Nov
2016

“Borrell numbers are too high.” We’ve heard this a lot, along with “If you cut the numbers in half, that’s still A LOT of money.” So why do we continue to report these same kinds of numbers? Because we believe they are a true representation of what is happening in a local market. And so do hundreds of local companies large and small that continue to subscribe to Borrell’s data. The first defining factor of Borrell’s numbers is that they are inclusive of ALL businesses — not just businesses whose media campaigns are large enough to be seen. Our methodology accounts for all spending – from the 10-story video billboard on Times Square to the 1-inch text ad in a church bulletin. This also suggests Borrell accounts for all BUSINESSES in a market – which are usually considerably more than many media companies realize. For example, in the three-county Miami … Continue reading


Jul
2016

Question: If a company spends money on a media, and no one is around to measure it, does it still count? Each year, Ad Age produces a report of the top 200 advertisers. They do a great job in sorting through all the 10-ks, Kantar reports, and other data out there to provide a succinct look at what the big BIG guys are doing. Even though we concentrate on local ad spending at Borrell, it is absolutely necessary for us to understand the trends that are happening at the top of the advertising food chain. I popped my popcorn and settled in for their webinar. It wasn’t too far in when they began to explain: Most of the advertising dollars being spent by the Top 200 advertisers cannot be measured – at least in the same fashion as other media. Why? Because it is digital in nature. Basically, Ad Age … Continue reading


Jul
2016

  We’ll be publishing our annual outlook on automotive advertising this month, and as I look at the data I couldn’t resist leaking this chart. It’s a wake-up call to anyone reliant on automotive advertising. My interpretation: Even after 20 years of plowing more and more money into Internet advertising, dealers haven’t finished their scale-back of traditional media. To be clear, I don’t think the scale-back is wholesale. The cuts are more directed to inferior media companies. Dealers are simply shutting the door on companies that keep sending reps who see digital media as a competitor, not a complement. Consider two interesting data points from the upcoming Borrell report: * Car dealers are reporting that they get called on by sales reps an average of 84 times per month.  The average for all SMBs is 25. * Car dealers are now rating “online ads” on par with TV spots as a leading source of … Continue reading


Jun
2016

Who’s the leading provider of digital services in your market? If you’re thinking it’s companies that advertise a lot, like Angie’s List, HomeAdvisor, Web.com, Wix, and Reputation.com, think again. Those companies are the smallest blips on the radar. When we asked the question recently to 1,467 local advertisers, 91% offered unique responses, underscoring just how fragmented – and ripe for consolidation – the business of selling digital marketing really is. The results are a peek at some open-ended responses from the largest survey of SMBs in the U.S. The survey is about one-fourth of the way through its goal of 8,000 responses and is already yielding rich insights into the fast-changing marketing environment in hundreds of cities. (If you haven’t joined the survey, you should. It offers a unique glimpse of what local advertisers are doing right now. The survey closes out June 30. Info here.) Digital services are very important to these local … Continue reading


May
2016

You might think digital media is top-of-mind for SMBs.  But when you ask an open-ended question about how local media companies can help with their marketing needs, the floodgates open to a torrent of frustrations. The comments come from a massive SMB survey that got underway in April.  At the end of the 40-question survey, respondents are being asked,  “What suggestions, if any, do you have for media companies to improve how they partner with small and medium-sized businesses?” Nearly everyone is responding.  While the most-mentioned words are affordability, cost, ROI, and money (39% used these words), the comments are broad and represent a treasure trove to any company wanting to serve SMBs well. Below are a handful of responses, with apropos survey results noted in brackets. While there are a number here that mention Facebook, the word only showed up in 1% of the comments.  And the words “digital,” “website” or “Internet” popped … Continue reading


Apr
2016

To all my broadcast friends, there’s a whiff of trouble in the air I feel compelled to pass along. Peeking at preliminary results from a massive SMB survey that got underway in late April, I saw data from 10 markets showing that 42% of TV advertisers plan to either scale back or eliminate their TV spending this year. That’s the highest percentage for all types of advertisers — including the longstanding whipping boys of local media, yellow pages and newspapers. There’s a caveat:  The results are preliminary and not likely to be the same in each market. However, when the survey rolls through 150 more markets over the next several months, it’s not likely that the percentages will change more than a few points either way.  Even if they dropped 10 points, we’d still be looking at one-third of TV advertisers saying they plan to cut back. The results are from businesses who said they are … Continue reading


Apr
2016

Anyone who thinks the recent news about Facebook’s big advertising play is hype should think again. The number of SMBs shifting dollars from traditional media to Facebook is likely to be stunning. I wouldn’t exactly say they’re fleeing print and broadcast, but I would suspect that your advertisers are flocking to Facebook right now.  A new survey aims to find out, and preliminary results support my theory. I’m very eager to see the results in early summer and to see which markets are migrating faster to social media advertising. We could have predicted this. A year ago, 3,954 businesses that were actively advertising in local media were asked if they were buying ads on Facebook.  One-third of them said yes, and 80% of those who advertisers said they were satisfied. Interpreted:  Two-thirds had not yet found out what the others already knew. I just peeked at preliminary results from this year’s survey of … Continue reading


Sep
2015

Digital advertising is dying – and the plug will be pulled by ad blockers. Party’s over. Turn out the lights and go home. All is lost. I am telling you, there is absolutely no way that the advertising community can possibly survive the advent of the ad blocker. Really? In a word, no. Advertising is not going out like that. Ad blocking is nothing new. It’s part of communications history. Not counting digital ad-blocking, most people own at least seven pieces of ad-blocking hardware and software: o A remote control. About 12% of viewers change channels during a TV commercial break. o A refrigerator. About 10% of TV viewers go to the kitchen during a commercial break. o A toilet. About 6% of viewers go to the bathroom during a commercial break. I don’t care how funny the GEICO commercial is. When nature calls….. o An iPad. Latest research shows … Continue reading


Sep
2015

What’s more powerful – when a business talks about itself, or when someone else does? In our recent SMB survey, we got a clear answer. Local advertisers told us customer referrals (someone else talking about them) are the No. 1 source of new leads, and that their own website (the business talking about itself) is No. 2. Coming in solidly in No. 3 was that tantalizing referral megaphone, social media. In the eyes of local marketers, social media trumps all other forms of media in driving new business. It beats out email marketing, newspapers, radio and TV spots, direct mail, yellow page ads, and all forms of online advertising. All of them. That wouldn’t surprise Tania Yuki, whom I ran across a few weeks ago while scouring the landscape for the brightest mind I could find in the social media realm to speak at our Ad:Geo conference in San Francisco in a few … Continue reading


Sep
2015

Some of the elderly and middle-aged among us have heard of the blivit. It’s an old military term with a blunt definition: “10 pounds of s*** in a 5-pound bag.”  It refers to attempts to do too many things at once, or to put too many jobs under the same mission. Basically, anytime somebody tries to stuff too much of anything into a container too small to hold or manage it all, that’s a blivit. Definitions can become blivits too. That happens when they become too narrow to adequately explain what’s within their boundaries.  A good example is what has happened to “targeted display.” When it was first quantified and measured, back in the ‘90’s, display was the totality of digital advertising – the pop-ups and banners that filled the screens of our desktop computers (until we found ways to effectively block them). Ten years later, much had changed. Digital … Continue reading