Keeping Google My Business Listings Safe From Hijackers

The issue of hijacked Google My Business (GMB) listings — when a person other than a business owner or representative gains control of the local profile — continues to grow. 

Unethical marketers are phishing through many listings in the hopes of hijacking, ultimately succeeding through using the “claim this business” or “manage this listing” link on a local profile. Clicking on this link generates an email request for control over the listing that is sent to the registered owner of the profile. Business owners that are unaware of what these emails mean could unwittingly surrender control of their business listing and find their location marked as closed, as well as other objectionable changes to their local information.

Google is aware of the growing issue and advises business owners to remain cautious. A Google spokesperson recently told Search Engine Land, “If a merchant ever receives a request to manage or to transfer ownership from an unknown person, they should decline the request.  The rights to own or manage a Business Profile can only be granted if the verified merchant accepts the request or the requester proves their affiliation with the business.”

Why does it matter?

It is obvious to say that any form of false information in Google Maps and Search is not ideal for both companies or consumers. However, these phishing attempts in order to hijack Google My Business listings are significantly bad for small businesses. False online information can lead to a negative impact on sales, especially during COVID when the majority of consumers are obtaining information through a Google search.

How can you be proactive about this issue?

To start, as Google suggests, decline any request to manage or transfer ownership from an unknown person. Beyond that, this growing trend highlights the importance of a strong local SEO management program and agency partnership that can keep on top of listing status and puts your business’ security first.

For more information about True Media’s Google Search and Local Search marketing capabilities, contact us.

Connected TV in Your Media Strategy

As the media industry continues to be unpredictable with the disruption of COVID-19, advertisers are finding it harder to connect with their core audiences. 

Connected TV has continued to see an increase in viewership since the beginning of this year and it’s expected to continue to rise while paid TV households (those with a subscription to traditional paid TV services) continue to decrease. By 2023, according to eMarketer, non-pay-tv households (cord-cutters) will hit 68.2MM users (vs 56.3 in 2021), while pay-tv households dip to 63.4 (vs 73.7 in 2021). Ad spending in this space by 2021 is showing to be $11.36 billion dollars and by 2022, $14.11 billion. 

As the incline in Connected TV users grows, advertisers should start to strategically think about how to utilize this service to its fullest potential to reach their core audiences. Knowing that a majority of the population is going to be consuming content within this format, this type of targeting should undoubtedly be a successful tactic in advertising efforts and future strategies. 

Outside of traditional video, CTV buys and layering core audiences, there are additional opportunities and publishers that you can tap into that allow for expanded advertising. Examples like VideoAmp and Tremor/Alphonso, publishers that have ACR data, allow advertisers to target audiences who have seen a competitor’s TV ads and then target those users in real-time with their own advertising. Another example of expanded advertising opportunities with CTV is utilizing Origin, which is an offering within our programmatic efforts that gives you the ability to send trivia questions about your brand to your core audience as a different approach to capture consumer attention. Publishers, such as Hulu, can build out branded slates that live at the end video ads that allow for an additional call to action type of brand advertising.

When thinking about the next strategy approach for clients, it is important to include innovative ways to not just reach your audience, but also keep their attention. With the high consumption rate for Connected TV expected to continue to grow for the foreseeable future, utilizing this format could serve as an excellent solution to target your core audience.

At True Media, we will continue to utilize resources and research to help determine the best approach within this tactic to capture consumer attention and ultimately convert them to favor your brand.  For more insights on Connect TV advertising in your media strategy, contact us.

Emerging Post Pandemic Out-of-Home Trends

The past few months have been tough on the Out-of-Home (OOH) industry. With consumers under stay at home orders they have not been on the roads or traveling the amount of miles they normally would during the course of a week. Advertisers had to rethink their strategy and find different and creative ways to use OOH to reach their consumers. Hand sanitizing stations, branded face masks, grocery/delivery bags, and pizza/take out boxes are just a few of the ways advertisers have been able to get their message in the hands (literally) of consumers.

This week we are celebrating the 8th consecutive week of the average number of miles traveled increasing across the country. Not all markets are recovering at the same rate, but all have seen considerable growth since April. According to GeoPath, DMA’s New York’s weekly average miles traveled have increased 175% since April, however Omaha has only increased by 37%. It will take time to get the numbers back up to where they were prior to COVID-19, but we are already on the right track and the numbers will continue to grow.

However, not all consumers are ready to venture outside of their homes. According to Nielsen’s (href=”http://blog.geopath.org/index.php/2020/05/19/nielsens-covid-19-consumer-sentiment-and-spending-intention-study/) COVID-19 Consumer Sentiment and Spending Intention Study consumers have one of three attitudes: “Wait and See” (31%), “Proceed with Caution” (37%), and “Ready to Go” (32%).

