What two big studies tell us about the state of local marketing
Two new large studies, released within a week of one another, provide valuable insight into the current state of local digital marketing. FreshChalk published an analysis of 150,000 local business websites and SOCi conducted a Localized Social Marketing benchmarking analysis (registration required
What they reveal, at the highest level, is that many multi-location brands and local marketers are not following basic local and SEO best practices. By not fully building out location pages across Google, Facebook and Yelp and more directly engaging consumers at the local level, marketers are missing opportunities to improve visibility and local rankings. There’s also a correlation between those brands executing well locally and sales growth.
The Localized Social Marketing benchmarking (LSM) study, co-produced by LSA, sought to understand whether a relationship existed between local-social marketing performance and business outcomes for multi-location brands and franchises. It also sought to establish success benchmarks overall and by industry vertical. Disclosure, I was involved in the data analysis and scoring of the SOCi study.
Looked at thousands of local brand pages
LSM examined 100 randomly selected locations associated with 163 brands drawn from the Franchise Times and Entrepreneur top franchise lists — many thousands of pages. It scored each location’s presence, reviews/ratings and local engagement (e.g., local content posting, responding to reviews, Q&A) on Facebook, Google (My Business) and Yelp. It then generated an overall ranking and rankings by industry.
The ten industries represented in the study were: Food & Beverage, Hotels, Personal Care Services, Education, Retail-General, Retail-Convenience, Business Services, Auto Parts & Services, Home Services and Real Estate. The study found that the top performers had sales growth 3x the average for all 163 brands (based on third party sales data). Category leaders had 2x sales growth.
GMB Pages for McAlister’s Deli, the overall LSM winner