GIFA 2013 Summit Recap : A Peek Behind the Curtain at Google

April 4, 2013 Deb Griffith

So just how do you pronounce “GIFA” anyway?

For anyone in the franchise industry, last Friday, March 29 was a landmark day.  150 IFA members traveled to Mountain View, CA to visit the Googleplex and meet with Google’s Channel Marketing Team assigned to help address online marketing opportunities and issues that affect our industry.

The program consisted of insights into the trends in paid online advertising for both local search and mobile solutions, illustrating the types of marketing programs and campaigns we should all be planning now.  In summary:

  • Mobile Search is on the rise and becoming more focused on searches for local businesses with immediate intent to act or purchase, providing a rich advertising environment.
  • Online Advertising should be split into two content buckets for franchise systems: education and brand information should be directed to the brand’s website and local awareness and in-store traffic drivers should be directed to franchisee locations.

Google also underscored their commitment to the franchise industry by announcing that we are one of just three industries that they have established a dedicated team to focus on maximizing the relationship.  They also mentioned the possibility of establishing a forum for sharing information that pertains to all of us, as it was apparent that we have all had similar questions and concerns when it comes to optimizing webpages or managing our Google+ Local pages.

One of the liveliest parts of the agenda was the opportunity for IFA audience members to voice their collective issues to a panel of Google experts, including:

  • How to utilize Google+ Local pages when a business is not a physical location, but instead a service area
  • What to do when data sometimes deletes from Google+ Local pages
  • How to easily remove a Google + Local page when a franchisee closes
  • Google+ Local page verification process – the current postcard system is too cumbersome
  • Is there a way to have a dashboard that allows management of multiple Google+ Local Pages?
  • Brand trademark protection standards for use in Adwords ads and keyword bidding
  • Duplicate content issues on websites when repeat copy may appear on each franchisee’s location page – what can be done so these pages aren't marked as potential spam?

Google pledged to investigate these topics and provide feedback and guidance, hopefully as soon as IFA’s Francamp in May.

But the summit wasn’t all just statistics and dollar signs, we also got the chance to tour the campus, see Google Glass in action and ride the Big White Bus.

So rejoice fellow IFA’ers, now that we’re in Google’s inner Circle, we should see more effective and robust results from our online marketing.

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