Catalina Brings In Ex-Kraft Exec Tom Corley To Head Retail Analytics

Shopper analytics provider Catalina has appointed Tom Corley as Global Chief Retail Officer and President of U.S. Retail.

Corley, who has held executives posts at Kraft Foods Group and CPG sales consultancy Acosta, will lead Catalina’s U.S. retail business and provide additional leadership to Catalina’s retail clients in Europe and Japan.

“We are excited to welcome Tom to our leadership team,” said Andy Heyman, CEO of Catalina. “Catalina is focused on expanding our capabilities and value proposition to help retailers efficiently grow and meet the opportunities of a fast-changing marketplace. Tom brings a fresh perspective to those efforts and a deep understanding of how to drive win-win relationships between CPG manufacturers and retailers given his extensive experience working with both parts of our network.”

Catalina has struck a number of high-profile partnerships with location data providers like PlaceIQ and has been tapped by Pinterest to expand its insights into CPG purchasing decisions.

By its nature, CPG brands have tended to rely on retailers to manage point-of-sale and marketing campaigns at the store level. Over the past three years, CPG brands have been aggressively exploring new ways to reach connected consumers directly, typically via app-based offers to drive store visits. But the ability to capture attribution data — did this mobile ad lead to an actual sale — has required layers of proof.

And that’s the challenge Catalina faces in a crowded analytics landscape where so many companies are promising to deliver the facts on in-store attribution. Finding the right allies and helping demonstrate Catalina’s positing in the retail space is what Corley is charged with.

He’s got a lot to work with already, as Catalina boasts of its partnerships with retailers encompass more than 27,000 stores in the United States and 53,000 globally, reaching more than 528 million shoppers with personalized digital and in-store marketing solutions that drive trial, loyalty and sales volume for retailers and CPG brands. Catalina’s advanced shopper analytics and team of 150 data scientists deliver powerful, actionable insights that improve marketing performance and efficiency.

“Catalina is creating exciting new opportunities for retailers to connect with shoppers to build loyalty and engagement,” said Todd Morris, Catalina Global Go-to-Market President. “Tom is the right person to drive those innovations forward and build even deeper partnerships with our retailers.”

“I am excited about the value Catalina delivers to its partners and in the investments it continues to make in advancing its technology to drive shopper intelligence for retailers,” said Corley. “Catalina has an unparalleled opportunity to be a catalyst for retailers as they work to more effectively engage shoppers, including the 97 percent of households that shop at brick and mortar stores every week.”

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Google Parent Alphabet Leads $1 Billion Funding In Lyft

Ride-hailing app Lyft has secured a $1 billion funding round from CapitalG,  the investment fund run by Google parent Alphabet, as the company seeks to capitalize on the rise of on-demand as its rival Uber works to recover from its various executive controversies and turmoil of the past year.

In a blog post on Lyft’s site, the company added that CapitalG Partner David Lawee is being added to the ride-hailing app’s board.

The deal suggests a growing shift in favor of Lyft by Google, which is also an investor in Uber. The move toward Lyft comes several months after Alphabet’s self-driving car subsidiary, Waymo, began partnering with Lyft on autonomous vehicles. Alphabet and Uber have been involved in a battle over intellectual property over the development of sensors for self-driving cars during the past year.

And while Uber is still the number one ride-hailing service, despite being banned from London, Lyft points out that this past year has been very successful. In its blog post, the company notes that that its service is now available to 95 percent of the U.S. population — up from 54 percent at the beginning of the year.

“While we’ve made progress towards our vision, we’re most excited about what lies ahead. The fact remains that less than 0.5 percent of miles traveled in the U.S. happen on rideshare networks,” Lyft’s statement says. “This creates a huge opportunity to best serve our cities’ economic, environmental, and social futures.”

Lyft has also been aggressively courting marketing partnerships with brands such as Taco Bell. The two collaborated on a “taco mode” campaign this past July.

Before that, General Motors’ app-based Maven program, is now in about 20 cities across the U.S. and Canada, struck a deal with Lyft in Atlanta as the auto brand seeks to expand the year-old car-sharing effort. A year ago, Lyft and Jet Blue also partnered to bring travelers service from the airport their their door.

