Visual search and image recognition are capturing the attention of investors, retail insiders, and everyday consumers. To find out more about where visual search is heading, and what marketers can do to adapt their strategies with the latest trends in mind, we checked in with Apu Gupta, CEO of Curalate, a social commerce company that turns images and videos into storefronts.
Location data is serving as the conduit to connect consumer-facing marketing initiatives with behind-the-scenes merchandising and logistics. According to a survey by Blis, WBR Insights, and Future Stores, the majority of retail marketers (71%) have some type of location strategy in place, with the primary goal being to drive foot traffic and trigger location-based mobile advertising. That’s not a particular surprise, given how popular the latest location-based marketing tactics have become. More surprising, however, is how common it has become for retailers to use location data for local product and inventory search (60%) and localized online customer service (51%).
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.