10 Things To Know About Online-And-Offline Marketing This Week

GeoMarketing’s Link Picks of the Week:

Top Stories of the Week:

5. Think With Google: Why Voice Assistants Are Resonating With Baby Boomers

Even brands that cater to older demographics can benefit from developing a voice strategy.

4. GroundTruth Expands Cost-Per-Visit Ad Format With Jack In The Box

“When someone enters our restaurant, we know they are going to make a purchase, so the main priority is to simply drive those visits,” says Jack In The Box CMO Iwona Alter.

3. Big Data, Big Ideas: Verve Execs Forecast Location’s Impact On ‘Smart Packaging,’ Connected Cars, Beacons

“CMOs should be focusing on partnerships that emphasize first-party, clean and protected third-party, and even second-party data,” says Verve CMO Julie Bernard.

2. How Starbucks’ 20,000 Square Foot Innovation Center Will Bring New Tech To Its 27,000 Locations

“None of us are shopping the same way we were three years ago, so, what we’re really trying to solve is the ‘pace of innovation,’” says Starbucks’ Brent Cashell, speaking in Austin this past weekend.

1. PlaceIQ And LiveRamp Partner On Creation Of Location-Based Audience Segments

“The true value of this deal is the ease in which marketers can tap into an omnichannel customer understanding,” says PlaceIQ Biz Dev Head Nadya Kohl.

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What Neustar’s Partnership With TripAdvisor Travel Ad Network SmarterTravel Means For Brands

Online/offline analytics provider Neustar is working with TripAdvisor’s SmarterTravel blog network to give advertisers the ability to target segments based upon where they are in the “trip planning cycle” and on what prospective travelers are searching for.

The audiences are created exclusively from SmarterTravel data, which is comes from the TripAdvisor subsidiary’s 11 owned and operated travel websites that attracts over 200 million monthly visitors. The specifically looks at the last 30 days of travel intent signals to deliver greater ad relevancy.

Kristin Rosmorduc, VP, Travel and Hospitality, Neustar, offered a few scenarios as to how the alliance could benefit travel-related brands as well as marketing categories across the spectrum.

For example, a sunscreen marketer may wish to target consumers traveling to warm destinations. or a major financial services brand may want to reach frequent travelers with relevant credit card offers or a hotel chain could promote its rewards program to frequent travelers to drive loyalty and repeat visits.

“Our partnership gives brands of any type (travel/hospitality specific and non-endemic advertisers, such as automotive, luxury, fashion or lifestyle) the opportunity to reach in-market travelers across the entire funnel from inspiration to booking,”Rosmorduc said. “Brands benefit from our partnership because SmarterTravel provides proprietary data from its network of 11 owned-and-operated travel websites and offers first-of-its-kind audiences based on in-market intent signals at scale, without relying on lookalike modeling or other proxies.”

Hospitality and transportation brands can reach consumers based on their search destination (e.g. continent or country), the type of travel (e.g. flight, hotel, cruise or car), or by stage of the travel planning and booking lifecycle, Rosmorduc added. These brands can target shoppers of their specific service or they can target shoppers of a different service.

In another example, she noted that a hotel could leverage flight data to offer hotel deals or cruise lines can target people researching broadly for vacations or all-inclusive hotels.

“Suppliers can also target people researching specific destinations where they have properties, hubs or ports,” Rosmorduc said.

“Brands can also target people who show signs of booking and adjust messaging and offers accordingly,” she continued. “What makes this combination so powerful is that SmarterTravel segments can be combined with Neustar’s own extensive audiences, including its segmentation solutions to refine the audiences around key brand demographic or psychographic targets, thus empowering more ROI in their media spend.”

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Geo 101: What Are Neural Networks?

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 technology may take us — we introduce the next installment of our GeoMarketing 101 series: understanding artificial neural networks.

What Are Neural Networks?

