January 6, 2016

SIM Partners Predicts What’s Next for 2016

By | Category Company News |

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At SIM Partners we believe the local search industry is about to explode as businesses see increased returns on their investments into location marketing. In 2015 alone, we saw the change of Google’s seven-listing pack to the three-pack, the launch of the Apple Watch, and the testing of Facebook Beacons, to name a few.

According to research firm BIA/Kelsey, U.S. businesses will spend $146.6 billion on local advertising, up from $141.3 billion in 2015. Local search advertising will climb from $7.8 billion in 2015 to $8.2 billion in 2016. The numbers reported by BIA/Kelsey definitely show growth, but major changes in the way enterprises and influencers deploy local marketing will create more momentum as the year progresses.

Read on to see some of SIM Partners’ predictions for 2016, from mobile wallet content attracting consumers to stores, to Apple Maps becoming a stronger player:

Location Data Management

Location data will become a foundation for all local marketing as enterprises figure out how to deploy location data as a scalable asset distributed where “near me” searches occur, and as businesses treat location data as a platform for contextual content  — Tari Haro, CMO

As consumers become more reliant on their mobile devices, location data will become more valuable for brands as a way to engage in a meaningful way with consumers. Companies with a wealth of location data information, such as Foursquare, will become valuable sources for insights and for creating contextual messages. — Emily Helander, senior product marketing manager

With automated cars taking hold in coming years, NAP data and local search will become more important in the near term as forward-thinking brands anticipate the need for automated cars to have the highest quality of data to operate efficiently and “literally” drive consumers to businesses. — J.D. Blue, paid media account manager


Mobile wallet offerings will become imperative and more prevalent for enterprise brands to compete effectively. The impact of using location data to influence consumers to buy will be stronger than ever. — Brandon Kololms, inside sales manager

Mobile wallet and mobile payment systems will become much more mainstream, with a larger majority of consumers paying via mobile as a default payment method. — Ben Otfinoski, inside sales associate

Apple and Google Maps

2016 is the year that Google Maps becomes a monetized area of the search engine results page (SERP). The introduction of fees will be subtle (sponsored suggestions, vanity URLs, review manipulation) and will not affect ranking quite yet, but the introduction of fees will pave the way for larger changes in 2017 and beyond. — Bob Franke, director of development and communications

Developments such as the uptake of Apple’s iOS 9 and CarPlay will make Apple Maps a stronger alternative to Google Maps. For instance, consumers will increasingly rely on iOS 9 to conduct near me searches, which default to Apple Maps. — Molly Geraghty, client success analyst


Google, Yahoo, and Bing will all continue to look for ways for searchers to complete their desired action directly from the search engine results page (think Google Hotel Finder). The efforts of Google, Yahoo, and Bing will make it all the more important for brands to make sure their location data is correctly represented, distributed to, and optimized for search engines. — Emily Helander, senior product marketing manager

Google will get more ingrained in the call-tracking space, which is great for advertisers looking for free call tracking on a granular level. — Mike Fruland, director of paid media

Advances in the Internet of Things and increased adoption of automated cars, smartphones, and in-home devices (like Nest), coupled with advances in cross-device tracking, will allow Google to build a more in-depth profile about a consumer, limit the number of ads, and make ads more relevant to a point that most people will abandon ad blocking software — J.D. Blue, paid media account manager


Google is going to make strides to accurately display local healthcare and physician information. Users will be able to provide more specific details about a location on the location’s Google My Business page, and more categories will be added to better display accurate results in search. — Charley Vail, client success manager

Healthcare patients will start to demand more transparency in pricing as hospitals compete with retail clinics such as CVS. — Amanda Bury, managing director, healthcare

Social Media

Foursquare will surpass Yelp as the primary platform for local business information and reviews. — Dan Sucher, inside sales associate

Real-time updates will continue to increase. Periscope will be the go-to platform for streaming events, and Facebook’s Instant Articles will give Twitter a run for its money. — Julie Piatek, marketing associate

Snapchat will evolve into an app that brands utilize to showcase their new products and offer deals as incentives to bring their potential customers in-stores. — Julie Piatek, marketing associate


Ad blocking software will continue to disrupt the industry, which will result in search engines working to stop ad blocking software and offer ad-free search engine results pages for an annual/monthly subscription. As a result, ad blocking software will cause companies to invest more of their budgets into other advertising methods to reach consumers — ultimately increasing the importance of local search marketing/local SEO. — J.D. Blue, paid media account manager

Tablet usage will continue to grow and will slowly begin to replace laptops. You’ll begin to see more people working on their iPads in coffee shops with the keyboard attachment. — Emily Helander, senior product marketing manager

2016 will see the rise of bluetooth/wireless headphones. As Apple and Samsung update the plugs/ports on their phones, consumers won’t be happy buying new headphones with a different cord, so I anticipate a large jump in the use of wireless headphone devices. — Andrew Shulman, client success manager

I believe that LinkNYC, a New York City program that replaces phone booths with connectivity kiosks, will be a great success. These new kiosks allow all people to access free high-speed Internet, navigate the city, place phone calls, and charge devices. The adoption of LinkNYC will be a major factor in how the citizens of New York locate the products or services they are searching for on the go. I believe this practice will eventually spread to other major cities nationwide. — Kyle Murray, client success analyst

The “sharing economy” will continue to grow with affordable luxury and convenience driving behavior. — Amanda Bury, managing director, healthcare

Content and experiences will become more immersive thanks to virtual reality. Technologies like Google Cardboard will make virtual reality accessible to both brands and consumers alike. — Dom Catanzaro, inside sales associate

What are some of your predictions for this year? Connect with us — we’d love to hear what’s on your mind.

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