Google Maps Ramps Up Hyperlocal Search With Curated Recommendation

What Happened
Google has added more curated recommendations to the “Explore” tab of Google Maps mobile app, continuing its efforts to beef up its hyperlocal search offerings. Available now in NYC, San Francisco, and London, the update focuses primarily on restaurant recommendations, adding various filters that aim to help users quickly find nearby places to eat or drink. Back in July, the search giant also added direct hotel booking to its service.

What Brands Should Do
According to recent reports, search queries with local intent is taking up nearly half of all U.S. search volume, and half of them lead to store visit, something that local businesses and stores should capitalize on. This update brings Google Map into direct competition with others in the local discovery market such as Yelp and Foursquare. While the majority of the curations are created based on the algorithm, Google notes that, in specific neighborhoods, editorial insights will also be included to “highlight the local flavor.” This certainly leaves the door open for brands and local businesses to get on the front pages of Explore.


Source: TechCrunch

NY Quantifiable Self Show and Tell

Event Recap: NY Quantifiable Self Show and Tell

On August 6th, the IPG Media Lab attended a NY Quantified Self Show & Tell event where some entrepreneurs showcased their creations. Many of the products on display were still in early stages of development and few had direct marketing implications, they nevertheless presented a great deal of creativity and ingenuity. Among the items featured, the three standouts were:

  • A heart rate monitor on a steering wheel that flashed LED lights on the exterior of the vehicle so other drivers can get a sense of a fellow driver’s attentiveness.
  • A location-tracking app that aims to empower users by collecting and potentially monetizing the hyperlocal consumer data they generate.
  • A SMS-based platform that uses a conversational UI to enable users to conveniently track their diet and measure calorie intake.

The quantifiable self movement has been a dream come true for marketers. Now more than ever, users are incentivized to share data and information that brands can leverage to understand their consumer base on a much more personal level. This wealth of data allows brands to extend highly relevant and customized messaging in specific environments at the most effective moments.

Target Launches Retail Beacon Program In 50 Stores

What Happened
Yesterday, national retail chain Target announced that it would begin testing beacon technology in 50 of its stores across the country. The company plans to use the technology to send offers and customized recommendations to customers who opt-in for the beacon-triggered notifications within the Target iOS app, and soon on Android.

What Brands Should Do
Retail and CPG brands can benefit a lot from the timely reminders and personalized offers that beacon enables. It would be smart for those brands to get on board early with the test program to start experimenting with this hyperlocal marketing tool. It’s also crucial for brands that have Target as a sales channel to make good use of the in-store behavioral data the beacon program could provide so as to better understand shoppers.


Source: Buzzfeed

Image courtesy of


Why Amazon Is Trialling A “Drive-Up” Grocery Store

What Happened
Following the 3 pop-up storefronts it experimented with late last year, Amazon is now ready to step further into physical retail with a “drive-up” grocery store. Reportedly a new 11,600-square-foot building in Sunnyvale, this store will allow consumers to quickly pick up grocery items ordered online beforehand with a scheduled visit. Amazon has been getting serious with its same-day delivery service, especially in the grocery category, which it just expanded to U.K., the first market to receive such services outside the U.S. In that regard, the “drive-up” store could easily double as a distribution hub, should Amazon choose to further expand its same-day delivery services into new markets.

What Brands Should Do
There is no doubt that Amazon, along with other tech companies and startups, are set to disrupt the local market with the convenience of on-demand services. Therefore, retail and CPG brands need to take notes of Amazon’s rapid expansion into the space and find ways to work with it. One possible way would be to partner with Amazon to get your product featured on the “order” webpage. If Amazon can soon beat Macy’s in clothing retail, then grocery stores and supermarkets may just be its next targets to conquer.


Source: Silicon Valley Business Journal

Google Launches Eddystone Beacons To Compete With iBeacons

Watch out, iBeacon! Yesterday Google announced “Eddystone,” an open source beacon standard designed to be platform-agnostic to take on Apple’s iBeacon, whose proprietary standard only works with Apple devices and shuts out all the Android users. In comparison, Eddystone beacons will be able to work with any device that supports Bluetooth LE. In addition, Google’s beacon platform will offer more options for the types of functions the beacons can trigger than iBeacons, therefore diversifying the data sets Google can collect via the beacons.

Armed with such universality and versatility, Eddystone seems to have some serious competitive edges over iBeacons. Interestingly, just weeks ago, Facebook started handing out free beacons to the retailers across the country to support the expansion of its hyperlocal feature Place Tips for Business. Now with Google officially joining the beacon race, the proximity and IoT spaces look more competitive and vibrant than ever.

