Lots of National Advertisers are Ignoring Basic Local Search Tactics

Filed in Local Search, Statistics by Matt McGee on February 8, 2012 4 Comments

local-search-globeThere are a lot of national advertisers/marketers who should be, but aren’t, taking full advantage of the most basic local search marketing tactics. That’s the main conclusion to be drawn from a new study by GMS Local.

GMS surveyed marketers from national brands in the U.S. with more than 500 physical locations; two-thirds of the respondents were from traditional retail.

While 70 percent of the survey takers said they spend more than 60 percent of their budgets on local marketing, the survey also revealed that many of these national companies aren’t doing some of the basic blocking and tackling of local search marketing.


I put an arrow on the graph to emphasize that these are the numbers of marketers not using these tactics.

  • More than one-third are not actively marketing on local directories like Superpages.com or YP.com.
  • Forty percent are not actively managing local business listings on Google Places and the Bing Business Portal.
  • Forty-five percent aren’t doing local paid search.
  • Fifty-five percent aren’t actively utilizing local review sites.

According to the GMS survey, the main reasons for this are lack of money (58 percent) and lack of awareness of local opportunities (32 percent).

The GMS survey reminds me of the stats I shared back in September from Marketing Sherpa, stats that showed how the local search ranking factors aren’t actual industry practices. In that survey, tactics like adding photos and videos to a local business listing, associating the listing with multiple categories, and building local citations were all used by less than 50 percent of the marketers who answered.

What does it all mean?

I think it means that a) local search remains a mystery to a lot of marketers, and b) there’s still a lot of opportunity in local for marketers of any size, from national brands down to as one-man shop working from home.

What do YOU think it means that so many basic local search tactics are still not widely used?

Comments (4)

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  1. B.M. says:

    While somewhat surprising, I would imagine that even small businesses with 1to 499 locations would have a similar percentage not using local search tactics.

    I think for the large chains it presents a logistics nightmare. You can run national branding cmpaigns from the headquaters or whatever, but it’s harder to do that for local search.

    I wonder if large national companies would look to decentralize their marketing (at least for the local search) and give each location some freedom in what they can do for marketing.

  2. frangce says:

    While somewhat surprising, I would imagine that even small businesses with 1to 499 locations would have a similar percentage not using local search tactics.

    It made some senses.

  3. Derek Mabie says:

    Matt, great post. thanks for sharing the GMS Study.

    I think it is the effect of 3 primary conditions:

    1. The difficulty in scalable registration. Yes, some options exist but they are not extremely fluid. Success is so much greater through individual claims. Which is why you see so many one offs or mom & pops owning real estate in local search.

    2. Ignorance or laziness in regards to capturing or understanding the ROI.

    3. The fear of the inevitable review battle. Big companies and Franchises are ignoring local search because they hate dealing with what it takes to rank in may local search results.

    just my thoughts and experiences. Thanks again for sharing the stats. Its fascinating.

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