Local Search Association Crowns the Best Solutions in Local

At its annual conference in Dana Point, CA, this week, the Local Search Association recognized the best solutions in location-based search and advertising with its annual Ad-to-Action awards. Award winners, who competed in a field of over 80 entries and were selected by judges representing companies such as Google, Amazon, and Walmart, included Brandify, PlaceIQ, and Vendasta.

Communicating on GMB Poses Some Challenges, but the Local Ecosystem Has Answers

Google has been hard at work on local in 2018 and 2019, taking strides toward making its Google My Business app the one-stop-shop for local businesses hoping to connect with customers through digital means. Nevertheless, local is a tricky, 24-7 business, and when it comes to connecting brick-and-mortars with customers nearby, Alphabet’s core business has some room for improvement.

DoorDash Will Put an End to Old-School Delivery—And Smaller Rivals

What does the big money for DoorDash mean for the crowded on-demand delivery space? The market is growing as a whole, but there isn’t all that much growth share to go around. DoorDash CEO and founder Tony Xu has said as much.  “If you look at where the U.S. is, there’s two players gaining share. It’s DoorDash and Uber. And DoorDash is growing 65% faster,” Xu said in a conversation with Recode editor-at-large and co-founder Kara Swisher earlier this year.

Alexa Has the Confidence of SMB Marketers. Should It?

Forty-eight percent of marketers surveyed by Uberall said they trust the e-commerce giant over its competition when it comes to marketing applications of voice technology in these early days of the medium. Google Assistant had the vote of 29% of the market, with Apple’s Siri scoring a surprisingly high 17% given the widespread consensus that voice is really a two-way race at the moment.

Data Science as a Solution: conDati Opens Doors for Digital Retailers

The pitch is that today’s marketers with omnichannel inspirations need a machine learning-driven platform that will not only assess the success of campaigns across several media but also point them toward paths for future success. That’s an expensive technical infrastructure to create in-house, and conDati’s betting its solution is worth the spend.

Want to Know How Long the Wait For that Hot New Restaurant Is? There’s a Google Integration for That

Building on the Reserve with Google offerings that have made the tech giant’s SERPs the new homepage of local businesses, Google seems to be adding a feature that allows people searching for local restaurants to sign up for a waitlist. Busy folks with a penchant for busy eateries rejoice. 

Shirking the Tech Giants’ Mobile Wallets, Kroger Unveils One of Its Own

Kroger is flexing on Apple and Google this week, passing on the opportunity to accept Apple Pay or Google Pay at its stores and choosing instead to launch its own mobile wallet that doubles as a loyalty card, WCPO reported in Columbus.

Local Search Association Announces New President, Bill Dinan

The Local Search Association, which brings together over 300 companies intent on connecting enterprises and small businesses alike with consumers, announced on Wednesday morning Bill Dinan as its new president. The announcement follows the retirement of its previous president Neg Norton, who held the role for 15 years.

Walmart Mulls a Run at the Digital Ad Business

With reports percolating about Amazon’s increasingly clear emergence as a third party to Google and Facebook’s dominance of the digital ad market, the e-commerce behemoth’s old-school counterpart is reportedly taking a look at the action itself.

Marin Q4 Advertising Report Shows eCommerce Ads Skyrocketing, Instagram and Search Growth Strong

Digital marketing software firm Marin Software has released its Q4 advertising report, which points to major trends in social, search, and e-commerce. Instagram is taking on an increasingly central role in Facebook’s main business, e-commerce ads are booming YOY, and search remains fundamental to digital advertising, the report shows.

In Test of On-Demand Economy’s Durability, Postmates Files to Go Public

There’s nothing more hyperlocal than the on-demand class of startups, which feed off the everyday use cases spurred by a mobile-first world: whipping one’s phone out to order food from a local restaurant (Postmates, GrubHub, DoorDash), hail a ride (Uber and Lyft), or cut out a trip to the grocery store (Instacart, Shipt). Postmates’ founding ingenuity was to apply the convenience of ride-sharing to product delivery. Eight years later, it’s a food-delivery powerhouse, and its value may strike nearly $2 billion.

