More than half (51%) of Americans are now using some form of contactless payment. Consumers are most likely to use contactless cards for buying essentials at grocery stores and pharmacies, where 50% of consumers say they worry about the cleanliness of signature touchpads.
Consumers in the U.S. have historically been slower to adopt contactless payments, and that’s something that is tied to a lack of merchant adoption, says Rob Fagnani, vice president of strategy at Formation.ai.
Household targeting was possible before the pandemic, but it has become even more necessary for brands since shelter-in-place orders began this spring. With more people living together, and spending more time together inside their homes, having the ability to target multiple members of the same household has become more valuable for marketers.
“The pandemic has caused people to spend a lot more time at home. That means more time spent with shared devices,” Tapad COO Mark Connon says. ”Brands need to have a better understanding of who is using what device and when, despite these shifting behaviors, in order to make their engagements count.”
As we roll into August, it’s time to establish Street Fight’s monthly editorial focus. After our standard ritual (no animals harmed), we’ve settled on “The Next Normal.” Forced to adopt new technologies just to survive, some local businesses have experienced a decade of evolution in just a few months.
So the question is, how will newly elevated local businesses transform the local commerce landscape? If a large share of the local business universe has raised its game, what will be the new “bar” in local media, advertising, and commerce? How should tech providers adjust to new demand signals?
Savvy brand marketers are finding ways to take advantage of location-targeted advertising to inform consumers about shifting variables such as store hours of operation and social distancing requirements. Despite some apprehension among advertisers worried about seeming to capitalize on a catastrophe, surveys show that consumers are OK with being targeted with ads right now. More than 90% of people surveyed say they think brands should continue advertising during the crisis.
Here are five examples of ways that brands can start using location-targeted advertising to more effectively connect with consumers during the pandemic.
Advertisers blocking all potentially sensitive content is a raw deal for advertisers and publishers, says Rachel Tuffney, EVP of US operations at Dianomi. Publishers need advertiser support for serious stories. Advertisers need to be able to tell their own stories without avoiding 50% of serious news platform content and without blocking stories that may actually resonate with the brands they want to build.
Tuffney spoke to Street Fight to elucidate the trade-offs on this issue and explain how brands can be safe without blocking all sensitive content.
The old way of doing business isn’t working anymore. As restaurants, retailers, and other businesses work to keep customers updated about shifting hours of operation and in-store social distancing requirements, they are opening up to outside-the-box ideas and becoming more comfortable trying location-targeted marketing platforms.
Data show that digital adoption among businesses and consumers jumped forward at least five years in the first eight weeks of the pandemic. Small restaurants and retailers are eagerly adopting the same tools now that they were hesitant to try back in 2019. That push is leading technology providers to expand their offerings and develop new tools for a growing market.
The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the shift from brick-and-mortar commerce to digital transactions. It has also forced brick-and-mortars resisting the hybridization of their own businesses to adopt digital methods, turning restaurants and apparel stores alike into both brick-and-mortar establishments and online sellers.
Against that backdrop, retail’s biggest quarter will present novel challenges this year. Retailers will need to optimize for online transactions and contend with fragmented national and global landscapes where it may be safe to go to stores in New York but not in Los Angeles.
To be sure, kids are not the only ones spending more time staring at the TV screen. The coronavirus has catalyzed a golden age for TV viewership and non-traditional formats such as over-the-top viewing in particular, said Sean Buckley, COO of global video advertising platform SpotX.
SpotX announced a strategic investment in CTV and OTT-focused ad serving platform SpringServe Monday. I checked in with Buckley to find out how the partnership will benefit both companies and how the coronavirus year has affected TV viewership as well as video advertising.
What about the tech adoption accelerants happening on the supply side? Tech giants who provide marketing and operational tools for local businesses have been in hyperdrive over the past few months to roll out new Covid-era features.
Here are three areas where we’re seeing the most activity … and where we could correspondingly see the most local business evolution.
