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.

Roundtable: How Google’s Third-Party Cookie Announcement Will Disrupt Search, Ad Tech

Google indicated it is making the change to boost user privacy on the Web, and the company believes digital advertising can survive on the back of evolving, more privacy-aware data sources. Chief among those sources, at least in the case of Chrome, will be Google’s privacy sandbox, which will offer advertisers and ad tech companies personalization opportunities based on browser data without granting them direct access to user-level information.

To size up the impact of Google’s announcement on ad tech and hyperlocal marketing, we turned to a slate of industry professionals for their takes on the move.

Dispatch from CES: Giant TVs, Obsequious Gadgets, and Artificial People

I’m fresh from a couple of days wandering the halls of the Consumer Electronics Show, affectionately known as CES — the annual conference that descends upon Las Vegas in January and proffers the latest in technological solutions to improve every aspect of our daily lives. This is my first time attending the world’s biggest technology conference, where 4,500 companies this year are vying for the attention of 180,000 attendees, according to my Uber driver.

As I made my way through the crowds at the massive Las Vegas Convention Center and other conference venues, I tried to get a sense of the common themes defining consumer innovation as we begin a new decade. 

The California Consumer Privacy Act’s Promise and Limitations

At first glance, the California Consumer Privacy Act marks a major achievement for privacy advocates, the first statewide bill in the US to offer consumers control over how companies handle their personal information. It’s all the more significant that CCPA happened in California, a frequent bellwether for federal legislation and the state where many of the world’s top tech companies are headquartered.

It’s not entirely clear, though, that CCPA will put significant fetters on Silicon Valley’s hitherto unrestrained collection and monetization of user data. Major weaknesses include the law’s enforcement protocol, continued lobbying efforts to defang it, and its opt-out structure.

Retailers Find New Marketing Opportunities with Wearables

A recent announcement that Amazon, Apple, Google, and the Zigbee Alliance are working on an open-source network standard is likely to lead to even more investment in connected devices among retailers. The open-source network that the group is working to develop is supposed to make life easier for IoT hardware vendors and software developers, but it also serves a secondary purpose of assuring retailers investing in connected technology that their budgets aren’t being wasted. With a common IoT communication and control standard, smart devices will be even more reliable and seamless to use in the coming years.

“Open source will bring businesses more agility and enable them to process data quickly while simultaneously producing valuable insights,” says Heikki Nousiainen, chief technology officer at Aiven, a firm that develops managed cloud service hosting for software infrastructure services.

LBMA Presents Location Weekly: One Nation, Tracked; Uber Works; Smart Home Synergy

Location Weekly Episode #445 is ready to help you keep yourselves up to date over the holidays. Starting with a discussion on the New York Times article “One Nation, Tracked,” we also discuss Uber Works launching in Miami, the team-up of Amazon, Apple, and Google to make smart homes interoperable, and Goodwill reaching 1.4M mobile devices with location data via Teemo.

Then vs. Now: 10 Years of Local Search

David Mihm and Mike Blumenthal offer their take on a decade in local search. Among other topics, they take stock of Google’s dominance.

Mike: Now, it seems that the battle to become the hegemon of local has been signed, sealed, and delivered by Google not just in the US but worldwide. Their well-played hand with Android seems to have been the push they needed. And they managed to gain a totally dominant position IN SPITE of the Google Plus fiasco, which started around that time. 

David: Google Plus! I’d honestly forgotten about that debacle already. In our little corner of the world, the fact that Google could waste all those years, person hours, and billions of dollars developing Google Plus and still ascend to its current position in local search shows you just what a colossal opportunity Facebook has missed in this space.

2020: The Year Publishers and Brands Truly Challenge the Walled Gardens

We’ve already started to see publishers and brands start to adopt technology that is beyond the reach of the walled gardens. For brands and publishers reexamining their relationships with the walled gardens, the new year is a great time to determine which channels are adding value and are also future-proof. Only those who own first-party data will be in a position to thrive and fight back against industry changes.

LBMA Presents Location Weekly: Google Focuses on Local, DeliveryHero Buys Woowa Brothers

This week we’re discussing DeliveryHero buying Woowa Brothers for $4B, Mad Systems being granted a patent for location-based facial recognition platform, Lyft entering the car rental market for $35/day, Walmart teaming with Digimarc to make its print toy catalogue shoppable, Google focusing on local and PlaceIQ & FourthWall Media partnering to link TV ads with in-store visits.

Mobile Trends Set to Hit the US in 2020

2019 was a hectic year for many in the social and technology spaces, and we expect that theme to carry into 2020: the “new normal” will become just “normal.” We are optimistic about this new year but also foresee some systemic changes as to how mobile technology will continue transforming our lives while allowing us more control.

Report: Reviews for Local Businesses Are Essential. Ratings Below 4 Stars Are Deadly

If it had not already been clear that building up a significant inventory of positive online reviews is key to attracting new customers to a business, let doubt linger no further. 

A whopping 52 percent of consumers ages 18-54 “always” read reviews when searching for local businesses, and only 53 percent will consider a businesses with fewer than four stars, according to survey of 1,005 US-based consumers by marketing platform BrightLocal. Eighty-two percent of consumers overall read online reviews.

TripAdvisor Buys Listings, Menu Management Company SinglePlatform

As SinglePlatform’s name suggests, the acquisition is a sign of changing and challenging times for search-related internet businesses. Facing pressure from a Google juggernaut that is increasingly mapping out any imaginable search experience on its own properties, digital services that connect consumers with restaurants or places to visit when traveling are consolidating, aiming to offer holistic information that keeps searchers coming back.