With all of the landgrabbing going on in local marketing right now, Citysearch is trying its best to retain relevance in the space. The latest in its bid to help local business (and its bottom line) is a directory of local business tweets that will help position CitySearch as the go-to for real-time business information.
Earlier this month, Citysearch added real-time Twitter and Facebook feeds into its listings, and in January, the company released a local advertising network called CityGrid, which I've written about here.
The new effort will prominently feature a Twitter feed (like in the widget pictured above) on CitySearch pages giving relevant information about local businesses being shared in real time. This will include tweets about and from businesses.
"'It really lowers the threshold for reviews,' CitySearch senior VP Kara Nortman tells me. It also makes the reviews more immediate, and therefore relevant. I’d much rather know how a chef’s Mahi-Mahi is going over with diners today than last week when a different chef might have ben on duty. Since it started rolling out the local Tweets a couple of weeks ago, engagement metrics are noticeably higher across the site: session durations are up 10 percent, pageviews per visit are up 7%, and exit rates are down about 3%."
CitySearch currently has about 5,000 business listings tied to Twitter accounts, Soon the site will begin to feature tweets that mention businesses even when the company's Twitter handle isn't being used, which means that the listings should quickly fill out. That should help with the company's big to have tweets from and about all of its 15 million listings.
Once the Twitter directory is more inclusive, the stream will be available through the company's CityGrid API and users will be able to create and shape their own relevant lists. There are also many ways for CitySearch to market this information, but while Twitter's advertising rules are still unclear, there is one quick benefit.
Incorporating public tweets into its profiles will help CitySearch reviews stay fresh and relevant, and get over a hurdle that many user-generated sites have. When consumers tire of updating your content, it's hard to make the business model work. If you can can go where they are to get the information you need, it's gets a lot easier. If CitySearch can use Twitter to make its listings more useful for users, that will help solve a problem the site's been having for a long time.