A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal publishing, marketing, commerce, and technology…
Gannett Explores Parcel-Delivery Business (Wall Street Journal)
Newspaper giant Gannett is exploring the parcel-delivery business as it examines how to make the most of its fleet of paper carriers and delivery trucks. Prompted by the ecommerce boom, Gannett reached out to parcel-industry consultants as recently as December. It also had meetings and preliminary discussions with Amazon. (Subscription required)
Sheryl Sandberg Explains How Facebook Got More Small Businesses to Buy Ads (Business Insider)
According to Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, going after small business advertisers is one of Facebook’s “biggest opportunities” for the future, and it can get more SMBs on board by getting better at giving them “a very simple product that links to clear business objectives.” Prompting businesses to advertise on a post-by-post basis led to a lot of new conversions, Sandberg said.
Why Yahoo Couldn’t Adapt to the Smartphone Era (New Yorker)
Marissa Mayer has managed to triple Yahoo’s mobile audience, but the total number has remained too small to transform the company in a meaningful way. With Yahoo now in serious danger, there’s a lot of talk about what went wrong. The simplest explanation is one that follows from the plan Mayer set in motion after becoming CEO. By failing to transform Yahoo into a mobile company, she failed to meet her own goal.
The Reality of Missing Out (Stratechery)
Ben Thompson: Digital advertising is becoming a rather simple proposition: Facebook, Google, or don’t bother. Digital is subject to winner-take-all dynamics, and Facebook and Google are indeed taking it all. In some respects, it’s tech’s own inequality story: the average and median company and startup will increasingly bifurcate. It’s not a bubble, it’s a rebalancing, and the winners are poised to be bigger and richer than anything we have seen before.
As Legacy Media Companies Evolve, ‘Culture Trumps Strategy Every Time’ (Street Fight)
Tom Grubisich: The Local Media Association used to represent only newspapers, but now its 2,400 members include radio and TV stations, directories, and “pure-play” digital sites, as well as more than 100 research and development partners. This transformation has happened under the watch of President Nancy Lane. In this Q&A, Lane talks about how the LMA helps its members achieve sustainability in the relentlessly competitive world of local media.
Google Wants to Deliver Packages from Self-Driving Trucks (Quartz)
A new patent awarded to Google suggests that the search giant is looking into developing self-driving delivery trucks, just as Amazon readies its autonomous delivery drone fleet. Google’s trucks would be fitted with a series of lockers that could be unlocked with a PIN code sent to the person waiting for the delivery before the truck arrives at their location.
Case Study: Burger Chain Grows Facebook Reach by Prioritizing Local Pages (Street Fight)
In the past 18 months, the ratio of spending between print and digital marketing campaigns has flipped at burger chain Hwy 55. Today, the company’s digital spend is more than 20 percent higher than print. The company has chosen to focus its efforts on platforms that can be used to reach consumers at the hyperlocal level.
Amazon, UberEats Charge Restaurants Hefty Delivery Fees (Eater)
Uber and Amazon have been expanding into the food delivery sector recently, following in the footsteps of many startups across the country. Companies like GrubHub, Postmates, and Seamless, which charge restaurants roughly 12 to 24 percent of checks to use their services, have successfully blazed the trail, but UberEats and Amazon Prime Now are asking for a much steeper rate.
Big Data for Big Cities: The Civic Benefits of Google Street View and Yelp (Forbes)
Michael Blanding: Residents add to their city’s information pool with every keystroke they make on their computer or smartphone, and cities themselves are expanding data-gathering and crunching capabilities. What if all of this could better give citizens what they need — using Google Street View to guide economic development, or Yelp restaurant reviews to target hygiene inspections?