An artificial neural network refers to a computer system modeled on the human brain and nervous system. How? A collection of units or “nodes” to form a system that “learns” over time by considering a large number of samples. For example, in image recognition, a neural network might learn to identify images that contain a person by analyzing example images that are labeled “person” or “no person” — and then using these results to identify people in other images. This is about repetition and comparison rather than knowing what a human being looks like, but the system does get “smarter” at recognition over time.

This makes neural networks similar to machine learning in that the goal is to use technology to parse large amounts of data/specific kinds of data more easily and more intelligently.

But these two means do differ. As Zendesk’s Brett Grossfeld explains in a blog post, “machine learning uses algorithms to parse data, learn from that data, and make informed decisions based on what it has learned.” On the other hand, “deep learning structures algorithms in layers to create an artificial neural network that can learn and make intelligent decisions on its own.”

Why Do Neural Networks Matter To Marketers?

Essentially, they matter because they’re backing advancements in artificial intelligence, and AI is already reshaping the marketing industry: Marketers are always seeking better insights, and the way that artificial neural networks can learn — improving data analysis, image recognition capabilities, and more — is something that brands should be paying attention to today. Artificial neural networks are already giving marketers more advanced tools for predicting consumer behavior and understanding more sophisticated audience segments.

Secondly, while neural networks are already seen as imperative for facial recognition, self-driving cars, and more, they’ve now been applied to speech recognition. (For a highly technical at how neural networks are used in speech recognition, check out this blog post from software engineer and machine learning specialist Andrew Gibiansky.)

As we’ve written previously, whether they’ve been thinking about it or not, neural networks, AI, and natural language processing affect marketers’ business: first, because of the ability of voice-based communication to engender relationships, and second, because of the growing import of understanding the intent behind users’ queries when it comes to search marketing.

And while understanding queries has always mattered to search marketers, the new world of search — in which customers look for structured answers to their queries in featured snippets or from a voice assistant, rather than clicking on a series of blue links — prizes a greater understanding of intent. This means that marketers need to get smarter about intent, and advancements in the sophistication of neural networks could become a compelling way to do this.

Read more:

Four Things About Artificial Intelligence That Marketers Need to Keep In Mind In 2018

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Think With Google: Why Voice Assistants Are Resonating With Baby Boomers

If you think voice-activated speakers are the province of the young, think again: Over a third of consumers (37 percent) of consumers 50 or older say they use a voice-assistant — and the technology is resonating with Baby Boomers in notable ways, according to new research from Think With Google.

Part of the appeal? Once its set up, a voice-activated speaker like Amazon Echo or Google Home isn’t something that requires daily touch screen interaction like a smart watch — an interface that older demographics may still find challenging. Instead, users can issue commands and ask questions via voice — proven to be cognitively simpler than text/swipe — and do so only when they actually need something.

Per a blog post from TWG, “it becomes a device that isn’t a device anymore,” one Boomer surveyed said. “It’s an entity in your life that’s always behind the scenes for things you need.”

Baby Boomers are also asking an increasing number of questions related to health and safety — and “51 percent of those 55 years old and over said a top reason for using their voice-activated speaker is ‘it empowers me to instantly get answers and information.’”

Every Brand Needs A Voice Strategy

What does growing voice-activated assistant usage in this demographic mean for marketers? First, that even brands who may think that the voice-first revolution isn’t directly impacting them because they cater to older customers need to think about a voice strategy now.

Second, across demographic lines, the trend towards an increased willingness to make both searches and purchases via voice means that marketers need to prioritize ranking in the kind of queries users most commonly make — as well as thinking about how to become a voice assistant’s preferred answer.

Essentially, marketers need to make sure they know exactly what their customers are asking for — knowing the intent behind it, and then making sure they have content on their site that specifically addresses and answers it in order to rank in these search results.

How can marketers do this? Read more here: Geo 101: What Are Intelligent Assistants?

Hilton’s Melissa Walner: To Rank In Voice Search Results, Craft Content That Answers Specific Questions

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How Starbucks’ 20,000 Square Foot Innovation Center Will Bring ‘Innovation’ To Its 27,000 Locations

Starbucks is currently building a 20,000 square-foot space that will house its TRYER Innovation Center. As Brent Cashell, TRYER’s director, describes it, rthe center is “a combination of a makers space and a Starbucks store where everybody who works at Starbucks can come down and test their idea.”

