How Google’s Review Attributes Expansion Impacts Local Businesses

Businesses that understand these changes and find ways to harness review attributes stand to see major gains in search. Google’s new feature could be a big improvement for small and mid-size businesses, in particular, since it provides marketers with both comparative structured feedback and sentiment. But whether businesses benefit from Google’s decision to expand review attributes into new categories depends largely on how they capitalize on the changes.

Location Weekly: Google Highlights Curbside Pickup

In this episode of Location Weekly, the Location-Based Marketing Association hosts Jed Schneiderman, EVP of growth and marketing for EQ Works.

The team also covers Pedigree getting behind Zoom-based dog adoption in Nashville, Chantel Jeffries throwing a virtual DoorDash dinner party with Chili’s, and Google highlighting businesses with curbside pick-up in local search results.

Location-Based Search Disrupts Brand-Centric Theory of Marketing

Building a brand will never stop being essential for companies with brick-and-mortar locations hoping to secure the dollars of nearby consumers. But a new report from location marketing firm Uberall suggests the rise of location-based or “near me” search is undermining the power of branding alone, increasing the importance of optimizing for searches in which consumers are simply looking for the closest, most convenient option while on the go.

Brandify Study Shows Consumer Search Preferences for Healthcare, Restaurants, and Retail

Google in particular has made significant moves in recent months to verticalize the consumer search experience. For example, the team responsible for the relatively new Google Travel and Google Hotels sites has reported that they built a new consumer experience for hotels specifically because they noted important differences in the ways consumers searched in that category. 

Brandify’s study illustrates that consumer preferences for additional verticals are similarly differentiated, both in the channels consumers prefer for each vertical and the sorts of information they seek out when searching. Already, the search experience for restaurants, retail stores, and healthcare providers varies by vertical, especially on Google, which has added prominent vertical-specific attributes as a result of Covid-19 such as dine-in, takeout, and pickup availability for restaurants.

How Realistic is the IAB’s Rearc?

Behind the scenes, at conferences and in meetings, we’re told of solutions for the death of the third-party cookie that will use CNAMEs, Universal IDs, device IDs, IP addresses, or other Rube Goldberg-ian hijinks to create the supposed 1:1 replacement for how marketing was previously done. The bridge from marketing using the third-party cookie to first-party data is as simple as snapping your fingers!

Of course, it won’t be that simple. There will not be a simple replacement for the third-party cookie. In truth, there shouldn’t be. The third-party cookie never worked as well as the industry liked to believe. Third-party data was used to measure the performance of first-party inventory, and attribution was biased toward a last-click model that benefited the triopoly of Amazon, Facebook, and Google. The third-party cookie never really worked in a society that has adopted mobile as a way of life. In a way, it’s time to bid good riddance to a flawed system, albeit one with which we’d all grown comfortable.

Location Weekly: Google and Apple’s Covid-19 Mobile Tracking

In this episode of Location Weekly, the Location-Based Marketing Association hosts Rob Woodbridge and Hidetoshi Uchiyama, CEO of Unerry. Asif Khan and Aubriana Lopez also discuss Google and Apple building a Covid-19 tracking system into their OS platforms and PlaceIQ acquiring Freckle IoT. They also touch on the ethics of price gouging by home delivery services during the coronavirus crisis.

Ad Tech Execs Weigh in on Coronavirus Ads, Google and Twitter, and Misinformation

I turned to a number of ad tech execs for their expert perspectives on the risks and rewards of digital advertising on this extraordinarily high-stakes issue. While expectedly optimistic about the benefits of coronavirus-related messaging for savvy brands, the business leaders diverged on the responsibility and capability of Google and Twitter to monitor the veracity of the content they host. They also made distinct cases for advertising at a time when brand messaging requires extra sensitivity, arguing that both brands and their customers have something to gain if businesses provide accurate information, focus on customers’ needs, and showcase the ways they are adapting in a time of crisis.

The State of Reputation Management 2020

Not long before the COVID-19 outbreak was officially deemed a pandemic — it seems like years ago, but it was only March 11 — we planned to commemorate Street Fight’s March theme, Word of Mouth, by surveying a select number of experts in local marketing about the state of reputation management and what to look forward to in 2020. 

Current events got in the way of our plans, and therefore we’re releasing this report in April rather than March. But we were pleased that the experts we asked came through and offered a great deal of valuable insight on the priorities and challenges of reputation management for local businesses. So let’s dig in to the insights provided by local marketing leaders at ThriveHive, Reputation.com, Chatmeter, Brandify, GatherUp, Uberall, and BrightLocal.

Local Businesses Lean Heavily on Digital Tools During Covid-19

Digital platforms like Facebook, Google, Instagram, Yelp, and Twitter have never been more important for local businesses. With 80% of customers saying they are scaling down their restaurant visits now, restaurants are in uncharted territory. Local businesses in every industry are being forced to adapt their marketing strategies on the fly and use digital channels like Google and Yelp to keep people updated on their status.

Restaurants that were previously hesitant to use delivery services are now jumping on the bandwagon, and apps like DoorDash, Instacart, and UberEats are seeing a surge in businesses using their platforms. Smaller restaurants, retailers, and other local businesses are also beginning to accept more orders through messaging apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. Larger organizations are managing an influx of customer service calls using chatbots on these same platforms.

