Heard on the Street, Episode 36: Fighting Location Fraud, With Location Sciences

Along with GDPR, CCPA, and a period of generally heightened concern about privacy and data collection, this iOS update could challenge the ability for marketers to get precise location data. But on the bright side, these macro factors compel better practices, shifting strategies and measurement tools. The time is right, Jason Smith says, for Location Sciences and lots of other companies in the location intelligence sector looking to point the way toward digital marketing’s future best practices.

Nextdoor Releases Local Deals to Connect Businesses with Nearby Customers

Nextdoor, the social networking app that requires users to enter a verified address in order to connect neighbors, is announcing local deals, a feature that will allow businesses on the platform to promote sales, discounts, and other offers to nearby customers.

Nextdoor is active in more than 248,000 neighborhoods across 11 countries.

Google Considers Buying TikTok Rival

TikTok could be seen as a competitor for YouTube, the video platform owned by Google’s parent company, Alphabet. TikTok is typically seen as a greater threat to Facebook in the social category, and the social giant is testing a copycat app of its own to crush the insurgent. But more time on TikTok could also mean less time on YouTube in a tight attention economy, and TikTok’s fervent teen users apparently have Google concerned enough to spark a potential Firework deal.

Physical Stores May Resemble Our Newsfeeds in the Near Future

We’re currently living in a time of unprecedented change in the marketing and advertising industries. One of the most interesting emerging trends is the incorporation of new advertising opportunities within physical stores, in ways that will remind you of your social media newsfeeds.

If you’re a member of Generation X, or even an older Millennial, you probably remember walking through the aisles in grocery stores and grabbing coupons out of plastic dispensers. What we will see occurring in the future is the 21st Century’s version of the coupon machine — the personalized newsfeed-ification of physical stores.

Employees Are Connecting On Facebook: Here’s Why They Shouldn’t

When they aren’t connecting in the office, 87% of employees are connecting on Facebook. With more than 1.5 billion daily active users, it’s no surprise that employees flock to the platform to connect with colleagues. Facebook is easy and familiar, and many employees have used it for years. When employees want to connect personally with someone they know professionally, Facebook is the natural first step. 

But Facebook isn’t the best place for making personal connections with coworkers, mainly because of the amount of personal content employees post. They express their political opinions and might post jokes and language that could easily offend in a professional setting. When you introduce professional contacts to a personal platform, the lines of what’s appropriate are blurred. People might begin to censor themselves, which isn’t always healthy. Or employees might feel uncomfortable with a coworker based on something they’ve seen online.

Heard on the Street, Episode 35: The Disruption Mindset, With Charlene Li

Disruption is one of the only constants in the tech and media worlds. So, the question becomes how to successfully disrupt (or survive others’ disruption). These are topics that author, analyst, and thought leader Charlene Li has synthesized in her latest book The Disruption Mindset.

To commemorate the book release this week, we recently had Li join us as a special guest on Street Fight’s podcast Heard on the Street. As we discussed on the show, a common success factor for companies causing or facing disruption is to devise a strategic path that leads them to their future customer.

Hyperlocal Social Firm Nextdoor Closes $170M Round, Adds Meeker to Board

The company seems well positioned to address the ills of social network and platforms plagued by negative user-generated content in general these days. That’s because it actually verifies the identities of its users and puts people in touch who live near each other in the physical world, definitely not eliminating all risk but limiting the chance that people use digital anonymity to harass each other without repercussions.

Klos Founders See Opportunity in Social Messaging Market

Like so many other startups, Klos is being marketed as a solution to a problem. In this case, the company’s founders see the problem as social media being inherently anti-social. Original broadcast sharing on legacy social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn is on the decline. Messaging services like WhatsApp and iMessage are incredibly popular, but they don’t help people expand their social networks. While there are existing services, like Tinder and Bumble, that combine messaging and network expansion, they almost all fall into the dating app category.

The Hidden Opportunity Cost of Google Plus: Review Volume

Blumenthal: I was able to look at reviews per month since 2015 for a large number of restaurant locations across the sites that are now common in the restaurant industry. Interestingly, Yelp’s and TripAdvisor’s review volume is roughly the same now as it was in January 2015, while you can see that Google’s review volume is now roughly 10x that of either of those two sites. And Google was receiving fewer reviews per location per month than either Yelp or TA in early 2015.

There is an interesting but not totally obvious point on the slide where Google’s review volume starts to take off and that is April 2016. For those of you who don’t track Google minutiae quite the way that I do, that was the month when Google finally separated reviews from Google Plus and no longer required a Plus profile to leave a review. 

3 Things You Need to Know about Marketing on Reddit

Reddit refers to itself as the front page of the Internet. It’s a veritable goldmine for a marketer who knows how to leverage it. The trouble is, most don’t. They treat Reddit as no different from Facebook or Twitter. Here’s how to avoid making the same mistake. 

How Americans Shop Today

All industries—apparel, grocery, electronics—are affected differently by the move to e-commerce, and consumers are turning to new options, including social marketplaces, disrupting what we typically think of as digital shopping. Here are some insights on major market changes, including the key to Amazon’s dominance, the industries flouting the turn to e-commerce, and a curious preference among millennials, from a recent survey of 1,000 consumers by Signs.com.

