Let’s brush up your marketing vocabulary!
This list of terms is meant to be a quick reference guide for Marketers, Social Media Managers, and anyone else who is interested in learning about or brushing up on your location management vocabulary. We know that the digital marketing world is awash in jargon and we’re here to help!
This is a catchall term for content visible to consumers digitally as a direct result of payment. These include Google ads, Facebook ads, boosted posts, etc... In this context this does not include traditional print ads, television, radio, or other physical materials.
Actions is the collective term for activities made by customers after they have received some sort of search results. Specifically, these actions have to do with viewing an individual location online, whether that occurred on Facebook, Google, or some other platform. Actions are important for understanding customer behavior and analyzing seasonal trends.
API stands for Application Programming Interface and is a technical term for a set of rules that allow two systems to transfer data to one another. In layman's terms, an API allows two pieces of software to talk. It is the digital equivalent of an adaptor that lets you charge your phone when you are abroad or perhaps more fitting, a translator who allows two people to talk despite using different languages.
Awareness is a blanket term for any action, function, image, post, etc that increases people’s knowledge of your company and brand.
The brand or your brand refers to the images, logos, slogans, and general descriptions associated with your company.
Branded searches are a new category on Google and are the result of someone searching for a specific brand of product or service that you are associated with or sell. In addition, it is possible to show up in a branded search if the person looked for one of your competitors specifically but Google is aware that you also operate in this market space.
On Facebook, the company brand page is in essence a version of your website. It should not have a physical address, but rather be a representation of the company as a whole. If properly set up, it will also display a “locations” tab where users can see each and every one of your local stores, complete with branding and all relevant business information. It is worth noting that Facebook has a historic trend of incrementally lowering brand page exposure in terms of the visibility of content shared there. The more fans a brand page has, the fewer people who will see unpaid posts to that page in their feed. While there is debate as the Facebook’s reasoning behind this, what is clear is that every time Facebook lowers organic exposure, their market share goes up. This is the result of companies purchasing brand page views to make up for their ever shrinking audience.
Business accounts are professional level accounts that require separate setup and login than a general user account on a specific network. Additionally business accounts will generally have more rigid set of rules and guidelines for proving ownership of, and management for, a given page or account. They also tend to have a deeper level of reporting features and support and exist solely to promote businesses, not individuals.
Check-ins generate a “was here” post on Facebook and are the polar opposite to fans in terms of value. Check-ins generate a huge volume of impressions over a short period compared to fans and for that reason they are great for social advocacy and brand awareness. There is no real blanket method for getting check-ins and the frequency of them differs wildly from industry to industry. As a general rule, the more desirable it is to be associated with a place or activity, the higher the check-ins will be. For that reason, hotels, gyms, spas, restaurants, cafes, and coffee shops tend to have far more check-ins than other traditional retailers.
Claimed locations are owned and maintained by someone who has in some capacity demonstrated their legal right to have access to that page or location. This is most commonly accomplished by providing a valid email with the appropriate company domain.
Cost Per Click is a common metric for advertising sales and bases the price on the number of clicks on a piece of content. CPC is often used when marketing has a set daily budget. Once the budget is reached, the ad is removed from rotation for the day. CPC can also be used retrospectively as part of a deeper analysis into the cost of acquiring a new customer.
Cost Per Mille (thousand impressions) is a commonly used metric for advertisement sales. CPM is useful in a number of ways. First, impressions are far simpler to calculate than reach. Secondly you can pre-purchase an audience size. Thirdly, CPM tends to be one of the cheapest ad sets since it focuses on overall visibility over any other metric. CPM costs differ significantly from industry to industry, from region to region, and even from network to network.
The customer journey as it applies here is chiefly concerned with online to offline activity. That is to say purchases made in a local store that began with some form of digital activity such as a search. A large portion of simplifying the customer journey is removing as many steps as possible between a search and actionable results. One of the most efficient methods of simplifying is to ensure that local stores are published and visible in as many places as possible.
