Foursquare’s Location-Based Loyalty Metrics Point to Best Practices for Casual Restaurants

Brushing aside customer surveys and other imprecise measures of customer loyalty, location intelligence firm Foursquare released a location-based report this morning that evaluates best practices and practitioners in loyalty among casual restaurant chains. 

Most importantly for future considerations, the report suggests that brands can improve loyalty in all four of the areas that contributed to its index.

Report: Consumer Expectations for Brands Higher than Ever in Age of Convenience

With the omnichannel age upon us, the impact of bad customer experiences is unprecedented. The main fear for businesses should no longer be a standoff between the worker behind the customer service desk and the angry customer who failed to get his discount; it should be the rant that hits social and is shared or liked a slew of times, dragging digital reputations through the mud.

Walmart Tests Out the “Future of Retail” in Long Island Store

There’s no time for the future of retail like the present. That is the motto at Walmart’s Intelligent Retail Lab, a live experiment in AI-driven shopping experiences that is now open to the public at a Walmart Neighborhood Market in Levittown, NY. 

Facebook Expects Record-Setting FTC Fine for Privacy Violations

Five billion would be a record for FTC punishment of a tech company and would signal harsher scrutiny to come for an industry that has accrued unparalleled wealth and power with little regulatory oversight. Facebook’s fine comes after a saga of instances in which it failed to protect user data. Most damningly, the company vowed to shore up its data protection practices in 2011 and can now be accused of failing to uphold that promise.

Report: Upon Unlocking Phones, People Flock to Social, Messaging

Anyone with a smartphone unimmune to our pervasive cultural addiction with digital communication will be unsurprised: It’s WhatsApp, Snapchat, and Facebook that currently capture most of the attention when we mindlessly unlock our mobile devices.

That’s according to media measurement company Verto Analytics, which released a report just this morning on the earliest part of the mobile journey: what happens right when we unlock our phones some 50 times per day.

Borrell Associates Names Jim Brown President

Borrell Associates, a firm that provides cutting-edge insight for the location marketing industry, announced a leadership change on Tuesday. Jim Brown, previously vice president of sales, will take on the role of president, partnering with Corey Elliott, newly minted senior VP of local market intelligence, to help steer Borrell into the future.

Freckle IoT Announces Attribution Backed by Fully Compliant First-Party Data

With privacy top of mind for marketers, offline measurement firm Freckle IoT is hitting the market this morning with an expanded attribution product backed by just about the most compliant consumer data on the market. Its compliance is secure because it comes from Killi, a consent management company also founded and headed up by Freckle Founder and CEO Neil Sweeney.

AI Is No Magic Bullet for Policing Hateful Content

The task Facebook must take up as it attempts to police hateful content is one inseparable from political values, human judgment, and the interpretation of statements that need to be parsed by well-trained eyes and bright minds with a stomach for horror to boot. While machines will play an indispensable role in content moderation on a platform of Facebook’s scale, they will be far from sufficient. That’s because monitoring hate speech touches on nothing less than some of humanistic inquiry’s age-old questions: the debatable violence, status of truth, and foundations of meaning in language.

Years After YouTube-Driven Brand Safety Crisis, Consumer Concerns Remain

A whopping 60% of consumers surveyed by mobile ad tech firm AdColony say they still see content on Facebook that is damaging to brands, and 49% say seeing appropriate advertisements in proximity to harmful content negatively affects their perception of proper advertisers. That’s the most provocative finding from a survey that indicates the brand safety issue is far from resolved in the digital advertising ecosystem.

The Blind Spot in Facebook’s Vision of Privacy

Insofar as Facebook’s pivot to privacy fails to reward its users for the data that has made it one of the world’s most powerful and profitable companies, I see it as a modest change that is more reactive than proactive, more inevitable than forward-thinking. It is likely that Facebook is only beginning to lay out its moves on privacy, and more ambitious changes may lie ahead. But for now, when it comes to the most pressing, fundamental ethical challenges that are inciting political fervor and increasing the likelihood that serious regulation of Big Tech is on the way, Zuckerberg is dragging his feet. With visionaries like Lanier and Zuboff raising public awareness about Facebook’s business model, the truth may just catch up with him.

Voice-Readiness Study Indicates Vast Majority of Businesses Fail Basic Listings Test

It only takes listing correct and comprehensive information on Google, Yelp, and Bing for a brand or small business to earn 90% on location management solution Uberall’s voice search readiness test. Yet only 4% of the businesses in the company’s latest study, which examined the voice preparedness of 75,000 listings, had correct info on all three of those major directories.

