I listened to the Google Q4 earnings call yesterday afternoon and there was much discussion of display advertising, mobile and some discussion of local (mostly on the consumer side). Here are the main comments (from the transcript) about local (although some of the mobile discussion implicates local/offline). . .
CEO Eric Schmidt:
We are in various conversations about trying to do alternative ways to distribute additional content. We are trying to come up with new ways of using GPS data so an advertiser gets position in place, we have a lot of initiatives in this category. The ones where we probably have the biggest impact or not impact as much as those are exciting, will probably be in the display area because in aggregate size our display business will give people an opportunity to reach people with visual stories and reach them with narratives which they couldn’t do with search text. . .
So it is probably the case that the combination of local advertising, all of the things we are doing in display plus some of these new and more speculative things are likely to drive a lot of new ways of solving a business problems.
SVP of Product Jonathan Rosenberg:
The Internet is also local and we see more and more of a business’s online presence is as important as its physical one so we are trying to make it easier for businesses to manage that presence and to connect with people who might actually be right around the corner and want to find them. The web has also always been about commerce and now more and more people who buy things offline are starting their shopping process and researching all that stuff online. We want to help those people decide what to get and where to get it whether it is offline or online . . .
Naturally I think that part of our success this past year is the result of a very focused product strategy. At the beginning of 2009 our strategy was basically to double down on our core which was search, ad words and display and of course push on monetizing YouTube. We also wanted to invest in Chrome, Chrome OS and Geo and at the same time we made some very hard decisions to focus our resources.
Rosenberg also mentioned click-to-call ads in mobile as being effective.
Location is behind or sprinkled throughout the product initiatives here. There’s location targeting as part of display; there’s mobile and online shopping that involves exposure of offline inventory and where to buy; there’s SMB online presence and efforts connecting buyers and sellers locally.