These are directions generated automatically after clicking on directions from a local store page. Generally, these will only occur on mobile devices and will open a default map service on that device.
Direct searches happen when someone searches for a specific company by name. These are important in understanding your overall brand awareness with the public, especially when compared to other search types. Direct searches must also be very specific, so the more complicated a company name is on Google for instance, the fewer direct searches it will have. Direct searches often imply strong purchase intent and users are most likely looking for additional information such as driving directions, opening hours, contact information, or offers.
Discovery searches are the result of someone looking for a product, or service and may also include the “near me” functionality. Discovery searches are important as they highlight how often someone has made a purchase decision and your company shows up as a potential provider. These can be especially critical for brands that rely heavily on impulse purchases as the nearest location may well become the chosen provider. The more often your locations appear in discovery searches, the more likely you are to win the business of the customer and to take away a potential purchase from a competitor. Discovery searches rely heavily on having your locations properly set up in Google. That includes ancillary information such as free wifi, outdoor seating, etc… The more Google knows about your locations, the more likely you are to be listed in a relevant discovery search.
Engagement is a term encompassing any number of activities. In a nutshell, it means that someone has interacted with your brand in some capacity. On Facebook, engagement can take the form of a “like”, a share, or a comment. While different networks have different criteria for engagement, the overall idea is the same: someone has interacted with your business in a social context. The general rule is that the more engagement a piece of content has, the more successful that content is considered to be.
Fans is a Facebook specific term used to describe a person who has “liked” a page. Once someone has liked something and become a fan, they have open up the possibility to have unpaid posts shown in their Facebook feed. Facebook has also introduced a “top fan” badge to denote users who interact very frequently with a page. Fans have a long term value for companies as they can be selected to have ads delivered to them and they are great for return business. Of note, “liking” a page on facebook generates almost no viral visibility compared to a check-in. So while they are not great for virality, they are nonetheless very important for brands and companies.
Facebook Business Manager
Like Google, Facebook has a complete business portal complete with setup guides. You can read more and get started here. One notable difference between Google and Facebook is how companies are structured. In Facebook, you company will consist of one or more Brand Pages with a Location Structure nested beneath. In other words, there will be a layer that represents your brand as a whole as well as individual Facebook locations for each of your stores.
Facebook has recently released a new method for displaying relevant search information to its users. Searching for a company or a specific company location on Facebook will not display a block of locations, similar to Google’s packs. This is extremely helpful for businesses who have properly set up Facebook locations as in greatly increases local store visibility.
Foursquare For Business
This is Foursquare’s business portal with guides for getting started publishing, claiming, and maintaining your local stores on Foursquare. You can read more here. The value of Foursquare cannot be understated as it acts as a source of local store information for over 100,000 apps and services globally. While many people will be vaguely or completely unfamiliar with Foursquare changes are that the average person uses their data multiple times a day via apps and services on their mobile devices.
Google My Business
This is Google’s business account layer that allows validated users the ability to create, update, and even close local stores on Google and Google Maps. There are reporting features, brand support, and tools that are not available to average users. There are also specific rules for naming, branding, and promoting your company. You can read more about GMB and how to set up your company here.
Google pack is the term used to describe the block of information showing the three nearest locations when someone searches for a company or location on Google. These count directly as maps views (See: Map Views) even though they are the result of a regular search and not a search within Google Maps itself. In order to have your packs displayed, you have to properly set up your Google My Business account, publish, and verify all locations.
Impressions are a measure of visibility that are often used as a criteria for ad sales (See: CPM). Impressions are simple to calculate since the only factor is how many times something was seen. Impressions disregards unique individuals and counts total views only. For this reason impressions can sometimes be misleading as 1 person can theoretically generate unlimited impressions.
Insights is another blanket term that is used to describe any metric that gives some information about a company, brand, it’s locations, its audience, or its data. What is significant about insights is that they differ from analytics significantly. Analytics manipulate data in some way in order to draw conclusions or at least imply causality. Insights report raw data only.
