Think With Google: In Searches, “Near Me” Is Now Implied

The growth in searches for local places without a location qualifier (“near me,” zip code) has outpaced searches that do include “near me,” according to new research from Think With Google — a trend that indicates that location relevance is now all but assumed by consumers making voice and text searches.

“Near me” searches first spiked in 2015, and this (rightly) turned marketers’ attention to the growing importance of location in search; after all, 76 percent of location searches result in a visit to a physical location within a day. But if people are still turning to their smartphones to discover goods and services in the world around them, why drop the “near me?”

“People [now] know that the results will automatically be relevant to their location — thanks to their phone,” writes Google’s Lisa Gevelber. “It’s kind of magical.”

Here’s why: As search results have evolved pursuant to customers’ real-time, “near me” desires, they’ve become increasingly mapped to the physical world: For example, Google’s mapped “three-pack” of results appears at the top of search results. Additionally, if a consumer searches for “new car,” they don’t simply see links — they see the knowledge card, with prices, configurations, features of cars for sale, and more, all seamlessly. As we wrote earlier this year, Google now assumes people are looking for something in the physical world, which wasn’t the case several years ago.

All of this appears to have rendered the “near me” search irrelevant — even as people expect more location-specific, targeted content than ever. So, what’s a local business to do?

Data Matters More

First, this shift in search behavior underscores the importance of businesses preparing their underlying data layer: Online listings that are correct, consistent, and have all location information comprehensively integrated will rank higher in search results — and appearing at the top of results based on relevant content will be more important as zip codes and/or city names are omitted from searches.

Secondly, businesses need to continue to focus on the shift to voice: In fact, over 20 percent of searches in the Google app are now made by voice — making up a significant portion of the “implied” local searches that Google is talking about. Local brick-and-mortars need able to provide the answers that people want when they make on-the-go searches via voice.

Google Maps’ new Q&A feature may have significant influence here — and once again, this also means that the data people most often search for (hours, address, et cetera) needs to be listed accurately and be ready for consumption by “traditional” search engines and intelligent assistants alike.

And given that for every online purchase resulting from a search Google sees multi-channel retailers receive an additional 400 in-store visits, expect to see this “new frontier” for SEO matter immensely for brick-and-mortars in particular.

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Travel Trends In The Twenty-Tens: What Marketers Need To Know

Back in 2009, the travel industry looked as though it needed a vacation of its own. Millions of families and businesses were hit by the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, and the first kinds of budgets to be cut were those allotted for vacations. However, it’s been a while since then, and a lot has happened — people are finally letting loose a bit, and spending more on travel. In fact, if we check the travel industry growth between 2015 and 2016, we can see a staggering 46 million increase in the number of tourists worldwide [UNWTO World Tourism Barometer].

These are fantastic numbers and figures, but one might ask why? It seems that many people, 72 percent in fact, have come to grasps with the transitory and superficial nature of material objects. Instead, all signs point to people opting for the immaterial, and sometimes more profound, experience of travel. What’s driving this movement? On one hand, it’s a phenomenon sprouted from our social, interconnected lives and the illustrious “FOMO” that comes with it. On the other hand, it’s the virtual validation that individuals receive from posting about their experiences. In 2017, 55 percent of travelers said that they publicly posted holiday pictures from their respective trips to receive praise and validation amongst their peers , as opposed to taking photos for the sake of privately capturing memories from the destinations for  themselves. [Expedia Travel Survey]

Although these clearly suggest that social is at the heart of the modern travel experience, data is telling us more about the new mindset of travelers and what they’re prioritizing. Five big trends came from our research, all presenting valuable opportunities for travel, hospitality, and tourism brands.

 1.     Sustainable Tourism

71 percent of travelers plan to make eco-friendly choices in the next 12 months, in contrast to what was only 45 percent one year ago. In addition to this, 58 percent of travelers said their choices are affected by whether or not the hotel gives back to the local community, and 66 percent of global consumers prefer to buy products and services from brands that give back to society [TripAdvisor]. Why? It seems that in this age of political turmoil and ecological crisis, individuals support only the companies whose values are aligned with those of their own, especially when it comes to luxury purchases and consumerism. It’s in these particular cases that marketers must take social responsibility into account. By advertising the charitable aspects of the brands, you’re telling people why they should want your product, as well as why they should also feel good about buying it over the competition – a strategy that will be especially effective with millennial travelers. 

