German Tech Provider Bosch Developing 3D Displays for Cars

In the long run, this technology could pave the way toward an even more connected car. That means local advertising that could collect more data on user habits and lead drivers toward local businesses when they are on the go. As autonomous vehicles grow more common and sophisticated, the 3D displays could also be used for entertainment or other yet unseen purposes to enhance the auto experience of the future.

Alexa, Draw a Line Between Convenience and Control

It’s that factor, consumer data and Amazon’s vast store of it, that stands out most in Jason Del Rey’s reporting on Recode’s new podcast series, Land of the Giants. Specifically striking is the episode on Alexa, in which Amazon employees openly speculate about a future in which smart microwaves will hook up with Amazon’s growing healthcare ambitions to tell you when it’s time to stop making popcorn and smart countertops will join the intelligent kitchen conversation. As Del Rey notes, Amazon execs talk about this future openly, dropping tidbits about customer obsession along the way and appearing truly unperturbed by the thought that such interventions into our domestic lives may go too far or generate unintended consequences. Optimism for the quality of Amazon products and a fervent belief in the company’s benefit to consumers—without due consideration for products’ risk and would-be limits—seem to pervade the corporate culture.

FedEx Stops Ground Deliveries for Amazon, Signaling Delivery War to Come

For FedEx as for the many other companies and industries Amazon has decimated over the past 20 years, the problem in confronting Amazon may turn out to be one of margins. While FedEx needs a profitable delivery business to survive, Amazon can afford to lose money on delivery and make it up with relatively free-flowing profits from Amazon Web Services and its booming ad business.

In fact, Amazon can afford, thanks to the faith and generosity of investors, to make no profits at all. No easy task, competing with that.

How Americans Shop Today

All industries—apparel, grocery, electronics—are affected differently by the move to e-commerce, and consumers are turning to new options, including social marketplaces, disrupting what we typically think of as digital shopping. Here are some insights on major market changes, including the key to Amazon’s dominance, the industries flouting the turn to e-commerce, and a curious preference among millennials, from a recent survey of 1,000 consumers by Signs.com.

The Deceptive Arguments Amazon Uses to Shirk Responsibility for AI

In a recent column, Recode founder and New York Times columnist Kara Swisher cut to the core of what would seem to be concessionary calls for regulation from Big Tech firms, summarizing their attitude like this: “We make, we break, you fix.” She’s right, and with Google, Amazon, Apple, and Facebook doubling their combined lobbying spending from 2016 to $55 million in 2018, it is worth taking a closer look at the kinds of arguments the companies are trotting out to avoid responsibility for the outcomes of the technology they produce and sell. We should be particularly concerned about the arguments tech firms are making about AI, which is already remaking our society, replacing steps in crucial human decision-making processes with machine-generated solutions.

For an example of how tech firms are attempting to get away with peddling potentially dangerous AI-based tech to powerful entities like law enforcement agencies while accepting minimal accountability, consider Amazon’s Rekognition.

With Shoelace, Its Latest Foray into (Local) Social, Google Aims to Do for Friends What Tinder Did for Dating

Perhaps Shoelace is less ambitious than Google+. But is finding friends, or others with whom to socialize, not the most central and yet unachieved aim of social networking? One that hinges on location and would be a gold mine for advertising, as it captures users far down the sales funnel, all the way at the point where they are ready to get together to spend some time at a local business? What if, in the same way online dating has gone from disreputable to de rigueur over the course of 10 years, finding friends online is something young people all do in 10 years, an engineering problem that Tinder rival Bumble is already trying to crack?

That would be a pretty big social network. The ambitions may not be so modest.

This Company is Forging a New Path for Digital Advertising with a Focus on Consumer Consent

Brave is an example of how privacy-forward digital advertising business models that foreground consumer content can work for all parties. Users are not tracked all over the Web and choose how many ads they would like to see; they will also soon get rewards. In return, advertisers can be sure that the people seeing their advertisements are actually interested in looking at ads, and they can also boost loyalty or reach new customers by offering rewards for ad viewing.

Perhaps most importantly, with GDPR in place for more than a year and CCPA and other state privacy laws in the works, advertisers and platforms are less likely to get sued.

Chatmeter Scores New Funding Amid Hiring Spree

Local brand management platform Chatmeter announced a new investment by Providence Strategic Growth aimed at helping the company increase its ambitions further after hiring 25 employees over the course of six months. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

This Largely Brick-and-Mortar Industry Is Resisting Digital Disruption

Despite Amazon’s high-profile acquisition of Whole Foods in 2017, grocery is the bastion of brick-and-mortar shopping proving unusually resistant to a takeover by digital channels. At least, that is the vision of consumers, only 15% of whom say they are excited about the technical “revolution” in grocery, according to a new report on the future of retail by Walker Sands.