As the role of geo-data supports the connection between online and offline, the auto industry will be at the center of the changing interactions between places of business and consumers. And that’s what underlies this funding in Lyft right now.

Carmakers’ future success will be measured in “miles traveled” as opposed to the number of cars actually sold, Adam Jonas, head of global auto research for Morgan Stanley, has opined in a study of the impact of driverless and connected cars will have on the automotive industry.

By 2030, cars will drive more than 19.6 billion miles globally — considerably higher than the 10.2 billion they traveled in 2015, Jonas has estimated. It’s worth noting that the pace of growth is much higher than the estimated production of cars and light vehicles during the same period.

“The natural solution appears to be more shared vehicles,” Jonas said. “Shared cars—taxis and cars operated by ride-sharing companies, but not car rental—in 2015 accounted for 4 percent of global miles traveled, but by 2030, Morgan Stanley estimates that number could reach 26 percent.”

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96 Percent Of Consumers Who Visit A Grocery Store Make At Least One CPG Purchase

Approximately 96 percent of consumers who visit a mass merchandiser or grocery store make at least one CPG purchase, according to research commissioned by GroundTruth — indicating a significant sales opportunity for the locations that most can effectively drive foot traffic.

The same trend appears to hold true for drug stores as well: 91 percent of consumers who visit pick up at least one CPG item.

These statistics indicate that once CPG marketers have gotten a shopper to a physical store location, there’s a near-guarantee of a sale — which is a good thing. But it’s important to separate correlation from causation here: Most customers don’t just decide stock up on toothpaste because they saw an ad when they were nearby a drugstore. Rather, people who have the intent to buy essential CPG items tend to visit a nearby retailer to fulfill this need.

Pharmacies and groceries aren’t locations for window shopping and browsing the same way a retailer like Nordstrom might be. That’s why, when it comes to driving foot traffic, it is crucial to target customer intent: Real-time location is one strong predictor of intent, but when combined with historical geo-data and behavior targeting, these businesses have a chance to win when it comes to driving foot traffic from shoppers who are predisposed to make a CPG purchase.

Additional insights from the study below.

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Think With Google: Consumers Are Searching For The ‘Best’ — Even For Low-Consideration Products

Mobile searches for “best” have grown over 80 percent in the past two years, but customers aren’t simply searching for the best luxury hotels or the best mortgage rates: Searches for “best” are showing higher growth among “low-consideration” products like toothpaste or umbrellas than these “high-consideration” products, according to research from Think With Google.

In fact, mobile searches for “best toothbrush” have grown over 100 percent and “best deodorant” over 60 percent — confirming that consumers are increasingly turning to mobile research not just for the big things, but for everything.

“Whether it’s value, style, or quality we care about, nowadays anything we’re considering buying — no matter the category or price — can be, and is likely to be, researched on mobile first,” TWG’s report states. “That means today’s consumer defines what’s high versus low consideration for herself, so marketers across categories have the chance to influence these curious and investigative shoppers with helpful advice.”

“Best Of” — Via Voice And Text

So, what does this mean for marketers?

First, that even when it comes to low-cost, frequently replaced goods, marketers must assume that shoppers are doing research for “best in category” on mobile. CPG marketers in particular may need to think about their strategy in this area, as reviews for toothbrushes aren’t typically found on a pharmacy’s listing or a Yelp page; it’s likely Amazon that will yield the most results here, unless these brands think specifically about how to rank in a customer’s location-specific search results.

In that vein, there is an inherent location-based quality to these requests: Searching for the “”best x” generally means that someone wants to go somewhere or buy something in the physical world. As we wrote previously, TWG’s research bears this out: Compared to just a year ago, smartphone users are reportedly significantly more likely to purchase from companies whose mobile sites or apps customize information to their location.

And finally, this trend suggests that the voice-first revolution matters for an even wider range of marketers than previously expected: As Google sees increases in “best of” searches across the board, it’s important to bear in mind that over 20 percent of these searches made in the Google app are made by voice. Whether you’re selling turquoise or toothpaste, search results across across platforms matter.

