How Brick-and-Mortars Move Forward

The coronavirus pandemic has transformed brick-and-mortar business, possibly forever. Peter Paine, former eBay and Walmart executive and now head of retail partnerships in the Americas for Cover Genius, checked in with Street Fight to share the strategies physical businesses large and small should prioritize to prepare for the near- and long-term future.

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As States Reopen, Conversion Patterns Point to Early Programmatic Recovery

The data that Goodway Group uncovered suggests that some marketers have begun to increase spend and re-enter the programmatic marketplace. Additionally, when looking at the regional level, the Goodway Group’s Benjamin Diesbach and his team are seeing that CPMs in many of the hardest-hit states have bottomed out, and they are starting to move closer to previous levels.

The impact on certain states reopening is still being felt, and while medium-to-longer-term dynamics remain volatile, Diesbach is seeing early short-term signs of programmatic marketplace recovery.

6 Live Streaming Platforms for Gyms and Fitness Studios

The fitness industry has changed overnight as Covid-19 forces gyms across the country to close their doors. While gym owners wait for the go-ahead to reopen their businesses to the public, many are moving their classes online as a way to generate revenue during the pandemic.

Local fitness studios seem to be having the most success utilizing online platforms designed specifically for their needs. Technology companies offering fitness management software and live streaming tools have stepped up to the plate with tailored offerings for fitness studios and gyms, and some are even finding ways to work together with Zoom, YouTube Live, and other popular video services.

Here are six options that are worth checking out.

Yelp Revamps its Business Control Center and Releases Other Pandemic-Adaptive Features

The announcement follows massive layoffs at the company as advertising plunged along with SMB revenue in the face of coronavirus-fueled lockdowns. But a recent Brandify survey showed Yelp remains a massive presence in the local digital marketing space: 64% of US consumers are somewhat or very likely to turn to Yelp when searching for restaurants, second only to the leader across verticals, Google.

Yelp’s new features will prove especially helpful for businesses in the months, if not years during which Covid-19 continues to affect everyday habits, but a number of the changes align with digital marketing best practices that will serve Yelp clients well beyond the next 12 months. Below is a rundown.

Street Fight’s May Theme: Local Commerce’s Recovery Playbook

In our own reporting and analysis (and through the words of our contributors) this month, we’ll define the playbook for local re-entry. As business ramps back up, what will best practices be for local staples such as search marketing and reputation management?

We’ve already covered how businesses are digitizing to adapt to the challenges of commerce in a time of social distancing, embracing curbside pickup, social advertising, pop-up distribution centers, online classes, and retail tech. With an even longer-term view, we’ll examine how this period of uncertainty will shape the future of local commerce.

AARP Launches Platform Empowering Neighbors to Assist Each Other during Pandemic

Built by the team at AARP Innovation Labs over the course of just a few weeks, the Community Connections mutual aid aggregation platform gives volunteers and people in need a place to connect. It features a searchable directory of local mutual aid organizations, which are typically informal groups that provide key daily services, such as picking up groceries and delivering medications to people who are at high risk for contracting Covid-19. People can access the platform to find volunteer groups nearby, with links to those groups’ websites and locator maps.

With Stimulus Funds Delayed, Small Businesses Digitize for Survival

Experts at helping SMBs adapt to a tech-first commercial landscape say the pandemic has led some businesses to tap into their long-dormant potential as digital marketers and sellers, possibly setting them up for gains in the aftermath of the recession. Now that e-commerce is the only path to survival, mom-and-pop shops, aided by martech firms, agencies, and Silicon Valley giants, are capitalizing on cutting-edge marketing and retail techniques, many for the first time.

Thousands, if not millions, of Main Street businesses will close their doors for good as a result of the pandemic. Those that survive will be technologically savvier and sleeker than they were before.

What Search Behavior During Covid-19 Means for Healthcare Marketers

The headlines are everywhere. Open any newspaper, and you’ll see story after story about coronavirus and its impact on American society. But new data on consumer search behavior shows Covid-19 isn’t the only healthcare topic on people’s minds right now.

In an analysis of consumer search trends during the coronavirus pandemic, a team from the healthcare provider scheduling and search platform Kyruus found that search terms seemingly unrelated to Covid-19, such as “diabetes,” “cancer,” and “depression,” continue to rank more highly than those associated with the virus.

As Agencies Feel the Squeeze, Covid-19 Reshapes the Martech Industry

One in four small businesses has temporarily shut down, and 43% believe they have fewer than six months until permanent closure is unavoidable. With the small business community in panic mode, budgets for digital marketing have been slashed, and agencies are feeling the pinch.

“Everyone has been in panic mode, and rightly so. Businesses are worried about who might have to be furloughed [or] laid off, getting their PPP loans, what kind of regulations do they need to comply with, [and] what their contingency plans are for keeping any amount of revenue coming in,” says Simon Schwartz, founder of Locasaur. “Businesses are not interested in being pitched new marketing tech.”

5 Retail Tech Solutions Keeping Shoppers Safe During Covid-19

Beacons, sensors, security cameras, and touchless payment solutions are all being used in ways they haven’t been before. Technology vendors are even changing up their offerings, or in some cases pivoting altogether, to better serve the retail market during this ongoing pandemic.

