Archive for category Directional

Estimating the value in Personal Location Data

Location-based services have popped up everywhere over the past few years. Most of us can look back to the first views of Earth from above with Google Earth (grainy, patchy images that our dial up connection struggled with) and laugh a little. Now, LBS is everywhere.

We think LBS is interesting, obviously. But I was flicking through the McKinsey ‘big data’ report and saw this.

What the…?  How did McKinsey get to this number?

Turns out, McKinsey used their super brains and super computers to ‘look at the value chain of location-based applications‘. They looked at the amount of data generation and the potential value created.

  • amount of data generated across regions, user behaviour, and frequency of use.
  • the value chain of LBS. How do individual consumers use and benefit from LBS? How do enterprises or governments benefit?

McKinsey themselves say that their estimation is conservative, and it could well be more. But if you think about the process of using a personal navigation device, you’ll immediately see the value of time saving, fuel consumption reduction.

Other types of LBS like check-in services (Facebook Places, Foursquare etc), local information sourcing tools (LocalMind, Neer), and community noticeboards and news sites (EveryBlock etc) also add value and decrease costs in many ways. One of those is increased marketing relevancy. We can (and have) discuss the balance of personal data privacy vs openness, but the fact remains that as people become more permissive about what they will share openly, we marketers have more opportunities to communicate more effectively, meaning more ££ spent in the right place, less wastage, and better results.  And that’s something we can all get behind.

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New Cars are like Local Marketing

When you buy a car, suddenly you start noticing all the other cars that are the same as yours, so much so that you’re convinced that there are more than there were before.

The transition between marketing ‘generally’ and then marketing ‘locally’ is similar. When you’re working in an agency that specialises in Local Marketing, suddenly you wonder how you missed all the stuff going on in the Local Marketing space. It’s so fundamentally obvious that in the battle for relevancy, proximity matters.  Everywhere you look, people are talking about local – and not just as an intangible theory, but as an actual ‘thing’.

An actual ‘thing’, you say?

A highlight of the series of Maroon Peugeot 307s is the launch of a new US hyper-local industry trade publication StreetFight a few days ago. They’ve positioned the service as a collection of everything that’s happening in the hyper-local space, including vouchering, check in services, and local news sites. Then there’s the super-massive Patch.com hyper-local news service based in the US run by Arianna Huffington. EveryBlock (US) and StickyBoard (UK) community noticeboards have redesigned and launched respectively. Talk about Local‘s community efforts are ongoing and the Big Society ideas continue to generate meaningful conversation. These are just a few of the bigger things that are going on, but community activities and new ways to use technology to help communities engage are popping up every day. So too are hyper-local, hyper-relevant marketing opportunities.

People continue to have debates about the definition of the words hyper-local, localisation, local marketing… whatever we end up calling it in the history books, we’re part of a shift.  The UK’s take on local is a little different to the US’s as pointed out wonderfully by Joni Ayn Alexander, but the main point is the same. It’s a thing.

A thing with big agencies predicting daft numbers like 42.5 billion dollars by 2015.

You can’t even escape it in the pub! This poster for Venue Magazine (the local Bristol/Bath magazine that’s recently been under fire but lives to fight another day) was up in the Portcullis.

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Digital Local Community boards – US vs UK

I’m sure I’m not the only one who hasn’t looked at a local community noticeboard for years, but I do remember a time when the notice board at my local Spar was the best place to find second hand furniture, recommendations for cleaners, and local events. And community noticeboards are the next thing to fall under an entrepreneur’s gaze and go digital.

EveryBlock caught our eye last year as an innovative way to chat to people in your neighbourhood digitally, and now StickyBoard has popped up UK side, much to our interest.

EveryBlock – @everyblock

In his blog post about the relaunch, founder Adrian Holovaty says ‘The current crop of Web social media tools is focused on people you already know‘. Instead of focusing on existing relationships, EveryBlock connects people with a common interest – a location.

You can look up a postcode down to extreme granularity, or look for suburbs or cities, and ‘follow’ them almost like you’d follow a person on Twitter.

Users in the neighbourhoods can message each other and hold conversations almost like a discussion board or forum. EveryBlock also takes ‘stuff’ from the net and aggregates that ‘stuff’ by location. Yelp reviews, new local photos on Flickr, lost-and-found ads on Craigslist,  real estate listings, local Meetups – all based on a location you’ve defined.

In short, EveryBlock amplifies the stuff already out there, just by making it hyper-local and hyper-relevant.

