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Published on February 7th, 2011 | by Saurabh Pandey


Why ‘Locals’ is the Way to Go!

Google attempting to buy Groupon at USD6B is just one sign that signifies the importance of a local strategy/portal.

Equally important is the online user behaviour which is tilting in favor of local. (There were deals sites before Groupon also, but the hyperlocal strategy made it a winner)

Look at the fact that 70% of searches on Google have a ‘local’ intent. Which means that users are increasingly using search with ‘local’ keywords.

If Google is on it’s way to earn USD30b next year- then the local potential for Google is more than USD21b!  That’s huge.

Another interesting fact -In US 70% of all sex traffic business is done online, up from 40% a few years ago. The spike is contributed to one single local-classifieds portal- Craig’slist!

Very clearly local portals/strategy not only greatly influence user behavior but also have the potential to mold the internet direction.

Sometime back, a friend wondered that it will be tough for local classifieds site in India to survive- the logic being that it’s so challenging to educate and bring people on ecommerce site (due to trust issues)
that on local classifieds site it will be even more difficult- given that largely there will be used products with no warranties etc.

My thinking is that -becuase local classifiess site will show content around a local neighbourhood-trust will not be an issue.

People can themselves surf and visit the person to see the products listed and take a call.

So in a way, in India, local/classifieds sites can be a precursor to ecommerce usage.

Looking at this scenario from another perspective:

Worldwide Classifieds Revenues have declined from about USD19b to USD6b between the years 2000 and 2009.  (Source: Newspaper Association of America (2009 includes Q1�Q3 data and an estimate for Q4)

And Online classifieds revenues have increased from less than USD1b to about USD3b between 2000 and 2008. (Source, IAB, 2008-09)

Very clearly users are looking at online local/classifieds portals as a more pertinent medium owing to their characteristics like immediacy and economy.

So both in terms of Global companies looking at expanding and monetising better and Indian companies looking at building trust and creating funnel of users-Locals is a great strategy to follow.

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