2.     The “Bucket List Effect”

75 percent of travelers say they’d like to visit travel destinations that none of their friends have visited before. Additionally, 80 percent of travelers expressed interest in escaping the usual tourist traps on their next holiday [Experiential Travel Survey]. It turns out that people enjoy having unique experiences they can claim as their own, as opposed to traveling to the same popularly visited destinations that will provide them with the same basic pictures that everybody else has in their photo-albums or social platforms. This means that people are always on the prowl for a trendy destination – giving marketers an opportunity to showcase “under-rated” locales which enable their ads to stand out more and drive curiosity; a powerful duo that can exponentially increase sales.

 3.     The Experience Connoisseurs

As we all should know by now, one thing that social media does best is bestow its users with an inflated sense of importance. We clearly see this when confronted with the fact that 70 percent of connected travelers see themselves as “experience connoisseurs”, and believe that their ambassadorship of places can reach new markets to influence others. They can believe what they want to believe; it’s better for us that way, because this mentality is what has been driving social media towards the center of the vacation experience. 40 percent of travelers use social media to store their memories from their holiday experience –  a strong sign that we should be targeting travelers, particularly those with a large influential following, via social media sites.

 4.     Airport Dwell time

The average Global airport dwell time is 137 minutes – a large chunk of time that’s essentially wasted for most people. It’s both our job, and an incredible opportunity, to create meaningful stimulation(s) in an often hectic and mind-numbing environment. One innovative solution recently carried out by New Zealand Tourism within the country’s airports was to roll out Wi-Fi and data services for foreign tourists so they could download content and information required for their airline travel. It goes without saying, the possibilities are endless when you factor your audiences and the locations/situations they may find themselves in!

 5.  Mobile-first

Finally, we arrive at the subject of mobile devices. More than 50 percent of travelers’ research, planning, and way-finding is performed solely on mobile devices [Amadeus]. This is a number that we shouldn’t be surprised to see, as trends indicate that these statistics will only continue to shoot upwards.  We should take this into account when we develop plans and strategies. Thanks to location services, many social applications and map services will have data to  tell you when a person is stationary or traveling out of town. Tapping into this data is crucial towards understanding and mapping the entire traveler’s journey, and further building upon the ways in which we can contextually drive transactions.

*Anne Lim is the global head of product strategy for Aviator Worldwide at WPP’s Kinetic agency.

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Geo 101: What Marketers Should Know About The Future Of Search

From geo-targeting to voice search, technology is opening up a world of possibilities for marketers. But it’s also complicated, as new capabilities and use cases seem to emerge every day.

With the goal of breaking down some of the most important concepts to provide a better understanding of the basics — and a jumping off point for exploring how far the power of location may take us — we introduce the next installment of our GeoMarketing 101 series: what marketers need to know about the future of search.

How Search Has Changed

Early in the smartphone era, “search” still meant something relatively simple for marketers: A consumer would type a query into a search engine (usually Google), and the results page would display a list of relevant website results as blue links. The goal for businesses, then, was to show up in this list of results through paid (search ads) or unpaid (SEO tactics like ranking for specific keywords, etc) means.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is still of critical importance for marketers — especially for local businesses, who live and die by their ability to be discovered online by consumers in the area: In fact, approximately 80 percent of US internet users prefer to turn to a search engine to find or look up information about local businesses.

But search has changed since these (relatively recent) days in which a query would result in a list of webpages. Today, “search is intelligent — and when you search for things, you get direct, structured answers,” said Howard Lerman, CEO at Yext in a keynote earlier this year. (full disclosure: Yext is GeoMarketing’s parent company. More details on that relationship here).

Essentially, if a consumer searches for “new car,” they don’t simply see links — they see the knowledge card, with prices, configurations, features of cars for sale, and more, all seamlessly. Similarly, if someone Googles groceries or banks, they get maps back; Google now assumes someone is looking for a place if they search for something present in the physical world.