Key Performance Indicators are specific metrics chosen to help determine how successful a marketing activity has been. These can be comprised of any number of measurable variables (See: Insights) or cost analysis (See: CPM and CPC). Correctly determining KPIs can help a company understand where they should focus their marketing activities and in some cases, even when those activities should take place.
Likes to a Facebook page result in the person becoming “a fan” (See: Fans). Likes to a post, image, or other piece of content generate a small number of viral and organic views and are more associated with engagement statistics (See: Engagement).
Location structures is a blanket term for how local stores are added and maintained to a given business account. These differ by network, but the most prominent one is Facebook. Since Facebook supports locations for Instagram as well, if the locations are properly published on one, they will automatically be taggable on the other. Location structures on Facebook also allow for the creation of a searchable map displayed on the company brand page. This map will show all locations in the Facebook Business account, regardless of country. Location structures essentially create a native version of your web’s store locator right on Facebook but with the added benefit of the potential for social interactions. Each network has specific rules regarding location structures and it’s important to adhere to those rules for maximum exposure.
Location pages are digital representations of individual stores within a company. So if you have 200 stores, you should also have 200 location pages. Setting up location pages properly ensures maximum visibility for your local stores and your company as a whole and significantly simplifies the online to offline customer journey on Facebook. In addition, these pages then to be far more popular in terms of engagement that a brand page. Location pages allow your customers to check-in, like a single store, comment, rate and review, and share location information. These pages also have significantly higher organic reach for posted content compared to a brand page. So while the local audiences may be smaller, the audience is more likely to see your content and engage with it.
Local Search Engine Optimization is a newer term that focuses on ensuring that information at the local store level is not only correct, but optimized for maximum exposure (See: Network Optimizations). These local SEO activities not only simplify the customer journey to the extent possible but also provide a bump to a company’s overall SEO efforts by ensuring that information about local stores is uniform across networks.
Location descriptors are specific to Facebook and are some form of geographic reference to a specific location. They are not and never should be full addresses. Examples of location descriptors are landmarks such as public squares, or if it is your only store in a city then the city name is also acceptable. Location descriptors are easily identified as they follow the company name and appear within (). As an example, PinMeTo in Stockholm will appear on Facebook as PinMeTo (Stockholm). If there were more than one in Stockholm then they would require more specific names such as PinMeTo (Gamla Stan). Adhering to these names will not only increase your overall visibility on Facebook, it will also contribute to your SEO ranking on Google as well.
A properly set up Google My Business account will mean increases in all Google metrics, including map views. If all of your locations are published and verified on an account that you own, you open up the possibility for the nearest three locations to be shown in what is known as a Google Pack (See: Google Packs). These packs make it extremely convenient for users to identify the closest location suiting their needs as well as access all the information needed to contact that location or get directions to the store.
Naming conventions are the set of rules networks use to define what exactly a brand and its locations should be called. On both Google, Facebook, and Foursquare the rule is very simple: Whatever is on the sign out front is what the location should be called. No more, no less. So all PinMeTo locations are called “PinMeTo” regardless of where they are geographically. Many times companies make the mistake of trying to add additional information to make things easier for their customers but this should be avoided. While it may seem better to call an office in Stockholm “PinMeTo Stockholm”, this information is not only unnecessary, but it will lower direct searches and can damage your SEO in general. In some special cases such as hotel chains, it is possible to request a waiver for naming your locations, but as a general rule they should all share the exact same name.
This is another broad term encompassing any activity, account set up, or updating of business information that provides the maximum exposure on the given network. Where companies often damage their own exposure is by violating individual network guidelines, in particular with regards to naming of local stores. Google determines ranking in part based on how many times it sees the same store information in different places and many companies, while well intentioned, unintentionally reduce the effectiveness of their own SEO expenditures by not optimizing their locations across networks.