Consumers Welcome Some Automated Business Messaging, But Humans Must Tag Along to Help

More than half of consumers are frustrated by customer-service situations in which they can only interact with automated agents, and nearly one in five even reporting feeling angry in those situations. That’s per a new survey of U.S. consumers conducted by The Harris Poll and commissioned by call tracking and analytics firm Invoca.

Texting Allows Marketers to Reach Customers Where They Spend the Most Time

Seventy-six percent of consumers are already receiving texts from businesses, and a majority of consumers across all age groups would prefer that more businesses take up texting as a mode of communication, a new report from business text messaging platform ZipWhip indicates.  

A whopping 83% of Gen-Z respondents and 82% of millennials said they “wish more businesses” would use texting. Even for older generations, that number made up a more than slight majority, including 76% of Gen-Xers and 64% of Baby Boomers.

Report: Fake Google Maps Listings Ensnare Consumers, Harm Legitimate Businesses

“Chronic” local listings fraud on Google Maps, where con artists pose as handymen and other local service providers, sometimes stealing the names of legitimate operations, is endangering consumers and sucking business away from viable local businesses, the Wall Street Journal reported.

As Google seeks to prop up its lucrative but “cresting” search business and consolidate its lead in local, the tech giant is struggling to address the fraud issue and perhaps even to care about it. 

OOH Emerges as Strong Digital Channel for CPGs

Consumer-packaged goods shoppers trust out-of-home advertisements more than those delivered on any other channel, a new report on CPGs and advertising from Vistar Media and MFour indicates. Fifty-three percent of consumers say they trust the content in OOH ads, more than any other single medium.

B2B Video Marketing Grows Up, Getting Briefer and Garnering More Attention

The standards for B2B video marketing are rising as marketers get the hang of the hottest, no longer so new medium. Marketers are learning to keep things short and sweet, decreasing the average video length from six to four minutes from 2017 to 2018, and audiences are tuning in longer, Vidyard reports in its annual video in business report.

Tim Cook Demands New Commitment to Responsibility from Big Tech

With the moral and commercial high ground in clear sight, Tim Cook used the spotlight at Stanford University’s commencement ceremony Saturday to slam Big Tech peers Google, Facebook, and Twitter for failing to take responsibility for the hateful content and disinformation on their platforms.

Report: Huge Hole in Location Data Market for O2O Attribution

Good news for the whole location-based marketing industry—a new report from location data firm Factual based on a survey of location data buyers finds the field is getting more effective and better at measuring its results. Nearly 9 in 10 marketers said location data is driving more effective campaigns. Eighty-six percent said it’s growing their customer base, and 84% reported higher customer engagement.

However, while use of location-based marketing is set to grow to 94%, only 24% use it or are planning to use it to establish offline attribution.

4 Marketing Use Cases for AR Today

Augmented reality is making the leap from hyped technology of the future to driver of cutting-edge marketing techniques today. To document the state of the field and shine a light on those use cases, the IAB released its AR marketing playbook earlier this month.

In case you’re too busy to peruse the pdf, I’ll detail the major use cases outlined in the report.

Word of Mouth Remains Vital for Loyalty in Digital Age

Pundits have speculated that loyalty is becoming less and less important as mobile and especially voice search drive the consumer toward the most convenient purchasing options. That may be true, but the report indicates loyalty remains a powerful factor, with 53% of consumers saying they are more likely to buy from a retailer they know and trust.

Consumers Still Do Not Understand How Companies Use Their Data

More than one year after the implementation of GDPR in Europe and with CCPA looming, consumers still have no idea how and why companies like Google and Facebook collect their data. That’s according to a global survey by mobile marketing firm Ogury, the largest of its kind to ask consumers about their understanding of marketing and privacy.

Nearly 40% of respondents in both Europe and the US were ignorant of what GDPR is. But more significant is that 52% of consumers report not understanding how their data is used.

Foursquare Acquires Placed, Announces $150M in Funding

Foursquare and Placed are location tech’s new power couple.

The location intelligence firm is acquiring Placed, which had previously been bought by Snap for its top-rate online-to-offline attribution solution, and the two will offer one of the most powerful attribution solutions in the location industry, to be called Placed powered by Foursquare. 

As ad tech faces tougher times and a privacy-driven crackdown on data collection and ad targeting practices, more mergers and acquisitions are likely to transform the industry’s terrain. Teaming up and stockpiling as much first-party data as possible, thereby eliminating the need for less compliant modes of data harvesting, will boost the longevity of some firms while others flounder.