Source: ARS Technica

Header image courtesy of Google Developers

Meredith Corp. Acquires Grocery Server To Tap Into Hyperlocal Market

Women’s magazine publisher Meredith Corp. has acquired Grocery Server, a digital ad platform that powers location-based ads for food and retail brands, aiming to make its digital assets more shoppable. The publisher first worked with Grocery Server in April 2014 to plug local ads into its AllRecipes site to let users shop for ingredients with real-time sales info from nearby grocery stores and retailers. After the acquisition, we expect more hyperlocal features like this to start popping up on other Meredith digital properties such as Better Homes and Gardens, Eating Well, and Martha Stewart to incorporate ecommerce into its digital publishing and add value for their readers, while also benefiting the CPG brands and retailers.

Source: AdWeek

Toyota Gets Local With Geo-Targeted Snapchat Ads

Read original story on: AdAge

Toyota is getting on Snapchat, marking the first time ever an automotive brand has utilized the popular messaging app’s geo-targeting ad format. As a latest evolution of its “Let’s Go Places” campaign, the carmaker is targeting Snapchat users in the great Los Angeles area, who will soon start seeing promoted video ads with city-specific content inside Snapchat’s localized Live Story feed, a new feature debuted earlier this year.

Of course, Toyota is not first brand to tap into Snapchat’s localized ad offers. Last week, McDonald’s started offering location-activated Geo-filters for users visiting the 14,000 McDonald’s stores across the States. As Snapchat and other messaging apps start leveraging their mobile-first nature and resulting location-awareness into sophisticated ad formats, we expect to see more brands to get on board.

Yahoo Catches Up With Google With Actionable Mobile Search

Read original story on: The Next Web

Yesterday, Yahoo announced a new partnership with Oracle that aims to prompt users updating Java software to set Yahoo as the default search engine. And Today, Yahoo follows up its efforts in pushing Yahoo Search with a revamp mobile search results page that offers richer content and quicker access to take actions. For example, a search for a specific restaurant now pulls up relevant info about the restaurant, as well as yelp reviews, all designed to be directly helpful in the context of specific queries. Of course, this is nothing really revolutionary—Google has been doing that for years now—but it is a smart move for Yahoo to catch up and put mobile search first, especially now that mobile search usage has officially surpassed desktop.


How Digital Retailers Are Entering The Local Market

As more and more brick-and-mortar retailers branches out into ecommerce in order to meet shifting consumer behaviors, online retailers are also increasingly exploring new, innovative solutions to bridge the physical with the digital, especially when it comes to local markets. This week, Groupon and Amazon stood out as two most recent examples.

Popular local deal-finding service Groupon just updated their iOS app to add support for the Apple Watch. On the watch, Groupon taps into the location data on the watch to trigger hyperlocal deals for users—instead of dividing deals on a city or regional level, it only notify users of the offers that are in close proximity. It also offer a “one-click-to-buy” function if user’s payment info is already saved on the Groupon mobile app, creating a remarkably seamless shopping experience to the wearable device.

If Groupon’s entry into Apple Watch seemed a bit advanced and out there, then Amazon’s new experiment would look endearingly retro in comparison. After testing out pop-up storefronts in NYC and California last year, the ecommerce giant continues to tap into physical retail with a new “Amazon Treasure Truck” initiative. Launched in Seattle this week, an Amazon truck will be cruising through various neighborhoods carrying stocks of one daily special item. Customers are encouraged to use their Amazon mobile app to track the truck and learn more about the daily deal. If interested, they can just complete the purchase within the app and then proceed to meet the truck for pick-up.


Header image taken from Amazon’s Launch Video on YouTube

Instagram Presents New Ad Opportunities With Revamped Search Page

Read original story on: Wired

Instagram has been making strides in making its platform more brand-friendly, and earlier this week, the photo-sharing social media debuted two new features that would offer brands more ad opportunities.

Firstly, Instagram updated its search bar to include trending locations, based on the geo-tags of the trending pictures. This could easily be utilized by hospitality marketers to serve interested users with location-specific native ads.

Moreover, it also debuts a revamped Explore channel that includes Trending Tags, which organizes and presents content channels based on popular hashtags in real time. Although Instagram has yet to reveal whether brands could buy a “promoted tag” or not at the moment, history seems to suggest that it will become open to brands sooner or later.