Google has been hard at work on local in 2018 and 2019, taking strides toward making its Google My Business app the one-stop-shop for local businesses hoping to connect with customers through digital means. Nevertheless, local is a tricky, 24-7 business, and when it comes to connecting brick-and-mortars with customers nearby, Alphabet’s core business has some room for improvement.
The Local Search Association, which brings together over 300 companies intent on connecting enterprises and small businesses alike with consumers, announced on Wednesday morning Bill Dinan as its new president. The announcement follows the retirement of its previous president Neg Norton, who held the role for 15 years.
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.
Making a big splash in privacy, the ongoing story that has dominated location data-based marketing buzz in 2019, DuckDuckGo, the search engine that does not store user data in order to sell pricey ads, announced that it is using Apple’s MapKit JS to power searches. While the search engine’s results are sought out by far fewer users than search industry leader Google’s, the growth DuckDuckGo is experiencing further validates the impression the tech media has practically been screaming about this year: The winds on privacy are definitively changing, and data-driven companies that fail to heed those changes are in for quite a storm.
Mihm to Blumenthal: Absent a messaging competitor, even a handful of conversations with real customers make businesses *think* Facebook is where the party is. In reality, as you and plenty of others have found, 90% of actual leads are coming from Google. And a serious chunk of that 90% comes directly from Google My Business. Per my prediction, Google is *just* starting to push the “Message” CTA to consumers. And I think the floodgates are about to open.
While visual search isn’t exactly catching on like fire yet, its evolution is buttressed by powerful developments of late in the tech industry. Among these: smartphones are increasingly ubiquitous, more efficient, and we’re all more accustomed to using them; investment in AI from both big companies and startups is widespread, making machine vision more effective; and augmented reality (AR), a similar modality in which tech overlays graphics onto images captured via camera lens, is taking off. Below are a few ways visual search will play out in local and retail in 2019.
“Google is controlling the entire local experience—discovery, presentation, and transaction—and there’s just nowhere for agencies to add value, or make any money from that value,” David Mihm tells Mike Blumenthal in their biweekly column.
Google is bringing the personalization zeitgeist to local event recommendations. The company reported on its blog Thursday that it is releasing a series of new features that will make it easier for users to find essential information about events of interest to them right on search engine result pages.
Those are the latest numbers on foot traffic and e-commerce from location data experts at Foursquare, which posted the information on Medium. As we suggested over here at Street Fight last week, Prime Day, which arrives this Monday and continues on through Tuesday, is a testament to Amazon’s power to disrupt all of retail when it so chooses.
Google announced on Tuesday a suite of new machine learning-backed ad tools that promise to keep its brand partners happy at a time when digital advertising faces unprecedented brand safety concerns. Among the tools is one explicitly designed to maximize foot traffic.
As Apple relaunches Maps, I’m eager to see underlying map data improve, but I’d be even more interested if I knew Apple had a roadmap to improve the local data layer. Here are some things Apple should do if the company truly wants to move beyond its second-place status in local.
Online-to-offline (O2O) commerce is one area where AR will find a home. Just think: Is there any better technology to unlock O2O commerce than one that literally melds physical and digital worlds? AR can shorten gaps in time and space that currently separate those interactions (e.g. search) from offline outcomes.
Prime Day underscores Amazon’s power in the retail market because it compels the over 100 million consumers who pay for that service to make the most of their investment by purchasing directly from Amazon. Local businesses are hardly in a position to compete.
A recent study by the company focused on the foot traffic at mass merchandisers and grocery stores and airport traffic, and pointed to the NC city as the best choice for Amazon’s HQ2. “Being able to dig in to real world behaviors, it draws out real actionable recommendations,” says Sarah Ohle, VP of marketing insights.
Hooch isn’t hiring right now, but they expect to ramp up technology and data positions in fall 2017. Dai says his secret to hiring is to be brutally honest about the challenges and struggles of working at startup.
A number of major retailers and startups have been pioneering a local showrooming strategy, divorcing the purchasing of products from the distribution, and focusing more on experiences than in-person sales. Here are six examples of retailers that have been able to navigate this merchandise-free (or light) approach to local retail.