Search Marketing Influencer Series: Jeremy Kressmann – Part 1

Jeremy Kressmann - Part 1A
Oct
19
2015

Jeremy Kressmann is Founder and CEO of Wanderlust Strategy Group, a marketing consultancy supporting the travel industry and related media brands. Prior to founding Wanderlust, Mr. Kressmann was a market research analyst at eMarketer specializing in digital advertising trends including local search, ecommerce and mobile. Relocating to Los Angeles from New York, Jeremy sat down with T.S. Kelly and Henry Hall of The Media Strategist amidst the moving boxes to talk mobile and marketing best practices in the local search space.

Jeremy, thanks for taking time prior to your move to talk local search. As both an eMarketer analyst and marketing consultant, you possess a unique perspective on search marketing developments. How have things changed in SEM, namely local SEM in recent years?
In a word, mobile. It has been the absolute linchpin to everything that has happened in local search over the past 5 years. Fondly looking back to mobile’s beginnings in local search, there was a fledgling SMS Short Code service from Google to search for local businesses and related services. Initially, it was just a hack, a neat trick to gather detail on a user’s location. Now obviously much more sophisticated, mobile-based search has become an essential part of the daily fabric of the how we interact with the world. Today it’s hard to overestimate mobile’s importance in local search as both a business and consumer tool. eMarketer projects mobile search will have approximately 157 million users in 2015. By 2017 this figure is expected to push close to 200 million – or about 60% of the U.S. population.

Jeremy Kressman - Part 1B

Does that discount the value of desktop or laptop-based search?
Not just yet. But think about what mobile means to local search – receive a user’s expression of intent, combine it with location, layer on related search history on that specific device, and you end up with uniquely personalized results. In addition, these results are increasingly anticipatory today, designing outbound notifications specific to the user (more on this later). Mobile is now the main interaction point for how we find information. While desktop remains an important part of the process (the two platforms still have interplay), mobile is increasingly the platform people turn to first. This is a significant change from just a few years ago when mobile was simply an extension for local search and not the broader brand experience. Ad dollars, publishers, and subsequently, users, now all have a relentless focus on the mobile experience.

Should marketers focus solely on mobile over desktop search?
While desktop search is not dead by any stretch, for some brands, the switch to ‘all mobile’ may have already happened. However, a mobile-focused search strategy in 2015 has some caveats – a refinement in the number of ads possible, limited real estate, etc. In addition, commerce activity via local search is only in its early stages. Once more, from a marketer’s perspective, if a user is ‘out and about,’ changes in location may cause tracking, measurement, and attribution challenges. This impacts how we research and understand customer behavior. If we possess only a partial view of behavior, it will consistently be difficult to connect how a local paid search campaign actually converts into to a local sale. Smart folks at Google, YP, and others are certainly working on this, but there’s still lots more to do.

Next Up – Jeremy shares some local search ‘best practices’ and how some marketers are closing the ‘attribution gap’ when using mobile-centric local search.

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