Those ideas can range from “a cool idea for a new drink or a payment process, and then collaborate with others to figure out how that’s going to work in the real world,” Cashell said, speaking to the audience at Kwolia’s Retail Innovation Lounge during SxSW this past Saturday.

Cashell has worked at Starbucks for 16 years, starting as a barista at one of its locations.  The name of the center comes from the use of a “tryer,” which is a piece of equipment used as you’re roasting coffee to constantly check whether the beans are ready. “The tryer is Y-shaped, and looks kind of like a tuning fork. The funny thing is, you can have a million dollar system running a coffee roaster and if you don’t use the Tryer, you’ll burn the coffee.”

In that sense, the TRYER Innovation Center reflects Starbucks’ approach to technology as a search for the necessary tool to solve basic problems.

“Innovation is one of those things where it’s really easy to use the name and the buzzword and it’s really hard to define what it is and what is the purpose of it,” Cashell said. “Let’s think about it this way: the purpose of a shovel is not to have a metal spade and a nice long handle and to be strong and look great in a shed. The purpose of a shovel is to dig a hole. So the purpose of running innovation at Starbucks is not so that we simply have something cool or launch something to get attention for its own sake. The ultimate goal is to have something that matches what your consumer actually needs, wants, and has an emotional connection to.”

After figuring out what innovation means, the hardest part comes when attempting to implement it seamlessly at a company as vast as Starbucks.

“We have 27,000 locations, globally, and 10,000 of those are here in the U.S. —  15,000 if you count all of our licensed store locations domestically — so, even if I have a great idea that I want roll out tomorrow, I still live in a very physical world,” Cashell said. “Where in order to get that thing installed in 15,000 locations, just here in the U.S., is really time consuming. And it’s kind of catastrophic to the physical environment, because that beautiful bar that we’ve created that holds our coffee equipment is made out of real things that are made to last a long time, so if I cut it in half, and try to shift it over, that just kills every business space, if we do it.”

Brent Cashell, director of Starbucks’ TRYER Innovation Center, speaking at the Retail Innovation Lounge during SxSW.

The other big universal questions Starbucks wrestles with when it comes to advancing technology and services is “how does a new feature or program actually appear in a store setting? And is that worth the time and effort in pursuing?”

The process that will govern Starbucks’ TRYER Innovation Center will involve the ability to take an idea to a prototype, whether that’s physically on a station, or just a digital mock-up, in less than 24-48 hours so the company can understand the basics of how an idea might work in the real world.

“None of us are shopping the same way we were three years ago, none of us are working in the same routine we were three years ago,” Cashell told the Austin audience. “We’re wearing different clothes, we’re eating different foods. Everything’s always changing, and we always have to be relevant. What we’re really trying to solve here is ‘the pace of innovation,’ the ability to learn as fast as possible with as least investment as possible and then over time, to create and transform how we innovate.

“We do that through the physical locations that we innovate in,” Cashell continued, “we do that through working together more collaboratively and really focusing on the customer value and designing everything with our customers in mind together with our partners in the store.”

We caught up with Cashell after his RIL talk to discuss additional ways Starbucks applies those principles to mobile ordering, voice activation, and on-demand. Check back at this link for the Q&A later this afternoon.


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Why Are More Instagram Influencers Sharing Their Photos On Google Maps?

Influencer marketing has surged in popularity over the past several years, as brands have sought new ways to reach engaged audiences on social media in a way that doesn’t feel overtly “salesy.” But as Instagram has ratcheted down its algorithm — meaning that posts don’t appear in chronological order, and more content doesn’t surface each time a user checks their feed — brands and influencers on the platform are turning to new tactics to get more views on their photos.

One of the more unexpected methods for influencers in the food space? Sharing their photos to Google Maps to boost engagement and long-term visibility.

