A new program to offer local advertisers distribution on Yahoo! and Google's PPC networks suggest local search marketing may be scaling up.
Verizon SuperPages.com's local PPC advertisers have increased their local budgets to levels beyond what can be spent in its own network. Rather than turn them away, the company places their campaigns on rival PPC networks.
SuperPages.com hopes by placing search campaigns on Yahoo and Google on behalf of its local advertisers, it will simultaneously open a new revenue stream and encourage even larger budget allocations. The company's VP of E-Commerce Marketing, Eric Chandler, said it would start testing the "pay-per-click plus" initiative in August, and will roll it out to its local sales force after Labor Day.
"Our biggest challenge is these people are giving us more money than we can spend in our network," he said. "We've secured $65 million in budgets, but we're not able to spend that in our own network. There's a lot more money in that existing pool of advertisers. If we could spend all of what they gave us, they would increase their budgets even more."
Search marketing experts have long predicted the rise of local SEM, and the operators of PPC networks are working to provide the infrastructure to support small- to mid-sized companies who wish to dive in. So far, it's been unclear how the market will scale up. Many regional business owners lacking the time and expertise to manage a self-service search marketing campaign.
SuperPages.com, with its national yellow pages business and a regionally integrated sales network, appears ready to help the business grow. By revising its operation to function as a search agency, the company stands to grow its own network while becoming the gateway through which many small businesses try search marketing for the first time.
The campaigns will initially be sold on a flat fee basis, but that's likely to change.
"We'll be adjusting our... fee structures, " said Chandler. "We're going to be moving more to a percentage of spend going forward. That lines up more with how existing SEMs charge."
Earlier this month, Verizon SuperPages.com revamped its Web site, and the company recently partnered with Martindale Hubble and Psychology Today to offer users searchable listings on lawyers and psychologists by region.
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Until March 2012, Zach Rodgers was managing editor of ClickZ's award-winning coverage of news and trends in digital marketing. He reported on the rise of web companies, data markets, ad technologies, and government Internet policy, among other subjects.
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