Amid Declining Ad Revenues, Twitter Aims To Prove Offline Sales Effectiveness

Twitter’s second quarter earnings last month revealed an interesting disconnect: on the plus side, advertising engagement grew 95 percent compared to the same period the year before; but ad revenue slipped 8 percent.

The competition for the ad dollars not claimed by the digital ad hegemons Facebook and Google is a problem all online publishers have to contend with. But Twitter’s ubiquity as a mainstream social media tool has put a spotlight on its challenges more than most companies, though Snap is starting to feel some heat as well.

eMarketer has forecast Twitter’s ad revenue will grow 1.6 percent this year, to $2.28 billion — driven by almost entirely — 90 percent — from mobile. By being so heavily mobile, the microblog hopes to capitalize on the kinds of micro-moments that have propelled spending on its online rivals.

To help make its case to marketers, Twitter has enlisted analytics partners Foursquare and Nielsen to make its case to brands, particularly when it comes to driving offline foot traffic and sales.

Among the stats Twitter is highlighting involves the sale of mobile devices at telcos’ brick-and-mortar locations.

“For carriers and manufacturers focused on generating in-store foot traffic, Twitter proves to be an effective partner,” Twitter says. “Research shows that Twitter not only drives in-store foot traffic, but it also compels buyers to spend more overall. In fact, people on Twitter are more likely to research a smartphone while in-store compared to those who don’t use Twitter.”

Specifically, Foursquare and Nielsen say that buyers spend 6.8 percent more with mobile wireless carriers after seeing ads on Twitter.

Nielsen and Foursquare’s research also offered analysis of the kinds of people who are more likely to make purchase in brick-and-mortar stores.

Twitter users tend to frequent big-box stores and budget-friendly travel locations, and their tastes include fast-casual food. While that sounds a lot like the general population, it does indicate the connections of when those brands should advertise. For example, in-store shoppers love sports — again, like pretty much everyone else — so brands can activate during major sporting events when people are the most engaged on Twitter.

“On Twitter, people are in a unique discovery mindset,” the report says. “They are curious, leaned in, and looking to learn, be inspired, and act. This means that because users are in the right mindset, people on Twitter are more likely to see and remember ads.

“Competition in the telco industry is fiercer than ever, and marketers need to make their ad dollars work harder,” Foursquare and Nielsen note. “Whether you are looking to drive offline sales, online sales, or both, people on Twitter are especially receptive to ads and motivated to buy. Brands that leverage customer insights to reach different audience segments based on their interests, passions, and behaviors on Twitter will be able to more thoughtfully and creatively reach and win customers.”

Of course, given that Twitter’s rivals recognize the micro-moments and user attention, Twitter will have to make a concerted effort to specifically target the brands who are considering how much to spread finite ad dollars around.

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How Patrón Used Alexa And Foursquare To Expand Online-To-Offline Marketing

For spirits marketer Patrón, every day is “International Tequila Day.”

But to make sure consumers stay connected to the brand during and beyond, the company put artificial intelligence and location targeting to extend its reach from bar-to-home.

To promote its year-old Patrón Cocktail Lab, a cocktail recommendation engine that was launched online and apps, and its bot-tender that answers the questions of home mixologists, the liquor marketer turned to Foursquare, the location intelligence company, for targeted ads and unveiled “skills” for voice-activated digital assistants Amazon Alexa and Microsoft Cortana.

For Adrian Parker, VP, Marketing at Patrón Spirits Company, the effort was about forging a direct relationship with existing and potential consumers.

“We migrated to the platform-based model that put the customer in the center,” Parker said, speaking at the Innovation Congress in New York earlier this month. “Most organizations don’t say the word ‘customer’ enough. They say ‘user’ or ‘purchaser.’ Think about Uber or Lyft, which created about 500,000 limos, or Airbnb, which has created 3 million hotel rooms. Think about Blue Apron, which has created 8 million chef’s tables.”

Patrón’s Adrian Parker at Innovation Congress

With that in mind, Could Patron Tequila create over 500,000 bars in kitchens across the U.S.?

“We think so,” Parker said. “So we started to think about making our conversations with consumers more meaningful. We started thinking about creating ‘experiences’ that we could deliver through automation and bots.”

Alexa Is Just The Beginning

To make the Patrón Cocktail Lab easier to use, Patrón became one of the first spirits brands to explore voice technology. By simply enabling the “Patrón skill” in the Alexa app on Amazon Alexa voice-enabled devices, including Amazon Echo, users can ask for cocktail recommendations, recipes and tips – everything from the perfect brunch recipe to the proper way to shake and strain a cocktail. Future voice platforms will follow.

“At Patrón we didn’t invent tequila, but we perfected it, and that includes our longstanding commitment to product and technological innovation,” said Lee Applbaum, Global CMO at Patrón Spirits. “Engaging voice communication is just another way that we’re creating simply perfect experiences for our consumers through the tools that we deliver and the tequila that we proudly handcraft. We are excited to be the first luxury spirit brand on the Amazon Alexa platform, which is really the start of a broader initiative that will leverage platforms like Alexa, Cortana, Siri, and future technologies to be able to more seamlessly deliver content to people when and how they want it. Alexa is just the beginning.”

