SMBs Warm Up to New Tech But Are Skeptical of Impersonal Interactions

A freshly released report from SMB software firm Broadly uses data from a survey of 300 SMB leaders to paint a picture of the American SMB in 2019: gradually embracing mobile-first communication, skeptical of innovation that undercuts human connection, and ambivalent toward large digital marketplaces like Amazon and Etsy.

Visual Search Moves Beyond Experimentation and Into Prime Time

After years of experimentation and broad discussions about how visual search would someday take hold, it’s clear that the future has arrived. Visual search has moved into the mainstream, and companies like Pinterest, Instagram, and even Google are paving the way for consumers to engage more deeply with the products they find online.

As visual search moves into the mainstream, questions are intensifying over what impact the medium will have on SEO and traditional search metrics.

Google Integrates Food Delivery into Search, Maps, Assistant

More or less following the model of Reserve with Google, which has seamlessly integrated the process of reserving a table at a nearby restaurant into SERPs, Google is now integrating food delivery into search, Maps, and Assistant, keeping consumers on Google properties for the entire journey as they make transactions via third-party couriers.

As GDPR’s One-Year Anniversary Approaches, Where Are We Now?

One year in, it’s clear that the full impact of GDPR still hasn’t been felt. The regulation is structured in a way that puts less pressure on large companies than smaller businesses, and that’s something that regulators will have to continue sorting out. But the changes Europe’s law portends are undeniable: Privacy legislation is coming to the United States, and the data collection practices that made many Silicon Valley pioneers rich will never be quite so unbridled again.

5 Visual Marketing Platforms for Brands

Amazon, Alibaba, and eBay are just a few online retailers with new visual search tools, and social media platforms like Snapchat are letting users take pictures of items to buy on Amazon and Pinterest. By using enterprise-level visual marketing platforms, brands can capitalize on their visibility across the web and drive more revenue from the images and other content their customers are creating.

Here are five visual marketing platforms that brands are using right now.

Lessons to Draw from How DTC Disruptor Brands Market Themselves

DTC brands are emerging across dozens of categories. Early and best-known examples of DTC brands include Casper, Brooklinen, Warby Parker, and Tesla. Most DTC brands not only bypass the typical retail sales and distribution model but also act in other nontraditional ways. This has earned them a label as disruptors.

Advertising intelligence and sales enablement platform MediaRadar took a close look at DTC brand trends to find what’s fueling DTC advertising and to gain an understanding of how DTC companies make ad buying decisions. MediaRadar surveyed our own DTC clients and analyzed our data for deeper insights.

Consumer Dollars Are Up for Grabs—If Retailers Can Master the Basics

To maintain the business of today’s consumers, consistency is key. Just under 70% of respondents said they’re less likely to return to a store after just one subpar experience. As for what earns a shopper’s approval, only 19% of consumers said they seek out food or entertainment from stores. More important are fundamental technical capabilities like mobile app integration and access to WiFi. Two thirds of shoppers even said retailers are too focused on experimental tech and should pay more attention to the building blocks of good retail strategy.

Consumers Hungry for New Content Discovery Channels on Mobile

The content consumers are craving is personalized and brief. Over 40% said they would like content experiences between 15 and 30 seconds, and another 26% favored engagement somewhere between 30 and 90 seconds. Despite amplified privacy concerns of late, 68% indicated a willingness to trade some personal information in exchange for content tailored to their interests.

Brands still trigger-happy on mobile push notifications may want to reconsider. Twenty-five percent of respondents ranked them as their least liked content delivery method among current and future modes of discovery.

Does Influencer Marketing Have a Transparency Problem?

Although the average share of budgets spent on influencer marketing is just 10%, that figure is growing as visual platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest see explosive growth.

The problem? Brands are often focusing on misleading vanity metrics in an attempt to justify those investments. For example, many marketers track follower counts as a primary indicator for determining brand and influencer partnerships. Growing evidence shows that follower counts do not equate to true impressions or reach data, giving brands a false sense of how their campaigns are performing.

As AI Adoption Accelerates, Brands Search for Competitive Edge

In Gartner’s 2019 CIO Survey, which included more than 3,000 CIOs from 89 countries, AI technology was ranked as the technology most likely to be disruptive. Despite their enthusiasm for AI, CIOs showed a lack of certainty over the best way to implement the technology and get their newest marketing strategies off the ground.

