Does ‘Multisearch Near Me’ Signal a Visual Search Future?

Google’s latest local search play was on display at its recent I/O conference: Multisearch Near Me. If multisearch and local search had a baby, that’s essentially what was announced. It lets users search using images or screenshots along with the text “near me” to see local results.

Snap Scales Up its Geo-Local AR Ambitions

Snap’s AR lens playbook started with a handful of in-house lenses like rainbow vomit and dog ears, before opening up the Lens Studio platform to creators everywhere. And it seems to be working, given that Snap now gets 6 billion daily lens plays. Could geo-local AR be next?

3 Products Accelerating Shoppability

The macro trends of shoppability and visual commerce are on a collision course. Here are three platforms making that combination a reality.

How Will the Metavearth Materialize?

Back to the metaverse’s meaning, concrete definitions are elusive … mostly because they don’t exist yet. But broadly speaking, there are two metaverse tracks. One involves virtual and synchronous worlds. The other adds digital dimension and context to the physical world. Both will take years to materialize.

2022 Predictions: Immersive Tech Edition

Here are three predictions for what could happen at the intersection of immersive tech and local commerce. And because I often disparage broad predictions that don’t have any teeth, we’ve included action-specific or figure-based statements in each prediction (highlighted in bold).

Snap Doubles Down on Immersive Ads

Snap has been doubling down on AR — mostly seen through updates to its Lens Studio AR development platform and the evolving formats it offers to brand marketers. This recently culminated in two new programs to further stimulate AR marketing: Snap’s AR Lab and its Arcadia creative studio.

Shoppability is the New Black

But like many Covid-driven trends, shoppable content has been accelerated by shifting circumstances. And now it’s on a collision course with the holiday season. This means that the companies that are positioned to capture that spend will reap the rewards this year. We’ve seen much jockeying in the ad tech world for this very reason.

Snap Scan Shines New Light on the Company’s Local Discovery Ambitions

Snapchat’s ambition to become a socially fueled local discovery engine recently got a boost with Snap Scan, a visual search tool that makes the world searchable and shoppable. Connecting dots over several years, Snap’s geo-local efforts include Geofilters, Snap Map, Local Place Promote, and Local Lenses. 

Is Snap Building a Local Discovery Engine?

Snap wants to compete with Google Maps as a local search and discovery engine. That’s a tall order, but Snap could have an edge in socially-fueled map results. As often, it’s all about the data.

Is Amazon Primed for the Data Privacy Era?

In a world that favors first-party networks — especially those with ample web traffic outside of iOS apps — it doesn’t get much bigger than Amazon. The question is if the e-commerce giant can attract advertisers en masse with the reach of its ad network plus the unfettered targeting and first-party contextual relevance of the world’s largest online store.

Mapping Innovations Accelerate for the Post-Covid Era

The latest mapping innovations can be summed up in the announcements coming out of the last three major developer conferences. As we’re in the midst of developer conference season, this includes Google I/O, Snap’s Partner Summit, and Apple’s flagship WWDC. Let’s tackle those one at a time.

Amazon’s Retail-as-a-Service Expands into Payments, AR, and Salons

As Amazon continues to mature, it needs to find revenue growth in new, creative places. The company’s booming advertising business is one such conquest. Iterating on the AWS playbook by bringing tech-fueled logistical innovations to physical stores could be another.

Augment My Town: Local’s Next Turf Battle

AR fuses the digital and physical. So, could it assist in the vexing and longstanding challenge of closing the online/offline gap? We’re starting to see signals that it might. 

What Emerging Tech is Driving Localized Brand Marketing?

Running an emerging tech-driven digital agency, Maher is on the front lines of marketing innovation for brand clients like Panera and Bolle. For both of those campaigns, there was a local component, including Panera’s in-store AR integrations and Bolle’s local activations at Dick’s Sporting Goods.

To anticipate the upcoming Street Fight Summit and Maher’s speaking role, we sat down with him for his view on the drivers and dynamics of digital marketing. Here’s our dialogue with Maher on the biggest brand marketing trends and value drivers he’s tracking.

How Will Retail Redefine Itself in the ’20s?

This post is the latest in our “Disrupting Retail” series. It’s our editorial focus for the month of February, and you can see the rest of the series here.  One positive phenomenon of the Covid era has been accelerated digital transformation in traditional sectors. This could be a blessing in disguise, as sectors like retail could […]

Can Immersive Marketing Boost Local Businesses?

One of the emerging technologies driving innovation amid Covid is AR. For example, its ability to add real-life interactivity to e-commerce gained traction in 2020. This could extend to a post-Covid world of “touchless” retail for in-aisle virtual product interaction.

Can Mobile Gaming Boost Multi-Location Brands?

Climbing Pokémon Go revenue is mostly from in-app purchases, where players pay for digital in-game elements to accelerate their leveling up. But Pokémon Go maker Niantic is also looking to diversify its business model with other revenue streams — most notably, local advertising.

Qualifying and Quantifying 2020’s E-commerce Surge

Spending hasn’t declined — it’s just shifted. One of the themes we’re seeing is that the standouts of 2020 are those who have shifted with it. We’re talking here about a broad definition of e-commerce — not just ordering things online, but any digital or mobile purchase.

For example, in local commerce, these digital fulfillment models include mobile order-ahead functions in QSR and coffee. They also include curbside pickup for physical goods. And in an even broader sense (and looking forward), they will include touchless or cashier-less retail in a post-Covid era of physical retail.

What’s Snapchat’s Local Play?

Snap continues to make moves in local commerce. Historic steps include geo-filters, while more recent activity includes Local Lenses and business listings in Snap Map. These features are notable on their own, but they get more interesting when you view them together and extrapolate to Snap’s local road map.

For example, Snap has more 13-34-year-olds active than any other channel, including Facebook and Instagram. This essentially means Snap can offer SMBs incremental and non-duplicated reach to an attractive audience.

Connecting the Dots on Google’s Visual Road Map

Google continues to double down on visual search and navigation. Its latest move came last week with updates to its Live View visual navigation to help users identify and qualify local businesses. This follows soon after its Earth Cloud Anchors that will let users create digital content on physical places.

Both developments tell us something about what may well be the future of local search: augmented reality-enhanced visuals.