Uber Brings Back Uber Offers As ‘Visa Local Offers’

Uber has reintroduced its Uber Offers program as Visa Local Offers, allowing users to get 10 percent back on Uber rides for using the Visa card linked to their Uber account at select local merchants — a move that both deepens the tie between brick-and-mortars and on-demand providers and stands to boost foot traffic to local businesses.

The program offers clear benefits for Uber, local businesses, and Visa: Businesses boost discovery through Uber’s vast user base; Uber stands to increase rides by betting that the resulting 10 percent discount will encourage riders to choose Uber over a competitor; and Visa gets cardholders to spend more at both businesses and on Uber rides in order to unlock the promotion.

“You don’t even have to Uber to the location,” Uber said in a statement. “Just use your card around town like you usually do.”

Uber’s Visa Local Offers merchants for August include Walgreens, Denny’s, Petco, and others.

On-Demand Boosts Brick-And-Mortar

In addition to being a potential driver for local store visits, the program looks likely to appeal to brands due to the “captive audience” element: When people are on a car ride, they can’t get up and leave, and they are (most likely) looking at their smartphones. Showing them participating merchants and offers then — as Uber does — makes them more likely to be responsive, especially considering that the offer is going to translate to a discount for an app they (clearly) already use.

The main question after the reintroduction of the program might be this: Can local SMBs — who live and die by local foot traffic even more than major chains with a web presence — participate as much as the Walgreens of the world? And, if they do, will it make a significant difference in the age of competing with Amazon?

Uber didn’t respond to a request to comment at this time. But promotions of this variety remain a smart bet for retailers looking for a low-cost way to further bridge the online and offline worlds — even as the extent of the impact on physical sales remains to be seen.

In any case, as brands realize the local discovery advantages conferred by on-demand services, a great deal more of these “pay to play” offer partnerships are likely to emerge. It is also continued reminder that Uber’s transformation from an on-demand app to a full-fledged marketing platform has finally taken place — and the company will continue to invest its energy there in the future.

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IAB Working Group Aims To Develop Marketing Standards For Artificial Intelligence

The Interactive Advertising Bureau has established a working group of industry executives to tackle three areas that will shape the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning in the digital marketing space: recruiting talent, developing new approaches to creativity, and establishing insights.

The IAB AI/Machine Learning for Marketing Purposes Working Group is headed by Co-Chairs Patrick Albano, Chief Revenue Officer of AdTheorent, and Jordan Bitterman, CMO of IBM’s the Weather Company.

The Weather Company has been particularly aggressive in using IBM’s AI and machine learning system, Watson, to power campaigns for the likes of Campbell Soup Company, Unilever, and GSK Consumer Healthcare.

“Transforming ourselves and industries is part of The Weather Company DNA,” Jeremy Steinberg, TWC’s Head of Global Sales, told us earlier this year. “We’ve embraced big data and leveraged it to improve every aspect of our business, from forecast accuracy to ad targeting. Now we’ve set our sights on cognition. We believe human interaction is the new ‘search,’ and that cognitive advertising is the next frontier in marketing – and we’re leading the charge to make it a reality.”

The Weather Company is in the process of establishing the Watson Ads Council, which will include a marketers who will act as a sounding board for the latest ways of leveraging Watson Ads and the use of artificial intelligence for brands.

The IAB is expected to amplify and organize existing efforts at using AI and machine learning for advertising.

Citing a Forrester prediction that by 2020, Albano wrote a blog post introducing the working group by nothing “the companies that effectively master AI will steal $1.2 trillion per year from those that don’t… If you’re not thinking about it yet, hold your wallet because the race is on.”

In addition to the three initial subjects the working group plans to tackle, Albano also highlighted these areas of interest that will be on the agenda as well:

  • Understanding how AI and ML will impact our business
  • Simplifying, defining and setting standards for the space as it relates to the advertising and marketing industry
  • Organizing tools for the industry to plan ahead
  • Thinking about responsible usage of AI so that humans and machines work well together into the future

The assembling of the working group on AI follows the publication of the IAB’s  “playbook” on understanding location-based advertising in April.

On the talent development front, Albano offered a military analogy to what digital marketing companies face in terms of finding the right people to move AI and machine learning programs ahead.