This evolution in how search results are displayed is only one half of the puzzle. The other major change on the horizon is how people are reaching this information, period: 20 percent of searches within the Google app are by voice, and the volume of voice searches is growing across the board — particularly those facilitated by intelligent assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri. In this year’s 2016 Internet Trends report, venture capitalist analyst Mary Meeker cited Google Trends statistics that keywords associated with “voice-related commands” have risen 35x since 2008, when Apple and Google first unveiled their respective speech-activated controls, and continue to climb.

One more key “future of search” statistic for marketers to take into account: By 2020, an estimated 50 percent of searches will come from images and voice.

The Evolution Of SEO

So, how can marketers drive foot traffic in the age of intelligent search — and be prepared for what’s coming next?

As we’ve written in the past, brick-and-mortar retailers might begin with three ways to think about being present in the key moments when people are searching for something to do or buy, as presented by Lerman and Google’s Biran Kalaria at Retail Week Live:

Think about the entities fundamental to your business. “You need to be in the knowledge graph,” Lerman said. This means that a restaurant, for example, needs to list its menu and locations — so that that Google will then know its menu items and the eatery will shows up in the results if a consumer searches for “pancakes.” Similarly, for a bank, the fundamental entities might be branches and ATM locations. It’s about being listed comprehensively and accurately in all of the relevant categories so as to be discoverable; and, of course, the SEO basics of listing correct address, name, and phone number still matter.

Think about ‘deep knowledge.’ Consider all of the attributes that drive intelligent search. It’s not enough to show up in a search for “Tesco;” a supermarket needs to show up if a consumer makes a voice search for “groceries,” for example. Think about all the paths that consumers take when searching on mobile, with voice search, and more in order to show up in “unbranded” situations.

Think about where your consumers are in terms of services and platforms. Do they search on Google? Do they use Snapchat, or are they more likely to be on Instagram — or both? Alexa? Are they using Uber? Businesses today need to push their information to all of these digital services; it’s not enough to just put it on the web.

Going beyond this, how can marketers think about the near future, in which intelligent assistants may be responsible for providing even more answers to consumers — and in which image search matters, too?

“Brands [need to get their] underlying data layer ready for consumption by these devices,” J. Walter Thompson’s Elizabeth Cherian told GeoMarketing in a conversation at Cannes Lions. “It’s like the new SEO. The question is, how do you build into your product and services such as the voice assistance sees you as the best option? That’s something we think brands should be thinking about right now.”

In the near future, “could there be paid recommendation? Could you, as a brand, pay to have a voice assistant recommend your brand? Especially when there isn’t that bond already formed [with a particular brand],” Cherian suggested.

In the meantime, though, physical businesses can focus on, as Cherian said, readying their underlying data layer — making sure that they’re up to date on all SEO best practices, ensuring correct and current listings, and utilizing effective visuals — so that they’re discoverable whether searches are made by text, voice, or image.

“Just like mobile didn’t kill the desktop, apps didn’t kill the browser, the mix of visual, voice, and text will combine in ways that are natural extensions of user behavior,” said Bing Ads’ Purna Virji. “We’ll use those tools depending on the specific need and situation at the moment.”

Read more about the future of search:

How Will Visual And Voice Search Evolve?

As Social, Voice, And Visual Search Rises, YP Finds That Websites Remain ‘Foundational’ For Locals

Geo 101: What Is Voice Search

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Geo 101: What Marketers Need To Know About Chatbots

From geo-targeting to voice search, technology is opening up a world of possibilities for marketers. But it’s also complicated, as new capabilities and use cases seem to emerge every day.

With the goal of breaking down some of the most important concepts to provide a better understanding of the basics — and a jumping off point for exploring how far the power of location may take us — we introduce the next installment of our GeoMarketing 101 series: what marketers need to know about chatbots.

What Are Chatbots?

Put simply, a chatbot refers to a computer program designed to simulate conversation with human users, responding to texts or other forms of digital chat.

Chatbots able to respond to a to a greeting (“hello, how are you?”) or a simple query have been around for a while, and plenty of older Millennials probably remember the SmarterChild bot of the 90’s in particular. But today, advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and Natural Language processing (NLP) concurrent with the rise of voice-activated intelligent assistants, like Amazon Alexa, have given chatbots stronger conversational abilities by allowing them to learn over time, thereby beginning to expand the possibilities for their use.

