Cracking Local Ad Market Is Top Google Priority

Google’s local ad performance is one of the top priorities for the company according to Susan Wojcicki, who is a senior VP overseeing the advertising business at Google (and Sergey Brin’s sister-in-law). With the Groupon deal being a thing of the past Google is on to the next way to crack this critical market. It’s actually interesting to see a monster like Google struggle to get its arms around how it can capture one of the most elusive, and potentially lucrative, market segments in business: the SMB.

According to the Wall Street Journal

One in Three Consumers Follows Through on Social Media Recommendations

Empathica, Inc wanted to know more about how consumers were using social media in regard to brands so they sat down and interviewed 15,000 people from both the US and Canada. Okay, they didn’t actually sit down with all those people, but they asked the questions, the people answered and they published a nifty new report called The Empathica Consumer Insights Panel – Q2 2010, Issue 4.

I can’t say that their findings were very surprising but empirical validation is always nice, don’t you think? So here are the two key points:

When it comes to social media, six in ten consumers said they followed at least one brand. 40% of those people said they did it for coupons and promotions while the 30% said they were simply looking for “additional information.”  I’m bad at math, remember, but that does seem to leave a few people unaccounted for. Maybe they’re following brands for nefarious reasons and didn’t want to say.

Does the Rise in Social Media Marketing Equal a Rise in Holiday Sales?

There’s no doubt that this is the year of the social media holiday marketing blitz. More folks than ever are using Facebook, Twitter and other sites to encourage holiday shopping.

According to eMarketer, 27% of retailers said they’d spend most of their marketing budget on social media, up from 18%. And 75% said they had a social media strategy this year as opposed to only 51% last year. But does this rise in activity mean a rise in sales?

We’ve been told that Black Friday and Cyber Monday both did very well this year, but is it as a result of all the social media air time?

New Google Maps for Android to Render 3D Street Level

Local is the new black. Sounds corny but it’s true. Now that I have that out of the way, let’s take a look at just how Google is taking local to new levels of interesting with their Maps 5.0 app for Android, which is soon to be released.

Gizmodo reports

Google has just unveiled their new, refreshed Maps 5.0 app for Android, launching soon. What’s new about it? Well, it renders buildings in 3D, loads faster, works offline and will automatically rotate the map according to the phone’s compass.

Could A Mere $183 Million Spell Trouble for Groupon?

Yesterday, I took a look at whether Groupon’s decision to pass on Google’s ridiculously generous offer of around $6 billion for the 2 year-old company was a good move. One thing that wasn’t looked at was the investment that was made in the competing deal site, LivingSocial, totaling $183 million ($175 million from Amazon and $8 million from Lightspeed Venture Partners). In the end, could an investment that equals about 3% of what Google offered Groupon be the beginning of the end of Groupon’s dominance of the online deal space?

With LivingSocial their investment didn’t come from just anyone. No, in fact with Amazon leading the way this money is very real and it bodes well for the company currently viewed as the ‘other guy’ in the space (not to mention the myriad smaller players and branded versions of Grouponesque offerings as well.).

The Cancellation of Terriers and The Importance of First Impressions

FX has canceled the TV show Terriers. You’re probably not too crushed by the news. It’s safe to say that the majority of the people who will read this blog post never even heard of the show before today since less than a million people watched the premiere. A million may seem like a lot but 13.5 million people watched the Lost finale, so in TV terms, not so much.

What does the cancellation of a low rated TV show have to do with marketing? I’ll tell you. Or rather, I’ll show you. Just look at the ad FX used to advertise the series. It was one of a couple of graphics that all featured snarling dogs. Add that up with the title of the show, “Terriers” and you gotta figure its about dogs, right? Wrong.

Rise in Mobile Pushes Rise in Global Ad Spending

The United States accounts for 5% of the world’s population but 34% of total worldwide advertising. That means we’re the largest ad market but it doesn’t mean we’re the only market. According to a new study by Ad Age, China is one of the fastest growing countries in regard to advertising dollars. With 20% of the world’s population, they currently account for only 5% of the worldwide ad budget but experts say they’re on track to displace Germany as the third largest market come 2011. Sitting in the number two spot? Japan and they’re likely to stay that way.

What’s being advertised globally? Personal care items and automobiles took the top two spots followed by food, drugs and entertainment. When it comes to drugs and entertainment products, more than half of all ad dollars are being spent in the US as compared to the other categories that are only 20 – 30% US heavy.