“Recruiting people is hard as so much of the decision is based on timing and circumstance,” Albano wrote. “A cliché approach to recruiting for the armed services is ‘setting up a table in a shopping mall,’ which is similar to the way that a lot of advertising targeting works – make a broad assumption (potential recruits will visit the mall) and hope for the best (maybe our sign will attract them).

“The US Air Force took a different approach earlier this year by using Machine Learning to analyze the different attributes of young men and women across the US and predictively target the people most likely to volunteer for service,” he continued. “This not only takes the guess work out of advertising, but it also identifies hard-to-reach audiences with the right message.”

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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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How Many New Customers Will Amazon Gain From Whole Foods Acquisition?

Amazon acquired Whole Foods for $13.7 billion last month in a move aimed at solving Amazon’s grocery ambitions as well as addressing Whole Foods’ lagging tech — but how many new customers are Amazon and Whole Foods actually set to gain from the acquisition, respectively?

According to research from 1010data, the move is set to benefit both companies from a consumer spend perspective beyond just the delivery and technology benefits that the acquisition conferred: The 19 percent of Whole Foods customers who don’t shop at Amazon creates an estimated five percent increase in net new customers for Amazon right off the bat.

Prime Members Spend More

“In examining customers who shopped more than once at Whole Foods from June 2016 – May 2017, we found that 81 percent of Whole Foods shoppers are already customers of Amazon,” 101data’s report states. “On the flip side, 29 percent of Amazon’s customers also shop at Whole Foods. The 19 percent of Whole Foods customers who don’t shop at Amazon creates a five percent increase in net new customers for Amazon after the acquisition. On top of that, of all Whole Foods shoppers, 52 percent are Prime members — meaning half of Whole Foods’ customers are already regarded as key Amazon shoppers.”

Additionally, Prime members tend to spend more at Whole Foods, according to the report — so as Amazon continues to acquire more Prime subscribers, it should be a spending boon to both entities, which is another factor that may have influenced Amazon’s acquisition decision.

And as far as Amazon’s professed grocery delivery ambitions? Whole Foods shoppers reportedly have a higher propensity for online grocery shopping, with 10 percent of Whole Foods customers having used an online grocery delivery service in the past 12 months; for comparison, only 5-6 percent of Albertson’s and Kroger’s customers bought groceries online in the same period, which “makes Whole Foods shoppers desirable for a company like Amazon that’s trying to expand their grocery delivery footprint,” the report concludes.

It will take time to for the full benefits of the acquisition to materialize: How (and how soon) will Whole Foods’ traffic — both in terms of its physical stores and its online delivery orders — increase under Amazon’s ownership? But in the meantime, it’s clear that both Amazon and Whole Foods are set to experience initial growth from the new consumer base outside of their current overlap — and that, as Aisle411 CEO Nathan Pettyjohn put it at the time of the acquisition, “with physical store purchases still accounting for nearly 90 percent of all retail transactions even after a decade of e-commerce growth, Amazon realizes that continuing large-scale growth over the next 10 years as a company will require capturing a big slice of the physical store purchasing market — so as long as Amazon can make do with higher margins and less overhead than traditional retail stores.”

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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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Location Acquisition Race Heats Up, As NinthDecimal Buys MoLOGIQ

Amid a spate of location-centric deal-making, NinthDecimal has acquired MoLOGIQ, a mobile audience platform, in a bid to accelerate the building of new data programs to meet the demands of marquee brands and agency partners.

As part of that effort, which is largely focused on cross-screen attribution, the the company is also forming NinthDecimal Labs, a new group dedicated to advancing the next generation of location-centered marketing solutions.

The MoLOGIQ audience platform processes “billions of data signals” from its software, public demographic data, land parcel information, and voter registration rolls.

Its SDK is present in more than 50 million unique devices, which provides rich data signals for both Android and iOS. MoLOGIQ’s geo-spatial infrastructure connects the mapping of users’ devices to their household addresses in a privacy-friendly manner, thereby enabling the bridging of online and offline data sets to drive a range of marketing applications.

Over the past three years, Cupertino-based MoLOGIQ has mapped 50 million devices to household addresses, enhancing the reach and scale of NinthDecimal’s own Household Graph.

