This has been a year of overblown topics. The list includes mobile payments and beacons, but the grand prize for overrated topic of the year goes to mobile ad blockers. The backlash is not only disproportionate to real impact but also has fueled the wrong conversation. Instead of fighting ad blockers — or fueling them in the case of biased reports — the ad industry should ask itself how it got in this position to begin with.
A year into the on-demand revolution, the question persists: Where’s it going next? So far, it’s gone into nearly every local vertical, but there are still areas with the right conditions for on-demand models to take root, some of which remain underdeveloped. These include higher-end professional services like lawyers and doctors, project-based work like design and writing, and, of course, SMBs, especially when it comes to local marketing and advertising.
Facebook is known universally for its social networking features, but the company has quietly but consistently been rolling out a set of tools to make it the go-to platform for SMBs. From social buy buttons, call functionality, and Pages to messaging and free beacons, Facebook is staking its claim to online, offline, and online-to-offline marketing and commerce for SMBs.
One of the coolest things to come out Apple’s September product event was 3D Touch, which lets users indicate levels of intent based on how hard they press apps and links. Beyond the gadgetry of 3D Touch, one thing hasn’t been said: This is essentially deep linking, an area that will be a key battleground in local. 3D Touch could preempt the deep linking dilemma by peeking deep within other apps — a lighter and more elegant solution I’m calling “deep previewing.”
The social graph alone won’t be a silver bullet for local. It’s just not big enough. And its value to local is overstated. My friends are great for party pics and snappy news feed dialogue — they don’t yet excel at plumber reviews.
Wouldn’t it stand to reason that higher receptivity to promotional messaging comes when consumers are truly in buying mode. And wouldn’t the probability of that mode be greatest when someone is in-store, as opposed to browsing Instagram on their couch?
Local on-demand services continue to dominate press and investor attention. But the elephant in the room is the degree to which on-demand could displace local marketing as we know it.
Where is Google’s place in a world where the browser is no longer the front door? On the desktop, trillions of web pages compel an index and a friendly entry point. But an app-heavy mobile environment — already siloed into neat little buckets — doesn’t beg for a core search engine…
Given its engagement levels, quality, and potential audience scale, Snapchat isn’t just competing with Facebook and other native ad platforms — it’s competing with television. And for that reason, its local play will be large national advertisers that increasingly localize campaigns…
Growth will ignite first from live video’s inherent virality, which could find hundreds of millions of users the same way Instagram did. Then we’ll see copycat apps come out of the woodwork. It will follow the standard path: quick industry growth, contraction, M&A, a few winners, maturity, etc.. Somewhere in that progression will be a local play…