What’s the Fate of Location Intelligence in 2021?

The biggest thing we predict is location intelligence sector consolidation. This has already gotten started in 2020, considering Foursquare’s merger with Factual, and smaller deals like X-Mode’s acquisition of Location Sciences and Near’s recent Teemo acquisition.

SMBs Face Long Road to Recovery in 2021

Sixty-eight percent of SMBs say they are still experiencing a negative impact from the pandemic, and the percentage of business owners experiencing “significant” impact jumped 7% to 50% from June to November.

Businesses that thought the crisis was heading in the right direction back in October are feeling differently today as they see holiday sales figures begin to roll out, and they’re scrambling to find tools, strategies, and other lifelines to help them get by.

Digital Advertising in 2021 Will Be Surprisingly Normal

While this year’s advertising headlines were dominated with the doom and gloom of cookie and IDFA elimination, those critical industry-defining decisions will be pushed off, as marketers want to return to normalcy just as badly as consumers do.

What’s Coming Down the Privacy Pipeline?

California’s new policy, and the overarching shift toward greater consumer privacy, are putting pressure on the federal government to act more quickly. The Biden administration will likely have to take a stand on the collection of personal data and the digital advertising space. 

3 Enterprise Tech Trends for 2021

Next year’s period of relative peace will give leaders the opportunity to make thoughtful investments in technology that put 2020’s positive developments — like increased cloud adoption and remote work flexibility — on more solid ground. Companies will also have bandwidth to prepare for the next crisis, eschewing reactive, flash-in-the-pan solutions in favor of longer-term strategies.  

As Cookies Crumble, Can Location Data Pick Up the Pieces?

One potential and promising alternative to third-party cookies is location data. Captured from mobile users as they move through the physical world, location data can be used for a range of purposes and personalization.

Real-world visitation patterns offer clues to user identity, brand affinities, and purchase intent. Putting aside that Covid-19 has radically upended movement patterns for the time being, regular airport or hotel visitation can identify business travelers, routine presence in a gym suggests health-consciousness, and weekly fast-food visits implies the opposite. Someone visiting car dealerships is probably an “auto-intender,” and so on.

Street Fight’s December Theme: Leaving 2020

What will the “next normal” look like in the post-Covid era of local commerce? Will things go back to the old normal or be a hybrid reality that cherry-picks components and new perspectives from the past nine months? Will e-commerce dip back down to pre-Covid levels or keep surging?

We’ll be answering these questions and others throughout the month, along with 2021 predictions (’tis the season) for our theme, Leaving 2020.

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The Most Important Local Search Updates of 2020

This has been the most active year in the history of local search when it comes to the introduction of new features. Google recently announced that it had made nearly 250 updates to Google Maps since the start of the pandemic, and just about every other local publisher, including Yelp, Bing, Foursquare, TripAdvisor, and even Apple Maps, has been busy.

As we near the end of this unusual year, I thought it would be useful to take stock of these changes and note the ones that are the most significant.

Search Marketers Cater to New Customer Needs for Holidays

Grocery stores are doing more business than pre-pandemic, with average weekly household grocery bills surging from $120 to $161 at the height of statewide lockdowns this spring. Many restaurants are pivoting right now to promote their takeout and delivery options. Health and wellness websites are fielding questions about coronavirus, as are many news publishers.

Leaning into the changes means understanding and responding to the challenges consumers are facing right now and setting up a search strategy that focuses on providing the best experiences possible.

Street Fight’s November Theme: Google’s World

Google’s World is shorthand for the fully fleshed-out concept: “It’s Google’s world… we’re all just living in it.” The main thrust is that Google’s search dominance gives it enormous control in impacting the fate of businesses everywhere who rely on search for traffic and customer acquisition.

Google’s ongoing updates to the search algorithm, ranking factors, and SERPs continue to have ripple effects on marketers everywhere. It’s becoming more challenging to follow the moving target of SEO effectiveness. This game has its own set of rules when it comes to local search.