With that in mind, it’s fairly easy to see how these bots can be a boon to marketers. Consumers often have far more questions for businesses — ranging from inquiries about products to seeking help navigating a website — than human employees can deal with in an efficient or profitable manner. With bots becoming “smarter,” marketers are increasingly using the technology to engage customers in-app, answer questions, and help build the personalized, one-to-one relationships that today’s consumers seek.

As Trevor Hardy, chief executive at The Future Laboratory, explained to retailers at this year’s Retail Week Live, “we certainly think the future of retail is about service, and about the human element of service — but [it doesn’t all] have to be provided by humans.”

How Chatbots Can Drive Engagement

Messaging apps draw over 4.1 billion users worldwide, indicating that the appetite for this type of communication is functionally universal. But perhaps the more striking figure is the reliance on messaging apps — both for communicating with friends and with brands — amongst the youngest segment of the population: A majority of Gen-z teens (52 percent) say they spend three or more hours per day on messaging apps, but texting doesn’t rank in their top three mobile activities at all, according to Think With Google.

These statistics indicate a strong potential willingness to communicate with brands via text-based means. But in considering how (and whether) to implement chatbots part of a marketing strategy, brands may wonder if consumers are turned off by the idea of knowing they’re conversing with a bot. Does the technology make users feel like they’re getting a personalized response to their questions — or does it seem inhuman?

AI chatbots are still in their infancy. But recent examples underscore the idea that bots can actually drive as high — or higher — engagement than personal brand representatives themselves. Take, for instance, the example of CoverGirl’s “KalaniBot,” a chatbot inspired by one of the brand’s key influencers, actress and model Kalani Hilliker. Far from seeming impersonal or “scaring off” fans, the KalaniBot actually saw 14x the engagement of the live Kalani when she was just doing some promotion on Instagram and Snapchat.

The same trend appeared to hold true in the banking sector as well: While the company declined to release exact figures, HSBC earlier this year reported having driven a marked increase in engagement with the launch of its chatbot — which outperformed banner ads across platforms.

As Masthead Media’s Amanda Pressner Kreuser put it in an article for Inc., “the evolution of chatbots makes them ideal for marketing or as an alternative way to distribute media. If they are scripted well, these bots can mimic a conversation with a customer in a tone that reflects the brand’s identity.”

So, if marketers can identify a clear purpose for deploying chatbots — communicating with millions of customers of a global brand (like Sephora, for instance), or reaching Gen-Z shoppers through improved messaging options — statistics indicate that the technology is a smart bet for driving engagement. And with the rise of connected intelligence and voice search linked to marked advancements in AI, the future of chatbots is likely to be much more sophisticated than we can imagine today.

Read more:

Millennials Are Ready To Embrace AI

How Pitney Bowes Is Using Chatbots To Anticipate CRM Problems

NatGeo And 360i Show The ‘Genius’ Of Using Chatbots As A Marketing Tool

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Over 80 Percent Of Millennials Want In-App, In-Store Payments

Approximately 80 percent of Millennials are interested in taking checkout into their own hands with scan-and-go payments, scanning products in-store and then paying via an app, according to an eMarketer report based on research from Acosta — but only three percent of retailers have up-to-date “checkout and payment for a customer’s own device” in place.

Millennial and Gen-Z shoppers haven’t completely turned their backs on “traditional” in-store commerce. But this growing disconnect could prove a serious issue for retailers at a time when many long-standing brick-and-mortars are struggling to drive foot traffic.

After all, smartphones “increasingly factor into the retail experience, and younger people are leading in usage,” the report states. “The Acosta data is consistent with findings that the majority of millennials would pay for purchases in-store using an app.”

POS Investment

Approximately 82 percent of Millennials believe it’s important for a brand to have physical stores, and statistics like this indicate that younger shoppers still desire the unique experience that brick-and-mortars can offer. But the friction caused by long checkout lines or understaffed retail flagships is more of a turn off than ever; after all, with same-day on-demand delivery expectations, it’s a rare consumer who will put up with an excessive wait.

