Local marketing disruptions

4 local marketing disruptions heading your way

With the rise of artificial intelligence, Big Data, and automation, most industries will experience major disruptions in the coming years. Local marketing is no exception. Here are four major local marketing disruptions heading your way.

Digital assistants and voice search disruptions

 

This one should come as no surprise. Amazon sold 5 million devices in the past two years in the U.S.—and that doesn’t even include the recent holiday season in which Amazon Echo sales were 9x more than the previous holiday season. When you add on the fact that digital assistants are baked into every smartphone, it’s obvious voice search is on the rise.

As such, the number of local searches conducted via voice search and digital assistants will grow. This means that the competition for the top organic rankings will only increase. After all, there are only so many answers a digital assistant can read before users lose their patience.

How you should prepare:

First and foremost, begin optimizing your sites and content for voice search and digital assistants. This means you should be implementing schema markup, writing in a conversational tone, and filling out all relevant categories in Google My Business for your locations. For more insights, check out Placeable’s Brian Smith’s article in Search Engine Land.

360-degree video and augmented reality advertising disruptions

 

2016 saw virtual and augmented reality step into the limelight for the first time thanks to the proliferation of VR headsets and the popularity of Pokémon Go.

But be careful. While I would bet on augmented reality becoming a mainstay of local marketing, virtual reality is likely to be upstaged by its less sophisticated cousin, 360-degree video.

VR marketing growth has a ceiling on it, at least for the short term. While undoubtedly powerful in terms of user engagement, VR is limited by the need for a headset—something most of us don’t carry around with us.

360-degree videos, which can be played on most smartphones, don’t have these same limitations. As such, expect marketers to begin using 360-degree video to highlight the interiors of stores and restaurants from all sides.

Further out, but more impressive, is augmented reality (AR) and how it will transform local marketing. The Pokémon Go craze brought AR into the mainstream, and marketers have taken notice. While many businesses started advertising in-game by featuring their locations as PokeStops, we haven’t seen much in terms of AR ads to date, especially those implementing geo-location. Expect that to change with the introduction of more apps like Yelp Monocle.

How you should prepare:

When it comes to location-based marketing, begin experimenting with 360-degree video to highlight the appealing features of your restaurant or store. 360-degree video will become an incredibly powerful tool for enticing customers, especially if these interactive videos start getting imbedded into local landing pages.

You should also begin experimenting with AR and make sure that your location data is accurate. If you’re trying to lure customers to an AR experience, your geo-coordinates and geo-fencing will become critical. After all, you wouldn’t want to mistakenly send customers to your competitor across the street.

Attribution and insights

 

In-store attribution and page insights are starting to make a huge splash, especially for enterprise brands.

One of the most challenging things in local marketing is knowing the effectiveness of organic local marketing initiatives. Every major player offers some sort of in-store attribution tracking, but each of these methods are limited by the number of users who have opted in to share their location for that given platform. This has resulted in some major gaps in our attribution modeling. Expect the industry to get better at filling in these gaps, making it much easier for local marketers to demonstrate their worth and refine their strategies.

Google My Business also recently opened up its API for Insights. Before, it was difficult for enterprise brands to monitor the search traffic for each local page. If you wanted to know the site health of a specific location, you had to manually pull the information for it. But now the API allows you to pull that information from all of your local pages, making it much easier to identify and address problem locations.

How you should prepare:

Start taking advantage of the improvements in local attribution. If you’re just getting your feet wet in terms of attribution, start with Google. Most of your local search traffic will come through them, giving you the best and broadest picture of campaign effectiveness.

 

Chatbots and automating the salesperson disruptions

 

Chatbots will soon be baked into your local landing pages and locator. When a customer needs to know specific information about a location or place an order, customers will be able to ask your chatbot or tell it to perform the action. Chatbots will be a huge boost in ecommerce and significantly improve brand engagement.

How you should prepare:

Begin experimenting with designing your own chatbot. If you’re an early adapter, you’ll gain a novelty boost. But expect chatbots to become a staple of customer-brand interactions going forward.

Final thought

 

Even though there are some major disruptions heading your way in the local space, if you begin laying the ground work now, you should be ready to take advantage of them when they arrive.

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