Already a more than $5 billion segment, location-based search and advertising is set to grow by nearly 40% over the next four years, according to analysts at Technavio, boosted in large part by the efforts of small- and medium-sized enterprises using location tagging to build their businesses
The advantages to location-based search and advertising for small and medium businesses are obvious: namely letting people know you’re right where they are. But big businesses don’t need to miss out on the opportunity, either. According to Manish Patel, CEO of location marketing agency Brandify, large businesses — particularly those who have ties to local markets — can also take advantage of the technology.
“As a national marketer, with perhaps 1,500 stores in different markets, you have to make sure your messaging is not only one monolithic campaign,” Patel tells Search Insider. “It’s essentially 1,500 different markets.”
To do that, these large brands need to understand their consumers on a market-by-market basis. Not just their ages, incomes, gender and other identifying characteristics, but also what’s happening in their markets on a day-to-day basis, and how their lives might be affected by it. Rather than texting out a generic ad to potential consumers within a certain radius to come into your store, Patel suggests, a company could use localized traffic data to message potential consumers stuck in traffic with a coupon to make their day a little brighter. Providing information that understands their localized experience — such as that coupon — translates into more loyalty, he says.
“That’s contextual,” Patel says. “Today’s consumer isn’t brand loyal. They’re experience loyal.”
Large businesses looking to capitalize on localized search also need to understand where the tool falls within the overall marketing mix. According to Google, 84% of consumers searching for a local business will pay a visit to that company within five hours of searching, particularly if they’re searching via a mobile device. Messaging, therefore, needs to be much more tactical and call-to-action, Patel says.
“Localized search is at the bottom of the funnel,” Patel says. “If you can optimize that, you can connect with consumers.”
But make sure those localization tools are working. Locators and landing pages need to be optimized, content should be local-specific when possible, and local listings should be accurate and complete. And, finally, make sure the measurement is based on store visits or transactions.“A lot of marketing companies are selling likes and check-ins and shares and mentions. If you can’t measure up to the storefront, then there’s a gap,” Patel says. “There are many tools and technology that can allow you to act on a local level, even though you’re doing it at scale.”