Here’s how it works: If someone took a high-quality photo at, say, Joe’s Seafood, they can share it on Google Maps as part of local guides, as Google encourages people to share photos, reviews, and more about businesses. Because there is no algorithm controlling how these photos are displayed, it will show up automatically for users clicking through to “see more photos” of a particular restaurant on Google. What’s more, a high quality image has a high chance of taking the top spot in their knowledge card — meaning views and engagement from any person looking at the business.

“Google is constantly asking users to contribute as local guides. Ever search for a business and see the pop up asking if you know this place? They want you to add reviews, photos, videos, answers and more. They are pushing for more info, more users and more activity,” says David “Rev” Ciancio, an influencer with over 40k Instagram followers and Director, Industry Insights, at Yext (full disclosure: Yext is GeoMarketing’s parent company. More details on that relationship here). “So what happens when you add a great looking photo to a location on Google Maps? High quality photos get your attention. They draw clicks. They create engagement. Google wants to keep you on Google and to make your purchase decision without needing to leave Google until the very last minute, AKA, the bottom of the funnel.”

Cianco has confirmed that he has shared photos in this way that have generated substantially more views (and even Instagram likes, for those who seen them and clicked back to his profile) than his other content — as have other influencers he is acquainted with in the restaurant space. But could this become part of a larger trend that is encouraged by businesses themselves?

Influencers On Google Maps?

The answer, it appears, is yes: Soliciting high-quality content from influencers that can live on Google and surface whenever someone searches for a business is a smart bet for driving views and engagement.

After all, “whether a brand is managing their digital knowledge or not, they want the highest quality photo to come up in their knowledge graph,” Ciancio says. “If you’ve searched ‘best Burger near me’ in Google and the restaurant that comes up has a picture of an unappealing photo of a Burger, a dirty plate, out of focus meal or worse, a dirty bathroom are you going to be enticed to visit that restaurant?”

As such, restaurants that are currently paying and partnering with influencers to share photos on Instagram may soon be doing more of the same with Google Maps — a place where even more users with intent (i.e. someone making a search for a specific place or item) are likely to see them.

“Brands should be populating their listings with as many high quality photos as they can to up the chances that the best looking, most engaging, most representative photo of what a customer can expect from that business comes to the top,” Ciancio says. “For brands and agencies working with influencers, asking them to share the same photo they are posting to Instagram to Google maps is one way to achieve this without having to put together a photo shoot or do it themselves.”

What’s more, from a “stickiness” standpoint, it’s likely that a photo on Google Maps has more value over time to a brand than on Instagram.

“Once someone interacts with a photo on Instagram, unless they save it, the moment is over,” Ciancio concludes. “It’s a valuable impression, but it lives on an expiring timeline. That photo on Google is going to come up when someone searches for a location after they have seen something from that brand on Instagram.”

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Lawn Care Brand TruGreen Is Using IBM Watson Advertising’s AI To Plant Repeat Business

The role of artificial intelligence in advertising is leaping from the experimental stage to something more commonplace, as all marketers want to reach “the right person, at the right time, at the right place with the right message.”

That was the impetus behind lawn care services chain TruGreen’s expanded use of IBM Watson Advertising’s AI tools to target specific customers with ads recommending specific offers related to local conditions.

TruGreen boasts 2.3 million commercial and residential customers with 260 lawn care branches in the United States and Canada, plus about 35 franchise locations. To reach those people and businesses with a timely message about their individual lawn care needs, the IBM Watson ads takes in many factors that might come into play, such as weeds, thin grass, dryness, lack of growth, or grass discoloration.

“At TruGreen, we are constantly looking for new and innovative ways to interact with consumers,” said Kari Rajaniemi, Chief Marketing Officer, TruGreen. “We have long enjoyed a partnership with Watson Advertising, and this test with Watson Ads is a perfect entry point for us to explore AI-powered marketing. Our TruGreen team ‘educated’ Watson, and I’ve been impressed with IBM’s ability to create an interactive campaign that understands our brand and our customers’ needs. We’re excited to see where this could take us.”