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Vistar Hires Ex-GroundTruth Performance Strategist Matt Schuster As CRO

Vistar Media, seeking to deepen its cross-platform insights between out of home advertising and location technology, has named Matt Schuster, formerly of location ad marketplace GroundTruth, as its chief revenue officer.

he most recently was head of performance strategy, leading development and go-to-market strategy for all performance-based solutions. Before that Schuster was head of sales for GroundTruth, responsible for revenue growth from all major brand and holding companies in North America. Under his lead, the sales team achieved 100 percent growth in both revenue and headcount. Previously, Schuster was Sales Director at Undertone, a digital advertising company, where he oversaw a 300 percent increase in revenue over 18 months.

“Out-of-home is where the most innovation is happening in today’s media landscape, as mobile has largely become commoditized and centralized toward a few large industry players,” said Matt Schuster. “In out-of-home there is tremendous opportunity to bring targeting and concrete ROI measurement to advertisers that have never before been able to measure the impact of this channel.”

The company has called 2017 a “breakout year” for Vistar, and Schuster’s appointment follows a recent expansion into Canada.

“Matt joins Vistar at a time of rapid growth, and his experience scaling teams and revenue for innovative businesses will help our transition into additional international markets, as we bring in top talent to meet increasing global demand for our services,” said Michael Provenzano, CEO of Vistar Media.

We checked in with Provenzano about the evolution of OOH and the location tech connection amid the company’s growth plans.

GeoMarketing: What’s the state of “Digital Out of Home?” How has Vistar’s approach to DOOH evolved?

Michael Provenzano: The digital out-of-home industry is in an exciting spot today. At a basic inventory level, we’re seeing more and more media owners digitizing their networks, which is bringing opportunities for more dynamic content and creative executions to new contextual environments.

The biggest shift that we’re seeing in the OOH space is the push to tie OOH to measurable ROI (with programmatic being one of the mechanisms driving this shift). Digital buyers are increasingly looking to add OOH into their broader omnichannel media mix, and media owners are eager to tap into growing digital budgets. Transacting digital out-of-home programmatically requires systems that have been built to handle the complexities of OOH, such as measuring a 1-to-many medium, managing creative approvals (which have stricter regulations due to their public display), creative transcoding to fit the huge variety of screen displays, and much more. At the same time, programmatic systems that have been built from the ground up to handle these challenges are also offering new opportunities for buyers to reach their audiences in targeted, measurable ways across a very impactful medium.

Our approach to OOH has changed over time as we learned the ins-and-outs of the medium and got to see first hand the challenges that both media owners and advertisers were facing. The first challenge was simply building technology that would enable efficient transactions at scale. We focused on building those pipes and also aggregating supply by integrating and building partnerships with media owners across 90% of the available supply. As we ran more and more campaigns and learned more about the strategies of OOH buyers, we added in a focus on data and measurement, to demonstrate the ROI of OOH media. Today we have the ability to measure the impact of OOH advertising as never before and help marketers understand their consumers in amazing new ways, based on their movement patterns.

One thing we’ve been looking at is the rise of autonomous vehicles. What happens to billboards and radio when cars drive themselves?

There’s no question that the rise of automated vehicles will have a dramatic impact on the OOH industry, but ultimately we don’t see it as a damaging change. To start with, OOH is not really about billboards. It’s about using real estate assets – the physical locations that the OOH networks own – as opportunities to engage with consumers through compelling 1-to-many content. That opportunity doesn’t go away as people change how they move throughout the world, it just shifts the requirements for the content.

OOH media owners are also already starting to use their assets for multiple purposes – adding sensors to become a data collection point, working with telecom providers to support their networks, providing wifi, working with municipalities to become part of the citizen communication systems, etc. So there’s a lot of opportunity to diversify the use of the physical asset, which today might only be serving as a static billboard.

We also believe that mobile and OOH are perfect complements to each other, and the rise of autonomous vehicles will drive this connection further. Combining the impact of OOH media with the personal communication of mobile advertising is very powerful, and as consumer use of mobile devices increases during transportation moments, the interaction between OOH and mobile will be amplified.

How does geo-data and the use of location analytics factor into DOOH measurement for Vistar’s clients?

The biggest challenge of out-of-home historically has been that there was no real way to directly tie any impact results back to the actual campaign exposure. With location data, you can understand consumer movement enabling marketers to validate store visitation and household validation.

