LBMA Vidcast: Google Launches Location Groups, Bumble Explores Physical Space

On this week’s Location-Based Marketing Association podcast: PatientPoint’s proximity in healthcare, Boen Wines using NFC with Guala Closures, Bumble gets into physical space, Puma geotargets on Firefly’s DOOH, Google launches “seasonality” and “location groups”, Groupon acquires Presence AI for voice & text.

Fake Reviews Are Silicon Valley’s Next Fake News Problem

Local businesses are struggling to adapt to a world where online reputation drives offline sales, and fake reviews are making the transition harder. What’s more, the fake review problem is getting worse. A Harvard study found that fake reviews on Yelp grew from 5% to 20% over several years.

There are lots of reasons for this trend, but this is an area where big data can be used to the benefit of consumers and businesses to increase trust. This means it’s on the tech community—not small businesses—to fix fake reviews. Just as media platforms have a moral obligation to avoid the spread of fake news, review sites have a responsibility to their users and businesses to ensure their content is as accurate as possible.

What Retail Has Learned About AR Since Pokémon Go

Retailers are only beginning to realize the potential of AR. As a new generation of shoppers steeped in AR grows up, their expectations will exceed the novelty acts the industry has put out to date. AR features won’t just be a one-off promo or tied to a game release; they will become the basis of the in-store customer experience, one that looks nothing like the retail of today. 

Brick-And-Mortars Are Taking A Data-Driven Approach To The E-Commerce Challenge

Brick-and-mortar stores have contended with competition from the likes of Amazon and the steady growth of e-commerce, where testing is easily done. Yet brick-and-mortars can also take a data-driven approach to the e-commerce challenge. In-store experimentation based on advanced data science allows them to test everything from the store CX to its operations with relative ease and in a scalable way. 

Real-world, science-based testing isn’t limited to product merchandising. It can be applied across a wide range of brick-and-mortar challenges, new product launches, store remodels, loyalty programs and more. A test-and-learn culture like the one described here can take a company’s research capability to the next level, helping to avoid failed ideas, fuel faster new product rollouts, maximize marketing ROI, and ultimately driving better business results.

GrubHub or GrabHub? Thoughts on the Latest Predatory Industry to Target SMBs

“Growth hacking” along these lines is enough to gag a maggot, but there is the more “benign” approach of Google that says, “Let’s add an order button to every restaurant for the ‘benefit of the customer’” that is equally reprehensible. The business is effectively paying a searcher “head tax” to the food delivery companies on brand searches where the consumer just wanted to get the restaurant phone number, and the searcher was offered a big order button that is so much more convenient to click. 

In Google’s case, it would be a simple matter to provide the local restaurant the option to turn off the Order CTA in the dashboard. Instead, if a business complains to Google, they foist them on the delivery service for resolution. (Or not.) 

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.

Communities: The Next Generation of Customer Engagement is Here to Stay

Today, it’s clear that the way businesses are communicating with customers is coming to another inflection point. Not only can end users opt out of messages from brands they don’t want to hear from, but they have become numb to the “spam” they receive on a daily basis. Now, new age technologies have opened up a plethora of avenues for organizations to push messages out to end users, and it begs the question, what can be done to find even more information about your audience? 

A new mode of engagement is needed to help supplement customer communication in the next generation, but how will this manifest? My money would be on community. 

LBMA Vidcast: PreciseTarget, Pinterest, Amazon Kills Dash Button

On this week’s Location-Based Marketing Association podcast: PreciseTarget, Pinterest, Pokemon Go in NYC, Amazon killing Dash button, Walgreens using Theatre, MediaMarkt rolls out Signify indoor navigation, RevealMobile adds Canadian data.

3 Things You Need to Know about Marketing on Reddit

Reddit refers to itself as the front page of the Internet. It’s a veritable goldmine for a marketer who knows how to leverage it. The trouble is, most don’t. They treat Reddit as no different from Facebook or Twitter. Here’s how to avoid making the same mistake. 

Lens on Strategy: Connecting In-App Video Creative to Mobile Consumers

US mobile-video ad spend will reach $15.93 billion this year, and climb to $24.81 billion by 2022, according to eMarketer. There will be 187.7 million smartphone users in the US poised to experience that creative, a figure that will mushroom to 205 million by 2022, the same report predicts. The time for in-app video is undoubtedly now, but the question remains: what steps can publishers, advertisers, and marketers take to stay on the path of accelerated growth? The following strategies are part of the answer. Each will drive success when it comes to in-app video opportunities.

For Publishers, When It Comes To Display, Blame the Format, Not the Targeting

A controversial new study by Carnegie Mellon University found that digital publishers get roughly 4% more revenue for an ad impression that is cookie-enabled — or personalized — versus one that isn’t. That’s not much. And while the sample was limited — they only reviewed ads for one “large U.S. media company over the course of one week” — it highlights a question publishers have been grappling with for a long time. 