What Is 5G? Some Facts and Marketing Implications

As the next generation in mobile connectivity, 5G should promise smoother data transmission, higher-quality mobile streaming, and more efficient energy usage. And it’s those benefits consumers are excited about, newly available data from Verizon Media indicates, with 72% of surveyed consumers excited about faster data transfer speeds and 57% eager for higher-definition video content. But industry watchdogs are skeptical.

Alphabet Plays the Long Game, Expanding and Investing in R&D, with Focus on Video

Alphabet is investing in its future, spending record funds on R&D and pouring money into non-core businesses such as self-driving cars (Waymo) and its video platform (YouTube). While the company exceeded analyst expectations on the back of ever-strong growth from its core search business, it was actually trading down on Monday, reflecting investor anxiety over the cost and ultimately profitability of its many secondary businesses. 

Google’s Soft-Power Approach to Super Bowl Ads

When it came to the Super Bowl, Google opted not to put the spotlight on flashy new products but rather to emphasize the good it can do for the world at a time when it’s “don’t be evil” slogan of yore has become prime material for parody. During the big game, ads for products as seemingly disparate as Pringles, tax software, and beer pointed to a present haunted by tech’s infiltration of domestic life and machines’ superiority to humans.

Brandify, PlaceIQ, Simpli.fi Among 2019 LSA Ad-to-Action Award Finalists

The Local Search Association announced this week a slate of 20 finalists for its annual awards celebrating the best in local and online-to-offline marketing. Among more than 80 submissions, the finalists have been recognized for their outstanding work in such categories as reputation management, SMB software, and local search.

While Sales Growth Rate Slows, Amazon Marketplace, Cloud, and Ad Businesses Point to Long-Term Prosperity

For brands hoping to compete with Amazon (and potentially looking on with relief at a sign of fallibility from their digital rival), the company’s earnings report brings the news that Amazon Marketplace, where third-party sellers can reach customers, is doing more than twice as much in sales as Amazon’s first-party retail platform. Marketplace is troubled by bad practices and fake reviews, and its prosperity suggests the growing challenge for brands to get customers to even go to their sites at a time when Amazon is essentially the homepage of the commerce-oriented Internet.

online privacy

Apple Takes Advantage of Facebook’s Foul Play to Make a Privacy Statement

Not only did Facebook’s “Research” app, which paid 13- to 35-year-old users $20/month to access their search history, emails, and private messages, set off every imaginable alarm on the this-will-look-bad-when-the-exposé-comes-out PR radar (one of the world’s most powerful corporations must be lacking one of those), but the app also blatantly violated the terms of Apple’s Enterprise Developer Program, which proscribes distributing apps to consumers. It probably didn’t help that Facebook was searching tweens’ data for dirt on its competitors. 

Privacy, Poor Management, and Sex Scandals Can’t Touch the Duopoly’s Ad Growth—Yet

It will likely take a significant downturn in spending or overall economic well-being for Big Tech to feel some major financial pain. And while great for Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple, that’s got to be concerning for industry watchdogs wondering whether these businesses are too entrenched in digital search, advertising, and commerce to be challenged—because the past year was not hot for Silicon Valley, and yet the presses keep printing dollars.

Williams-Sonoma Sues Amazon, Underscoring War Over E-Commerce Monopolization

Foreshadowing a battle over Amazon’s overwhelming control of e-commerce, Williams-Sonoma filed a lawsuit against Amazon in the final days of 2018, charging that the retail juggernaut used its market power to copy the furniture maker’s products and squeeze it out of the market.

Facebook to Integrate Technical Infrastructure of WhatsApp, Instagram, Messenger

While the move indeed indicates that Facebook’s chief executives are looking to centralize acquired properties that once operated with relative autonomy, the integration also marks a response to growing concerns over user privacy. Under this new technical configuration, all the messaging platforms will be endowed with end-to-end encryption, warding off the possibility that people other than those taking part in conversations will ever read messages sent on the platforms.