“Clients are increasingly asking us to solve problems that go far beyond the traditional uses of location data, especially those related to omnichannel ROI measurement capabilities,” said Mike Fordyce, CEO of NinthDecimal. “In our industry, rapid innovation and time to market is critical for success. As a part of NinthDecimal Labs, the MoLOGIQ team will play an important role in accelerating the development of new solutions.”

GeoMarketing: Why did NinthDecimal decide to acquire, as opposed to partner, with MoLOGIQ?

Mike Fordyce: In order to have success in our industry – which is constantly evolving — we recognized a long time ago that innovation, as well as being flexible and nimble to change, needed to be a part of our DNA. Acquiring MoLOGIQ allows us to quickly incorporate their products and data technologies with no limitations. Just as important is the ability to integrate the MoLOGIQ team into the NinthDecimal culture – increasing the level of collaboration that goes beyond a traditional partnership.

That said, we also value the many partnerships we have throughout the industry with other leading companies as they too are key to our effort in addressing the growing demand from our customers and the broader market.

What specific offerings of NinthDecimal does MoLOGIQ complement? Does it enhance or complement NinthDecimal’s attribution capabilities? How?

The addition of MoLOGIQ both complements and expands our leadership in several different ways, including:

  • MoLOGIQ’s digital visualization technology builds upon NinthDecimal’s existing visual data solutions for offline attribution measurement and insights.
  • Its 50 million devices mapped to household addresses, enhances the reach and scale of NinthDecimal’s own proprietary Household Graph.
  • The combination of MoLOGIQ’s SDK, location data, and device data further enhance NinthDecimal’s measurement solutions, providing the industry with the largest measured audience for offline attribution.
  • MoLOGIQ’s DMP technology will allow NinthDecimal to expand its data management capabilities as more and more customers are looking to NinthDecimal to help them manage their data.
  • MoLOGIQ’s SDK presence in more than 50 million unique devices will help power NinthDecimal’s audience intelligence platform, Location Graph as well as its industry leading offline attribution solution, Location Conversion Index.

Does the timing of the acquisition say anything about the larger state of the location/mobile ad tech space? Or was this simply a good opportunity for NinthDecimal?

From an industry perspective, it’s an incredibly exciting time. The changes being driven by location intelligence are more disruptive than ever. As advertising becomes increasingly data driven, major brands across all industries are completely reorganizing and changing their focus to capitalize on it. From programmatic to people-based marketing to the digitalization of all media.

For NinthDecimal, the results we are delivering have not only led to triple-digit growth in our data and measurement lines of businesses but also created an increased demand from our partners. More and more they are looking to us to help them solve competitive and growth challenges that go well beyond the traditional uses of audience intelligence.

This is the driving force behind NinthDecimal Labs as we look to not only address today’s business opportunities but also help capitalize on those that emerge in the future.

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Amazon Alexa And OpenTable Will Show You To Your Table Now

Just as the pre-orders of the Amazon Echo Show have arrived at consumers’ homes, OpenTable has added a new Alexa skill within that screen version of the voice-activated Connected Intelligence device so users can get a look at the restaurant reservations they make.

Pre-orders for the $299 Echo Show began last month with, promising consumers “everything you love about” its voice-activated assistant, Alexa, along with the ability to watch video flash briefings and YouTube, see music lyrics, security cameras, photos, weather forecasts, to-do and shopping lists, and more.

Tell And Show

The influence of voice-activation and connected intelligence is already threatening to up-end traditional advertising and even calls into question the value of a website, as Birchbox CEO Katia Beauchamp has opined.

The rapid rise of Connected Intelligence and the digital voice assistants that provide direct answers to users’ search queries and requests also calls into the question how people will use the apps.

Instead of pressing buttons on a virtual box on a smartphone, apps will be ever-present in the background of users’ lives, ready act when a service is called upon or even anticipating what a consumer wants before they even ask for it.

Connected Reservations

That’s the world Priceline-owned OpenTable, which seats more than 22 million diners per month via online bookings across more than 42,000 restaurants, is preparing for.

“We’re thrilled to provide diners with an updated Alexa skill for the Echo Show to help diners book reservations at thousands of restaurants across the U.S.,” said Catherine Porter, OpenTable’s SVP of Strategy and Business Development. “With OpenTable’s Alexa skill, booking a restaurant reservation is as easy as saying ‘Alexa, ask OpenTable to make me a reservation’ at your favorite restaurant and you’ll be set.”