Here’s how it works: Consumers can get a personalized lawn plan recommendation by simply starting a “conversation” within TruGreen’s AI-powered ad, which employs a series of dialogue prompts. As the conversation continues, the AI-powered ad guides consumers using images, videos and other interactive buttons that are relevant to the topic at hand.

For example, if the consumer is dealing with discoloration in their yard, they can select the “grass not green” option, which will kick off a conversation with Watson to learn more about their specific lawn care concerns. Alternatively, the consumer can type in “How can I get my lawn looking great?” and Watson will respond with a series of questions to get clarity on the specific lawn needs.

An IBM Watson Ad uses AI to start a dialogue with a a prospective TruGreen lawn care customer.

Based on the data provided in the conversation, the Watson Ad will recommend a personalized TruGreen lawn plan or provide information about TruGreen’s line of service offerings, from Mosquito Defense to Tree and Shrub Care, “to help the consumer make their lawn the envy of the neighborhood.”

This example of using AI in terms of recommending the best time for a consumer to check out personalized lawn service seems to carry the weather intelligence that’s part of IBM Watson Advertising’s history to a much broader degree — recent examples include the AI ad platform’s work with H&R Block during tax season and a Valentine’s Day promotion with 1-800-Flowers.

So what kind of triggers are used to personalize recommendations? Is it that someone has to opt-in to receive these recommendations via The Weather Channel and other apps in the IBM Watson Advertising network of publishers/apps? Or is it triggered by weather conditions? Or a series of intersecting factors?

A rep for IBM Watson Advertising told GeoMarketing that the Watson Ad creative adapts to the user’s current weather condition or whatever zip code they are searching. Therefore, specific ads will surface during the corresponding sunny day, cloudy day, clear night, cloudy night with related creative.

“However, the user’s current weather condition does not trigger a specific lawn recommendation because the recommendations in the Watson Ad experience are based on the user’s inputs about their lawn conditions via the buttons or conversation,” the IBM Watson Advertising rep added. “Since those recommendations are part of the ad experience and not the overall app, they wouldn’t opt in to receive recommendations since it’s not an app notification.”

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How REI Took A Retail Break And Reached Outdoor Enthusiasts With Out-Of-Home Messages

Three years ago, outdoor gear and apparel retailer REI’s decision to keep its doors closed on Black Friday was considered pretty risky.

At the time, the trend toward opening stores earlier — even the night before as consumers were collectively shaking off their Thanksgiving food comas — held that retailers needed to make the most of what has become known as “the biggest shopping day of the year” and the official start of the holiday shopping season.

Judging from the analysis of REI’s bucking of that retail trend with its #OptOutside initiative, as the Black Friday day-off given to its 12,000 employees at its 154 locations, is called, more stores may want to keep consumers waiting another day after all.

Thanks to an out of home campaign and location-based mobile ad targeting run OOH specialist Vistar Media and Acxiom-owned targeting platform LiveRamp, REI saw brand awareness rise 14 percent, along with a 9 percent lift in “consideration” from prospective consumers, and a 7 percent lift in purchase intent.

Ultimately, REI’s retail locations saw a 3.6x lift in store visitation.

REI #OptOutside Campaign used out of home ads and geo-data analytics from LiveRamp and Vistar Media.

“Our aim for this year’s initiative was to raise awareness among our customer base and new audiences,” said Amy Ball, Senior Program Manager, Advertising & Branded Content at REI. “By using 1st-party audience targeting within DOOH, we were able to engage our qualified audience at multiple touchpoints throughout their day, with real impact.”

The REI promotion of #OptOutside relied on LiveRamp’s identity resolution service to connect the retailer’s first-party customer audience segment to geospatial data from Vistar.

Vistar then used location data and its in-house geospatial analytics to see how these groups of customers move throughout the physical world. By examining those real-world movement patterns, Vistar activated cross-screen mobile and digital out-of-home (DOOH) media to reach REI loyalists as well as new customers at places they were most likely to be throughout the day.

