Street Fight Daily: Instagram Apes Facebook’s Ad Biz, Uber’s Leasing Expansion

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

Instagram’s Ad Business Is Starting to Look More and More Like Facebook’s (Recode)
Facebook-owned Instagram has been stealing page after page from Facebook’s advertising playbook, and on Tuesday it borrowed a few more ideas: sponsored posts and business profiles.

Inside Uber’s Auto-Lease Machine, Where Almost Anyone Can Get a Car (Bloomberg)
To help new drivers get started, Uber has been offering short-term leases since July through a wholly owned Delaware-based subsidiary called Xchange. It partners with auto dealerships, advertises to drivers, manages risk, and even pays repo men to chase down cars whose drivers aren’t making payments.

FiveStars Digs Deeper Into Customer Data to Get Beyond ‘Loyalty’ (Street Fight)
FiveStars co-founder and CEO Victor Ho, who will be a speaker at Street Fight Summit West next week, caught up with us recently to talk about the efficiency of retention marketing, the shift from daily deals to digital loyalty programs, and what analyzing the trove of SMB consumer data can potentially yield.

Most Small Businesses Are Discovered Online First (eMarketer)
More than one-third of US internet users said they first find out about small businesses when researching online, according to a survey. Walking into a local store, meanwhile, was the least likely path to discovery.

Salesforce Buys Demandware for $2.8 Billion, Taking a Big Step Into E-Commerce (TechCrunch)
This is a huge deal for Salesforce, as it extends the types of transactions that it will be open to with existing customers, and also gives it a new group of customers to upsell for other services that it offers, from marketing and online analytics through to back-office software for sales and other IT functions. It also opens up Salesforce to competition with the likes of Shopify, Amazon and eBay.

7 Automated Customer Service Solutions for Merchants (Street Fight)
Savvy business owners are looking for ways they can use hyperlocal technology to manage the increasing number of customer requests, issues, and even complaints, without taking time away from the hundreds of other tasks they juggle on a daily basis. Here are seven examples of platforms that can help businesses react nimbly and effectively.

Transportation Technology Will Be the Next Internet Protocol (TechCrunch)
Sephi Shapira: There’s a reason the leading global Internet companies are looking at automated driving; they understand the key issue underlying the next web of transportation technology protocol is based on the same decentralization of ownership that created the Internet decades ago.

True Performance Baselines and ROI for SEO Without Attribution Modeling (Search Engine Land)
Chris Liversidge: How do you determine your SEO program’s real performance, discounting the effects of seasonality, paid search spending or any other external factors? Here’s a step-by-step process for reaching a reliable ROI calculation.

Executives Reveal the Potential, and Pain Points, of Marketing Attribution (eMarketer)
The study, which surveyed executives tasked with measuring marketing performance measurement in their organization, found that attribution efforts are frequently held back by issues with data collection and accuracy. 59% of respondents mentioned data collection and centralization were marketing measurement challenges, while another 50% pointed to reporting accountability and accuracy as key problems.

Alibaba Invests in Next Generation of E-Commerce Search (Wall Street Journal)
Chinese Internet giant Alibaba is investing in an Israeli technology company that aims to improve product searches on e-commerce websites. (Subscription required.)

In-App Purchases Overwhelm New App Sales (Business Insider)
The survey suggested that developers should provide consumers with options for recurring in-app transactions and one-time upgrades for a premium version of an app. On the other hand, only 20% of respondents said they “often click on advertisements contained within mobile apps.”

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