Multi-Location Marketers Want to Do More Social Advertising, But One Big Thing Stands in the Way

Unlike search, social is a push medium that marketers can use to reach new audiences. Social can leverage rich ad formats such as mouth-watering images of restaurant dishes, explainer videos for complex products, and eye-catching celebrity or influencer endorsements that are much more impactful and engaging at storytelling than search. 

Today’s local enterprise advertisers know that they should be leveraging the one-two punch of search and social together. One day they will. But until social advertising can offer the same streamlined workflow that can make managing hundreds or thousands of locations as easy as search makes it, social will still lag behind in the local marketing media portfolio. 

With Shoelace, Its Latest Foray into (Local) Social, Google Aims to Do for Friends What Tinder Did for Dating

Perhaps Shoelace is less ambitious than Google+. But is finding friends, or others with whom to socialize, not the most central and yet unachieved aim of social networking? One that hinges on location and would be a gold mine for advertising, as it captures users far down the sales funnel, all the way at the point where they are ready to get together to spend some time at a local business? What if, in the same way online dating has gone from disreputable to de rigueur over the course of 10 years, finding friends online is something young people all do in 10 years, an engineering problem that Tinder rival Bumble is already trying to crack?

That would be a pretty big social network. The ambitions may not be so modest.

Teaching An Old Brand New Tricks

An agile brand strategy allows organizations to update traditional brand messages in the moment as events happen, while still remaining true to their core values and identity. Agile branding is not about changing things all the time; it’s about responding and iterating in order to stay relevant.

Technology is the driving force behind agile branding. Modern consumers expect more from their favorite brands, and through a variety of tech platforms, they interact with them on a daily basis. Connecting to consumers through digital and largely interactive channels (like social media) gives brands access to a valuable supply of consumer data. In this “always-on” culture, knowing what consumer audiences are saying, thinking, and feeling about your brand in real time is at the core of an agile brand. 

Chatmeter Scores New Funding Amid Hiring Spree

Local brand management platform Chatmeter announced a new investment by Providence Strategic Growth aimed at helping the company increase its ambitions further after hiring 25 employees over the course of six months. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Embracing Hyperlocal Creative at Scale

The challenge of authentic content is doing it at scale, in a way that is brand safe, across all markets. While creating custom content could seem like a feasible task for international companies with endless resources at their fingertips, even legacy brands all too often struggle with personalized, custom, local content at scale. It’s equally as challenging for local businesses like franchises, small agencies, and Mom-and-Pop shops who are charged with many business tasks outside of content creation. One of the pivotal concerns in digital marketing as it applies to content and content creation is having an efficient process to scale content production. 

So, how can franchises, local businesses, and brands scale their creative marketing content to better reach local markets?

How Long Will Google’s “Calculative PR” Playbook Work in Local Search?

Mihm: The engineering mindset that millions of spammy listings in a corpus of hundreds of millions of legitimate listings worldwide, or a (hundred million?) spam reviews in a corpus of billions of legitimate reviews worldwide, are simply “edge cases” that are beneath Google to prioritize reflects a profound lack of empathy for how their technology impacts fellow human beings — both consumers and especially small business owners and their employees.

Blumenthal: Absolutely agree. And a related problem is that they see customer service in the same context: as an engineering/cost-benefit problem to solve, not as a way to improve their product. As such they see the last 5, 10 or 15% errors in their big data solutions as just a cost of doing business that they have no responsibility to solve. 

Fostering Brand-Customer Relationships in the Age of Social Checkout and Chatbots

Currently, 74% of consumers visit the social media pages of brands to inspire future purchases. And as evidenced by the popularity of Instagram Checkout, sales tools like Apple Business Chat, and new ad products like Google‘s Shoppable Ads, the industry is rapidly moving towards commerce that removes the friction between inspiration and an actual purchase.

But when the path to purchase is shortened, so is the opportunity for brand and customer to interact, which is probably what attracted your customers in the first place. Especially in the world of social media, brand persona is an enduring element that differentiates your brand and creates fans out of customers.

The good news is, you don’t have to sacrifice brand voice for a social commerce strategy. In fact, with the right tools, you can enhance it.

Visual Search Moves Beyond Experimentation and Into Prime Time

After years of experimentation and broad discussions about how visual search would someday take hold, it’s clear that the future has arrived. Visual search has moved into the mainstream, and companies like Pinterest, Instagram, and even Google are paving the way for consumers to engage more deeply with the products they find online.

As visual search moves into the mainstream, questions are intensifying over what impact the medium will have on SEO and traditional search metrics.

Local Social Network Nextdoor Raises $123 Million

The digital advertising proposition for Nextdoor is obvious—what better way to drive customers into nearby brick-and-mortar stores than to generate buzz on a social platform centered on users’ physical location? Venture capitalists see the value proposition, as Chris Varelas, co-founder and managing partner at Riverwood, proclaimed Nextdoor as the “future of local community and commerce.”