Monthly Archives: July 2007

Google Maps Advertising: Early Results Very Positive

Back on July 5, I posted Google Maps Advertising: How to do it and does it work and I wanted to share some early results.

Using thebralady.ca as the destination site and running both a regular adwords campaign as well as a local business ad campaign combined with conversion tracking when a user lands on the Maps page I have been surprised at the early results of this campaign.

So what have I discovered?

CTR (click thru rate): the CTR for the map advertising is outperforming that of the regular search ad by well over 50%.

Conversion Rate: This is the biggest surprise, the conversion rate on the clicks from the maps advertising is twice (that’s correct – 2 times) that of clicks coming from the search network.

Going into this campaign, I had no expectations, I did suspect however that maps may not be as successful. I am surprised by the results. What this suggests to me is that users are starting to learn the behavior of finding local businesses on maps and if the results continue, could potentially be a powerful tool in local advertising.

I will keep you posted on developments.

YellowPages.ca Launches Facebook Integration for Local Businesses

Coming soon to a Facebook profile near you – your favorite local business in Canada? YellowPages.ca – Canada’s largest online directory has launched their integration of Facebook for customers who want to save and share their favorite businesses by using their link function on Facebook.com. This is a good follow-up story to a blog posting from 2-weeks ago – Can Local Businesses Florish in Social Marketing.

So I did a test this evening and here is how the process works:

Step #1 – Visit YellowPages.ca and do a search query. I happen to look for a dentist in Calgary.

YellowPages.ca - Find a Business Home Page

Step #2 – Locate the business of your choice that you want to add and select the “Save and Share”. In this case, I selected my dentist – Optimum Dentistry.

Dentists in Calgary as Seen on YellowPages.ca

Step #3 – This launches a window where you select how you want to “Save and Share”. In this case, I selected Social Bookmarks and then Selected Facebook.

Social Bookmarking in YellowPages.ca

Step #4 – The listing is added to your facebook profile.

Facebook Profile With YellowPages.ca Listing

What I like about this service is that it is a simple way to share businesses in Canada with friends and family on facebook. For example, if you are planning a night out – you can add the link to facebook – share it with your friends to view the map and or driving directions for your business. A good example of a IYP leveraging social marketing to promote its customers.


Newspapers Not Dead Yet – Will Canadian Papers Follow Their US Counterparts?

Today on the Google Blog – they have announced the release of Google Print which is intergated into your Adwords accounts.

From their blog:

“Even with the growth of online news sites, Americans still read newspapers. Over the course of a typical week, nearly 3 out of 4 adults (115 million) in the top 50 markets read a copy of a daily or Sunday newspaper.* That’s why thousands of businesses use print advertising every day to reach a local audience, and why we’ve announced that we’re extending Google AdWords to newspapers for most U.S. advertisers.”

The newspapers in the program include The New York Times (NYT), Washington Post (WPO), Chicago Tribune, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Seattle Times and San Jose Mercury News. The list of advertisers using the program includes NetFlix (NFLX), 1-800-FLOWERS (FLWS), Blue Nile (NILE), eBags, Mrs. Fields and LendingTree.

If you want to see more about this particular service – you can visit the Google Print Ads Site. If you happen to publish a daily newspaper and want to get in on the action, take at look at Adsense for Newspapers.

The next question is whether any of the Canadian newspaper publishers will push Google to open this program up in the Canadian market? Personally I think this is both a win for the publisher and the advertiser. Many small businesses in the US now have the opportunity to test newspaper advertising in a controlled and measurable fashion. Time will tell exactly how this impacts the newspaper industry in the US, but I sure the “net” will be positive.

Value of Newspapers Ads

Here is excert from the The Power of Newspapers page – Google’s Highlights of the value:

1) Newspapers give advertisers significant local reach. They are the voice of their community.
2) Newspapers help advertisers reach an attractive demographic
3) Newspapers are a key resource for shopping information that drives consumers to make purchases – online and offline
4) Newspapers are relevant throughout the purchase cycle

Am I Media – Are You?

I have been reading the following posts about Facebook; the first one was Robert Scoble is Media as posted by my friend Sebastien Provencher who was blogging about the second post I have been reading tonight by Robert Scoble – titled Why Facebook, Why Now?

The profound statement coming from Sebastien was the fact that he considers himself “MEDIA”. This completely makes sense to me – if in fact you share information and use the Internet as a way to distribute that information. In this case, I suppose I am considered media as well.

