A Boutique Digital Agency

Are Local Listings Becoming Pay to Play?

20 Jan

Pay to Play in Local ListingsLocal listings, the new frontier! That is what every marketing expert is screaming at the top of their lungs. If you don’t have a local presence online you are going to be left behind and quickly. And those statements do hold true. With mobile use now passing desktop and only headed towards complete domination of the online device market it is vital your business have a local presence. So why would it be a surprise if the ability to have a local presence costs you?

It shouldn’t! I mean search engines and social networks are in the business to make money, right? As such they have been making money by allowing you to buy ads on their search engine or network so why wouldn’t they begin charging to have your local listing appear at the top of results? They would and they will sooner rather than later.

Let’s take a look at Yahoo Local. They made the switch to Yext to supply local business results in December 2015. What we have already seen is clients that had a local listing created can now no longer manage that listing without paying Yext. And you have pay to play. So Google is fine, right? Well they switched from showing 7 listings to showing 3 earlier in 2015. The listing is still free but changes out of Mountain View suggest pay to play is around the corner. Tell me Facebook will not charge me to market to my business “friends”. Wrong! Of course they do if you want your posts to be seen by more than 8% of your “friends”. Facebooks algorithm limits the number of “friends” that get your post in their feed to about 8% (if I’m off by a few precentage points the point is still the same). The only way to get exposure to all of your “friends” is to pay for it. Again, pay to play.

Don’t fret, there will always be “free” traffic but the real traffic generating avenues will require business to pay to play and that’s not a bad thing if you know what you’re doing.

Mark Stone