The “Ready to Go” segment is optimistic that life will return to normal quickly. This group tends to skew younger (25-54), have children under the age of 11 in their home, and are more affluent with HHI of $100k+. They intend to spend money on travel, household services, home improvement, auto parts/ repair, and food/dining. In regards to travel, they will most likely avoid airports and confined spaces, but will still travel by car or other methods to get where they are going.

The “Proceed with Caution” group is leaving the house, but being very cautious about where they go and take all the necessary safety precautions. The “Wait and See” group plans to wait a little bit longer before venturing out. Even though they are taking things one day at a time, they still expect to be back out in the world within a month or two.

This data shows that 69% of consumers are back on the road and ready to spend.

So what does this mean for OOH? With people back on the roads, traditional OOH impression levels are headed back to where they were prior to the pandemic and will continue to grow. Since consumers have been cooped up for so long and summer is almost here, many are starting to plan vacations, which will increase the amount of impressions even more.

The OOH might struggle at times, but if you think outside of the box there is always a way to put your message in the hands of consumers. After all, there is a reason why it is the oldest media format.

If you have any questions about your OOH media strategy moving forward post-pandemic, please contact us.


Chrissy has more than 20 years of experience as an OOH Media Specialist and has worked for national agencies such as D’Arcy, MediaVest, and Starcom. Throughout the years she has handled numerous traditional and experiential/ambient outdoor campaigns across the globe for clients such as Continental Airlines, Oracle, Jim Beam, Miller/Coors, Ernst & Young, and NBC Networks. At True Media Chrissy’s experience helps others develop effective OOH campaigns for our clients. By keeping up the latest trends within this industry she is able to recommend innovative solutions to help clients achieve their goals.

What is True Local?

At True Media, innovation is one of our four core values. Each month we award teams who demonstrate internal or client innovations, and at the end of the year we award one overall Innovation Award winner that stood out amongst other winners. This year’s Innovation Award winner is Senior Search Strategist Steve Sherfy for his leadership in the True Local initiative. 

Overview

True Local is a management services and review monitoring platform that enables you to view and respond to customer reviews in one place. It gathers information from your stores, uploads and maintains listings. This includes changes to hours, new stores, and consistent brand information. True Local also provides a single platform from which you can reply directly to customer reviews — an essential practice for improving local search result performance. 

Who Needs It
  • Any brand with brick and mortar locations needs a local SEO program which extends beyond the search platforms to other directory sites like Apple Maps, Foursquare, YP.com, Facebook, etc.
  • With Google now incorporating GMB location activity into the paid search metrics, along with the store visit conversion paid search metric, a local SEO program is more important than ever for your brand. 
Successes – Client A
  • 27% increase in total views of their listings
  • 16% increase in views on search results and a 43% increase in views on map results
  • Total interactions with the listings increased 60% with a 59% increase in clicks to the banking website, 15% increase in clicks for driving directions and an 82% increase in clicks to call a bank location
Successes – Client B

Within first 90 days on the program we were able to show our client:

  • Over 1.1MM views of their business listings
  • Approximately 12,000 store visits
  • Estimated 7,800 in-store purchases
  • Worth an estimated $297K
  • ROI of 94:1

Search Strategy Q&A

Google has been investing in its shopping products to keep up with competitors like Amazon and Instagram. Recently, Google revamped its shopping program to include visual product search, price tracking, and a “buy with Google” capability. True Media Senior Search Strategist Steve Sherfy is here to to help you understand what this means and how exactly it will effect Search Advertising. 

Q: How do these updates change the game for Search?

A: For quite some time the game has been ‘find it on Google, buy it elsewhere (either on Amazon or the seller directly)’. Other platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram have moved into their territory in the ‘discovery’ phase, but most people still fall back to the idea of searching on Google for the things they discovered on the other platforms and buying through shopping ads or buying on Amazon.  With Google adding in the “buy with google” feature, it is an attempt to capitalize further by bringing the purchase in house and away from retailer sites and Amazon as much as possible. This shows that the new battle is time on platform — with the longer the time on any one platform, the more likely that platform will be utilized through the entire buying cycle. This change illustrates that shopping has fundamentally changed and it is not going back to previous formats.  For most retail clients that means adjusting how they think of reaching their customers and earning their customer’s purchases. Optimized product feeds and shopping ads are no longer something nice to do, they are a necessity.

