Feedback and analysis: the missing ingredients in local's recipe

Access to local information is great, but context is even better

There’s plenty of enthusiasm for local / hyperlocal projects, but the sweepstakes has yet to be won. PaperG CEO Victor Wong digs in to some of the missed opportunities in a guest column.

I found this excerpt intriguing:

How useful would it be to know when local used-car dealerships have a large increase in inventory (and thus are probably more willing to sell at a lower price)? Other data like new-car listings could show what the local population is buying by examining what is posted and taken down by the dealers. Publishers can even create new content by encouraging users to input data about what sorts of deals and treatment they got, which would be useful for other local buyers and could be turned into a local car-buying guide.

O'Reilly Where 2010 ConferenceWong has a stake in the local game — PaperG focuses on local advertising — but that doesn’t diminish the point he alludes to in the excerpt: feedback and analysis are the missing parameters in the local equation.

So many of these local efforts rely on traditional information delivery through news articles or databases. That material has use, no doubt. Yet few projects take the extra step and put that data into context. They don’t explain why the information is important. They don’t connect the dots.

A lot of this reminds me of web analytics. It’s easy to grant access to traffic data, and the access itself has a low level of value. But the insight that guides decisions comes from deeper analysis. You need to know why a particular keyword or topic is resonating.

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