Street Fight Daily: Google’s New Tool for SMBs, Facebook Opens Up to Branded Content

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A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal publishing, marketing, commerce, and technology…

One Year After ‘Mobilegeddon,’ Google Plans to Release a New Tool for Small Businesses (Business Insider)
Google is rolling out a new diagnostic tool to help small businesses figure out how to make their sites faster and easier to use on smartphones. Test My Site with Google, which launches in May, will look similar to other services offered by the company but was built specifically for SMB site owners who might not be very tech-savvy.

Facebook Opens the Door to Branded Content from Top Publishers (Digiday)
Facebook has officially updated its policy to allow publishers to post ads in the form of branded content to their pages. Media outlets have been hoping for such a development to help drive more money from their efforts on the social network.

Weather Company’s Webster Touts the Power of Forecast Data in Local Marketing (Street Fight)
“We’re starting to have conversations about how we can take data and predict consumer behavior based on weather conditions,” says the Weather Company’s EMEA chief Ross Webster. “We’re not just looking at the weather as absolute…It’s much more about the different layers of weather data.”

Daily Mail Parent in Talks with Private Equity for Yahoo Bid (Reuters)
British newspaper the Daily Mail is in talks with potential partners to mount a joint bid for Yahoo’s internet assets, eyeing a plan to buy the troubled company to help boost advertising revenues for the Mail’s globally popular online news site. Digiday: The changes the ad industry expects if Verizon buys Yahoo.

Case Study: Timberland Empowers Local Retailers with Branded Content (Street Fight)
“We know that our local retailers are the best way to engage and influence consumers,” says Frank Hwang, Timberland’s senior manager for digital and paid media. The company works with local retailers to provide product storytelling and brand lifestyle content for their digital and social media channels.

1-800-Flowers Taps IBM’s Cloud to Unite Entire Supply Chain (AdExchanger)
With the help of IBM, 1-800-Flowers can understand things like which flowers sell best when it’s warm or cold outside, then use a logged-in shopper’s location data to make relevant suggestions. The integration of IBM’s AI engine, Watson, with data from The Weather Channel will help 1-800-Flowers account for major weather trends and curate personalized product suggestions.

Luka, with $4.42 Million in Series A, Releases AI-Powered Chat Bots (TechCrunch)
Just in time for the chat bot craze, Luka is enhancing its AI-powered messaging service to help users get whatever they desire. Luka originally launched as a Yelp competitor — users could ask it for restaurant recommendations and other dining-related questions. The company has long had plans to expand beyond food, and now it will also connect users with weather and news reports and games.

How Is the Internet of Things Changing Retail? (eMarketer)
The internet of things is already being used across the retail industry. Whether it’s monitoring the supply chain, tracking and managing inventory, delivering personalized promotions, or enabling ecommerce from new environments, retail-oriented IoT is ushering in an era in which “smart” objects can seamlessly collect, share, and analyze real-time data.

Local Is Key Ad Drive in Presidential Election (MediaPost)
In the arguably overcrowded media landscape, voters continue to rely on local outlets to consume political information. This trend will persist into the general election and future cycles, as local media maintains the one connection that trumps all else: community context.

This CEO Explains Why He Bought a Newspaper When Print Is in Decline (Business Insider)
The i, a British daily national newspaper, has been sold to Johnston Press, home to dozens of local news brands. The i gives Johnston Press a national footprint and scale, which should give the company more clout with media agencies and the opportunity to sell across its network of print and digital assets.

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