What’s Yext for Call Tracking

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yextADOTAS – The Wall Street Journal broke the story of Yext Tags last night after much anticipation from the local search community. Yext will now provide a sales force and a dashboard for small businesses to add highlighted map dots with ad copy (my term) in the map section of a variety of listing sites, Yelp, Citysearch, MapQuest, YellowBook etc.

I like it because it represents innovation aimed at helping small businesses build out their local search presence. Say what you want about the [relative] high price or the legitimacy of these partner sites to attract meaningful traffic, Yext is centralizing a fragmented space and making it easier for local advertisers to open their wallets to test a solution.

I heard this from a local advertising client of ours: “I spend 50% of my budget on Google but get 90% of my leads from ‘em.” Yext Tags won’t change these results, but we’re in an era that if you can prove uniqueness, you have a shot at sustainable profitability. Yext Tags is distinct enough from Google Tags that there’s room for both, and the aggregate promotion should grow the pie dramatically (perform any Google local search to see just how few business are “tagged”).

Alfred P. Sloan, CEO of General Motors in the 1930’s once quipped that he wanted to help Walter Chrysler get his car company off the ground because he believed the competition would actually help GM sell more cars! That is what I think will happen here:  the sales and marketing efforts of Yext Tags will get more businesses to buy Google Tags.

In a quick-hit fashion, here are details of Yext Tags:

  • Price will be $100 per month (shared 50/50 between Yext and the partner sites). Sure, it’s 4x the price of a Google Tag, but there are over a dozen publishers signed up so far
  • Yext Tags are sold through the Yext sales force (initially), and part of the value will come via the self-managed dashboard Yext has built
  • This dashboard allows you not only to claim your listing across all partner listing sites, but also to update contact details going forward as well as tagline ad copy all in one action

Here’s what I think the impact will be in the local search market:

  • The distinctness of being an aggregator *and* a claim center will sway plenty of business to sign up. I think Yext Tags will be a winner
  • By putting your own trackable phone number in the Yext Tag, local advertisers can see if a Yext Tag is worth the money. It’s important to have phone call data support the investment because there will be yet another shiny object around the corner asking for $100 a month no doubt
  • As stated above, the market penetration of Tags of any form is surprisingly paltry. This buzz should create a snowball effect for more SMBs signing up for both Google and Yext Tags

I love that Yext has used development resources to remove steps from a disjointed process. I’m curious to see to what extent Yext Tags will present an opportunity for SuperMedia, Yelp etc. to upsell these advertisers. I’m also curious as to what kind of analytics (if any) the Yext Tags dashboard will provide.

I do like the idea of a plumber or auto dealer opening up a clear-as-day two-row call tracking report showing, “Calls from Google Places vs. Calls From Yext Tags.” I can’t think of a more striking data point to see if it’s working.

Reprinted with permission from Century Interactive’s blog. Thanks Stephen!

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