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The ever-increasing value of local social advertising

In the days leading up to the Facebook IPO, automotive company GM made headlines with its decision to stop paid advertising on Facebook. Last week we talked about what GM’s decision means for Facebook advertisers.
Now, thanks to some new research, we have a better picture of what the social advertising space looks like as a whole.
Social network ad spending is set to grow 43% this year in the US to $3.63 billion, according to eMarketer. By 2014, that figure will continue climbing to $5.59 billion. BIA/Kelsey is even more optimistic, predicting social ad spending to reach $4.8 billion this year and $7 billion by 2014.

These are incredible growth numbers, but they shouldn’t surprise anyone. After all, half the US population uses Facebook. If you’re a brand that wants to connect with consumers in the US, then it’s absolutely clear you cannot ignore a social network with that kind of reach.
Importantly, BIA/Kelsey notes that most ad spending will continue to be nationally focused, “but a growing chunk will come from local ads.”
But why local? Because, as it turns out, consumers actually respond positively to locally-relevant ads.
A recent Neustar study found that 8 out of 10 people prefer local ads because it personalizes the relationship between business and consumer, while keeping things anonymous. Furthermore, people feel special when they see an appropriately targeted ad, encouraging them to click through and drive conversions.
None of this means that only SMBs and independent shops can succeed with social ad spending. Walmart, one of the largest corporations in the world, recommitted to a “social-local strategy” by launching thousands of Facebook pages, one for each of its brick-and-mortar stores. Like Hearsay Social customers Farmers Insurance, 24 Hour Fitness, and Northwestern Mutual, Walmart has discovered the incredible value of reaching out to customers on a local level.
To learn more about the power of going local on social, check out this recent report on the value of local Facebook fans.

BIA/Kelsey names Hearsay Social a top 10 company to watch in 2012

Social-local-mobile, sometimes abbreviated SoLoMo, is a growing force that cannot be stopped. Around the world, over one billion Internet users spend all their time on social sites and sales of mobile devices have already outpaced PC sales. These two facts have combined to begin a new local revolution, where even the biggest international brands must think locally to bolster their businesses.
Jed Williams, Program Director for Social Local Media at BIA/Kelsey, recently published a report entitled 10 Companies to Watch in 2012, which reviews several social media startups “in which [BIA/Kelsey] sees great promise.”
I’m honored to reveal that Hearsay Social is the only social marketing company to have made the cut. (BIA/Kelsey subscribers can access the full report here.)
While there indeed exist social listening tools for the enterprise and simple applications for SMBs, as Williams acknowledges in the report, Hearsay Social provides the only complete SaaS solution for large organizations that want to begin social marketing on a global level while empowering their employees on a local level. It’s no trivial task transforming a Fortune 500 company into a social business, especially when that means empowering thousands of employees on social all at once. And yet, Hearsay Social has proven the ability to do this time and time again.