In-store visitation is a crucial KPI for retailers in a range of industries, from the big box retailers to telecom, QSR and casual dining. If they can invest in media and then see an increase in the number of people visiting their stores, and therefore increasing sales, that demonstrates the ROI of that ad spend and is a huge win for their business. Vistar measures foot traffic by using location data to identify audiences that have been exposed to a digital out-of-home campaign and then visited a physical store location. This provides a powerful view into the impact of OOH media exposure.

Visitation is great for retail marketers, but for some marketers in areas like automotive and CPG, sales are the final KPI that matters. In a similar way that location data tells us where someone went, it also can tell us where someone lives. Some of the largest transactional data sets for sales are stored at the household level. By combining location data with transactional data, we are able to understand what households are exposed to what ads and understand how sales were changed at a selection of households.

Are there any new programs or initiatives Vistar is planning to expand looking ahead to 2018?  

A major area of growth for us in 2018 will be expanding in international markets. We recently launched our business in Canada and are already seeing strong traction among leading brands, agencies and trading groups. We will be launching operations in the UK in January 2018 and expect to enter other European markets over the course of the year. The OOH industry in the EU is quite evolved, so we see tremendous opportunity to bring sophisticated targeting and measurement to this channel.

We will also be expanding our vertical solutions through key partnerships, to be able to extend our targeting and sales lift measurement capabilities to more industries (similar to our current solutions for automotive, retail and CPG).

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Caffeine Spike: Foot Traffic To Coffee Shops Rises Almost 2 Percent

Visits to U.S. coffee shops this year grew 1.7 percent year-over-year, location intelligence company Foursquare has found, noting that despite the ubiquity of Starbucks, it was the smaller independents that are behind the gains.

Independent coffee shops saw traffic rise 5 percent year-over-year, compared to larger coffee chains, which saw a little less than 1 percent growth during the same period.

Naturally, when it comes to loyalty, having multiple locations is clear benefit. Foursquare looked at a number of factors related to chain loyalty, such as how often and regular a coffee shop was visited as well as its share of traffic within the cafe category.

As Foursquare put it, “chains with strong food and coffee pairings inspire the most consumer loyalty.”

The top 5 coffee chains that Americans are most loyal to:

  1. Starbucks
  2. Dunkin’ Donuts
  3. Tim Horton’s
  4. Scooter’s Coffee & Yogurt
  5. Dutch Bros Coffee
QSRs vs Coffee Shops … Source: Foursquare

While loyalty is key, when it comes to actual feet walking through the door,  Philz Coffee, a San Francisco based, third-wave coffee chain, is the winner in terms of growth, something that is indicative of a larger preference for smaller brands by caffeine addicts.

According to Foursquare, Philz, which has locations in Washington, DC and Los Angeles in addition to its SF hometown, saw visits rise 11 percent since May 2016.

For the most part, it appears that the increased amount of independent coffee shops popping up around the country while larger chains have tried to be smarter about their locations amid greater competition from quick serve restaurants like McDonald’s seeking to expand its breakfast offerings in order to generate more visits throughout the day.

At the same time, Starbucks shuttered all of its 379 Teavana outlets this summer, even as U.S. sales rose 5 percent at established locations.

Coffee Shops’ Prime Times

As for when is the “prime time” for coffee shops, while a 2015  “coffee report” by Square among its retail clients found that 8:30am during the week saw the most customer activity, Foursquare, which based its analysis on foot traffic patterns and lifestyle preferences of visitors to coffee chains from its apps, Foursquare City Guide, and Foursquare Swarm, found two particular times for drawing the coffee crowd.

With regard to highest traffic spikes for coffee, a Foursquare rep said that that Saturday at 10am is the most popular moment to get coffee, as that time 15 percent busier than the rest of the week. With regard to weekdays, coffee shop foot traffic initially spikes between 8-9am, and then again around noon.

As for the most popular month: yep, thanks to Starbuck’s cult of Pumpkin Spice, October is the busiest month for coffee shops, followed by the chill of December, while promotions for National Coffee Month in August makes that the third highest in terms of foot traffic, Foursquare said.

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Target Adds Google Voice Assistant Shopping Nationwide

Target is the latest brick-and-mortar brand to sign on to accept requests made by owners of the Google Home through their voice-activated Google Assistant (aka “Okay, Google”) for delivery or pickup via its local online shopping marketplace Google Express.

In essence, the arrangement represents an expansion of Target’s existing use of Google Express.

