Communicating on GMB Poses Some Challenges, but the Local Ecosystem Has Answers

Google has been hard at work on local in 2018 and 2019, taking strides toward making its Google My Business app the one-stop-shop for local businesses hoping to connect with customers through digital means. Nevertheless, local is a tricky, 24-7 business, and when it comes to connecting brick-and-mortars with customers nearby, Alphabet’s core business has some room for improvement.

5 Platforms Using AI to Analyze Customer Reviews

Beyond the star ratings lies a wealth of information. Sentiment and opinions can be used to shape the way brands develop their highest-selling products. Given the volume of reviews posted each day, however, it would be impossible for most major brands to analyze every customer reaction individually. Instead, a growing number of brands are utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) technology to extract and analyze the sentiment from product reviews. Here are five examples of platforms that offer this type of AI technology for analyzing customer feedback posted online.

How Brands Are Using AR to Generate Buzz, Promote Loyalty

The push into AR can be seen as a way for brand retailers to differentiate themselves from Amazon, bringing the in-store experience into the online world. It’s also a way for retailers to jumpstart word-of-mouth marketing, with the hope that using innovative technologies is new ways will have a viral effect and get people talking.

DoorDash Will Put an End to Old-School Delivery—And Smaller Rivals

What does the big money for DoorDash mean for the crowded on-demand delivery space? The market is growing as a whole, but there isn’t all that much growth share to go around. DoorDash CEO and founder Tony Xu has said as much.  “If you look at where the U.S. is, there’s two players gaining share. It’s DoorDash and Uber. And DoorDash is growing 65% faster,” Xu said in a conversation with Recode editor-at-large and co-founder Kara Swisher earlier this year.

Alexa Has the Confidence of SMB Marketers. Should It?

Forty-eight percent of marketers surveyed by Uberall said they trust the e-commerce giant over its competition when it comes to marketing applications of voice technology in these early days of the medium. Google Assistant had the vote of 29% of the market, with Apple’s Siri scoring a surprisingly high 17% given the widespread consensus that voice is really a two-way race at the moment.

Adjust Leverages AI to Neutralize Ad Fraud

Advertisers and brands are expected to lose an estimated $50 billion as a result of ad fraud by 2025, with one of the most problematic types of ad fraud involving bots designed to mimic human behaviors. Using bots, fraudsters can imitate clicks and engagement KPIs on ad campaigns, wreaking havoc for mobile ad vendors and the advertisers that work with them. So what’s the solution? Firms like Unbotify are pioneering a new approach to bot detection and digital fraud prevention using artificial intelligence and machine learning. Unbotify’s solution analyzes human behavior patterns within websites’ and mobile apps’ user flows in order to differentiate between bots and humans.

Data Science as a Solution: conDati Opens Doors for Digital Retailers

The pitch is that today’s marketers with omnichannel inspirations need a machine learning-driven platform that will not only assess the success of campaigns across several media but also point them toward paths for future success. That’s an expensive technical infrastructure to create in-house, and conDati’s betting its solution is worth the spend.

Want to Know How Long the Wait For that Hot New Restaurant Is? There’s a Google Integration for That

Building on the Reserve with Google offerings that have made the tech giant’s SERPs the new homepage of local businesses, Google seems to be adding a feature that allows people searching for local restaurants to sign up for a waitlist. Busy folks with a penchant for busy eateries rejoice. 

How 5 Retail Brands Are Maximizing the Power of User-Generated Content

Photos and videos that shoppers post on social media convey sentiment about brands, giving fellow consumers—and brands themselves—an uncensored look at how people really feel about their products and services. How brands harness this feedback is evolving, as brand marketers find new ways to glean insights from the unstructured consumer feedback being posted on social media and elsewhere online. Here are five examples of brands that are engaging shoppers across social channels and taking full advantage of the content that customers post on their own online accounts.

New Hires at Kobie, AppNexus, Rewards Network

Every two weeks, our jobs columnist Geoff Michener provides a roundup of the latest hires in the digital marketing and media ecosystems. This week’s edition also includes new hires at Digital Ocean and Acceleration Partners.

Shirking the Tech Giants’ Mobile Wallets, Kroger Unveils One of Its Own

Kroger is flexing on Apple and Google this week, passing on the opportunity to accept Apple Pay or Google Pay at its stores and choosing instead to launch its own mobile wallet that doubles as a loyalty card, WCPO reported in Columbus.

How Online Grocers Are Using AI to Cut Food Prices

The distinction between real-world supermarkets and online-only grocers has come down to price. The introduction of a new technology to lower prices for consumers may be what the industry needs to finally push it past the tipping point.

Local Search Association Announces New President, Bill Dinan

The Local Search Association, which brings together over 300 companies intent on connecting enterprises and small businesses alike with consumers, announced on Wednesday morning Bill Dinan as its new president. The announcement follows the retirement of its previous president Neg Norton, who held the role for 15 years.

Walmart Mulls a Run at the Digital Ad Business

With reports percolating about Amazon’s increasingly clear emergence as a third party to Google and Facebook’s dominance of the digital ad market, the e-commerce behemoth’s old-school counterpart is reportedly taking a look at the action itself.

Marin Q4 Advertising Report Shows eCommerce Ads Skyrocketing, Instagram and Search Growth Strong

Digital marketing software firm Marin Software has released its Q4 advertising report, which points to major trends in social, search, and e-commerce. Instagram is taking on an increasingly central role in Facebook’s main business, e-commerce ads are booming YOY, and search remains fundamental to digital advertising, the report shows.

6 Next-Gen Review Marketing Platforms for Retail Brands

Determined not to fall even further behind their online-only competitors, retailers are investing more heavily in a new breed of review platform. These next-generation solutions integrate written reviews with pictures and videos to create more cohesive omni-channel shopping experiences. Here are six next-gen review platforms that brands are using right now.

In Test of On-Demand Economy’s Durability, Postmates Files to Go Public

There’s nothing more hyperlocal than the on-demand class of startups, which feed off the everyday use cases spurred by a mobile-first world: whipping one’s phone out to order food from a local restaurant (Postmates, GrubHub, DoorDash), hail a ride (Uber and Lyft), or cut out a trip to the grocery store (Instacart, Shipt). Postmates’ founding ingenuity was to apply the convenience of ride-sharing to product delivery. Eight years later, it’s a food-delivery powerhouse, and its value may strike nearly $2 billion.

What Is 5G? Some Facts and Marketing Implications

As the next generation in mobile connectivity, 5G should promise smoother data transmission, higher-quality mobile streaming, and more efficient energy usage. And it’s those benefits consumers are excited about, newly available data from Verizon Media indicates, with 72% of surveyed consumers excited about faster data transfer speeds and 57% eager for higher-definition video content. But industry watchdogs are skeptical.

How Brands Are Using AI to Fight Back Against Dark Marketing

According to some estimates, as many as 85% of Facebook ads and 60% of YouTube ads are hidden from public view. The practice is even more common on Twitter, where an estimated 90% of ads are hidden. What does that mean, exactly? Rather than posting their messages publicly, major brands are creating social media posts or sponsored content that is only shown to targeted audiences. Unlike organic or boosted posts, these targeted ads don’t show up on the company’s timelines or all of their followers’ feeds.

online privacy

Consumers Willing to Forgo Privacy, For a Price

New research indicates that consumers are actually more aware of how their personal information is being used today than they were last year, with those ages 55 and above showing the greatest level of awareness. These consumers are increasingly willing to share their personally identifiable information with brand marketers—with one caveat. They want a reward for doing it.