ to the audience and said that by 2020, Gartner thinks that 30% of search will be screenless and around 50% of search will be specifically voice search.

Ambient SearchCrist mentioned that adding intelligence to your local data strategy; local data, world knowledge, work knowledge, user knowledge then creates a personalized experience for the user. Crist wrapped with asking “Does your local data support search?” He gave the context of use cases for the types of data that better support search including situational, conversational, context-aware and anticipatory data which sends a powerful message to marketers on how to better prepare for this consumer-based shift.

Lex ten VeenNavads’ CEO Lex ten Veen then serendipitously spoke to the evolving local search ecosystem. ten Veen touched on brands needing to be aware of the ever-changing local search market. Brands have to structure their data to be more conversational which makes the data more contextual to answer these questions directly to make the user experience better. For example, the domain-specific Amazon use case for product search is much different from an autonomous vehicle precision data structure search for a location.

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He then touched on smart automation and machine learning as an important part of scaling but said there still needs to be manual components in verification and customer service. Navads has mastered these two components and fulfills on global scale, location data and curation which require large amounts of machine learning. However, one of our requirements is definitely manual validation and placement. The main ingredient to scaling so efficiently is deeply integrated partnerships. These are indisputable standards that show value to the agencies we serve in order to show continued value to their clients and end users searching for clients. Lastly, ten Veen made the case for Uber car service vs Uber eats where the use case is completely different. If an Uber driver is dropping off a fare at a restaurant, they will need to drop them at the front door. Here the use case is all about relevancy, if it’s an Uber Eats driver they may have special instruction from the restaurant to pick up delivery orders from a rear restaurant entrance.

About the Author: Kelly Benish

Kelly-BenishKelly Benish is VP of Business Development at Navads and heads up US and Canadian expansion and business development in partnership with Navads CEO Lex ten Veen. Benish has blogged for Street Fight, BIA Kelsey, NetNewsCheck and others specifically about recruitment, strategy, transformation and local search. She also shares thought leadership at industry-recognized conferences such as BIA Kelsey, Local Media Association, Local Search Association, Search Marketing Expo, Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, National Newspaper Association, Association of Directory Publishers and many more.