Cutting Through the Analytical Clutter: 4 Major Trends this Holiday Season

As just about the final week of 2018 gets underway, it’s worth taking a look at what we now definitively know about this holiday season. Here are the facts about the role of technology in retail during 2018’s holidays.

The Location Angle on Another Bombshell Privacy Exposé from the New York Times

What exactly did Facebook do wrong, and what do its supposed wrongs portend for the future of data-driven, and especially location data-driven, marketing? Here are some major takeaways pertaining to future legislation, likely consumer reactions, and the distinction between data selling and sharing.

Google Testing Restaurant Booking, Foreshadowing Ever Tighter Grip on Local Commerce

The news is an important signal that local-commerce options like Reserve with Google will get sleeker and more dominant in the years to come. And it calls to mind a crucial local-search debate: Will Google SERPs and the many options for engagement with local brick-and-mortars on them effectively supplant the local business website as the crucial interface for interacting with customers?

GMB App Adds Support for Service-Area Businesses

As of late last week, Google is offering an update to the Google My Business app that adds support for service-area businesses. Earlier in November, a Local Search Forum blog post indicated that Google would be adding features to help such businesses with local customers.

Starbucks Partners with Uber to Launch On-Demand Delivery at 2,000 Locations

Starbucks announced on Friday that it’s partnering with Uber to launch on-demand delivery at 2,000 locations. The partnership is a sign of the “near me” local search era for retail, one in which proximity and convenience have become paramount, outweighing even loyalty.

Efficacy of Google Posts Drops Following Relegation to Bottom of Knowledge Panel

Following a seemingly arbitrary choice on Google’s part to move Posts to the bottom of the Knowledge Panel, their efficacy in boosting businesses’ local search presence seems to be dropping.

Digital Ad Trends to Watch in 2019, Mobile to Account for 71% of Digital Ad Spend

Programmatic SSP Pubmatic released on Tuesday morning an elaborate report detailing digital ad trends to watch in 2019. The highlights include a look into how mobile, video, and of course programmatic itself will continue to evolve in the coming year, reshaping the way brands reach customers.

Location Data Industry Gets Huge Wake-Up Call on Monday

Platforms, brands, and vendors benefiting from the reams of location data used to hit consumers with highly targeted ads should be paying attention to a change suggested by Google and Facebook’s appearances before government authorities, a New York Times exposé out Monday, and most importantly the impending arrival of GDPR-like legislation in the United States: 2019 will be the year privacy actually matters, posing a potentially devastating threat to the status quo of the location-based data and marketing industries.

Consumers’ Reliance on Online Reviews, Evolving Rapidly, Is Reshaping Local Search

Recommendations gradually exchanged in person are now flooding webpages, most notably Google’s SERPs. Twenty-seven percent of consumers are now reading reviews of local businesses every day, marking a staggering jump from just 12% in 2017, according to a recent report.

Google Local Services Reportedly Expand to Canada, Signaling Rapid Growth

Launch in 2015 in Silicon Valley’s home court, Local Service Ads have since expanded to a whopping 90 markets in the U.S. and are now making their way abroad, where searches for local services are abundant.

The Numbers on Mobile’s Role in Holiday Shopping This Season

The results of a survey released just last week by mobile ad firm AdColony go beyond the already stale proclamation that the mobile revolution has taken over retail, pointing instead to granular details about just how consumers are using mobile today. We provide the highlights.

Google Reviews Hit with Massive Spam Attempt

Google reviews, increasingly essential to the online search presence of brand and SMB brick-and-mortars alike, were hit by a massive spam attempt last week. At least 2 million fraudulent reviews were posted, according to ReviewFraud.org.

Raise Report: Standard Cognition, Clearbanc, WeWork Secure New Funding

Every two or three weeks, we round up some of the biggest fundraises taking place in hyperlocal marketing, commerce, and tech. This edition also includes funding for SalonHQ and Sojern.

Crack-of-Dawn Black Friday Lines Are Already a Thing of the Past, Data Shows

How is the increasing appeal of e-commerce and other digital options such as BOPIS—buy online, pick up in-store—affecting retail’s biggest day of the year? One consequence, data from Reveal Mobile indicates, is the end of the notoriously colossal lines that used to mark the beginning of Black Friday. 

5 Big Takeaways from Black Friday 2018

As Cyber Monday gets underway, another Black Friday looms behind us. Below are the highlights of brick-and-mortar retail’s big day as we prepare for the windfall expected from its digital counterpart.

Innovation Pays Off for Nation’s Biggest Retailer

Walmart posted strong sales in Q3, suggesting that its determination to compete with Amazon by investing in cutting-edge, tech-driven approaches to retail is paying dividends. Read on for some of the top trends Walmart is capitalizing on.

The Secret to Alibaba’s Singles Day Success? Brick-and-Mortar

We’ve all heard by now that Alibaba’s Singles Day—think of it as the Chinese Prime Day—shattered sales volume records, recording over $30 billion in revenue for Jack Ma’s retail giant. What you haven’t heard is that brick-and-mortar retail played a key role in that windfall.

SITA Acquires Passenger Analytics Startup MEXIA—Here’s Why That Matters for Brick-and-Mortars

In a move reflective of the growing importance of in-store analytics solutions for retailers, airport services giant SITA has acquired passenger analytics startup Mexia Interactive, the companies announced last week. 

Raise Report: Placer.ai, Leap, LoopMe Secure New Funding

Every two or three weeks, we round up some of the biggest fundraises taking place in hyperlocal marketing, commerce, and tech. This week’s report includes funding for HeadSpin, Mavrck, Entertainment Data Oracle, and ZypMedia.

GroupM Details the State of Digital Marketing’s Hottest Medium: Video

For marketers looking to capitalize on the video boom, Street Fight has the latest from GroupM’s second annual State of Video report. The highlights include continued difficulties with measurement, emerging options to target effectively across channels, a look at Amazon and Facebook’s quest for domination, and social video’s fallibility and how brands can overcome it.