As Parker explained, the decision to develop an Alexa skill, as well as ones from Google Home and Microsoft Cortana, was about answering the question of “how could we start to have these conversations in a way that was a little more meaningful?”

The answer was to “connect consumers to experiences” through chatbots and Connected Intelligence-based voice-activation.

“How do you even start to look into voice technology?” Parker told the InnoCon attendees of Patrón’s exploration. “How do we connect consumers in cocktail culture to behavioral analytics? It involves social intelligence and thinking of our brand as a platform.’

The Patrón Bot-Tender in action

From Static Experience To Connected Community

As brands explore the role for AI and voice as a part of their marketing programs, the central idea is to create a range of complementary and personalized use cases that reach customers at different points of their day and mindset.

For example, someone might be in one mindset at home, while another mindset might strike them as they leave work in the early evening. The idea is to continue the conversation through those stages and be ready when the consumer is.

“With Cocktail Lab as our leading ‘magic cocktail experience,’ we have consumers wanting to connect with bartenders, which is great,” Parker said. “We’re at the center of that equation, and it’s become a really new way for us to not only learn from our consumers, but use location and data intelligence to make sure they’re getting the right cocktail at the right time.”

The Cocktail Lab started as kind of a “static experience” pumping out recipes and eventually became  actually a connected community, Parker said.

Since it began, Patrón was able to attract over 270,000 users with 32,000 users interact over voice and had people engage with 110,000 bot messages.

While Parker wouldn’t reveal sales figures, he said that Patrón’s business saw “double-digit growth.”

Patrón’s Alexa skill extends its Cocktail Lab from its online site and mobile app to the voice-activated assistant.

Patrón-ing The Summer

The use of voice-activation in the home is also having an impact on Patrón’s social media and online advertising.

Throughout the summer, Patrón has been working to bring the brand’s Cocktail Lab to 30 different cities in the U.S. and U.K.

This Patrón The Summer tour is serving up drink recipes powered by local trends and Foursquare location data, Parker told GeoMarkting. The campaign launched over the Memorial Day weekend, and runs through Labor Day (Monday, September 4, 2017).

“The goal of the campaign is to educate consumers and spirits enthusiasts on the versatility of tequila, outside of just margaritas and shots,” Parker said. “This data helps us to curate unique content and bespoke recipes for targeted regions around the globe, that we know our consumers will love.”

Additionally, the cocktail recommendations are being distributed across Amazon Alexa, Google Home, as well as on a custom-built chatbot on Facebook and Twitter.

Additionally, the cocktail recommendations are being distributed across Amazon Alexa, Google Home and even a custom-built chatbot on Facebook and Twitter. Patrón will be launching on Microsoft Cortana soon.

“It’s really a tremendous undertaking championed by all of our agencies,” Patrón said in a statement. “We’re in the third year of a 5-year journey to re-imagine how spirits drinkers discover, create and consume drinks. While we’re focused on growing tequila’s share of consumer stomachs and wallets, we’re also accelerating our participation in emerging platforms like Virtual/Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence as ways to share our handcrafted production process.”

Patron The Summer map is based on Foursquare data

Putting Patrón On The Map

Patrón first worked with Foursquare in 2015 to run its first Pinpoint campaign around National Tequila Day, where we served in-app ad units promoting Patrón content guides.

“Foursquare was able to identify taste trends in over 100 markets by analyzing top flavors/tastes, cocktails, alcohol and venue preferences of 21-34 year olds in cities across the globe,” Parker said. “We also tapped top bartenders and mixologists to both create and evaluate each unique cocktail.”

For the Patrón the Summer campaign, the tequila brand tapped into Foursquare’s unique location-based taste database to uncover taste trends in more than 100 cities across the globe.

By using Pinpoint, the Foursquare ad technology, for custom rich-media ads across mobile and web to help target a core set of consumers and provide real-time recommendations, the reach goes beyond users of the City Guide app and platform.

Based on a key list of accounts identified by Patrón, Foursquare is also providing its Attribution technology to understand who has seen the targeted Patrón ads. The location intelligence provider can then measure the effectiveness of driving consumers to on- or off-premise locations where Patron is served or sold.

“One of the major benefits of the Foursquare Pinpoint technology, and what sets us apart, is that it is platform agnostic and reaches more than 150M devices,” a Foursquare rep told GeoMarketing. “Pinpoint is used to reach consumers outside of the Foursquare network based on where they go in the real world.”

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Foursquare Asia Plan Takes Shape With Location Support For Samsung, WeChat, And More

Foursquare has been quietly striking partnerships with telcos and other mobile-based tech platforms across Asia for the past year, and the location intelligence provider is ready to pull up the curtain on its work in the region.

The company has lined up more than-a-dozen major Asian brands that will take advantage of its location intelligence and developer tools including Tencent (parent of WeChat, QQ, Qzone), Samsung, LG, Carousell, Path, Momo, Travel Japan WiFi.