This got me thinking – how can local businesses get involved with this. When I was with KS2 Solutions – I spent a lot of time coaching businesses that information can be a powerful tool to increase the number of relationships they have. These relationships, when nurtured properly will pay some very handsome dividends through word of mouth and referral marketing.

This was the strategy we used at KS2. We did not have a large marketing budget to do traditional advertising; however, what we did have was knowledge – knowledge that other people were willing to take time to listen to. So we starting blogging (many of those posts actually exist on this blog), holding seminars and doing an incredible amount of networking. However, we never asked for business in those forums, we simply provided information – we never tried to connect this type of networking with selling – those were two distinctive processes.

It worked well, our referral business grew and it had a direct impact our bottom line. We doubled revenue from 2003 to 2004 and then again in 2005 before we were finally bought out.

Now that I think back to what we did from 2002-2005 – facebook would have a been another forum for us to provide information. Facebook and other social networking sites – really do have the potential to help the individual blogger, small businesses and even large businesses if they act in a manner that is cooperative and knowledge based and not sales based – you might be very surprised at what comes of it.

Toronto Taxi Fare Finder – Google Maps Mashup

Here is a great example of another mapping service (developed with Google Maps) that combined mapping with a function that most travellers always ask themselves – how much are cab rides going to cost me? The site is Toronto Taxi Finder and is part of a network that includes Boston, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Chicago.

There is even a full mobile version that you can use on your cell phone – check out the Toronto Mobile Taxi Fare Finder.

So I wanted to determine how accurate the figures where. A common trip that I take is from my office at Yellow Pages Group which is 325 Milner Avenue, Toronto, Ontario to Pearson Airport. The rate from Toronto Taxi Finder was $77.87 and I normally pay $60. Not exactly sure how the rates are calculated, but they appear to be on the high side in Toronto. However, this is a great tool for business or personal travelling for budgetting and planning purposes. Even if you live in Toronto and don’t take a taxi often, this can really help you guage your costs. Looking for a taxi in toronto – check out YellowPages.ca.


Toronto Taxi Finder

Facebook – Can Local Business Florish in Social Networking?

Social Flowers
Recently launched is Social Flowers – sending flowers though social networks. Well, one social network for now – Facebook. This is the start of a trend as we will see in the next 12-months many of the leading online retailers – building applications specifically to sell products through Social Networking – at lease that is my predication. If you want to read more about how the Social Flowers application works – please visit Social Flowers – Send Flowers Through Social Networks – this is an article written by Pete Cashmore.

On a more local level (here in Toronto) – a recent article on the Globe and Mail from July 5, 2007 written by DAVID GEORGE-COSH discusses one Yoga teacher whose class size has doubled since posting in the Facebook Marketplace –

Jane Clapp takes a moment between teaching fitness classes in Toronto’s Trinity Bellwoods Park to reflect on her unexpected windfall. In the span of a month, her class size has doubled to 15 participants, amounting to about $3,200 in new revenue.

Even more surprising is the source of Ms. Clapp’s good fortune – Facebook. Using a new feature on the popular social-networking website called Marketplace, Ms. Clapp promoted her classes and almost immediately former clients and old friends on her contact list noticed. A month later, business is booming.

“I love it,” said Ms. Clapp, whose ad has been viewed about 127 times. “I’m completely fascinated with how I can create an online business without any overhead at all.”

Click here to read the rest of the article.

This article also provided us with some interesting numbers regarding Facebook in Toronto.

By the numbers

7,715,040 – Users who have added the Top Friends application, the most-added application on Facebook

680,729 – Number of users on the Toronto network, the largest regional network on Facebook

15,714 – Total ad postings on the Toronto Marketplace network

My Thoughts:

To answer the question can local business florish in Social Networking – the answer is absolutely. However, the challenge for is the time and expertise required. Most small and medium sized business owners are very time starved and if they have the time, they may not have the technical expertise.

However, as a starting point, I would encourage any small business owner to build their profile on Facebook.com – just to start their understanding of what Social Networking is all about. Then invite your best customers to join and have them talk about their experiences with your business. In fact, if you have a unique product or service, build a group and really generate the buzz around it – one very interesting aspect of Social Networking is that people want to hear what other people have to say. Just ensure that you do it in a manner that is consistent with the forum that you are in.

Here are the top 5 Social Networking sites in Canada as reported by ComScore MediaMetrix – May 2007 – the numbers represent millions of users.

1) Facebook.com – 10,501
2) Windows Live Spaces – 7,481
3) Blogger – 6,720
4) MySpace.com – 5,200
5) Yahoo GeoCities – 3,986