Government Regulation Is Marketers’ Most Common Concern About Data-Driven Initiatives

Changing political headwinds and increased media attention on data collection and privacy are apparently rattling marketers, who named government regulation as an obstacle to data-driven campaigns more than any other single factor. That’s per a survey of U.S. marketers by Winterberry Group and the Interactive Advertising Bureau, eMarketer reported.

Another Day, Another Story About Exposed Facebook User Data

While we don’t yet know if any nefarious activity took place as a result of this latest news of Facebook user information’s exposure to third parties, the bottom line, as per the pithy genie line above, is that Facebook handled user data so recklessly for so long that there’s no guarantee the company can prevent exposure going forward. That means, potential regulations for which Mark Zuckerberg is now calling notwithstanding, the end of the Facebook privacy-breach saga is likely not in sight.

Walmart Enlists Google to Power Voice-Driven Grocery Shopping

Partnerships between retailers and tech platforms will provide increasingly important benefits for local discovery as voice becomes a more established search channel. In the age of voice-driven local search, consumers looking for products and services will become accustomed to having only one option surfaced (as Assistant is unlikely to rattle off five choices), which means being a consumer’s first option will be paramount for brick-and-mortars.

online privacy

Interactive Advertising Bureau Europe Catches Heat from Privacy Advocates

Johnny Ryan, chief policy and industry officer at Brave, a privacy-first web browser, filed a complaint with the Irish Data Commission against Interactive Advertising Bureau Europe on Tuesday evening based on the latter’s alleged violation of GDPR. A statement circulated by Brave on Tuesday identified IAB Europe as a leading lobbyist for the digital tracking industry and accused the company of violating GDPR guidelines with its “cookie wall,” a message encountered by those navigating to its website that requires visitors to consent to tracking from both IAB Europe and third parties.

Toast Raises $250M, Securing Lead Position in Restaurant Management Software

Restaurant management software provider Toast announced $250 million in additional funding on Monday, valuing the firm at $2.7 billion and cementing its lead position in the SaaS market for restaurants. TCV and Tiger Global Management led the Series E round.

Within 24 Hours, Further Signs That HUD’s Facebook Probe Could Upend Digital Ad Industry

What’s at stake in the Facebook housing discrimination probe and related investigations into Google and Twitter is whether the dissemination of online content—the news, product recommendations, advertising campaigns of all kinds, and entertainment—can and should be permitted on the basis of data collected on users’ personal characteristics and past behaviors. Should organizations, in industries as varied as entertainment, apparel, tech, and education, be permitted to use evolving technology to predict whom ads should target and thus who should see the content promoting Berkeley’s MBA program, the new housing development in Long Island City, or the hip sunglasses Warby Parker will never get me to buy? How does past human behavior and long-term inequality in various groups’ access to privileged resources shape ad targeting and the technology that automates it, and can the tech industry reach beyond those limitations to open up new futures instead of capitalizing on and reinforcing historical distinctions?

The news this week of the Trump administration’s first charges filed against a major tech company is the first step on our path to finding out.

Automated Ad Targeting Ensnares Facebook in a Discrimination Lawsuit

The lawsuit is big news not just for Facebook or for housing-related ads but for the digital advertising industry as a whole. That’s because it marks the first major federal attempt to use the resources of the law to curb ad targeting on the basis of racial discrimination. As interest in regulating broad tech spreads across the country and political spectrum, the lawsuit could prove a harbinger of harsher laws to come.

Mobile Video Struggles Persist While Tolerance for Them Decreases

It looks like the quality mobile content experts say we can expect from 5G will be much appreciated by consumers. Mobile video is more popular than ever, among both consumers and digital advertisers, but the medium is plagued by slow load times and suboptimal ads. That’s per a new report out from mobile video vendor Panthera.

The Ethical Stakes of Data Collection and Ad Targeting

With politicians and everyday political partisans on both the Left and Right peeved at Big Tech (the Left for tech’s role in economic inequality and election hacking, the Right for perceived anti-conservative bias, and thinkers across the spectrum for privacy concerns), it is time for Zuckerberg and his peers to get smarter about the arguments for and against data-driven ad targeting and the business models that rely on it. Facile paeans to relevance are not going to cut it—not with the scrutiny Facebook and the rest of the tech industry are now receiving. Tech executives should be as clear-eyed as their fiercest critics about the ethical underpinnings of their businesses. Only then can innovative, far-reaching conversations about the future of advertising, data collection, privacy, and Big Tech begin.