Thanks to the Internet, the rise of digital marketing is organically playing out like a three-act play. Act I introduces social media to business, compelling brands great and small to accept the relevancy and power of social media marketing. Without much of an intermission comes Act II, the rise of mobile. Thanks to the massive consumer adaptation of smart phones in recent months, companies have had to re-examine their digital marketing efforts through a mobile lens. And finally, before you've had time to rush to the bar for a quick nip, comes Act III, the move to local. Social-media-browsing, smart-phone-wielding consumers are increasingly going social mobile to transact business within their community.
Now that the genie's out of the bottle, consumer integration of social mobile local isn't going away; in fact, it's only going to increase with time. Here are a few facts and figures to chew on that underscore this new reality.
SHOW ME THE MONEY
Oftentimes, the best way to verify a new business trend is to follow the money, in this case the ad dollars. In May, BIA/Kelsey, advisor to companies in the social media space, released some impressive estimates on social ad spending, projecting it will reach $4.8 billion in the US this year, $7 billion in 2014, and nearly $10 billion by 2016. Most of that spending will be national, but a growing chunk will come from local ads.¹
In general, BIA/Kelsey projects ad spending will shift from traditional media and direct advertising to digital alternatives. Significantly, they predict that investment in mobile and Internet will account for the largest increase in local ad spending, nearly doubling from $11.1 billion in 2011 to $21.8 billion in five years. Overall, they expect companies will increase their investment in online and mobile advertising by 35.1 percent, while reducing spending in newspapers and magazines, direct mail, TV and radio.²
BIA/Kelsey estimates a compound annual growth rate for local social ads of nearly 30%. Moreover, local will grow from about a quarter of all spending this year to nearly one-third by 2016, thanks in a large part to the smart-phone enabled geo-local capabilities of consumers.²
As smartphone adoption continues to grow nationwide, nearly three-quarters of smartphone owners are accessing their mobile devices to get location-based information in real time. A new study conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that about 74% of smartphone users utilize location-based services to find information. In addition, one in five (18%) are checking in to local businesses with geo-social services like Foursquare.³
Interestingly, smart phone users are not just Gen Y hipsters. According to data from imrg and eDigital Research, over 50% of smart-phone users in the US are over 35 years of age.
WHAT'S ON OFFER?
Facebook and Google have responded in kind to this trend toward mobile-based local marketing.
On May 3rd, Facebook rolled out its new local marketing platform, Facebook Offers, to all local U.S. companies. With Offers, businesses can distribute coupons or other promotions to fans directly through their news feeds. Facebook isn't charging anything for the service, and when a Facebook user claims an Offer, his or her friends will see it in their news feed, further amplifying its reach.
Less than a week later (May 9th), Google announced its latest update for Google Maps for Android that supports Google's Groupon-like daily deal platform, Google Offers. With the new update, local merchants can attract customers to their storefront with free giveaways or coupons that Android users can see pop-up in real time on Google Maps.
SOCIAL MOBILE LOCAL
For businesses, it's time to get social, think mobile, and spend local.
Social media is in fact a new marketing standard. Time to get social-your customers are.
They're using mobile devices to access social sites, along with everything else, including ecommerce sites and your website. Better think mobile.
And they're roaming the streets where they live (and travel) clutching their smartphones and tablets, looking for something to do, or something to buy. Make sure they find you first.
How are you integrating social, mobile, and local into your marketing efforts? If you aren't what's holding you back?
¹ eMarketer, "Local Social Ad Spending Set to Surge"
² BIA Kelsey May 2012 Press Release
³ Mashable, "More Smartphone Owners Use Location-Based Products"