For marketers who want to go digital, there’s no escaping Google. The tech giant owns the search market. And, sensing the importance of social media, Google hopes to become a larger player in that arena as well. The company is also making another play for the local ad market.
Industry experts value the local advertising market at about $20 billion annually. Many local advertisers have been slow to move to digital. But Google thinks it has a good strategy. Much of it centers on Google+ where small businesses can set up pages and promote specials to local clients. This strategy sounds familiar – think Facebook. But Google has an established arsenal of new and existing tools to help small businesses.
Amir Efrati, at the Wall Street Journal, has been tracking these tools and advises readers to watch for:
- TalkBin: A tool which allows consumers to anonymously text with store managers
- Punchd: Loyalty-rewards programs based on smartphones
- AdWords Express: Easy-to-use search-based ad system
- Google Offers: A competitor to Groupon
- Google Wallet: A payment system based on smartphones
The company believes offering an array of tools and services to small businesses will lead to market domination while acknowledging that not every small business has the same needs. The competition is tough here. Local newspapers and Yellow Page operators have long owned this market and won’t give up without a fight. But Google is spending big on its “Get Your Business Online” campaign. To court small businesses, the company is also rolling out smartphone apps. And, it's offering workshops to assist business owners in establishing their online presence.
All of this hand-holding will surely win some converts and this trend should motivate local media sales reps to work hard to hold onto their clients.[Source: Efrati, Amir. Google Readies New Local-Ad Assault. Online.wsj.com. 4 Jun. 2012. Web. 15 Jun. 2012]