As such, it pays for retailers to invest in updated POS checkout lane technologies now — whether that means accepting a wider range of mobile payments and/or enabling scan-and-go in app payment.

Plenty have wondered if the “tipping point” for contactless pay has actually arrived, but Acosta’s research indicates that the appetite is certainly there — and that 80 percent of Millennials interested in scan-and-go payments could represent up to $160 billion in purchasing power.

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BIA/Kelsey: Mobile Search Is Cannibalizing Desktop

The dominance of mobile and social is having a demonstrative impact on search, particularly at the local level, BIA/Kelsey’s latest local media marketplace forecast finds.

Local search on desktop devices will grow at a 5.7 percent CAGR. As more search activity takes place on mobile devices, mobile is cannibalizing search dollars from desktop.

As the use of Connected Intelligence via voice-activated assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, Okay Google, Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana continue to make the move into the mainstream, local search is only going to undergo greater upheaval. The changes wrought by mobile versus desktop will be mirrored by the shift from screen to speaking.

That said, the full impact of voice is still just gathering.

At the present, BIA/Kelsey’s report finds trends of past years fully ingrained in marketers’ spending patterns, as online/digital is projected to grow at 13.5 percent, from $44.2 billion in 2016 to $50.2 billion in 2017.

In comparison, traditional print and broadcast will combine for a decrease of 2.4 percent, falling from $101.1 billion in 2016 to $98.6 billion in 2017.

Overall, total local ad dollars in the U.S. to reach $148.8 billion in 2017, up from $145.2 billion this year, representing a growth rate of 2.4 percent.

“A range of factors will drive local ad revenues higher in 2017 and through the end of the next year,” said Mark Fratrik, SVP and chief economist at BIA/Kelsey. “An improving U.S. economy, increased spending by national brands in local media channels, extraordinary growth in mobile and social advertising, and the continued expansion and selection of online/digital advertising platforms. In fact, we are predicting that online/digital local ad share will exceed the share of print media by 2018.”

Online/digital revenues are generated by online companies that sell locally targeted advertising that includes display, search and classified/vertical advertising. The advertisements are sold by local pure-play online companies, national online companies offering geo-targeted advertising, and local traditional media groups’ online/digital efforts.

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Think With Google: 20 Percent Of Searches In The Google App Are Now By Voice

Over 20 percent of searches in the Google app are now made by voice, according to a recent report from Think With Google —  a statistic that reinforces the need for businesses to think about how their data will be consumed and discovered in the age of voice.

This increased reliance on voice isn’t surprising in light of related trends: Voice-activated device usage has climbed 130 percent over the past year, and over 50 percent of Millennial (18-34) use voice commands once a month or more. Still, the top takeaway of TWG’s “future of marketing” report is that, while consumers will continue to rely on their smartphones in “micro-moments” to decide where to go and what to buy, the means by which they will seek this assistance is evolving, “from typing on devices to speaking to them.”

The Right Answers

But as Google’s Ben Brown put it last month, while people are enthusiastically “interacting with more and more different voices in our lives, everything about how [marketers approach] voice-activated assistants is going to be centered around: It’s got to be user-friendly.”

In other words, businesses need to be able to provide the answers that people want when they make on-the-go searches via voice — meaning that the data people most often search for (hours, address, and more) needs to be listed accurately and be ready for consumption by “traditional” search engines and intelligent assistants alike. And given that for every online purchase resulting from a search Google sees multi-channel retailers receive an additional 400 in-store visits, this “new frontier” for SEO matters immensely for brick-and-mortars in particular.

“[This really is] like the new SEO,” J. Walter Thompson’s Elizabeth Cherian told GeoMarketing at Cannes Lions last month. “Brands [need to get their] underlying data layer ready for consumption by these devices.”

How? “They need to look first at the idea of algorithm optimization,” Cherian said. “The question [to start asking] is, how do you build into your product and services such as the voice assistant sees you as the best option?”

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How Shinola ‘Rolled Up Its Sleeves’ To Link Location Insights With Outdoor Ads

In its outdoor ad campaign that kicked off in New York this past March, Shinola sought to tap into the old-fashioned virtues of “hard work” while showcasing its aura as a startup that is bent on “giving back” to the communities its in.