Organic impressions are views that are not the result of ad spend. That is to say that they are unpaid and happen because someone saw a piece of content or a location for whatever reason. This metric is of particular interest to companies using Facebook as Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg made a prominent statement regarding how content would be delivered and prioritized to users in 2018. The general rule on Facebook is that the larger a company’s brand page audience is, the lower their organic reach will be.
This is essentially exactly the same as organic impressions (See: Impressions) except that it only counts unique individuals and not views.
Paid impressions are exactly what the name implies. They are views generated as the result of ad spend. This money could be in the form of traditional Google or Facebook ads or from “boosting” content on Facebook. One item of note here is that organic impressions tend to follow the same curve as paid ones on Facebook but at a much lower volume.
This is essentially exactly the same as paid impressions (See: Impressions) except that it only counts unique individuals and not views.
These are calls made to a local store that originated from search results. On Facebook and Google it is possible to directly call a local store from search and maps results if you are using a mobile device and the location is correctly set up.
Reach is a measure of online visibility but it differs significantly from impressions in that it counts single views from unique individuals. For that reason, counting reach over time becomes difficult if not impossible. The reason that reach is not often used as a metric is that unique individuals must be counted only once per span. That means that if a company attempts to calculate reach over a week, they must remove duplicate views for unique individuals for each day. It also means that if you ever see that your reach is higher than your impressions, something has likely gone very wrong. For this and other reasons, impressions is generally the metric of choice for advertising campaigns and insights.
Return On Investment is a method for calculating how successful a marketing activity actually was. Properly selecting the criteria for an ROI calculation is crucial to ensuring that your marketing focus both correct and timely. ROI is generally calculated using three items: an initial budget, final earnings, and a time period.
Searches as an insight are a measure of how many times a location was shown to a user as a result of some sort of query. These can be the result of a number of criteria such as name, category, or even “near me” queries on multiple networks. As a rule, companies want to show up in as many relevant searches as possible. When it comes to impulse purchases in particular, showing up in a search can be a deciding factor in a purchase decision.
Search Engine Optimization is a term that covers any number of activities designed to increase a brand’s unpaid visibility on digital search channels. Historically SEO has been focused on driving traffic to a company’s website by ensuring that keywords, images, etc associated with a brand are detectable by search engines and thus maximize exposure.
Unclaimed / Unofficial
Unofficial is a term describing content or pages that are not owned and maintained by the parent company. On Facebook these are especially problematic as unofficial pages can be created simply by attempting to check-in to a location. If Facebook cannot find the proper location a new page will be created representing that place. These pages often lack proper branding and business information and the companies rarely know that they even exist. These pages can become quite popular over time which is also problematic for businesses as they are missing out on valuable organic and viral exposure while simultaneously having content online that damages both their brand and SEO efforts.
User edits is a broad range of capabilities available to users on the various networks to recommend changes to locations whether they are owned or not. In many cases, users can suggest any number of updates to a given location such as recommending a new telephone number, website, email address, opening hours, or even recommending that the location is permanently closed. User edits become even more dangerous to multi-location brands as there is no clear guidance regarding how these edits or why these edits are approved and there may not be an alert regarding the change in every case. This well intentioned set of features mean that marketers need to be especially diligent about ensuring that local store information is correct.
Viral impressions are views resulting from someone else doing something on your behalf. This could be tagging a friend, sharing a piece of content, checkin-in to a location, writing a comment that is seen by others, liking a page, or any other online activity that generates views from a third party. Viral impressions are a great metric for evaluating how popular your content is and is often a benchmark for success in content generation. If content “goes viral” it can skyrocket awareness for a brand or location, even if the content itself does not promote the brand.
This is essentially exactly the same as viral impressions (See: Impressions) except that it only counts unique individuals and not views.
These visits refer specifically to local websites, not a corporate landing page. So if your company is called “Blue” and you have stores in Malmö, a website visit to www.Blue.com would not count here. Instead, it would require a visit to www.Blue.com/Malmö or similar.
You made it! Now you’re finally an up-to-date location marketing champion!
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