Payment Technology: If it Ain’t Broke… Start an Entire Industry to Fix it.

Mobile payments is an exciting area of cultural and technological disruption, and at the same time a solution in search of a problem. Somewhere in all the excitement, we seem to have forgotten that paying for things with cash or credit card ain’t broke. We’ve been covering mobile payments closely on this blog and many […]

Phone Leads for Local Businesses: The Unsexy Cousin of the Click (Part II)

Beyond bringing in big leads — and SMBs paying handsomely for them — call monetization will be compelled by something else: Opportunity cost. We forecast call volume to SMBs to explode (65 billion by 2016) as a result of increasing mobile usage trends. That’s going to mean a whole lot of calls to answer…

Apple’s Next Trick: Making the Retail POS Disappear

The idea is to enable shoppers to conduct roving transactions throughout retail stores by scanning items with their iPhones, paying on the spot via iTunes then going on their way. No checkout aisles, no gum-snapping shopgirl, no 15 items or less. It creates a world where the mobile device is the POS…

Phone Leads for Local Businesses: The Unsexy Cousin of the Click

We’re seeing tech and media worlds finally come around to what we’ve been saying for years: phone calls are what businesses want. That’s especially true in high-value categories like professional services, autos, travel and insurance. Clicks and impressions, despite a sexier image, aren’t as valued in lots of cases…

Mobile Local Media: The State of the Union

The end of the year is upon us and that means top ten lists, year-in-reviews, and predictions galore. Sort of in that spirit but a slightly different format, I’ve been organizing the way I look at the mobile local world into a few buckets. So as this month’s column, here’s my state of the union in mobile local media…

Is Variable Product Pricing the Next Horizon in Local Advertising?

Proximity-related factors enable predictive modeling around transaction probability. That can then be plugged into an equation to determine price sensitivity or elasticity on an individual level. What discount will get your attention? From there, it’s a matter of variable pricing to customers that are new, repeat, faraway, nearby on foot versus driving by at 60 mph, and so on. And that’s the key: though we have time-based variable pricing (a la airlines), proximity-based personalized pricing is the next phase.

Focus Turns to Attribution in Mobile Local Ad Tech

The promise of mobile local advertising continues to invoke the “closed loop” idea. The device’s portability and location awareness means that it goes to the store with you – enabling all new ad performance tracking opportunities. Nothing terribly new there. But it seems like the tech and media worlds are finally acknowledging that 93% U.S. retail spending happens offline. And an increasing share of that — to the tune of about $1.5 trillion — is influenced online and on mobile. So connecting those dots is the name of the game…

Is Content King in Local Too?

In the pantheon of buzzwords overtaking pitch decks and CMO-speak, “content marketing” is the new darling. The term has legitimate grounding to be fair, but like “long tail” and “web 2.0” in days past, its overuse precedes it. Content marketing also isn’t anything new — it’s been done for years, albeit under the ethically challenged “advertorial” rubric among other flavors. Now it’s new, improved, and hitched to en vogue terms like “native.”

What’s Apple’s Mapping Shopping Spree Really About?

Moreso than the features, Apple’s post-Mapgate acquisitions are all about what’s behind the scenes in this age of big data. This goes back to what a lot of people don’t realize about Apple Maps: it’s is actually a pretty slick mapping tool. But what it has in dazzle, it lacks data; things like place listings, navigation and public transit…

Is Foursquare’s SMB Monetization Here for Real?

The company may discover that SMBs paradoxically prefer the simplicity of flat pricing over relatively complex (albeit more efficient) performance-based ads. The latter requires some degree of ongoing maintenance which challenges non-tech-savvy or time-starved (read: majority) SMBs. This is one reason for famously high churn for SMB self-serve advertising…

When It Comes to Mobile Local Search and SMBs: Mind the Gap

Mobile is inherently local and thus conducive to location-based, high-intent user engagement, all of which appeals to many SMBs. B ut mobile also exacerbates their paradox of choice. That’s why there is a big opportunity for third parties to help SMBs get there. That can be marketing or SEO consultants, but the real opportunity is for the local media organizations with deep roots and existing relationships with SMBs…

Mobile Local Advertising: Not Just for Early Adopters Anymore

Over the past few years I’ve done some axe-grinding about the lack of location targeting in mobile advertising — and the fact that desktop ad strategies have largely been ported over to the small screen, particularly among large brands and agencies. But in recent months we’ve started to see some of those habits break down, beginning with newer companies in mobile that don’t have to “unlearn” anything to get there…

How Does Yelp Make Money and Where Is It Going Next?

Yelp combines the nimble and engineering-driven product focus of a Foursquare or Facebook, with the direct SMB sales of a YP. It’s a powerful combo that few companies have, and few people talk about in blogospheric proclamations of category killers…

Efficiently Selling to SMBs: Finding Paths of Less Resistance

We’re entering a more fertile environment for what I’ll call the SMB advertising “Trojan Horse.” Local companies start by targeting SMBs’ CRM systems, payroll, back office management, reputation management and payment processing. From there, local advertising can be unveiled as a “one-stop-shop” upsell…

Defining the Local Coefficient: A Conversation with Yelp

A growing chunk of physical purchases are influenced online. And the path to purchase increasingly weaves between different screens. But for conversions, it’s all about offline. The question is how long this will remain to be the case. Out of sheer curiosity, Yelp VP Mike Ghaffary ventured to quantify this…

What Do Google’s Enhanced Campaigns Mean for SMBs?

To wildly mixed reactions, Google last week announced a major redesign to its pervasive AdWords SEM platform. Known as Enhanced Campaigns, the redesign will force advertisers to run a single, converged — though conditionally governed — campaign across desktop, mobile, and tablet devices…

National Advertisers: Time to Get Local

“Local” is often thought to be synonymous with SMBs. In many media like television, however, huge portions of the local ad spend is from national brands buying up geographically specific advertising inventory. The same thing is happening in mobile. The projected growth in local mobile ad spending will mostly come from national advertisers that localize campaigns…

Is Facebook Local’s Waking Giant?

“Google is the best advertising product in the history of the world… because it’s like advertising at a store,” Business Insider CEO Henry Blodget said recently. “Facebook, meanwhile, is like advertising at a party.” But despite Google’s user-side advantages here, Facebook could have an edge in SMB engagement…

Mobile-Local Shopping Comes Into Focus

Customers are getting poached right under retailers’ noses by Amazon and the rest of the showrooming brigade. So what are retailers doing to combat these challenges as we enter the biggest shopping season in the biggest year of local retail transformation since the invention of the department store? The results so far are mixed…

Place Off: A Week in the Life of the Mobile Local Revolution

A couple columns back, I covered the collision of big data, mobile and local (please refrain from acronyms… “BiDaLoMo”!). That covered some location analytics players like JiWire and Sense Networks. But since then, the action has picked up. In the last week alone, I’ve had in-depth conversations with others defining this space including Placed, PlaceIQ, and Telenav…