The Roll Up Our Sleeves campaign reflects the ideals of the luxury manufacturer and retailer that sells everything from retro-stylized watches to bicycles to leather goods and stereo equipment.

The brand, which was launched in 2011 by a Texas investment group and adopted Detroit as its manufacturing headquarters, wanted to hone in on specific audience segments in places that indicated a sense of shared values and interests. And that’s where the focus on employing location-based analytics and targeting came into play.

“The ability to connect with very specific set of buyers based on their real-world affinities is a powerful one,” said Jacques Panis, president of Shinola. “One of our goals is ensuring we deliver unique experiences that resonate best with our buyers.”

“We can engage with very distinct audiences that fit within our core audience, such as those who stay at boutique hotels, work in creative roles, and purchase items from artisanal eateries, for example,” Panis added. “With location-aware context and dynamic ad units, we’ve been able to deliver increased relevancy to buyers, which significantly drives store traffic and sales.”

Location-Marketing Messages

But aside from demonstrating its cool factor, Shinola’s ad campaign was also intended to appeal to locals’ sense of earnestness. Rather than just focusing on the attractive products themselves, the campaign features “people who have benefitted their communities through hard work and innovation,” says Elizabeth Fermon, associate media director, MullenLowe Mediahub.

Among the people featured on the billboards are Nadine Harris, who is the founder and CEO of the Center for Youth Wellness; Brit Gilmore, president of the Giving Keys, which helps youth transitioning out of homelessness; Richard Garcia, the founder Alma Backyard Farms, who gives people that were previously incarcerated a chance to give back to their communities through farming.

But in order to ensure that the right consumers were getting the message at the right time — such as when they were commuting to work — Mediahub teamed up with geo-data specialist PlaceIQ to analyze the links between the billboards, the stores, and consumers’ location habits across Shinola’s six key markets: Detroit, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, DC, and San Francisco.

“PlaceIQ would know if people walked by one of the out-of-home ads and then message them,”Fermon told GeoMarketing. “We also used the data on those targets to understand where they tend to go in their respective cities. Shinola had a relatively small marketing budget, so one of the goals was to minimize waste and communicate directly with interested consumers.”

Geofencing the stores was another important aspect of extending the outdoor effort to on-the-go consumers. PlaceIQ helped deliver targeted messages around the stores that were personalized for each location and city.

Shinola’s Detroit retail location

An Online/Offline Audience Extension Strategy

Relying on location data would help Shinola better understand and segment consumer audiences, and allow it to develop “dynamic creative” mobile ad units based on unique audience affinities, noted Drew Breunig, PlaceIQ’s SVP Strategy.

“The dynamic mobile creative took up the themes and stores from the out-of-home execution and made them interactive and personal,” Breunig said. “One of the pleasures of working with Shinola is how well they understand their consumers and their story.”

“We weren’t expecting to find any surprises,”Breunig continued. “But what we did find was greater insight and detail on top of what already existed. People who go to coffee shops, vegan restaurants, jazz clubs – these are people who are seeking out direct experiences. And that’s something Shinola as a brand can tap into and relate to as well.”

The campaign also demonstrated how geo-data and the concepts associated with location-based advertising are also influencing the creative aspects, not just ad delivery and targeting.

The specific messages in the campaign were based on the location an ad was served and interactive product galleries for audiences to explore Shinola products. These custom creative units featured recognizable landmarks and local icons, such as San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, and played a key role in helping to optimize brand exposure among key consumer audiences, Fermon said.

Shinola in NYC

It Comes Down To Metrics

Attribution — knowing whether someone who saw a billboard, and then saw the mobile extension of it, went into a store as a result — represents the ultimate value, Fermon noted.

While Shinola isn’t revealing the final results, the companies say that they were able to track customers are a particularly deep level.

“PlaceIQ would know if people walked by one of the out-of-home ads and then message them,” Fermon said. “We also used the data on those targets to understand where they tend to go in their respective cities. Shinola had a relatively small marketing budget, so one of the goals was to minimize waste and communicate directly with interested consumers.”

A recent trend among a number of platform companies and location marketing specialists involves a guarantee for performance of whether their ads achieved their aims for brick-and-mortar visitation.