Starting today, Target shoppers at most of its 1,800 stores in the United States can access items through Google Express and with the Google Assistant (except for Alaska and Hawaii). Target will offer two-day delivery, as well as free shipping for any orders over $35, Google says in a blog post.

Coming In 2018

Most of the capabilities of shopping through Google Express won’t be available until 2018. For example, after the new year, Target customers will also be able to use their Target loyalty membership through REDcard to get 5 percent off most Target purchases and free shipping when using Google Express. In addition, in 2018, Target shoppers will be able to link their Target.com and Google accounts, so the service will remember all their favorite items.

“We’re teaming up with Google to create innovative digital experiences using voice and other cutting-edge technologies to elevate Target’s strength in style areas such as home, apparel and beauty,” Target says. “Work is underway for Google and Target teams to bring this all to life.”

In August, Walmart unveiled plans to rollout a similar voice-activated shopping via Google Express and Google Home tools for its 4,700 U.S. stores and its fulfillment network “to create customer experiences that don’t currently exist within voice shopping anywhere else,” including choosing to pick up an order in store (often for a discount) or using voice shopping to purchase fresh groceries across the country.

These partnership on voice-activation comes roughly a year after Google Home debuted as a Connected Home product to augment Google Assistant.

“Shopping isn’t always as easy as it should be,” Sridhar Ramaswamy, SVP for Ads and Commerce, said in a blog post at the time of the Walmart deal’s announcement “When was the last time you needed to pick up something from the store but didn’t have the time to make the trip? Or you went to the store only to realize they didn’t have the brand you wanted? Wouldn’t it be nice if you could get what you want, however you want, from the stores where you already shop? We launched Google Express and shopping on the Google Assistant to do just that: make it faster and easier for you to shop your stores like Costco, Target and  Walmart.”

Okay, Google, Target shoppers are ready to talk.

Target’s Many Omnichannel Steps

For Target, the expanded Google partnership follows a series of steps designed to tackle one of the primary challenges facing its omnichannel strategy by rivals like Amazon. In August, for example, Target acquired transportation tech company Grand Junction to promise same-day delivery to customers to match one of key appeals of Amazon’s discount shopping subscription program, Prime.

It’s the latest salvo store brand has taken to meet consumers’ demands in the age of Amazon and e-commerce. Those demands include personalized recommendation and satisfying customers’ purchasing preferences, such as online shopping/in-store pickup.

But as Amazon has expanded its discounts and two-day shipping with its Prime membership option, and has just heralded its Instant Pickup option, retailers have turned to one advantage they still possess — at least for the moment — in relation to Amazon: proximity to their customers and known inventory, which makes it possible to offer the ultimate convenience of letting someone click “buy” and then having it brought to them within a few hours.

The Rise Of Connected Intelligence, The Knowledge Graph

In general, the adoption of voice-activation and on-demand delivery/pickup follows the wider capabilities stemming from the rise of Connected Intelligence and the Knowledge Graph, which have propelled personalized, one-to-one connections between brands and digital assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, Google Assistant, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Samsung’s Bixby as they enter the mainstream of consumer behavior.

While Amazon’s Alexa has assumed an early position as a leading voice-activated assistant, Google has stepped up its push into the space as its aligns its services to brick-and-mortar brands such as Panera Bread, which became one of the first national restaurant chains to begin offering voice-activated ordering and payment through Google Assistant.

The voice-activated ordering is currently available in Panera’s hometown of St. Louis and at its six locations in the Silicon Valley area. A full rollout of voice ordering is expected to come to all of Panera’s 2,000-plus U.S. locations by the end of the year, the company has said.

Other national brands that have formally aligned with Google’s voice-activated virtual assistant to accept spoken orders via the delivery marketplace Google Express, including Costco, Guitar Center, Kohl’s, L’Occitane, Payless, PetSmart, Road Runner Sports, Sur La Table, Ulta, Walgreens, and Amazon’s Whole Foods.

In the case of Target, the retailer has been aggressively — and at times, fitfully — revising its omnichannel strategy. For example, earlier this year, it decided to abandon its sub rosa e-commerce program called Goldfish, which was dubbed as the “store of the future.”