Plan for Black Friday with this E-Commerce Holiday Checklist

Deloitte’s annual holiday retail forecast projects that e-commerce holiday sales will grow by 25% to 35% year over year, compared to a sales increase of 14.7% last year. Here’s a five-point holiday prep list to help ensure your digital commerce experiences stack up and are ready to engage the influx of shoppers this holiday season.

The Brandify Consumer Holiday Survey: Shopping Habits Likely to Shift Dramatically

More purchases will be made online, and when consumers do venture out to stores, they expect thorough, stringent safety practices as well as tools that help to make shopping as efficient as possible. Popular shopping events like Black Friday are likely to capture far less attention from consumers this year.

But on a positive note, consumers generally feel confident that their holiday budgets will be consistent with prior years and that the amount of time allocated for holiday shopping won’t change significantly.

Retailers Embrace Mobile As Pandemic Holiday Shopping Ramps Up

While this holiday season will be unlike any other, retailers have reason to be optimistic. Holiday sales are set to rise 1% to 1.5%, with e-commerce growing as much as 35%. Consumers are expected to spend between $1.147 trillion and $1.152 trillion between November and January. Much of that spending will happen with large retail chains that have omni-channel experiences already set up, and that has smaller retailers rushing to put their own mobile strategies in place.

Google My Business Posts: Your Unexpected Holiday Hero

We’re in an era that allows enterprise businesses to tap into the API and upload Google Posts at scale (with help from a local platform management partner). Year-round, businesses can feature new product launches, new store openings, in-store events, and more, but perhaps one of the best times of year to leverage this space is during the months of November and December, when shoppers are gearing up for the holiday season. 

Let’s walk through the top five best uses for Google Posts over the holiday season.

Brands Struggle to Strike the Right Tone This Holiday Season

It’s not even November, but the holiday shopping season has already begun. With nearly two-thirds of consumers saying the Covid-19 pandemic has negatively impacted their attitude toward the shopping season, retail marketers are rethinking their approach this year and focusing more heavily on empathy and values when they target younger shoppers.

How Brands Can Rise, Retain, and Return Stronger Than Ever this Holiday Season

Prior to Covid-19, traditional demographics still directed many brands’ targeting strategies. However, the pandemic has laid bare just how flawed this method can be. We believe that the best measure of what someone will purchase in the future is looking at what they’ve purchased in the past. This holds true even in an uncertain market and is invaluable for retailers as the holidays approach. 

Why Creative is Paramount for This Year’s Holiday Ads

When marketers are all using the same platforms and automation tools to bid and compete against each other this holiday season (like with Facebook Automated App Ads and Google App Campaigns), the key differentiator will be ad creative. Preparing an arsenal of high-performing creative will be critical to advertisers in order to keep costs down and be effective this year.

How Small Businesses Can Conquer E-Commerce for the Holidays

As the pandemic continues, consumers are shifting their expectations of brands as well. They don’t just want coupons in their email anymore, they expect an intuitive browsing and checkout process, accurate inventory and out-of-stock notifications, curbside delivery, and fast shipping.

E-commerce is already a must-have, and small businesses who understand this and take steps to offer their customers a way to buy online will create a memorable experience, more long-term loyalty, and ultimately more sales this holiday season.

Here’s Why October Is the Perfect Time to Pressure-Test Holiday Strategies

With consumers still spending – and their evolving shopping preferences and behaviors becoming increasingly clear for Halloween and beyond – October presents a prime opportunity for retailers to pressure-test and refine their holiday 2020 strategies. 

Here are three considerations as we enter one of the most critical quarters in retail’s history.

How Marketers Should Prepare for an Abnormal Holiday Season

Marketers overuse the word “unique,” but the adjective actually applies to this year’s holiday season. Consumer-facing brands and retailers have not faced such an adverse economic environment for more than a decade, and they have never grappled with a Q4 in which driving customers to their stores came with daily, life-or-death stakes.

I spoke to Michele Marzan, chief strategy officer at MainAd, about these holidays’ unprecedented challenges and unexpected opportunities.