In March, discount shopping app Retale rolled out its “Store Traffic Guarantee” for ad campaigns on its platform a week after location marketplace GroundTruth (formerly known as xAd) released its Cost-Per-Visit ad format with Applebee’s and The Home Depot.

In a blog post published last month, Duncan McCall, CEO and Co-Founder, PlaceIQ, offered a critique of the Cost-Per-Visit model, suggesting that “the allure of simplicity is concealing some troubling details.”

“We don’t have an issue with Cost-Per-Visit per se, but we do have a huge issue with the way it’s being measured and spent,” said Breunig. “In our investigations, the match-rate has averaged out to 0.4 percent on the high end and 0.2 percent on the low end.

If you’re looking at just that and a handful of billboards, as in the case of the Shinola campaign, that’s just “untenable,” Breunig said.

“Given that we believe that Place Visit Rate is a strong way to measure the efficacy of a campaign, and because we’re not using a panel to do that, we have statistical significance that we can start to apply across all the mobile markets associated with the campaign,” he added “My issue is with taking that small match-rate size, where you’re only looking at maybe a couple hundred people while charging for millions of impressions off of that. That is a bad step for the industry.”

As for Fermon, Mediahub is continuing to examine ways that location data can provide deeper insights into consumers’ place-based patterns.

“One of our core principles is helping brands reinvent the way they market to consumers,” said Fermon. “Our approach to increasing store traffic was by marrying data and creative in a unique way in our key markets, by continuing the message beyond OOH and by surrounding the places our targets frequent, like The Ace Hotel in LA or the Hudson River Park in NYC. By creating dynamic messaging based on consumers’ location Shinola continues to embody its strengths as an innovative brand that delivers a localized experience in every city, both in their advertising and in their stores.”

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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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Verve German Acquisition Pushes Mobile Ad Platform Deeper Into Proximity-Targeting

A year after began building up its presence in Europe with the opening of its London base, Verve has made its first acquisition on the continent with the purchase of German push-marketing specialists matchinguu GmbH.

The deal accomplishes two main goals Verve has been pursuing for the past 15 months.

First, matchinguu GmbH will give Verve access to German publishers and advertisers in Europe. Secondly, it expands Verve’s focus on connecting outdoor geotargeting along with indoor proximity marketing. Verve first explored indoor marketing with its acquisition of beacon platform Roximity in June 2016.

Specifically, four-year-old matchinguu GmbH’s proximity-based push and in-app notification tools will be folded into the enterprise-focused program called Verve Velocity, which is part of Verve’s effort to turn the one-time mobile ad network into a “one-stop-stop” for location-based ad targeting, data, and insights.

“[The purchase of matchinguu GmbH] checked a lot of boxes for Verve,” Fi Taylor, Marketing Manager International, told GeoMarketing’s Lauryn Chamberlain in Cannes last week. “It gives us  a push Notification product immediately. That will mean Verve can adopt that product, and we can then overlay our intelligence and location ad tech story that we’ve built up over the past 10 years.”

In essence, matchinguu GmbH will help Verve’s clients reach new European audiences with “enhanced mobile advertising experiences aligned to the unique needs and expectations of consumers in the EU,” the company said in a statement.

Considering that Germany is Western Europe’s second largest advertising market, plus the fact that Germany’s mobile ad spend is expected to reach $3.5 billion in 2017, the deal comes at a good time for Verve to broaden its reach.

“The acquisition came naturally, thanks to the complementary technologies and both parties having similar missions: enabling great storytelling through location-powered data,” said Ian James, Verve’s International GM. “We are opening the doors to Germany’s foremost push technology; working together will make our offering even stronger for our clients and bring Verve firmly into the heart of Europe. Consumers demand relevance and engagement that is as seamless as possible and this acquisition will empower us to deliver this more than ever.”

“matchinguu GmbH’s mission has always been to deliver a premium location data solution for our clients, allowing them to expand their storytelling capabilities beyond the norm, which has always been a core focus of Verve,” said Felix Heberle, CEO, matchinguu GmbH. “I am very excited to see the results of our businesses joining forces, not only in Europe but also in the US market.”

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