Considering that OpenTable’s parent, Priceline, is interested in ensuring that consumers book their travel plans with then, it’s also likely that the Alexa skills generated today will help boost usage for both entities.

As an example of how OpenTable might be able to connect Priceline to its users, the reservation platform is currently running a campaign showing how its users will “fly for food.”

According to the survey, two-thirds (66 percent) of Americans would select a travel destination based solely on its culinary offerings, while more than half (52 percent) have already traveled to the country of origin of their favorite cuisine.

“Americans are redefining their travel bucket lists not by where they want to go, but by what they want to eat,” said Caroline Potter,OpenTable’s chief dining officer. “While traveling, they’re also not afraid to experiment with local cuisine, and make more adventurous dining decisions.”

With that in mind, don’t be surprised if, someday soon, Alexa is asked to book a table and flight to a culinary hotspot at the very same time.

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Snap Adds GroundTruth As Latest Location Ad Partner For Geofilters, Snapchat Ads

Snap has named GroundTruth (previously known as xAd) as its latest location technology partner, as the social messaging/”camera” company seeks to sharpen and broaden its advertising arsenal.

As an official partner, GroundTruth will make Snapchat’s Geofilters and Snap Ads available directly on the location marketplace’s platform through Snapchat’s API.

While Snapchat’s reach and engagement are fairly large — 166 million users who spend an average of 30 minutes on the app during 18 daily visits — GroundTruth boasts a first-party database of 95 million active monthly users and 17 million active daily users, across 100 million places and points of interest across 21 countries.

GroundTruth became part of Snap’s roughly 30 certified partners in early June. But apart from those partners, which includes a range of companies like data science specialist 4C to Kinetic Social to programmatic video ad platform TubeMogul, the company has been striking separate deals with location intelligence providers.

Over the past several months, Snap has signed up geo-data specialist Factual and location intelligence platform Foursquare, on top of acquiring attribution provider Placed and French social-location app Zenly, ahead of its debut of Snap Map.

That most recent feature is supported by a trio of location data visualization and geospatial tech providers: Mapbox, OpenStreetMaps, and satellite imagery vendor DigitalGlobe.

As Snap Map, which, for the moment, is not available for sponsorships, gets traction by letting users share and see what’s happening around them to their friends, the role of location to power its advertising is becoming clearer.

Snap has proven that it has engagement and that it can break new ground in terms of consumer-facing features. The big issue for the company is turning its ad models — the sponsored Lenses, Geofilers, and video Snap Ads — into a broadly viable business that can steal share away from Google and Facebook.

Expanding Models for Snap — And GroundTruth

Among the questions its asking its growing roster of partners: What are the other ad models Snap can generate based on maps?

The other thing that seems to be key, is if it can see what kind of topics and places its users are interested it, that provides a great deal of context for the kinds of ads it can serve.

And that’s where GroundTruth, which has geofencing and ad targeting at its core, even as it seeks to become known for its analytics and insights separate from advertising purposes, comes in.

Specifically, when xAd rebranded as GroundTruth last week, part of the reason was that the company wanted its name to reflect that its location technology was was focused on more than just advertising.

“With our ability to offer clients targeted Geofilters, this expands our location targeted media offering,” GroundTruth CMO Monica Ho told GeoMarketing. “In regards to our new expansion into data and insights — the ability to use our location-based audiences in Snap for targeted video content is part of our new focus and strategy, and something we hope to offer in other platforms shortly.”

By working with Snap, GroundTruth expects to see how its capabilities can further promote the role of geo-data in enhancing that platform’s own ad products.

“[GroundTruth clients] can work with our team to create or upload designs, select broadcast areas, access GroundTruth’s custom Location Audience segments, and more,” adds Ted Babitz, VP -Supply at GroundTruth, in a blog post announcing the deal. “The potential for delighting customers is limitless and we’re excited to see what our client partners come up with. Will they shock and awe customers with Snap Ads that are so relevant that they feel completely personalized? Will businesses create unique Geofilters and send consumers scouring far and wide to collect and share them? Time will have to tell.”

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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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