“This is a great example of identity resolution technology enabling marketers to finally deliver on an age old adage,” said Jeff Smith, CMO and GM of Brands, LiveRamp. “In this campaign, REI’s first party data provided the context to deliver the right message, and Vistar’s DOOH capabilities then helped REI deliver that message in the right place at the right time.”

A billboard promoting REI’s OptOutside campaign

Aside from keeping REI store associates and sales teams home for Black Friday, the campaign also represented the brand’s deeper focus on using out of home to highlight its “outdoors” message, said Matt Schuster, Vistar Media’s CRO.

“It’s interesting to see how brands like REI have started thinking about OOH media, which was next to nothing two to three years ago, and now it represents about 15 percent of its marketing mix,” Schuster told GeoMarketing.

“Marketers want to see the numbers, and it’s really been the ability to measure against these campaigns and tie them back to improved performance in things like foot traffic and purchase consideration, which is exactly the proof that’s needed for them to consider increasing allocation of their OOH media budgets accordingly,” Schuster added. “What we’re now seeing is a big shift from thinking about OOH as a purely upper funnel tactic, to now viewing it as a lower funnel strategy – and using KPIs like driving store visits will make it an even higher priority for DOOH planning.”

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How Privacy Concerns Hinder Growth Of Autonomous Vehicles, IoT

There’s long been a disconnect between the appreciation of the “open” web — with its practically limitless ability to share and access all kinds of information –and the fear that the trade off involves surrendering vast swaths of personal details.

When it comes to mobile services that rely directly on location data, such as on-demand food delivery and ride-hailing apps, map searches, social media sharing, and the use of Connected Intelligence/Internet of Things-powered concepts like self-driving cars and chatbots, the disconnect is particularly fraught, a study from mapping and navigation platform HERE finds.

And as HERE continues to pursue the position of being the foundation of carmakers’ autonomous vehicle projects, the company sees privacy fears as a significant hurdle.

“While the lack of trust is problematic today, we believe that there could be greater challenges down the road if privacy practices continue to be dominated by a click-to-consent approach,” says Dr. Peter Kürpick, Chief Platform Officer at HERE Technologies.

“Autonomous transportation and other new services will require increasingly time-sensitive and machine-to-machine communications, and for people to enjoy uninterrupted access to these kinds of services, a new approach to privacy is needed,” Kürpick adds.

In a survey of 8,000 people across eight countries (Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, the UK, and the U.S.), HERE found that two-in-five people discovered they share location data with more apps than they thought, while only one-in-five feel they have full control over their location data.

A Clear Value Exchange + Transparency

Despite the high percentage of consumers who express fear about location data and their personal information, most consumers surveyed would consider using an Artificial Intelligence bot to manage their data privacy in future.

It all goes to the idea of transparency in terms of letting consumers know exactly what information is being accessed and for how long. Secondly, if there’s a good, necessary reason for accessing it — such as getting from one place to another or ordering an item quickly — the barrier to connecting with consumers’ location information falls.

Specifically, the study showed how increased transparency and control over how location data is collected and used could increase consumer trust and make them more willing to share.

Around 70 percent said they would grant access to a data collector if they knew why their location data was needed, what it was used for, and that it was protected, stored safely or systematically deleted. A similar number said they would also allow access if they could more easily change their settings, withdraw access and delete their history.

Accordingly, most people would be open to using new technologies to help people manage their data, the study showed. Some 63 percent said they would use a “privacy service,” which would manage their privacy settings based on their preferences on any device that they use.

Can Bots Be Trusted? Apparently So

Meanwhile, 51 percent said they would entrust their private data management needs to an Artificial Intelligence bot.

Among the many benefits gained by sharing their location data, people ranked greater car safety the highest, with some 73 percent of people saying they would be likely to share their location data in such a scenario. Services which enable people to save money, get discounts and rewards also ranked highly.

In more futuristic scenarios, 72 percent of consumers would be willing to share their location data for an autonomous car to find the most efficient routes, while 69 percent would share to enable a drone to find a missing person, pet or item.