It’s been over a year since naming on startup analytics veteran Jeremy Geiger, as Foursquare’s head of Enterprise Business for Asia-Pacific in Shanghai. In addition to that regional office Foursquare has also established a base in Singapore with a team to support its new partners “with local language fluency and technical capabilities,” the company said.

Foursquare’s Asian expansion followed its $45 million funding round at the start of 2016, and came together as its broader vision for using location data insights was taking shape.

As such, the deal is meant to do two things.

For one, Foursquare will be a primary partner for each of those companies as they expand the use of location intelligence to build contextually aware solutions for artificial intelligence, augmented reality, online-to-offline attrbution, ride-sharing, messaging and pretty much anything involving the intersection of mobility, data, and physical places, Foursquare President Steven Rosenblatt wrote in a blog post heralding the deal.

Foursquare’s expanding presence across Asia is also intended to extend it other clients’ and partners’ location capabilities in the region as well, particularly on the advertising side from the likes of Apple, AT&T, Unilever, and others.

“Today, Asia is our fastest-growing market outside the U.S.,” Rosenblatt said.

“We’re increasing engagement with Foursquare’s enabled, contextually-aware features, which in turn enriches our location intelligence,” Geiger told GeoMarketing

“Foursquare’s primary focus is our core location data and technology, and that remains the case as we expand our partnerships into the Asian market,” Geiger added. “As industry leaders in location intelligence, we are laser-focused on providing our world class location technology and solutions to all partners around the world.”

Foursquare’s Message

As Geiger told us when he embarked on his mission in May 2016, WeChat, Samsung, and with a few others who couldn’t be identified at the time were already using Foursquare’s venue database.

But today’s announcement has Foursquare’s location analytics being put to deeper use.

“Foursquare is now the exclusive location partner for WeChat globally outside of China,” Rosenblatt said. “Consumers who use the app to chat with friends can add a location or tag a ‘Moments’ post with a place and see address, tips and other venue details.”

The work with WeChat highlights the importance potential Foursquare clients have been placing on messaging apps to extend commerce and marketing programs.

For example, Western Union struck alliances with messaging apps like WeChat and others to better reach Millennials and the general population that is quickly choosing to transact on such apps as well.

In a discussion of Western Union’s strategy, Nidhi Gupta, the financial services company’s global marketing director, noted, nearly 2 billion people are projected to be on messaging apps by 2018 — that’s over a quarter of the world’s population. Chat apps are already used by 75 percent of all smartphone users and continue to be one of the fastest growing digital services in the world.

By aligning with WeChat, which has been hoping to penetrate other markets as beyond its messaging dominance in China, Foursquare can both assist WeChat’s continued rise as well as benefit from riding along its own expansion.

The deal with WeChat doesn’t end there either. In addition to WeChat, Foursquare is also working with its parent Tencent on its other social apps, QQ and Qzone, where users outside of China use Foursquare to share their location with friends, or choose a location when posting an update.

“Other partners in the social networking space in Asia that leverage Foursquare include the global app Path—a check-in app that’s widely popular in Indonesia—and Momo, the Chinese social network. Foursquare is Momo’s sole location provider outside of China; users share their whereabouts with friends as well as app users nearby,” Rosenblatt said.

Samsung Puts Foursquare In The Spotlight

Foursquare’s greater connection with Samsung is meant to showcase its ability to embed new mobile phones with its location intelligence.

“Whenever a person with the Galaxy S8 and S8+ takes a photo, the image is attached to the specific location using Foursquare’s Places database of more than 105M venues around the globe,” Rosenblatt said. “The phone also serves up contextually relevant locations for those who are searching for a place to eat, drink or explore.”

In a sign of Foursquare’s new centrality within Samsung products, its branded mapping capabilities will be featured in the Korean electronics giant’s latest global TV spots.

Connected Intelligence, Connected Locations

Samsung’s South Korean rival, LG, is also using Foursquare to power features in its new line of smartphones.

Users of LG’s calendar will see appointment locations based on the Foursquare database — and in a sign of the intersection of location data and Connected Intelligence, the Foursquare appointment tool will recommend nearby places to go where the user will be having their meeting.

Similarly, Singapore-based mobile marketplace Carousell will employ Foursquare’s geo-data to direct buyers and sellers to places that are easily located for the exchange of goods or a to process payment.

For Carousell, Foursquare is supplying the backend for its omnichannel transactions.

“At Carousell, we connect people so they can buy and sell pre-loved items,”Lucas Ngoo, Co-founder & CTO, Carousell said. “Foursquare and its expertise in location-based services helps us connect our Carousellers more effectively, making it all the more convenient to get the items they always wanted.”

Foursquare can further connect devices, consumers, and physical businesses thanks to its work with ride-hailing service Travel Japan WiFi.

Billed as one of the country’s most downloaded travel apps,Travel Japan WiFi directs travelers to the best places to eat and drink. It also operates 200,000 wifi hotspots throughout the country.

“It is simple and easy to integrate the Foursquare APIs, which immediately resulted in a highly-scalable product,” said Kenji Soma, CTO of Travel Japan WiFi’s parent company Wire and Wireless Co. We are also reassured that nearly every place in the world is in the Foursquare database, so we can deliver top-notch recommendations, always.”

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