May Focus: Visualizing Local

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This post is the latest in our “Visualizing Local” series. It’s our editorial focus for the month of May, including topics like artificial intelligence and marketing automation. See the rest of the series here

Street Fight is on a mission to better optimize and structure our publishing and content output. So we’ve launched monthly themes—an editorial focus that zeroes in on key subtopics in location tech and commerce. This thematic approach joins ongoing daily reporting.

We’ve already started with themes for January (Beyond the Screen), February (Word of Mouth), March (Targeting Location), and April (Automating Local). We now roll into May with Visualizing Local: a look at how marketers are using visual content to boost visibility, presence, and conversions. This includes everything from images in search results and local listings to utilizing increasingly popular social media like Instagram Stories.

Like many subsectors and technology areas in local, this visual opportunity stems from a convergence of factors. Increasingly powerful mobile devices, larger screens, and connectivity (5g) are enabling images as a key modality for local info. And there are increasingly buying-empowered millennials and members of Generation Z who demonstrate a strong affinity for images and visually-immersive content like Snapchat and Instagram.

We also have the emergence of computer vision and machine learning. Those technologies collide in visual search, exemplified by Google Lens. Also called “search what you see,” it lets users hold point their phones at items to contextualize them. It can be more intuitive than typing words when in “on-the-go,” high-intent moments like standing in store aisles and comparing products.

Following Google are other more specialty players like Pinterest. On the heels of its IPO last month, it announced that it generates 100 million visual searches per month. And these are very commercial-oriented searches, usually involving products that someone sees on the street and wants to buy. That means the business case for visual search is also strong. But it’s a question of marketers preparing themselves for this shift and being present in and optimized for visual searches.

Speaking of which, images come into play in our ongoing focus on search and SEO. Just as Google continues to evolve the search engine results page with knowledge-graph information, images will hold a key part of that content mix. This continues a longstanding evolution of making SERPs more colorful, starting with last decade’s “universal search” movement. But what’s the latest and what are the SEO implications for local businesses? We’ll be exploring these questions throughout the month.

Beyond a monthly thematic focus, we’ll still cover the entire location technology and media sectors that you’ve come to expect on a daily basis. We’ll continue to publish daily articles on the most important and impactful happenings in local, as well as Street Fight Daily, our biweekly podcast, and white papers.

Each month will continue to carry a different theme that we’ve laid out in our editorial calendar. Look out for that editorial calendar soon, as it will represent an opportunity for you to plan any contributions or participation in Street Fight’s ongoing coverage, thought leadership, and published narratives.

Meanwhile, expect lots of coverage this month concerning the state of the art of automating local and where it’s going next. You can view all the articles within this theme anytime here. Look forward to lots more structural developments at Street Fight and contact us with any questions or opportunities to participate.

Mike Boland has been a tech & media analyst for the past two decades, specifically covering mobile, local, and emerging technologies. He has written for Street Fight since 2011. More can be seen at