Different industries are looking to manage the spread in different ways. For retailers, that might mean using artificial intelligence to make sure customers are following social distancing rules inside their stores. It might also mean using location data, beacons, and other mobile technologies to track where consumers are going during shutdowns or monitor employee compliance with local Covid regulations.
It’s worth noting that this is a sector that is evolving at breakneck speed. These are just a few of the ways the martech community is using its technology for Covid compliance right now.
Recent announcements from Snap and Apple at their respective developer conferences point to future connections between AR and local commerce.
Snap’s Local Lenses will let developers create geo-anchored persistent content that Snap users can discover through the camera interface. This will also include the ability for users to leave persistent AR graphics for friends to discover. The use case that Snap has promoted is more about fun and whimsy, including “painting” the world with digital and expressive graffiti. But the development could also include local storefront information.
Moving on to Apple, it similarly continues to show its AR aspirations. The latest is GeoAnchors for ARkit, announced at WWDC. These evoke AR’s location-based potential by letting users plant and discover spatially anchored graphics that are persistent across sessions and users.
With consumer behavior changing quickly, and so much about the future in flux, retailers are working harder to get a complete understanding of their shoppers as they go about their journeys between the digital and physical worlds, says Ubimo Co-Founder Ran Ben-Yair. Strategies specifically designed to target high-intent shoppers are moving into the forefront, as large retail brands come to terms with the unprecedented challenges of this new reality.
During a time when many other types of advertising have faltered, out-of-home (OOH) advertising is having a moment. Despite a nationwide pandemic, OOH activations are on the rise. Political spending on OOH media is up 75% compared to the same period in 2018, and direct-to-consumer brands are seeing increases in both aided and unaided brand awareness.
What’s driving the push? According to Quan CEO Brian Rappaport, there’s been a distinct change in consumer traffic patterns since the pandemic began. Brands that are capitalizing on those changes are reaching targeted groups of consumers at “firesale” prices.
Google has taken several important measures to assist businesses during the pandemic, but none so far can prevent customers angry about coronavirus-related restrictions from lashing out at businesses attempting to follow public health best practices or the letter of the local law. “The review space has never been harder than right now,” wrote GatherUp co-founder and reputation management expert Mike Blumenthal.
But there are also possible strategies for survival.
Regardless of which retailer comes out on top, there’s no doubt that many will see Walmart’s decision to launch a digital-first membership program as a turning point in brick-and-mortar retail and a concession on Walmart’s part that e-commerce is the way of the future, displacing rather than complementing old-school retail.
Marcel Hollerbach contends that Walmart’s decision to launch a membership program points to just how well positioned retailers with physical locations are in the current climate, with the ability to quickly facilitate things like in-store returns and same-day deliveries of items that take much longer to ship by mail.
Localized ad platforms could also see an increase in use in the coming months among SMBs that want to cut down on unnecessary costs. Many of the localized ad platforms aimed at the SMB market take a self-serve approach, allowing business owners to adjust their budgets and adapt their strategies as conditions evolve.
Here are five localized ad platforms that are focused on helping merchants get back on their feet.
The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) generated plenty of headlines when it went into effect on January 1st. We covered tools for compliance, the law’s long-term effects, as well as its pitfalls and promise here at Street Fight. But a six-month grace period before enforcement coupled with the arrival of coronavirus shifted the attention of the location data world partially away from the nation’s first major privacy law.
That enforcement grace period ended this week, and with it, a new era in consumer privacy began.
After huddling with the editorial team about our July theme, we all agreed that it could be time to mix it up a bit. So we’re returning to a meat-and-potatoes theme in our lineup: Targeting Location. This will allow us to talk about something else while acknowledging Covid-19’s still rampant status.
What do we mean by “Targeting Location?” A central issue for location-based media and commerce, this is the moving target of how to pinpoint and optimize strategies around device location. It includes topics like location-targeted ads, building audience profiles, attribution, paid search, and location data strategies.