More Brands Are Scaling Digital Channels for Customer Engagement — Here’s Why

Communicating with brands on social media has become the norm for consumers. Surveys show that roughly half of all consumers who engage with brands on social media are reaching out about customer care concerns, and more than 65% of social media users across all platforms expect brands to respond, regardless of whether the initial outreach was via private messages or public posts.

Those expectations have only heightened over the past six months, and many brands have had to pivot their customer support and engagement priorities on the fly.

So Long Local Search — Hello Machine-Directed Discovery

Whatever you thought you knew about getting your business found online and on mobile, or whatever you are currently learning, is already obsolete. The way consumers interact with search technology today is on its way out. Why? Autonomous cars, artificial intelligence and voice commands are all transforming search into something we can only begin to imagine.

#SFSNYC: How Bots and AI Are Transforming Local

The march of artificial intelligence and bots continues across the digital marketing landscape, creating new ways to reach customers at local — however, these are still the early days. That was some of the sentiment shared at this morning’s panel on bots and AI at the Street Fight Summit in Brooklyn.

Why TGI Fridays Is Thinking About Marketing Like a Startup

While marketers always try to understand trending topics among customers, for a national restaurant chain it also means finding ways to listen and react quickly at the local level. Sherif Mityas, who will speak at Street Fight Summit, says his company is working to connect more personally with the chain’s customers.

Voice Bots Have One Big Problem: Human Behavior

We’re surely moving in the direction of voice input to bots, but unless microphones advance — allowing you to request things with a near-silent whisper (or perhaps with thoughts) — people will continue to let their fingers do the talking.

Street Fight’s 10 Most Popular Stories From 2016

In the local space, 2016 brought both consolidation and renewal. Major players were acquired, while other companies experimented with innovations in bots and AI, VR/AR and a new generation of voice search. Here’s a look back at the top Street Fight stories (at least in terms of traffic) this year.

Street Fight Staff and Friends Predict 2017’s Top Stories (Part One)

As 2016 draws to a close, we’ve once again asked Street Fight staffers and columnists to look into their crystal ball and offer prognostications for what they think will be the biggest story (or stories) in local in 2017. We’ll be running their outlooks in two installments, the first today and the second tomorrow.

Weighing the Local Promise of Bots and Conversational Commerce

Are bots the future of the internet? Maybe, maybe not; like the buzz around Google Glass in 2013, we’re in the midst of a moment when it’s hard to tell the difference between hype and technological breakthrough.

Inevitably, There’s a ‘Bot of Bots’ Digging Up Local Services

Bot Hunter allows queries about the latest hot bots, and its makers envision lots of local bots populating the platform. Key use cases include scheduling appointments, retrieving basic information, receiving automatic follow-ups after certain purchases, as well as promotions and loyalty programs.

Automating Local Commerce: Rise of the Chatbots

Bots could displace apps just as apps displaced search. “Search started with consumers typing into a box,” Pingup’s Ron Braunfeld said recently. “[AI] is all about knowing where you are, time of day, what’s in your refrigerator; and giving you the right information without having to search.”

Bot Local: Making Appointments Is Getting a Lot More Fun

Pingup is bringing its API-powered live booking capability to “a broader range of leading-edge consumer interfaces and platforms.” This means “Pingup-powered bots” will let consumers book and confirm appointments in real time with “tens of thousands of local businesses across the U.S.”