With all the hype around search and contextual targeting, I am amazed at how little discussion there is about local level search. Google has made some noise about moving in this direction and investors are giving them a massive multiple on their stock based on the future of local targeting. But I think local targeting is actually here in the old-tech, but many media buyers are unaware or just not making use of it.
In the old days, like say 5 years ago, people depended on the yellow pages to find local businesses that met their needs. This is probably one of the first contextual search platforms on a national and local level. You pick up the 10-pound yellow pages directory, throw it on the kitchen counter and start letting your fingers do the walking.
I recently had a problem at home with an appliance and looked up appliance repair companies. I found many options that met my needs. I gave them a call; they showed up the same day and immediately fixed my appliance. There was a very contextual and relevant result with effective conversion, but unfortunately, it cannot easily be measured and the creative can’t dynamically adjust to audience needs. However, online yellow pages searching can be measured very well and provides a more targeted opportunity to reach your customers and get results.
My first reaction to online yellow pages was that it’s primarily for local level businesses that need to target down to the zip code level but this is not entirely true. Sure Joe’s plumbing is a strong fit, but so are many other types of advertisers. There are a lot of opportunities to leverage the behavioral aspect of this type of search and relate associative interests to that user.
For instance, while I am doing a search for an appliance repair company, it makes sense to me that a national appliance warranty company or an appliance sales company would advertise there. Of course, this is only associative level advertising, there is also psychographic and demographic-level assumptions that can be made, too. You may be able to assume that the searches for appliance repair are being done mainly by homeowners and the financial decision maker of that household. This would be the right person to advertise home equity loans or national lawn care to.
Google level search can be very messy and unpredictable because people are searching for everything and anything regardless of whether it’s commercially interesting or not. It’s very hard to narrow down the true intent or relevance of the user unless you extensively refine your keyword statements. Unfortunately this also means that you minimize the quantity of searches available to buy.
Online yellow page ads are very clear and almost always fraught with commercial intent. I think there’s a tremendous amount of opportunity to harness these searches and co-relate them to broader campaigns. Compazine over the counter