Yelp’s transformation, Third Door Media is hiring: Friday’s daily brief
Plus, Amazon Sidewalk is moving in.
MarTech’s daily brief features daily insights, news, tips, and essential bits of wisdom for today’s digital marketing leader. If you would like to read this before the rest of the internet does, sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox daily.
Good morning, Marketers, and my how the neighborhood has changed. The houses and local shops might be in the same place, but how we navigate around using technology is part of a transformation in marketing that we at MarTech are studying from all angles.
In our first piece, here, Kim Davis breaks down how Yelp has transformed its local reviews destination into a hotspot for national advertisers. When consumers want a specific kind of latte or power drill, they want to know the closest place they can get it. National vs. locally-owned is a decision they can make after, when all the cards are on the table.
Further down, we take a look at Amazon Sidewalk, a new layer of connectivity coming soon to your neighborhood and activated through shared wireless from Ring and Echo devices. It opens up new questions about who should be controlling those signals you receive once you step out your door.
Can you tell how your neighbors feel about these transformations? Are you having trouble reading their expressions? Machine learning can help with that, too. As you’ll also see here, emotion recognition is an emerging tool for marketers, and one of the keys to this technology is context.
How national brands go hyperlocal on Yelp
“It was a very simple pitch to advertisers. We’ve got this scaled audience of people who are about to make a decision, and we’re going to get them into your store — whether that’s a restaurant or a retail store — or deliver a lead if you’re a local service business, like somebody is looking for a plumber.”
Tom Foran, SVP, National Sales at Yelp, was talking about the foundation for Yelp’s success since it was founded in 2004. But a business built primarily on delivering foot traffic needed to transform rapidly when in-store shopping, indoor dining and in-person services suddenly shut down. “We were forced to create more touchpoints so that someone could order ahead for pick-up in-store, or take-out if it’s a restaurant business. These were things we didn’t really focus on before the pandemic because we had a good thing going with this idea of driving that user from online to offline — clicks to bricks, as we sometimes call it. We’re emerging stronger as a result, because we have a more robust suite of products which can not only get someone into your store but make a digital transaction happen.”
When Foran joined Yelp four years ago, he found a business model focused on local SMBs. His mission was to take its national sales to the next level. There’s an important distinction to be made between looking for local businesses and looking for businesses that are nearby the user. Yes, there’s interest in finding hidden local gems, or mom and pop businesses, but users are also looking for nearby outlets for national brands. But it goes beyond that. “The learning for us as we really dug in was it’s not necessarily that there’s a Starbucks near you, but that the pumpkin spice latte is available. How do we allow brands to tell their limited-time-offer story, or what’s hot and new in a business we know already?”
The answer was a new product called Showcase Ads, designed to allow a brand like Starbucks, or Target or Macy’s to tell users not just that there’s a nearby branch, but what’s new, relevant and timely at that location. They also added attribution partners like LiveRamp and Foursquare to help demonstrate the efficacy of the new product.
What marketers should know about Amazon Sidewalk
In only a few days, Amazon will be activating a new mesh wireless network called Amazon Sidewalk, which automatically shares bandwidth between your Echo and Ring devices and those of your neighbors unless you opt out. The devices (full list here) will go live in the U.S. on June 8.
Once live, these devices in your home will turn into Sidewalk Bridges, and share up to 80Kbps of connectivity to expand the network so more wireless Amazon products work outside the home. For instance, Amazon’s Tile device helps people find lost items. They’ve also partnered with the CareBand wearable device to assist people with dementia. The Amazon Sidewalk program supports these products by providing more connectivity outside the home, so long as your neighbors don’t choose to disable this function by opting out on their Echos and Rings.
The impending rollout of Amazon Sidewalk has raised some concerns, and they are not without merit. In the short term, it extends the Internet of Things (IoT) outside the home, where connectivity is spotty. But it could also be part of a deeper strategy to dominate the gateway between the home and the Internet, according to Robin Gaster, public policy scholar at George Washington University and President of technology and data consultancy Incumentrics.
Facing new emotion recognition technology
Emotion Recognition is a relatively recent technology, sitting at the intersection of AI and machine learning, the camera on your mobile device or desktop, and the software needed to make sense of your smile or frown. While the software encodes what the camera sees, the facial expression must be matched against a database of millions of examples. That will correlate the user’s expression with known samples of a facially expressed emotion, then score it for measurement purposes.
Marketers can then use this information to figure out how to make their product more engaging and appealing—at least that is how this is supposed to work.
Facial recognition and facial coding are conflated occasionally in the mainstream press, said Max Kalehoff, VP of marketing at Realeyes, the attention and emotion measurement vendor. “Facial recognition is software for the identification or verification of individuals, while facial coding is the detection of emotions through facial cues. Facial coding is not concerned with identifying individuals.”
More headless martech: identity resolution + customer data platforms
Looking at the martech space as a whole, we’re seeing a lot of instances of so-called “headless” martech, and two recently-announced technology integrations are good examples. Dentsu, the parent company of Merkle, announced this week that the agency’s Merkury IR capabilities will now be available within the Salesforce CDP. Separately, Neustar’s Unified Identity solution has been integrated with the ActionIQ CDP.
These integrations are just the latest in a long string of such partnerships that make it possible to access the functionality of one martech solution while in the interface of another.
For example, many of the headless and hybrid content management systems (CMSs) we looked at in a recent report featured built-in digital asset management (DAM) systems. And those CMSs, in turn, were often considered part of a larger digital experience platform (DXP). Some have even speculated that CDPs will eventually be subsumed into other solutions.
Why we care. All of these developments mean marketers have more choices than ever when putting together their martech stack. This is positive in that it means marketers can select best-of-breed solutions, and that they have a lot of options in how to assemble their operation. That said, it’s already difficult enough to make choices when there are industry-accepted ways of tying together technologies.
Find out more by downloading our MarTech Intelligence Reports on Identity Resolution Platforms, Customer Data Platforms and Headless and Hybrid CMSs. You’ll discover analysis of each space along with detailed vendor profiles in each category.
MarTech is looking for an ace content and SEO manager
We’re very excited to announce that we are looking for an experienced content and SEO manager to work on Third Door Media’s flagship brands MarTech and Search Engine Land.
Specifically, we are looking for someone who can help us grow our audience of digital marketers through SEO, content and website optimization, and by building content destinations that drive organic search traffic.
What you will do. As Manager of Content and SEO your main responsibility is increasing the size of our audience through organic search and maximizing engagement with our content on our editorial properties Search Engine Land and MarTech. Key tasks include:
- Keyword research, search trend and competitive analysis
- Management of content archives, including updating, redirecting or repositioning content to align with SEO goals
- Creation of articles, guides, landing pages, wikis or other content destinations designed to give searchers the answers they seek
- Content optimization for all new content, leveraging good SEO practices
- Creation of in-article features designed to increase engagement
- Tracking all content analytics and reporting on trends and opportunities to the editorial and the management team