10 Trends In Local Media That Every Marketer Must Know

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It’s the time of year when businesses start looking at their marketing plans for 2015, so I thought it would be good to take a step back and look at the trends that will drive local media and marketing programs next year.

While change has been the only constant in local marketing, the changes have opened doors for local businesses to acquire new customers and retain their current consumer base in new ways.

Here are 10 trends every local advertiser needs to think about during preparations for 2015.

1. Consumers Are Increasingly Dependent On Mobile Usage

According to comScore, Nielsen and StatCounter, smartphones have a U.S. market penetration of 72%. This is expected to grow to 90% by 2016. More importantly, 35% of aggregate web traffic in the U.S. comes from mobile phones and tablets.

Mobile usage amongst some products is higher than any other medium; for example, according to company reports, 75% of Pinterest traffic, 59% of Yelp searches, and 81% of Twitter revenue comes from mobile.

All these data highlight the importance of local advertisers and businesses connecting with consumers via mobile devices. Mobile should no longer be a small part of a consumer digital strategy; it should arguably be the top consideration of consumer digital strategy.

2. Consumers Use Their Mobile Devices For Payments

Analysis from PriceWaterhouseCooper estimates that, in 2015, mobile spend and value added services including, but not limited to, mobile ads, mobile analytics, m-commerce, virtual currencies and m-coupons, will reach up to $250B. Consumers are using a wide variety of apps and services to pay through their phone, such as O2 wallet, Isis Mobile Wallet, Passbook, Square, Dwolla, LevelUp, GoWallet, GoogleWallet and Znap by MPayMe.

And, of course, Apple Pay is expected to lead this transition when it launches in October. Local businesses and advertisers should be aware of these products and consider including them in an advertising program.

3. Local Advertisers Have Many Tools Available To Connect Their Online And Offline Worlds

Tools such as Datalogix, Placed, ADometry, and LiveRamp help local businesses link digital ads to in-store visits, sales and traffic patterns. All help local businesses with their need for fine-tuning digital strategies and making sure online efforts are contributing to the bottom line.

4. Location-Based Targeting Results In More Promising Customer Leads

Local advertisers and businesses can improve relevancy of ads and resulting ROI through use of location targeting tools and services. Display ads are customized using demographic data or other differentiating data of audiences in different locations such as income, homeownership or age.

A Toyota campaign, for example, could display different vehicles and offer different incentives and interest rates, depending on the viewer’s local market.

5. The Rise Of Wearable Devices

Wearable devices are changing business models and interactions with consumers. Such devices totaled $6B in 2014, but, according to a 2013 IHS whitepaper, are expected to increase to $30B by 2018.

This is another category that Apple will likely dominate early and help drive widespread adoption.

Taking advantage of advertising on wearable devices allows a business to offer on-the-spot coupons and customer service and gain insight into a consumer’s habits and preferences.

6. Social Media Increasingly Influences Consumer Decisions

A 2013 Gallup survey revealed that 35% of consumers’ purchasing decisions were influenced somewhat or greatly by social media. In a 2013 study by Vision Critical, 43% of social media users claimed they purchased a product after sharing it or liking it on Pinterest, Facebook, or Twitter.

Local advertisers and businesses should make sure their social media presence is consistent, engaging, and promotes its products and services. Doing so can tangibly drive sales and influence consumer behavior.

7. Consumers Use Digital Personal Assistants To Find Local Businesses

Personal digital assistants such as a Siri, Google Now, or Cortana have increasingly impacted consumer behavior; Thrive Analytics’ 2014 report, Is the Personal Assistant the Successor to Search?, indicates that 56% of smartphone owners have used a digital assistant to search for local information. Furthermore, 64% of users use such a service weekly, with over 50% of uses occurring while users are “on-the-go.”

Businesses should invest resources to make sure they are available and searchable by all personal digital assistant service

8. Consumers Expect Seamless Integration & Communication Across Their Devices

Consumers have more and more “smart” devices – phones, glasses, cars, watches, textiles and even drones. Trends indicate that consumers will expect such devices to work together to improve their lives.

It’s imperative that local advertisers begin thinking about how various smart devices and products will impact their businesses and clients and how ads can adapt and lead the consumer through a path to purchase across devices.

9. Local Advertisers & Businesses Should Take Advantage Of Operational & Transactional Services

There are now a range of companies that offer operational services to small and medium businesses. These companies assist with scheduling appointments, payments, invoices and CRM activities.

Examples include Open Table, Swipely, Yelp platform, Pingup, and Square appointments. Consider using one or more of these services to create operational improvements, trigger consumer action and decrease costs across your business.

10. Crowdsourcing & Resource Sharing Products & Services Are Increasing In Popularity Amongst Consumers

A whole range of companies has sprung up to capitalize on an excess of resources, disrupting current models of allocating such resources.

For example, Airbnb allows consumers to rent out their homes and apartments while they are on vacation or out of town on business. Other success stories include Uber and Kickstarter.

It’s worth noting that there have been many failures in addition to the successes. But these sites will continue to be popular amongst consumers, and it’s useful to take time to see how they can impact your business.

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