There are some new mobile startups that are blurring the boundaries of mobile local search. In a nutshell, these represent a move from local search as we know it online (“what” and “where”) to mobility and automatic discovery of nearby events.
In Copenhagen, Denmark a company call “mobilepeople” is evolving into to what is call “mobile discovery 2.0”. This trend is consistent with many of the principles outlined last month — building search products that better utilize the realities of the device, such as portability, location awareness, time of day, and size (i.e., minimal finger tapping).
Mobilepeople discovers content based on user-defined preferences. These preferences are set when users create customized “puddles” — personalized search modules that automatically find results when opened.
A puddle created for restaurants could, for example, include places that have takeout and specialize in dim sum, Mexican, or Thai, but not Italian. Another example for the home improvement industry is energy efficient window. The module may show West Coast Vinyl windows, Cardinal glass, argon gas or Krypton gas. Puddles can be stored, shared, social networked, and accessed wherever (or whenever) a user happens to be.
“The idea is to get off a plane and discover products and services based on the customized needs of that specific user,” according to Mobilepeople. “We want to get to a point where consumers open the application and what personalized puddle will discover for them.”
For publishers, mobilepeople will likewise allow them to customize puddles based on the nature of their content.
Holiday or event puddles, for example, can be active for a specific period of time. This is an area where many local media companies are poking around to find incremental distribution for their content, and to get it in front of the right mobile users.
This also represents a departure from traditional local search in branching out beyond just listings, reviews, google search box, and yellow pages. The company is positioning this as a source of mobile distribution for any source of local or vertical content.
“The idea is to pull from multiple vantage points — yellow pages, newspapers, magazines, TV,” Mobilepeople said. “These all have content that is related to you within a 15- to 20-mile radius.”
This comes with a holistic strategy to be more of a one-stop shop that appeals to users throughout their day. It’s a monster data challenge, but can be tackled with local content sources — something that mobilepeople has a proven ability to do.
The last, to this piece of puzzle is the advertisers. This is tied to users (traffic), and to publishers (content and ad sales channels). Once these are in place, the discovery format can be attractive and accessible to mobile marketers.
Mobile engagement has been shown to have favorable ad performance over online. This next evolution of mobile local should have a better ad performance, based on the granular targeting that these products will allow.
Going past the most important location and contextual targeting, additional factors will come to define mobile local advertising.