Q: In regards to the updates being an attempt to compete with Amazon and Instagram — who do you think will accomplish this best in terms of growth and opportunity? 

A: Google has made themselves synonymous with discovery and these new features play into the growing consumer demand for ease and quickness of purchase.  If they are able to seamlessly integrate the entire cycle for the consumer, Amazon is the most likely to feel the pinch.

Q: Google will soon be beta testing the ability to automatically optimize for brick and mortar store visits into campaign, as well as segmenting out new customer acquisition shopping campaigns from those for existing customers.  How can this help retail clients specifically?

A: Some retail clients still do not have e-commerce as a high priority, especially clients in the Farm and Home space, where many products have shipping charges that make buying online a less desirable choice.  With store visit conversions being a metric to optimize against, this can be a game changer for these retail clients, allowing them to enter into the shopping campaign space with an offline goal that can be strategize and measured.

Q: Google is also attempting to fine-tune its search results to handle more general searches. For example, broad based searches would include typing “living room ideas” or “outfits for Fall” — these searches will now result in more image-driven advertisements, along with aggregated content. How does this change how keywords are used? Will they be necessary or used moving forward? 

A: There will never be a time when keyword-based search is a necessary tactic for paid search.  However, keyword-based campaigns do need to evolve with consumer search practices along with available options for targeting.  These changes bring to the forefront the need to segment paid search campaigns by age and other demographic indicators as generational differences in online discovery and purchases have never been greater.

What to Expect with Social Media and the Election Year

There is no denying there is a debate going on about how social media platforms should address political advertisements this coming election year. 

Earlier this month, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg rallied behind the belief that social media platforms should be spaces that encourage free speech. With that he announced that Facebook will be posting all political ads, without fact checking, so that people can debate and come to their own conclusions after viewing. 

“As a principle, in a democracy, I believe people should decide what is credible, not tech companies.” Zuckerberg stated in his speech. 

Jack Dorsey, Twitter CEO, took to twitter to claim his stance on the topic by announcing that Twitter will stop all political advertising on Twitter globally. In a series of tweets, Dorsey elaborates on this main idea: A political message reach should be earned and not bought. 

“A final note. This isn’t about free expression. This is about paying for reach. And paying to increase the reach of political speech has significant ramifications that today’s democratic infrastructure may not be prepared to handle. It’s worth stepping back in order to address.” Dorsey tweeted. 

Twitter’s new policy will be enforced by November 22, 2019, with the exception of ads in support of voter registration. So far, Facebook is standing firm in its stance.

This debate can provide some insight into what to expect in placing your ads during the election year, and should be taken into consideration when planning your advertisements. If Facebook sticks with their decision, it could potentially mean Twitter will be a more ideal platform to place your ads during a time when ads easily get lost in the clutter.

 

Have you started planning for the election year?

Yes
No
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Location-Based Digital Marketing Strategies

As of 2017, $17.1 billion dollars of all digital advertisements use location-based targeting and this is expected to increase to $38.1 billion through 2020. Geographic targeting is a valuable media strategy for organizations seeking to find new and returning customers. Improvements in behavioral targeting will allow advertisers to target ads to users most likely to make a purchase following a pattern or history of taking an action.

 

Beyond targeting a specific demographic area, city or zip code, there are several strategies that can be used to acquire new customers. For example, a Mexican quick-serve restaurant saw a 67% lift in sales by targeting the previous customers and surrounding areas of its direct competitors and casual Mexican restaurants in the demographic area. Finding and conquering points of interest to consumers is a powerful tactic that will generate results for most businesses.

 

The triangulation of your location-based data can make or break a location-based marketing campaign. The most accurate geo-targeting experiences are available using mobile-apps from publishers and social media companies such as Turner Media, ESPN, Facebook, Twitter, and others. Check out this list of the five most accurate location-based marketing channels:

 

  1. Mobile Apps – Data maps back to a smartphone’s mobile advertising ID (MAID)
  2. Social Media – Users opt-in and voluntarily share their location information to the service
  3. Mobile Web – Requires working with a data management partner to do cross-device matching
  4. Desktop – You can match a user who has signed into a mobile application
  5. CTV / Direct Mail –  Targeting users who have been exposed to a mobile campaign to their Smart tvs or direct mail

 

The future of location-based targeting is bullish. Enterprises who develop location-based acquisition strategies will have the upper hand as consumers spend more time on their mobile devices. Americans spend 133 minute in mobile apps every day. Translating the real-time and historical location data into actionable insights will become a cornerstone of digital media campaigns. If your business is struggling with advanced targeting, True Media can help you execute efficient location based marketing campaigns that will grow your business.