That uncertainty has the potential to negatively impact brands’ bottom lines, and it’s an issue that industry insiders like Cerebri AI co-founder Jean Belanger are working to combat.

Zenreach Attract Connects Online Ads to In-Store Results

Online metrics, like click-through rates and return-on-ad-spend, can quickly show ecommerce retailers how well their digital advertising campaigns are working. But what happens in the real world? The KPIs used in ecommerce mean almost nothing to brick-and-mortar merchants. In fact, digital approximations can actually cause merchants with physical locations to overspend on certain audience segments, while undervaluing others.

That’s something Zenreach is trying to change.

San Francisco Partially Bans Facial Recognition, Putting Technology’s Future in Doubt

Civil rights and privacy activists asked, and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors delivered.

The city banned the use of facial recognition technology by law enforcement and other municipal agencies on Tuesday, becoming the first in the country to do so. Other bills in the works in Massachusetts and even on Capitol Hill suggest that additional restrictions on the technology may be forthcoming. 

Local Social Network Nextdoor Raises $123 Million

The digital advertising proposition for Nextdoor is obvious—what better way to drive customers into nearby brick-and-mortar stores than to generate buzz on a social platform centered on users’ physical location? Venture capitalists see the value proposition, as Chris Varelas, co-founder and managing partner at Riverwood, proclaimed Nextdoor as the “future of local community and commerce.”

6 Influencer Marketing Platforms for Brands

As some of the most visual social channels, Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest have become important tools for brand marketers. These are also the channels most likely to be used by so-called “influencers,” the social media stars who frequently partner with brands to promote products to their online followers. Influencer marketing has become a big business, with 31% of retailers now working with brand advocates to become influencers and 28% using paid celebrity influencers to spread the word about their products and services.

Here are six popular influencer marketing platforms being used by retailers and brands right now.

Retailers Use Visual Channels to Attract Last-Minute Mother’s Day Shoppers

Spending on Mother’s Day is expected to reach $25 billion this year, with consumers flocking to department stores and florists in search of the perfect gifts for Mom. The bulk of that spending will happen in the next few days, as foot traffic data from the location platform GroundTruth reveals that Americans tend to wait until the very last minute to shop for Mother’s Day gifts.

What are retailers around the country doing to prepare for the onslaught of last-minute shoppers? More than ever before, retailers are leaning on visual marketing opportunities to drive last-minute sales.

Report: Websites and GMB Profiles Both Essential for Local Businesses

A whopping 64% of respondents indicated relying on Google My Business to find contact information for local business, suggesting it’s an indispensable platform. Yet consumers still trust local business websites most of all, and only 8% say they never consult a business’ website when making shopping decisions.

Brands Push Forward with Automation, But Privacy and Creepiness Concerns Remain

“Marketing automation is all the rage. Everyone feels like they need to ‘do it’ or they’ll be left behind. That rush to do the latest ‘new thing’ without thoughtful planning often leads to failure,” says Winston Lord, co-founder of Venga, a guest management platform that uses automation to enhance customer experiences. “It’s critical to build a 360 degree view of your client and your strategy before implementing marketing automation.”

Programmatic OOH Is Real. Why Isn’t Your Agency Using It More?

The ad tech industry’s state of flux and disarray spurs confusion and buyer skepticism of real innovation. This is particularly prevalent in rapidly evolving areas like programmatic that also contend with existing legacy trust issues. I come across this every day, as there seems to be a persistent rumor that programmatic Out of Home (OOH) is “fake,” and that, when looking under the hood, programmatic OOH is merely an automated process for reserving and purchasing inventory. This misconception results in missed opportunities for marketers.

Factual Partners with Airship and Braze to Power Location-Based Mobile Marketing

The partnership will enhance Airship and Braze’s efforts to furnish clients with precise mobile messaging based on the location of the customers they want to reach. Airship and Braze help brands engage their customers, retaining their business and ideally driving them back in-store. Airship rebranded, dropping the Urban from its name, last month.

Foursquare’s Location-Based Loyalty Metrics Point to Best Practices for Casual Restaurants

Brushing aside customer surveys and other imprecise measures of customer loyalty, location intelligence firm Foursquare released a location-based report this morning that evaluates best practices and practitioners in loyalty among casual restaurant chains. 

Most importantly for future considerations, the report suggests that brands can improve loyalty in all four of the areas that contributed to its index.