Before that, in August 2015, Target started a beacon program with Estimote to round out its in-store sales assistance. It’s unclear how vital the beacon program has been — or even whether Target has continued to use it —  since the company has not discussed those efforts publicly. Along the way, Target’s experiments with interactivity has included retail pop-ups and a showcase IoT-based connected home store in San Francisco.

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Over 60 Million People In The U.S. Will Use Voice-Enabled Assistants On A Monthly Basis This Year

Approximately 60.5 million of U.S. consumers will use voice-enabled assistants monthly or more often this year, according to an eMarketer forecast — and the heaviest usage occurs on voice-enabled speakers powered by these intelligent assistants, such as Amazon Echo and Google Home.

The fact that 65 percent of smart speaker owners use their smart speaker’s assistant daily or multiple times weekly isn’t surprising — and marketers are beginning to understand the importance of ensuring that their brand is represented when users ask their assistants to carry out tasks from “order dish soap on Amazon” to “call me a car.”

But more “novel” uses for the technology has yet to catch up to adoption as a whole, according to eMarketer’s research: Most of the skills and apps for smart speakers downloaded by consumers are not used again after two weeks.

Do Skills Work At All?

This isn’t to say that brands should explore the idea of creating skills for these devices: For example, to promote its year-old Patrón Cocktail Lab, Patron enabled its “Patrón skill” in the Alexa app on Amazon Alexa voice-enabled devices, allowing 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.

The liquor marketer launched the effort concurrently with turning to Foursquare for targeted ads — and while execs wouldn’t reveal sales figures, VP of marketing Adrian Parker said that Patrón’s business saw “double-digit growth.”

Additionally, even if such a skill isn’t widely used after two weeks, it can still generates value for the brand loyalists who stick with it — as well as showing that the brand has a presence on a platform that consumers are relying on to power more and more aspects of their daily lives.

That said, given current usage trends, marketers may do well to first focus their energy instead on improving their listings and data such that they show up in the knowledge graph. As consumers make more searches by voice expecting these kind of structured answers, the importance is only growing — and brands who prepare now will be ready for the next phase of connected intelligence.

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Snapchat’s Context Cards Extend Digital Presence Information From Outside Apps

The introduction of Snapchat’s Context Cards represent the clearest way for brands that manage their online listings to get in front of the image sharing platform’s 173 million daily users.

The company bills Context Cards as a “new way” for Snapchatters to learn about what they’re viewing via information from third–party app partners including Foursquare, TripAdvisor, Michelin, and Goop. Context Cards also offers connections to ride-hailing apps Uber and Lyft, as well as reservation platforms Open Table, Resy, and Bookatable.

Context Card in action: Using Snap’s own “Knowledge Graph” and tools like Snap Map, users can find information about places — and then make a reservation or hail a ride all without leaving the Snapchat app.

Context And Engagement

In a larger sense, Context Cards shows the expansion of the “Knowledge Graph” concept promoted by Google that aims to meet consumers’ demand for specific answers and information instead of a list of links from a search.

The Snapchat feature is similar to the mix of personalized news and place-based information that Google Now app users see via “smart cards.”

In the case of  Snapchat Context Cards, when a user sees an image of, say, a place that serves pancakes in a Snap, they can swipe up if that Snap says “More” at the bottom to see more information likes reviews about that business from partners like TripAdvisor or Foursquare, for example.

Once within the Context Cards for a specific location or venue, a user can then locate the restaurant on Snap Map, contact the restaurant directly or make a reservation (if it’s available) via Open Table, Bookatable, or Resy, and even get an Uber or Lyft to take them there — all without leaving Snapchat.

Snapchat Context Cards showcase location information and provide access to apps that will connect the user to a physical place.

It all adds up to the way Snapchat has gone from bewildering publishers, agencies, and brands as marketing partner two years ago to being an essential part of practically all major brands’ app engagement and Digital Presence Management by linking together places and related real-time information) to online/offline strategies.

No Ads, Only Organic Connection

The advent of Context Cards comes as other platforms seek ways of aligning with complementary apps. Two weeks ago, as an example, Walmart signed on to Button’s Marketplace, an app engagement and payments platform that connects matches mobile content with the ability to access related transactions without having to juggle multiple apps at once.