“We believe the answer is in equipping people with transparent user-friendly settings that allow them to grant and withdraw access rights as well as manage their privacy preferences, helping them stay in better control of what they’re sharing across their digital life,” Kürpick says.

“For our part, we’re exploring privacy-as-a-service concepts for potential development,” he adds. “However, it is also paramount that there is a collaborative approach across different industry segments to develop the right solutions. Verimi, in which HERE is an investor, is a good example of a cross-industry initiative which will help people manage their data and privacy.”

Among the other findings from the HERE study:

  • Australian consumers are cautious about their location data and are more concerned about lack of transparency than the average
  • Brazilians are the most enthusiastic about sharing today, especially in the social context
  • France is the country where the ‘privacy paradox’ is most evident – with people expressing high concern about their privacy, but being less likely to do anything about it
  • In Germany, safety is paramount when it comes to sharing location data, with Germans more likely to restrict access and share location data with fewer apps than the global average
  • Consumers in Japan are the most anxious and strongly restrict access today, but they are willing to share for greater convenience and time savings
  • The Dutch are pragmatic in their behavior and value personalized services and increased control
  • UK consumers are the least restrictive in their behavior and less anxious than others
  • Americans trust ride hailing companies more than their government when it comes to location data

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Will Movie Theaters Get An ‘Oscar’s Bump?’

Although ratings for the Academy Awards has tended to decline the last few years, the broadcast still attracts roughly 40 million viewers, making it one of the remaining “mass watching” television events after the Super Bowl.

And while the commercials during the Oscar’s are almost as noted as the Super Bowl, in this case, the actual show is one giant ad placement for movie theaters.

At a time when Netflix and cable–produced limited series dominate the culture, can the Oscar’s still generate business for movie theaters? A study from Foursquare suggests it can.

“By understanding the affinities of moviegoers, advertisers can build audience profiles and pinpoint relevant audiences to serve the most relevant content (or deals/incentives) at the right time and place,” Foursquare tells GeoMarketing.

For example, Foursquare data shows that consumers who see movies post-nomination tend to be slightly older and have certain affinities (e.g. we found they’re fast food fans) so theaters can tailor their marketing strategy to reach those types of consumers to amplify the “Oscar’s boost” and capitalize on this critical post-nomination period.

Foursquare’s figures indicate that targeting consumers’ specific affinities can also help connect Oscar’s viewers with theaters.  (Foursquare analyzed visit and taste data for Foursquare Swarm users who checked in to specific movies between May 2017 and January 2018, and compared it with visit data for the average Foursquare Swarm user. All data is pseudonymized, analyzed in the aggregate, and normalized against U.S. census data.)

Among the stats Foursquare’s Oscar’s data shows:

  • The Oscar Bump: When Oscar nominations were announced the weekend of January 23, 2018—foot traffic to movie theaters increased more than 5 percent compared to the prior weekend.
  • Trendsetters vs. Followers: To better understand how nominations affect audience behavior, we analyzed last year’s most nominated film, La La Land, before it was nominated vs. after. The big takeaway? Following an Oscar nom, La La land attracted an older crowd.
    • Pre-nomination audience: The pre-nomination crowd was comprised of more cultured, tech-savvy millennials. These consumers are more likely to visit nightclubs (11 percent), cocktail bars (35 percent), wine bars (23 percent), music venues (43 percent), music festivals (94 percent), Sephora (128 percent), art galleries (26 percent), tech startups (65 percent), Apple Stores (59 percent) and skew younger.
    • Post-nomination audience: The post-nomination audience is comprised of slightly older home bodies who enjoy one-stop shopping. These consumers are more likely to visit Walmart (16 percent), Sam’s Club (31 percent), grocery stores (11 percent), beer stores (12 percent), hardware stores (15 percent),  Burger King (18 percent), and skew slightly older.
  • Best Picture Viewers: We took a closer look at the audiences of some of this year’s “best picture” nominated films to see what tastes they over index for compared to the average U.S. consumer:
    • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri—Sports Fans: Viewers are more likely to visit baseball stadiums (2.3x), basketball stadiums (2x), and hockey arenas (1.6x).
    • Dunkirk—Music Fanatics: Viewers are more likely to be seen at opera houses (5.5x), concert halls (1.9x), and enjoy record shops (1.6x), jazz clubs (1.4x) and music stores (1.3x).
    • Get Out—Wellness Junkies: Viewers are more likely to visit yoga studios (1.6x), pilates studios (1.6x), and enjoy salad spots (1.5x), juice bars (1.5x) and vegetarian restaurants (1.6x).

