Local Beat – Two Developments in Local Marketing That Affect Your Channel Partners

We have two breaking stories that affect local marketing, one regarding Yelp’s partnership with Yahoo, and the other involves Facebook’s clamp down on business pages.  First, let’s talk about what’s going on and then we can discuss how it affects your channel partners.

Yahoo & Yelp

Yahoo and Yelp recently announced a partnership that is essentially Yahoo’s necessary move to play catch up with Google.  Since Google Places offers users photos, reviews, address listings, etc. for the business that those local consumers are looking for, Yahoo needed a similarly rich search experience.  It got it through a partnership with Yelp.

What does that mean for your channel partners?

Yahoo searchers are seeing a lot more business listings, photos, and of course – reviews.

Your channel partners are going to need Yelp accounts if they don’t already have them, good pictures, videos, fully filled out profiles, and of course good reviews.  Some 4 in 10 people use local search daily according to StreetFight Insights and 72% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations according to a study by Merchant Warehouse.  You can see the value in your channel partners showing up in the Yahoo-Yelp results with local intent – it’s a path to purchase your partners must forge.

Next up, Facebook is looking to give a little less and get a little more

Facebook is in the process of what ValleyWag called “the best practical joke of the internet age,” because it hoodwinked “brands that its service was the best way to reach people with eyeballs and money.”  The word is that Facebook will curtail “organic page reach” down to 1-2% from the 16% benchmark that has been diminishing for the last two years.  That means if you are a brand with 100,000 likes and you post, your organic post will only show up 1,000-2,000 newsfeeds.  That’s disappointing for brands, but devastating local channel partners (with a maybe a few hundred likes or less) that use their FB pages to promote to local customers; they will essentially reach no one.

What does that mean for your channel partners?

Should you still encourage the local businesses that sell your products and services to have FB pages?  Yes, because there are a number of people (12.4% according to a Yext study) that search for local businesses not on Google or Yellow Pages, but instead Facebook.  In terms of expecting channel partners to customize brand messaging (as they might with an ad builder) and broadcast it over FB to create brand awareness at the local level, forget it.  In my opinion, that’s really no reason to fret.  Why?  Take a look at the report put out by Salesforce called the The Facebook Ads Benchmark Report to see how cheap FB advertising can be, were talking 15 cents for 1000 impressions on some types of ads.  Obliviously, that trends up to around 6 dollars CPM for more prominent ads with much higher click-through rates.  Regardless, brands that get ahead of their peers by dedicating more co-op marketing funds to digital advertising (in this case FB) will get the advantage of the engagement analytics to better understand customers, instead of just blasting out messaging and hoping.


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