The Top 5 Local Marketing Updates of 2015

Posted by Andrea Ramirez on Dec 8, 2015 1:29:00 PM

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As marketers we are constantly looking to the future to ensure we stay up to date with the latest trends, however how can we move forward if we don’t reflect on how well we adjusted with the changes that already occurred? 2015 was an epic year for local marketing, filled with many changes in search algorithms and new ways for brands to leverage social media. In this blog post we’re counting down the top 5 local marketing updates of 2015 that we believe will drive the future of programmatic marketing in 2016.

  • Mobilegeddon

Even the name sounds daunting, doesn't it? Mobilegeddon marked the first adjustment in Google’s algorithm that was announced prior to the algorithm being released, which caused a frenzy in the digital world. Google’s new mobile friendly algorithm would cause websites that were not mobile responsive to see a significant drop in mobile search rank. For brands that were already mobile optimized, there was nothing to fear, and for brands that had not yet optimized for mobile they had to make a quick turnaround to ensure their website would satisfy user expectations.

How this impacts local marketing:

For us (and we may be biased) mobile searches go hand in hand with local intent, and we have statistics that prove it. Over half of “on the go” searches begin with local intent, and 78% of local-mobile searches are resulting in offline purchases. Truth be told, it seems that we have finally reached the “year of mobile” marketers have been speculating was on its way, and we believe if your brand’s website is not fully optimized for mobile and local, you will be unable to reach your consumers.

  • Google’s Local Pack Update

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Google is hands down the leader amongst all other search engines, so it’s no surprise that every brand aims to rank with in the first page on Google results. For brand’s with physical locations, Google’s Local Pack is where you need to be. To make it within Google’s elite “Local Pack,” your brand must be locally relevant to the searcher and contain the desired results for users’ search queries. Google’s Local Pack is highly competitive, and with the announcement that the pack shrunk from 7 to 3, marketers were caught off guard in the middle of the year.

How this impacts local marketing:

Brands that were not optimizing their digital properties with locally relevant content were out of luck. No longer was it enough to simply have local keywords on branded sites, marketers had to go beyond their branded properties and start optimizing their off site local seo. One of the easiest ways to rank within Google’s Local Pack is to optimize your banded Google+ listing (more on that here) to ensure Google would rank you higher than a similar local competitor.

  • Instagram Carousel Ads

At the tail end of of 2013 Instagram introduced to their audience  the ability to advertise on their social network with “Sponsored Posts”. This past year, Instrgam added “Carousel Ads” to their platform to bring an additional layer of depth to traditional photo advertisements. With Carousel Ads, consumers have the ability to view additional images by swiping on the advertisements. Furthermore, calls to action have been incorporated to Instagram's Advertising Solutions to help advertisers guide consumers to their a website or mobile app download.

How this impacts local marketing:

With the introduction of Instagram’s “Place Search” we see the opportunity for more brands to begin experimenting with local advertising on this platform come 2016. With geo-targeting advertising capabilities available on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube it’s only a matter of time before Instagram follows the footsteps of their fellow social-media giants by getting local with their advertisement capability. The ability to create contextually engaging advertisements with local intent will be something all major brands must keep on their radar.

  • Ad-Blocking Apps

Near the end of Q3, Apple released iOS9 and received the fastest OS adoption to date. Even faster was the resurgence of a phenomenon that reflects something bigger than an interface update--ad blocking apps. Less than 24 hours after the launch of Apple’s latest operating system, ad-blocking apps were top of the charts worldwide. As marketers, we see advertising essential to the ecosystem of digital marketing. After all, let’s not forget that ads fund most of the free content that users consume on a daily basis. The problem is that users may not realize that there are ‘good’ ads that work toward their benefit and thus opt in to block everything.

How this impacts local marketing:

Let the ad blocking upsurge serve as a lesson that brands could suffer major repercussions if they create advertisements without considering the needs of their customers needs. The reason for this surge of ad blocking may be a simple result from the fact that users believe brands are not providing any information with value or context, something that can be avoiding by providing hyperly local relevant content within mobile display advertisements. The more tailored your ads are to consumers, the less likely they will feel the need to shut you out.


  • G+ Update

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As if the Local Pack update didn’t shake up the local marketing world enough Google shook us all again with its latest update to Google+. On November 17th Google finally released a new version of their Google+ pages that removed and hid several additional features beneficial for brands. According to Google, the new update focuses on “simple navigation and improved search,” thus making these new pages more mobile friendly. This update caused many industry experts to speculate that Google is shifting the focus of Google+ from a listings hub to a social, community-oriented network.

How this impacts local marketing:

With the new focus of Google+ shifting toward communities and collections we can see this update is Google’s avenue to make Plus a social destination for users to connect with each other rather than with brands. However, this new change does not mean brands are unwelcomed on the platform but rather, that brands should shift their content focus to gear towards more consumer oriented conversations. As with all other social media platforms, brands will have to create a content strategy to engage with their consumers using these sites in order to stay relevant.


Up next: Local Marketing in 2016

With all of the local marketing changes that occurred this year, one common theme  was the fact they all enhanced the experience of the consumer. To ensure your brand is able to stay afloat throughout all the technological advances and search engine algorithms heading your way in 2016 you must operate with your consumers in mind. Each social platform and search engine is designed to provide consumers with an exceptional experience so they continue to return, therefore each marketing campaign your brand embarks on in 2016 should always answer the question, “How will this help a consumer need?”


The foundation to all of this is to ensure your on-site and off-site branded items are providing valuable and correct information about your brand. The smallest inaccuracy with your brand’s data (phone number, address, etc) will undoubtedly cause your brand to fall within search ranks, and lead to mistrust of your consumers.  Get a head start on your 2016 digital marketing campaigns and ensure all of your brand’s digital properties are optimized with a free version of our Brand Scan.

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Topics: Local SEO, Local Advertising