Loyalty and Affinity At The Movies

Ubimo’s location intelligence platform, Polaris, generated some fun facts and actionable marketing insights related to the upcoming Academy Awards as well. Here’s Ubimo’s Oscar cheat sheet from Gal Jacobi, the company’s director of marketing

  1. Loyalty: What differentiates occasional cinema visitors vs. loyal/frequent visitors (visiting at least 3 times in the last 90 days)?

1) Age: It is no surprise that senior citizens have more time to go out to the movies. Loyals over index with ages +65. It is worth mentioning that going to the movies is also a preferred leisure time activity for 25-44 year olds. 18-24 year olds seem to prefer other activities.

2) Household income: It is no surprise that there is a correlation between amount of money spent on leisure and HHI. We see over indexing of loyals vs. occasionals at the +$150K.

Disproportionate peak of +79 percent for the $200-250K segment.

In parallel, there is also a peak for loyals at the $50K-$100K segment. This could be an indicator that although cost of tickets may be perceived as high, it is still a preferred, cost-effective American leisure activity when benchmarking against other going-out activities.

3) Family size: families with more than 3 kids or families with no kids are more likely to be occasional rather than loyal (+3.2/+4.2 percent respectively). Families with 1 or 2 kids are more likely to become loyal cinema visitors.

4) Gender: Men tend to be slightly more loyal cinema visitors. The higher the frequency, the more likely to see a bias towards male visitors (male over index +3 percent vs. female).

  1. What are the differences between visitors to the two leading US cinemas brands?

Regal is more appealing to female (+6pts vs. AMC) and for $50K-$100K HHI.

AMC is over represented with older population (45 years old and above) and no kids (+8 percent vs Regal).

Benchmarking brands affinity:

  • AMC
  • Regal
  • Fast Food Brand Affinity:
  • Quizno’s – 7.54x more likely to visit when benchmarking vs the total population
  • Chipotle – 3.95x
  • The Cheesecake Factory – 3.34x
  • TGI Friday’s – 3.34x

Apparel Brand Affinity:

  • Nike – 6.5x more likely to visit when benchmarking vs the total population
  • Adidas – 6.25x

Retail Brand Affinity:

  • Toys R Us – 5.8x more likely to visit when benchmarking vs the total population
  • Whole Foods – 4.6x

Fast Food Brand Affinity:

  • Starbucks- 3x more likely to visit when benchmarking vs the total population
  • Panda Express – 2.8x
  • TGI Friday’s – 2.7x

Apparel Brand Affinity:

  • Nike – 4.1x more likely to visit when benchmarking vs the total population
  • DSW – 4.7x

Retail Brand Affinity:

  • Giant Food Stores – 6.9x more likely to visit when benchmarking vs the total population
  • Toys R Us – 6.1x more likely to visit when benchmarking vs the total population
  • Whole Foods – 6.7x
  1. Visitation trends:

Overall visitation: Saturday is the most popular day of the week (19.7 percent), while Friday is second highest (16.3 percent). Wed and Thu are the weakest. 6PM is the peak hour for going to the movies.

Going out for movies and dinner is not only fun, but from the cinemas’ perspectives, it also means higher visitation frequency and better loyalty. See example for AMC vs. AMC Dine-in:

  1. Impact of the Jan 23rd Oscar nomination Announcement):
  • The Oscar nomination announcement generates a positive impact on cinema visitation:
  • +12 percent lift in cinema visitation on Fridays and Saturdays (peak days of the week)
  • +5 lift post nomination announcement vs. pre nomination

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