Amid COVID-19 Pandemic, Accurate Location Data Can Save Hassles and Even Lives

Updating your location data management information to reflect new hours, store closures, different contact information or special announcements is important for business success in general. In the midst of the global Covid-19 pandemic, maintaining accurate location data can actually have vital consequences for public health.

Yet a BrandMuscle study found that less than 60% of local business owners had even claimed their online business listings, which can lead to confusion about whether businesses are open or not. 

Google’s SameSite Update and the Third-Party Cookie-Free Future

The end of the third-party cookie forces marketers to take earning consumer consent for data collection more seriously, and it will open up new methods of data collection, some directly devised by Google and others by the many companies in its ecosystem. These new methods of data collection will aim to clarify the impact of ads and allow for pertinent advertising (or targeting) with consumers’ more clearly stated consent.

To obtain an insider’s perspective on marketing tech’s reaction to Google’s SameSite update and the industry’s path forward, I got in touch with Brian Silver, president of email marketing firm LiveIntent.

Brandify Launches Covid-19 Updates Page

We are not the only ones helping businesses with online communication at this critical time, and businesses themselves need to know the latest so they can craft flexible and responsive strategies. With that in mind, we’ve decided to publish our tracking sheet on changes to local business marketing channels as a new webpage called “COVID-19 Local Search Updates,” live on our website today. We will keep it up to date, and we hope you’ll find it useful.

Google Disables Reviews and Q&A, Yelp Announces New Features Amid Outbreak

Important announcements were posted Friday by Google and Yelp as part of the effort to contend with coronavirus and its impact on businesses.

Google has published a new help page titled “Limited Google My Business functionality due to COVID-19.” Before diving into the details in the announcement, I’ll mention the most important headline. Due to a rapid reorganization of priorities, Google has determined that at this time, they will disable the ability to leave new reviews, reply to reviews, and post new Question and Answer content.

Location Weekly: Google Partners with Burberry on AR Shopping, Amazon Delivers Covid-19 Tests

In this episode of Location Weekly, the Location-Based Marketing Association covers Amazon delivering Covid-19 test kits to residents in Seattle, Wirecard partnering with Klarna, Signify releasing “snap-in” IoT sensors for luminaries, Burberry partnering with Google for AR shopping, Cibo Express bringing Amazon cashierless tech to airports, and Wingstop shifting OOH budget to hoodies.

Do Your Data Relationships Have a Real Future?

Brands and publishers seem to be getting the short end of the stick amid recent cookie and privacy regulation changes. In the absence of cookies, brands may feel undue pressure to go to walled gardens for scale. Meanwhile publishers will have to bet on first-party data collection and monetization, along with its inherent scalability challenges and slim view of the customer. What’s happening with our data relationships? 

How Local Businesses Should Prepare for Coronavirus

A quick Google search on this column’s headline reveals a large number of sites offering recommendations to businesses large and small about how to prepare for the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak as it moves into pandemic territory. Articles on Inc., Fast Company, and the World Economic Forum echo a common theme: Businesses need to develop a plan of action for containing the spread of the illness, as well as contingencies that allow normal operations to continue as smoothly as possible.

In the sphere of digital presence management, key players like Google, Nextdoor, and Facebook are offering recommendations to help businesses develop plans and communicate effectively with consumers who need to access their products and services. The advice comes at a time when business operations may be modified or interrupted by multiple factors such as quarantines and supply chain interruptions.

Street Fight’s March Theme: Word of Mouth

One of the oldest and still most influential drivers of local commerce is word of mouth. Though that’s sustained at a high level, the delivery vessel for local chatter has evolved. Social channels like Facebook and Yelp now shape the reputations of brick-and-mortar businesses, not to mention the kingmaker authority of Google.

This month, we will delve into the latest trends and insights driving reputation management, taking Word of Mouth as our theme.

How B2B Companies Can Survive in a Clickless Search Ecosystem

The dawn of the clickless world might raise alarms for B2Bs companies, and that’s fair. This trend will likely pose a challenge for companies that rely heavily on Google for new business leads — especially small businesses that generate a majority of leads from search traffic. 

However, the clickless world also presents an opportunity for B2B brands to streamline their online presence. In this new ecosystem, B2B brands can generate awareness and encourage customers to contact their business even before a customer actually sees their website. 

Makeup Product Reviews

Location Weekly: Pinterest Experiments with AR; Zenreach Promotes Walk-Through Metric for O2O Marketing

In this 450th episode of Location Weekly, the cosmetics industry dominates the news. Pinterest is adding an AR make-up testing feature, and L’Oréal is getting personalized with the Perso app.

Atari is blending gaming and hotels, Zenreach is promoting a “walk-through” metric for online-to-offline marketing industry, Havas is partnering with Moving Walls for OOH measurement, and Google is partnering with Coconut Software for financial service reservations feature. 

LBMA Presents Location Weekly: Google Buys Pointy; TourByLocal Nabs $25M

We start off with TourByLocal getting $25M to match tourists with 4,000 guides in 162 countries, Albertsons launching Pinterest-Powered In-Store mobile recipes, and Google buying Pointy to boost brick&mortar retail.

After the Worldline interview from NRF, we continue with news from our two member companies: Gimbal giving mobile users control over their location data and Delta reducing travel stress with updated app features.