Is cookie-based ad-targeting worth it? Given the mounting costs of investing in data stack technology; reputation issues (the “creepy factor”) and regulatory concerns like GDPR and CCPA that publishers routinely face as a result of behavioral ad-targeting, is the value really there? And is it justified? The Carnegie Mellon findings suggest that the benefit is minimal. However, as I see it, publishers are focusing on the wrong issue.

The Importance of Online Review Management for SMBs

Operators of small- and medium-sized businesses can get by ignoring many of the tech innovations that large companies adopt. Managing online reviews is not one of them.

Like it or not, the widespread usage of review sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and even Google and Facebook have changed the landscape of how local businesses attract and retain customers. Left ignored or handled the wrong way, a business’s negative online reviews can be a deterrent to potential new customers. Managed the right way, however, those same review sites can be a valuable marketing and customer service tool that leads to improved revenue.

How to Identify and Connect with Your Ideal Podcast Ad Audience

While just over half of Americans have listened to them, podcasts are finding new audiences every day. U.S. advertisers spent $479 million on podcast ads in 2018, up 53% year-over-year; that figure is expected to hit $1 billion in 2021. And those people who do listen to podcasts listen to them a LOT. Podcasts are the number one audio source by time of consumption among podcast listeners, and weekly listeners consume an average seven podcasts per week, according to Edison Research.

Podcast advertising is rapidly evolving, as are podcasts themselves. It’s no wonder, then, that advertisers could use help identifying the right podcasts for their products and connecting with podcast audiences. Here’s what you need to know about podcasts and their audiences to find the right home for your podcast advertisements. 

4 Ways Multi-Location Businesses Improve Marketing Return with Call Analytics

By implementing call tracking and analytics systems, marketers at multi-location businesses can obtain valuable first-party data on the calls and conversations they generate for each location. This first-party data helps inform marketing campaigns that open doors for new customers, reinforce relationships with current customers, and increase return on marketing spend. 

Not sure how to maximize the business impact of consumer calls on your multi-location brand? Discover four things you can do now. 

LBMA Vidcast: Kroger Launches Stratum Data Platform, SoundHound Integrates HERE

On this week’s Location-Based Marketing Association podcast: Sweden’s “The Fitting Room,” Mabata Honesty Shop, Nutella goes voice commerce, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield brings the VOID to malls, SoundHound integrates HERE, Kroger launches Stratum data platform.

Low-Hanging Technical SEO Fruit for Local Ranking

Local SEO is powerful. If you run an ice cream shop out of Wichita, Kansas, then you’d probably want to show up on Google when a person there searches for ice cream. Search engines have become crucial for existing and potential customers to connect with businesses. 

Some business owners unintentionally set up obstacles to appearing on local search by improper site structure. Here are some low-hanging fruits to help your business appear for local searches.

Phone-as-a-Service?

It’s becoming clear that we’re headed toward a new vision for our devices: the Phone as a Service (PaaS). Yes, sounds crazy, but look at the parallels between your phone and how/why other “X”s have become services:

X-as-a-service (XaaS) is delivery of X directly via the internet, eliminating the need to use and manage multiple and independent solutions on locally hosted devices, right? So, PaaS is the delivery of personalized media via the phone, eliminating the need to use and manage multiple and independent, locally hosted apps. We’re already seeing that happen.

Consulting Firms and Agencies Are the Perfect Complement for Data-as-a-Service

External data is incredibly hard to use and make sense of. After all, it is just data. It is usually delivered via a big CSV dump or API call.  Most data companies just hand off the data to their customers and say “good luck.” In fact, a decent amount of purchased data just sits on the shelf and is never used.  

This is where the forward-thinking consulting firms and agencies come in. They have a massive opportunity to help organizations make use of external data.  

Half of Organizations Send the Wrong Marketing Messages to Customers

The result of this data deluge? Organizations lack the insight into their customers they desperately need to deliver meaningful experiences, secure sales, and retain customers. New research estimates 48% of them struggle to gain these insights due to the data silos and more than half admit they don’t have a full picture of their marketing data and their customer journey.  

Given the many challenges marketers are up against, it’s no wonder they struggle to define their customer journeys and optimize customer interactions. Below I offer some advice for those in this data struggle.

Multi-Location Marketers Want to Do More Social Advertising, But One Big Thing Stands in the Way

Unlike search, social is a push medium that marketers can use to reach new audiences. Social can leverage rich ad formats such as mouth-watering images of restaurant dishes, explainer videos for complex products, and eye-catching celebrity or influencer endorsements that are much more impactful and engaging at storytelling than search. 

Today’s local enterprise advertisers know that they should be leveraging the one-two punch of search and social together. One day they will. But until social advertising can offer the same streamlined workflow that can make managing hundreds or thousands of locations as easy as search makes it, social will still lag behind in the local marketing media portfolio.