The Context Cards also follow the path set by previous Snap features like Geofilters, which initially allowed only users to add an image overlay telling friends their location,  and Snap Map, which debuted in June and lets Snapchatters position themselves on a map of the world while displaying crowd-sourced images and videos shared from specific locations.

Like Snap Map, ads will not appear within the Snaps found in Context at this time — that includes Snap Ads and Sponsored Creative Tools. In general, it’s worth noting that in the interest of preserving its unique user experience, ads still do not appear between Snaps in Search or Snap Map today either.

Location At The Center

The feature also puts a spotlight on the importance of location technology that Snap has relied on.

Foursquare is noted as a particular partner in Context Cards, thanks in part to its personalized discovery tools based on its location intelligence as well as its connection to a wide range of brands. But it’s not the only provider of geospatial information to Snap.

In addition to its purchase of online-to-offline attribution Placed this summer, Snap Map is also powered by navigation and geo-data visualization players Mapbox, OpenStreetMaps, and DigitalGlobe. On the advertising side, Snap also works with geo-data specialist Factual and location-based ad targeting and analytics provider GroundTruth.

Overall, Snap relies on a sophisticated combination of internal and external signals to determine relationships between venues and locations. Together with location intelligence from its partners, it been able to build a strong knowledge graph, the value and accuracy of which will continue to grow stronger.

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How Discount Grocer Lidl Can Build Store Traffic Following US Launch

After experiencing a favorable introduction for its first 20 U.S. grocery stores in , German discount chain Lidl has been trying to establish its footing as it continues its East Coast expansion.

According to analysis by proximity platform inMarket, the dip in foot-traffic Lidl has seen at some of its stores in North Carolina and Virginia is afflicting others in the discount grocery space as Walmart ramped up its challenge against Amazon’s Whole Foods and Target.

Finding Traction

Lidl, which runs over 10,000 stores across 28 countries, “launched with a bang” this past June 15th, inMarket’s report notes. The company’s U.S. stores drew a decent 2.6 percent Share of Visits (SOV, as inMarket abbreviates it) on its introduction to the U.S. market.

The U.S. launch by Lidl appeared to take customers from another discount retailer BI-LO, which saw a decrease in visits from May to June, inMarket says. North Carolina- based Harris Teeter, which is a subsidiary of supermarket chain Kroger, also lost SOV in June, suggesting that consumers went to compare shopping at Lidl. (We’ve reached out to Lidl’s PR department and will update accordingly.)

Lidl saw an initial burst of store visits in the US this summer, but traffic has since declined.

But rather than cannibalizing the direct competition, inMarket points to Walmart’s gravitational pull as representing the biggest problem smaller supermarkets are facing, as the retail giant attracts about 30 percent of grocery visits.

“Many of those visits [to Walmart] are likely to involve grocery purchases,” inMarket says. “It’s interesting to note that Walmart dropped from 30 percent SOV in May to 29 percent SOV in June — perhaps as its cost-conscious shoppers went to check out Lidl. Fellow mass merch chain Target remained at from May to June at 9.3 percent SOV in these markets.”

Conquesting Reconsidered

Despite Lidl’s sudden rise, and its direct rivals’ dip in visits around the time of its debut, BI-LO, Walmart and Harris Teeter have all recovered SOV as of September, inMarket notes.

“It’s still very early for the retailer, so there’s definitely potential to turn things around,” inMarket Communications VP Dave Heinzinger tells GeoMarketing. “From our perspective, we know that location-based digital ad programs can help offline retailers drive foot traffic into stores.”

One area for Lidl US to explore is managing the digital presence of its growing network of American locations. Ensuring that consumers have the right discovery tools associated with digital presence management — nearest addresses for online searches, store hours, contact details, and reviews — could quickly expand its initial customer gains.

Heinzinger is interested to see if Lidl could make an impact by targeting competitive shoppers via smart, location-based retargeting programs. (For the record, Lidl does not employ inMarket, which relied on location data from the 50 million consumers who use the company’s partner apps).

“For example, our data shows that BI-LO and Walmart had dips in SOV during Lidl’s launch in June, while Whole Foods did not,” Heinzinger adds. “A top-line recommendation might be to focus on their strongest audience — the cost-conscious shopper — by conquesting BI-LO and Walmart shoppers through online-to-offline retargeting. They might also skip wasting dollars/impressions on uninterested Whole Foods shoppers.”

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