Human Judgment, Automation, and the Future of Ad Tech

For now, I propose two major concerns—two challenges, even, for further thought—surrounding AI for the ad tech industry. The first is that the datafication of human experience that has allowed for precise ad targeting needs to be radically reconsidered, not just in terms of what can be done to obtain the consent of consumers for data collection, as the rising privacy movement has called tech companies to consider, but also in terms of what is lost and what is truly gained when the attributes of real people are transformed into consumer data. The second is that the human-machine hybrid decision-making model, while surely the best available in a hypothetical set that also includes human-only and machine-only models, will have to grapple with the bias and poor decisions of the humans who program the machines that will take on the task of regulating large platforms at scale. 

Foursquare Launches Hypertrending, A Next-Gen View of the Hot Spots in Town

Foursquare announced on Friday, coinciding with the ten-year anniversary of its launch at SXSW, a new feature called Hypertrending that shows users the most popular places where people are meeting up around them.

mobile data

Why Conversion Mapping and SEO Go Hand in Hand

Terry Cane: Search engine optimization isn’t just about on-page technical elements. Not anymore. These days, it’s as much about user experience as it is how well you can appeal to search engine robots. And a big part of that is conversion mapping—understanding the route your leads take from their first click to their purchase.

These 6 Location Data Providers Are Changing the Way Brands Target Consumers

Location data providers power the vast majority of mobile targeting strategies we’re seeing brand marketers implement today. An incredible 80% of marketers say they plan to boost their use of location data over the next two years, and in the U.S. alone, it’s expected that location-based advertising spend will reach $38.7BN by 2022. In order to achieve those goals, marketers will have to work closely with top location data providers. Here are six companies they’ll be working with.

At Retail Conference, Google Dangles Shiny New Visual Ad Format

The visual-first ads are here. Google announced at the retail conference Shoptalk on Wednesday that it is launching shoppable ads in image search, propelling the search giant into the center of the visual zeitgeist that has made Pinterest, Instagram, and Snapchat hot targets for advertisers.

Poor Data Quality Is Hurting Location-Based Campaigns—Here’s How to Fix It

“Location data offers the ability to turn universal ads into local ads. Same as local TV. The issue is how location targeting is being executed,” says location-based ad veteran Warren Zenna. “People don’t look at ads on their phones when they are out doing things like shopping and driving around. They look at them, sometimes, when they are inactive. Mobile ad creative needs to be better — more engaging and more contextual — and presented when someone is in a contextually relevant mindset.”

How Marketers Are Making In-Store Metrics More Reliable

In-store marketing platforms are designed to spit out all different types of metrics. Return-on-ad-spend (ROAS), customer acquisition costs (CAC), cost per visit (CPV), and customer lifetime value (CLV) are just a few of the metrics that marketers regularly track. But how reliable are these metrics, and what do they mean for big-picture business growth? The ad tech company S4M is aiming to answer that question. The company recently released a new feature as part of its FUSIO drive-to-store platform.

In Age of Social Media, Brands Must Stay On Top of Reputations Capable of Changing on a Dime

A single video posted to YouTube was all it took for Chuck E. Cheese’s online reputation to go up in flames this month, at least temporarily, when an internet celebrity posted his theory about the pizza chain’s misshapen pies. As viral conspiracy theories on social media become increasingly common, brands are finding that their initial response can set the tone and create a carry-on effect that impacts customer sentiment across dozens of multimedia channels.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Superbowl Ad Roundup: The Local Edition

Several Superbowl ads touched on key themes in local such as multi-location brand advertisers (Burger King) and locally relevant technology like voice search (Amazon Alexa). And of course, there were lots of car commercials—an inherently local product category given the offline shopping component. 

As Voice Gets Established, Brands Grapple with Implementation

Consumer demand for voice technology has never been greater, and industry heavyweights like Google and Amazon are gearing up for a platform war as they work to integrate voice assistants into virtually every area of the connected consumer’s life. But behind the scenes, many brand marketers are struggling to connect the dots and design campaigns around a technology they don’t fully understand.

Building the Location Layer: A Conversation with Foursquare

Last week, location technology company Foursquare announced its new Pinpoint audience segments product. Building from its large corpus of data on places, spatial movements and behavioral patterns, Pinpoint represents the latest in Foursquare’s evolution as the “location layer,” for the internet. We got the chance to sit down with Foursquare CEO Jeff Glueck in San Francisco to find out more. Here is the full interview. 

Omnichannel Optimization: What’s Changing (and What Isn’t) in Post-Screen Search

For brand marketers, addressing the expansion of local search into voice and visual contexts is really a matter of digging in and getting more involved with rich local context that appears to grow more expansive by the day. Google alone has introduced a vast array of opportunities for business to differentiate themselves from the competition, including photos, videos, 360° virtual tours, business descriptions, menus, Posts, reviews, and several other features.

Google and Amazon Escalate Voice ‘Platform Wars’

Mike Boland: Any entity competing for local commerce—publishers, brands, ad-tech players—has a looming platform choice for voice. Like the platform wars between iOS and Android, it’s a matter of deciding where to apply finite resources and development muscle. Maybe the answer is “both” Google and Amazon. But for now, Google appears to have the lead.

Voice Search Readiness in 2019 and Beyond

Bernadette Coleman: 2019 is here. While the focus in recent weeks has been predictions on the digital marketing trends that are expected to emerge this year, I would argue that one of the most important measures brands need to take in 2019 is to implement a full-scale voice search readiness strategy, if they have not already.

Forget the Alexa-Powered Toilet. The Big Local News at CES is the Amazon Echo Auto

While it may be the Alexa-powered toilet dominating water-cooler conversation this week, the real device to look out for is Amazon’s Echo Auto, an Alexa-powered, voice-activated product that will provide all the utility of Alexa, and connections to other voice-activated devices, from the dashboard of buyers’ cars. The device, which can be requested for just $25 and is available to a limited number of consumers now, has already been requested a whopping one million times—and counting.