Mashable covered the relaunch as a community site and LostRemote also did a piece on them. It’s not available in the UK yet, and no doubt still has a lot of traction to gain in the US before it hops over to us, but you might as well head over to the homepage and vote via Twitter for London to be their next city.

StickyBoard – @stickyboard

StickyBoard ‘is based on the belief that strong communities make for a better, more fulfilling quality of life’. Users can read news, find local services, check out a calendar of events and post business reviews. Local businesses can advertise in one of several verticals, with Community groups advertising for free.

StickyBoard’s community beliefs are strong, but the website needs to get critical mass from advertisers in order to give the users a reason to be there. Given that it’s launched only a few months ago it’s hardly surprising to see empty news feeds and available advertising spaces. The first burrough was Ealing and you can see a lot more activity in that suburb than let’s say Camden.

StickyBoard has been mentioned in the Guardian, and you can get more insight into their business on their teamsticky blog.

So while EveryBlock connects local people and let’s them share community news while aggregating existing local content, StickyBoard connects local people to local businesses and events and is a platform for advertising.  Both interesting, both local, both innovative.


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Get your Places Page right, or miss a trick.

How important is it to get your Google Places page searching well?



 

 

See this heat map, how this eye tracking study shows the focus of the viewers view and length of view on the local listings held next to the map. What I’d like to see, if anyone can find it is some research to show how long people look at the search results page, and what percentage of users ‘just click’ the first link irrespective of what else is being served. For those of you involved in advising dealers/branches/services make sure that not only they have claimed their Google Places page but that they have optimised it by putting it in the right categories (they can be in more than one) and that their titling and support content help drive the right sort of traffic.

 

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Google Place owners can now answer back

Released today, there is a new feature on Google Places page management area.  Announced on Google’s Places blog, it allows verified page owners to answer their critics in the ‘Reviews’ section. Clearly a much needed feature for the local marketer, and, carefully used, customer services issues will now be able to be quickly and professionally handled. Turning a negative into a positive, and a positive into an excellent recommendation. Typically form Google it’s ‘a bit later than you’d have liked’, but this will help everyone get a better view on the veracity of the customer’s review, and the outlet’s capability for handling customers correctly.

Google Lat Long blog - News and Notes by the Google Earth and Maps team

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Facebook prepares to offer local ads

We’ve been waiting for a while now to understand the angle Facebook were going to take when implementing Location Based

Services (LBS) into the Facebook Page environment and many have suggested that a Foursquare-like “location attached to status” model would be followed. But it appears that, whilst this still may be part of the Facebook LBS package, personalised information and advertising will be the cornerstones of the new developments.

Speaking at the Cannes Ad Festival on Wednesday, Mark Zukerburg, Facebook’s Founder and Chief Exec said “”Knowing where a person is, and being able to personalise to what’s around them and who’s around them, is a really important and valuable thing.” (Source: Brand Republic)

Well Mark, we agree. And we’re looking forward to seeing what Facebook delivers.

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Twitter launches Twitter Places – killer app or 'me too'?

Twitter.com

Twitter has been busy over recent weeks (and not just with network issues!) Following the release of sponsored Tweets, they followed up with Twitter Places, previewed on their blog yesterday (14 June 2010).

Essentially, this feature will allow all users (mobile and desk/lap top) to add a geo-locator to their tweet, and more particularly to connect that tweet with an actual place, rather than just a set of coordinates.

This gives location based services a massive push towards the ‘mainstream’ of social activity, rather than in the niche of Foursquare, Gowalla and Brightkite.

The big questions are:

  • Can Twitter grab the initiative of ‘location’ as its killer app?
  • Will current users adopt the new services as part of their normal usage?
  • Will it get enough traction before Facebook introduces its location features?
  • Are the other ‘original’ services too far ahead to be caught?

Its adoption will be well worth following, and further enhancements and inducements to the service are almost certain to follow.

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Location-based coupons

Link to 8Coupons (http://bit.ly/aQ46aK). This is from the US (home of the coupon), where a simple and effective mapping interface shows you all the coupon offers near your location.

Logo for 8 Coupons.com

Sharable, printable, textable (show to cashier) coupons that are easy to find, and easy to use. As coupons become more and more a reliable and expected way of driving store traffic in the UK, the next time you find yourself in a city centre and aren’t sure where to have lunch, a version of this sort of site might help you decide.

Good write up here from ReadWriteWeb
http://bit.ly/cHm2Q7

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