What does “Mapping the Future” entail? As a primary tool for consumer local search and discovery, mapping continues to undergo UX innovations and structural changes. We’ll examine these areas as well as mapping’s interplay with local search and SEO strategies.
Though mapping is more of a Street Fight staple than a trending topic, market signals indicate that the timing is right. In fact, we already got started last month with a look at Snapchat’s moves into local mapping — not just UX upgrades to Snap Map but also self-serve advertising for local businesses.
Snapchat’s 200 million users can now use Snap Map to find businesses in addition to finding friends. These two activities can go hand in hand if friends are discovered nearby on the map when users are planning local adventures.
But what matters most for local is that Snap will now let businesses promote themselves in the map interface, adding a key option for local advertising. This will happen on a self-serve basis for both SMBs and multi-location brands.
Once a venue’s maps have been digitized for wayfinding purposes, there are many ways to drive additional ROI from that same set of indoor maps. When location technologies are designed with interoperability in mind, it becomes possible to blend different technologies together to create smart solutions that provide value not only to business operations but also to consumers. By integrating digitized, layer-based indoor maps with other solutions such as the indoor equivalent of GPS, known as Indoor Positioning Systems (IPS), asset tracking and business intelligence, great things become possible.
Here is a shortlist of the top use cases that malls can implement to generate further ROI from their indoor mapping investments.
Over the past few years, a number of national retailers have added mapping technology into their mobile apps. Even more retailers have given store associates handheld devices with integrated indoor location features, putting the answers to frequently asked questions—like where products are located and how to get to certain store departments—at their fingertips.
Even though location and mapping technology is embedded into many consumer-facing shopping apps, and it’s used by retailers to fuel both their marketing initiatives and back-end operations, publicly explained use cases from retail brands are rare. Here are five examples of how retailers are applying the technology and using mapping to fundamentally change the in-store shopping experience.
Blumenthal: Google Maps is/has become the primary discovery tool in many categories. That is a significant shift of which agencies and owners need to be aware.
Mihm: Yep. I’m not sure I would even have had our ThriveHive data science team look for this data point specifically had you not tipped me off. But sure enough, across our dataset of nearly 20,000 GMB Profiles, we found that Maps impressions outweigh Search impressions by nearly 3:1 (72% to 28% over the last 18 months).
Gimbal COO and CMO Matthew Russo says that at scale, indoor location technology is advanced enough that it works incredibly well. Russo says that at Gimbal, he has worked with major brand clients who are able to understand when a VIP walks into their lobby. They also know if the customer has waited too long at a check-in line, and they’re able to present customers with special offers or keyless check-ins at their rooms.
“But if you’re a pizzeria owner with a single storefront looking to send a push notification to people walking by, you probably won’t see the results you’re hoping for,” Russo says.
Could those scaling issues be holding back the indoor navigation industry, and if so, what’s the solution?
Enter Phase Three. As my column’s title suggests, I would argue that the old concept of citation building has largely lost its relevance, and that thinking of the local network as a system of channels — parallel, somewhat independent sources of consumer traffic — is a more appropriate paradigm for where we are now.
In all, there are approximately 10 independent sites and site categories that together make up the primary channels where any business should be well represented in order to be competitive.
Walmart, Walgreens, and Sephora are all using artificial intelligence technology to improve the retail experience. While the majority of use cases for AI in retail have focused on enhancing the shopping experience for customers, forward-thinking analytics firms are innovating and developing new uses for their existing AI technology.
The analytics firm Fractal Analytics is pushing forward in the retail space with its own solution that relies on AI to forecast the cost of retail store remodels, as well as determine the ROI from large-scale renovation projects. Although Fractal works solely with Fortune 500 companies, the solutions it is developing could be adopted more broadly throughout the retail space.
As Google and Apple lead the way, we are getting closer to ubiquitous visual mapping. If that happens, there will be significant implications for entities that currently use search and mapping for marketing or online presence. They’ll need to make sure they are optimized in this new format.
This could lead to an extension of SEO to cultivate presence in visual experiences. Just like in search, correct business location and details will need to be optimized to show up in the right places. You don’t want the AR overlay for your restaurant floating above the salon next door.
For years, marketers have used Google Trends to uncover insights based on search data. Now, executives at the advertising and marketing automation platform Gimbal are hoping their newest product will serve the same purpose for the physical world.
Built on top of an independent location data set, Gimbal Trends has been designed to provide marketers with a comprehensive view of consumer behavior in the real world. The product was released this morning, and already Gimbal is seeing interest from companies in the entertainment industry that are interested in leveraging the data to optimize their decision-making processes about upcoming events.
More than half of shoppers (57%) have used a retailer’s mobile app while in-store. In order for their apps to provide the greatest amount of value, retailers need to tap in to location features, including indoor mapping. When Street Fight first wrote about indoor mapping tools back in 2013, the technology was still relatively young. Now, the market has had time to mature and retailers looking at integrating indoor mapping technology into their mobile apps have an even wider array of vendors to choose from.
Here are seven companies with indoor mapping solutions for retailers.
Of all of the technologies and consumer touchpoints to local commerce, mapping is perhaps the most relevant. This centuries-old technology has gone into hyperdrive over the past 15 years since the launch of Google Maps, and it continues to be a primary tool for local search and discovery.
But what’s the state of the art and how is it evolving? This will be Street Fight’s focus in the month of September. This follows last month’s connected car theme and past months’ reporting and commnetary on privacy, retail transformation and the “beyond the screen” evolution of voice and visual search.
Uberall’s acquisition of Navads highlights the importance of listings management and its integration with reputation management. Street Fight’s latest survey of multi-location brands shows a correlation between use of both these types of services and the overall effectiveness of local marketing.
Elise Neel, the head of MapQuest for business, spoke to Street Fight recently about the ways marketers now regard and value location data, the role mixed reality may play in mapping, and what it means for MapQuest to operate under Verizon’s ownership.
These days, we rely on maps not only to provide us a route, but also to be relevant in real-time. If a road is closed, we expect our map app to tell us as much. If a place of business we were planning on driving to is no longer open, then our map better have that information.
Most local businesses and search marketers have focused primarily on their visibility within Google Maps. With Apple’s iOS 9 now available, it’s time they focused their attention on Apple Maps as well. Businesses that don’t may soon fall behind competitors.
Smartphone users are familiar with consumer-facing map services such as Google Maps, which consistently ranks among the most frequently used apps. But companies depending on maps are far more numerous than map services apps. Countless mobile apps that use location services such as delivery-oriented Instacart and transportation-oriented Uber rely on mapping software, and still more […]
A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal publishing, marketing, commerce, and technology… By Buying Moves, Facebook Acquires High-Value Passive Location Technology (GigaOm)… Lyft Puts New Megabucks to Work: Launches in 24 Cities, Cuts Prices Again, Drops All Fees (Recode)… Berg Insight: Mobile Location-Based Advertising will be worth $14.8B in 2018 (FierceWireless)…