Here are five examples of technology providers offering innovative solutions for enhanced social distancing and improved shopper safety during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Curbside Pickup Moves Into Primetime, But Retailers Struggle With Implementation

Petsmart and Kohl’s have it. So do Best Buy, GameStop, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and dozens of other national retailers. With social distancing orders in place across most of the country, curbside pickup is becoming an increasingly popular checkout option for retailers. Integrating curbside technology into existing ecommerce fulfillment programs hasn’t been without its challenges, though, especially given how hastily many of these programs have been rolled out.

Ad Tech Execs Weigh in on Coronavirus Ads, Google and Twitter, and Misinformation

I turned to a number of ad tech execs for their expert perspectives on the risks and rewards of digital advertising on this extraordinarily high-stakes issue. While expectedly optimistic about the benefits of coronavirus-related messaging for savvy brands, the business leaders diverged on the responsibility and capability of Google and Twitter to monitor the veracity of the content they host. They also made distinct cases for advertising at a time when brand messaging requires extra sensitivity, arguing that both brands and their customers have something to gain if businesses provide accurate information, focus on customers’ needs, and showcase the ways they are adapting in a time of crisis.

Publishers Create a Lag In the In-App Ad Market By Ignoring New Standards

For more than a year now, we have seen trend data that indicates massive mobile in-app programmatic spend growth, with in-app video leading the way. Our own numbers confirm these trends.

This is a seeming slam dunk for app publishers, but many of them are dragging their feet to take advantage of the new revenue opportunity. Notably, they are not implementing quality measures like app-ads.txt or the IAB’s Open Measurement SDK that brands are looking for. Both of these standards benefit publishers as much as they benefit brands and indicate a commitment to quality in-app inventory. It’s important to get out in front and show proactive initiatives as buyers decide with whom to trade and how.

Covid-19 Is Changing Ad Auctions, Creating New Opportunities for Brands

Amidst all the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, savvy marketers are finding new opportunities to reach consumers at discounted rates. According to data compiled by Goodway Group, competition within ad auctions has gone down 13% since early March, and win rates are up 54% during the same time period.

The drop in competition within ad auctions is largely the result of brands pulling back on digital advertising during the outbreak. Most experts agree that dropping out entirely is a mistake, since it gives competitors an opportunity to convert new brand loyalists, but continuing to run existing campaigns without acknowledging the current economic and global health realities can be costly as well.

Email Marketers See Increase in Engagement During Covid-19 Crisis

In the middle of a global health crisis, email marketers are experiencing a renaissance.

According to new data from LiveIntent, email newsletter engagement has grown during the coronavirus pandemic. Newsletters in the health and fitness and “hard news” categories, including those focused on law, government, and politics, have seen a sudden increase in engagement and click-through rates on ads.

Businesses Find Opportunities to Fundraise, Connect Through Local Platforms

Consumers say they want to help the local businesses in their communities, and many are buying gift cards and launching GoFundMe campaigns to help their favorite restaurants, retailers, and brewpubs avoid going out of business. But restaurants and other essential businesses that remain open still need a way to let customers know how they’re selling their products and services, and how they can place orders without showing up in person.

The neighborhood social networking app Nextdoor is one of a number of platforms working on ways to ease that burden. Yelp, Facebook, and Patch are joining the fight.

PlaceIQ Buys Freckle IoT, Marking Second Instance of Location Consolidation in 2 Days

Location intelligence firm PlaceIQ bought fellow location data and measurement company Freckle IoT. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The move comes just a day after the bombshell announcement that location leader Foursquare was merging with location data firm Factual. Speculation that the Foursquare-Factual merger could portend additional consolidation in the location data-driven marketing and insights industry came to fruition quicker than analysts could have predicted.

Foursquare Merges with Factual, Forming Location Intelligence Powerhouse

Location intelligence firm Foursquare is merging with location data firm Factual, the companies announced today. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Factual founder Gil Elbaz will join Foursquare’s executive team and board of directors.

The deal pairs Foursquare’s best-in-class location-based attribution technology and developer tools with Factual’s top-notch audience segments, Foursquare CEO David Shim told the Wall Street Journal. Industry insiders say the move may portend additional consolidation during the COVID-19-fueled economic downturn and positions Foursquare as an even stronger leader in the space.

Making Sense of the Crowded Customer Data Market

In the wake of Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, Europe’s General Data Production Regulation, and the California Consumer Privacy Act, the massive market for consumer data no longer operates unbeknownst to most Americans. But for digital marketing practitioners and the average consumer alike, making heads or tails of the industry is no easy task. 

To break down the different kinds of customer data in the market, the impact of data sharing and selling on consumers, and the potential of privacy regulations to shape the industry going forward, Anindya Datta, founder, CEO, and chairman of Mobilewalla, recently checked in with Street Fight.

How Will Influencer Marketing Survive the Covid-19 Crisis?

It is against the backdrop of an unprecedented economic downturn that marketing tech makes its pitches to clients this year. On the one hand, it is fair to say cutting-edge marketing may be as important to businesses as ever. With storefronts closed across dozens of states to promote social distancing, businesses need ways to connect with customers, and they need novel, often tech-driven tactics, like curbside pickup, to sell their goods safely. E-commerce, including mobile and social commerce, are also well-positioned to thrive at a time when customers are often left with hardly any other option. On the other hand, with revenue dramatically down for most retailers and consumers averse to in-store spending, digital tools risk being cut from squeezed budgets.

To assess how the swift economic downturn caused by the coronavirus is affecting one of digital marketing’s hottest new sectors, influencer marketing, I connected with Daniel Schotland, COO of influencer marketing company Linqia.