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.
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.
Worldwide spending on AR is expected to reach $215 billion by 2021, as new hardware ships and AR moves further into the mainstream. Acceleration in the AR market is also being boosted by brands’ growing frustration over the limitations in display advertising. With AR, brands can bypass ad blockers and unleash their creativity in a bid to capture the attention of consumers. Let’s take a look at how six top brands are using AR for experience marketing right now.
If autonomous checkout systems ever go mainstream, it will be because retailers finally figured out how to effectively harness in-store cameras to determine where customers are and what items they’re holding in real-time. Reaching that goal has proven elusive to AI technology providers thus far, but a San Francisco-based startup called Standard Cognition is hoping that its recent acquisition of Explorer.ai, a mapping and computer vision firm, will be the catalyst that’s necessary to accelerate growth and expand into new retail verticals.
Making a big splash in privacy, the ongoing story that has dominated location data-based marketing buzz in 2019, DuckDuckGo, the search engine that does not store user data in order to sell pricey ads, announced that it is using Apple’s MapKit JS to power searches. While the search engine’s results are sought out by far fewer users than search industry leader Google’s, the growth DuckDuckGo is experiencing further validates the impression the tech media has practically been screaming about this year: The winds on privacy are definitively changing, and data-driven companies that fail to heed those changes are in for quite a storm.
Having pivoted from a location-centric social app of sorts to a location intelligence platform, Foursquare has positioned itself well to offer brands attributable marketing success and verified data points at a time when concerns about both data quality and privacy are as widespread as ever. Foursquare says it throws out about 80% of the third-party data it consumes, an act intended to preserve the quality of its largely first-party data store.
Customer engagement and loyalty solution Narvar, which has tripled in size over the last year, announced on Tuesday its acquisition of Kronos Care, a fellow customer engagement startup founded in just 2017. The move will help Narvar conquer the European market, bolstered by the local expertise of the Paris-based Kronos.
Among Kroger’s latest innovation is a partnership with online grocer Ocado. Kroger is licensing Ocado’s technology—the only grocer in the United States to do so—in order to benefit from its digital-native mastery of automated warehouse operations and on-demand delivery. The company will be expanding its number of warehouses powered by Ocado’s technology in 2019.
“For brick-and-mortar businesses, the focus on driving foot traffic through mobile couponing is even more important due to the convenience of online shopping. We see mobile coupon platforms becoming ubiquitous and affordable for even small businesses to create, design, and distribute their own coupons,” Katie Wilson, CEO of TapOnIt and a digital advertising veteran, tells our senior editor Stephanie Miles.
Urban Airship, which serves Fortune 25 brands such as Adidas, BBC, and Vodafone, indicated that it would use the combined resources now at its disposal to expand the technical capabilities of its slate of mobile solutions. It will also take advantage of Accengage’s native expertise in the European market, particularly at a time when increased regulation on both sides of the Atlantic is underscoring the importance of strong policy and PR teams.
Mike Boland: Any entity competing for local commerce—publishers, brands, ad-tech players—has a looming platform choice for voice. Like the platform wars between iOS and Android, it’s a matter of deciding where to apply finite resources and development muscle. Maybe the answer is “both” Google and Amazon. But for now, Google appears to have the lead.
Touting the fact that 70% of U.S. shoppers have leveraged click-and-collect options at their disposal in the last six months, Doddle, which has been active in the UK, will be helping major retail partners such as Amazon create smoother buying experiences for customers who want to take advantage of one-click online ordering while avoiding the process of delivery.
Partnerships between on-demand technology providers and global restaurant brands are generating big bucks and creating buzz about what’s possible for the ever-evolving on-demand delivery industry. Tech companies allow retailers and QSRs to keep up with the latest standards for convenience, and partnering with a brand name like Starbucks or McDonald’s can expand the audience of potential users for a growing on-demand startup.
AT&T announced late last week that it will stop selling location data, following an investigation from multimedia publication Motherboard indicating that a bounty hunter (yes, bounty hunter) equipped with a few hundred bucks and a phone number can track down the phone’s owner within a couple blocks’ radius. Verizon and T-Mobile joined AT&T in saying they would soon wind down any remaining location-data sharing deals.
Online reviews are one of the hot trends in local, reshaping how brick-and-mortar businesses stand out when trying to attract nearby customers. Tapping into the local Zeitgeist in a different use case, TruRating and GK Software are integrating their tech to allow businesses to garner feedback from their customers at the point of sale.