Search Marketing Influencer Series: Abid Chaudhry – Part 2


Abid Chaudhry
Continuing our discussion with Abid Chaudhry, Senior Director, Industry Strategy & Insight at BIA/Kelsey on the current state and future of Local Search Marketing.

Abid took time out from his busy client engagement schedule to speak with T.S. Kelly and Henry Hall of The Media Strategist and share his views on the local search marketplace including it’s past and possible future.

Part One of the discussion can be found here (part one here).

Prior to the break, you were describing how social is influencing the local search marketing space.

Yes. Social media has graduated in last five years from something of a bystander to the overall experience of search, that Google, Yahoo and Bing owned, into something that is much more of a competitor (or partner) for general search marketing practices. Products akin to specifically doing presence and engagement management for social are evolving into direct response and lead delivery vehicles.

Similar to your comment, recently released findings showing Facebook moving ahead of Google in overall referral traffic in June. (

Yes. In local search & discovery, social is becoming a prominent voice when it comes to lead delivery versus just search itself. I expect, years from now, the ‘crisscrossing’ and integration of social into the search attribution process will be commonplace.

Interesting. In a prior Influencer Series interview, Rob Griffin of Havas used similar ‘crisscrossing’ language to describe the interaction between local search and other aspects of the consumer journey. (Rob Griffin’s interview Pt. 1)

So far you’ve described the many threads that have got us here – mobile, dynamic query results, social, etc. What’s the next emerging trend in the local search space?

Just to reset for a moment. When I think about the evolution of the space, I prefer calling it the Local Commerce Universe. We used to call the whole thing local search. Today, local is so much more – media, marketing, advertising, SaaS, etc.

Firms like YP and a few others have done a good job developing the entire pathway for consumers and advertisers, not just focusing singly on the geolocation (lat/long) storyline, the ‘daily deal’ space or specifically about mobile retargeting. While these are important options, on the macro level we see local evolving into a wide range of integrated services and solutions working together for brands and marketers.

Using the term, ‘Local Commerce Universe’ inside an agency, which team would you typical talk to? Digital? Broadcast?

One focus at BIA/Kelsey is to ask that very question. I’m always seeking the ‘rosetta stone’ that connects the agency world with the local commerce world.

The corollary that always comes up is that ‘the last mile of all marketing and advertising is local,’ no matter what. Regardless if you are on the mobile highway or the display highway, etc., all those highways are going to wind up at the same ‘Mom & Pop’ shop especially if you are a multi-location brand or some other business needing presence on the local level.

OK, so how do you do it? How do you get marketers & agency decision-makers to further embrace local and the definition of the Local Commerce Universe?

We are just getting through a long and massive wave of product fragmentation and messaging on the necessity of local marketing. I’ve trained local marketing sales teams to shift discussions away from presenting a laundry list of options – helping them to ‘decomplicate’ the local story. A complicated story will not resonate with a global marketing manager.

Thankfully, we’re seeing some improvement through consolidation & verticalization; helping agencies plug local into their overall marketing strategy. A few brands of note doing a very good job of incorporating local in their overall marketing strategy – Performance Bicycles, a multi-location brand, and franchisee Massage Envy.

Another main driver that would make local this easier for brands and their agency partners to implement – improve their ability to translate the performance of local channels up into their overall analytics and reporting. It used to be apples and oranges; now getting marginally better at the actual attribution storyline and helping push the agency world into the local commerce world by speaking better of the channels coming in.

In our final installment, Abid will share some of his thoughts on the Local Commerce Universe and the potential marketer risks of ignoring it.

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