Within the past month, Google and Apple have both hosted annual events to announce upgrades to existing products and showcase some exciting next generation technologies. These technological innovations aim to enhance the customer experience through several user and location data-centric capabilities like voice-search and navigation. For advertisers, these are competitive areas in which we must take advantage.
Voice search is increasingly becoming the search method of choice for mobile users. In fact, the majority of search queries with local intent come from mobile users. To capitalize on this, Google Assistant is now taking a conversational approach to handling user queries. If an Android user asks, “Where is the nearest Mexican restaurant?” and then then afterward, “Do they have kids meals?” this technology is smart enough to continue narrowing the local search.
While Siri has long been at the forefront of voice-search, Apple is enhancing user experience yet again by bringing Siri to its desktop OS with the next release. Siri will be able to switch across devices for a user’s convenience but more importantly, this technology will now be open to developers. Now, there will be the possibility of integration with third-party apps and the ability to engage users in more ways than ever before. Siri’s upgrade reveals Apple’s attention to individual user preferences and hints at the provider’s efforts to help brands better target users using in-app voice search data.
When a user asks for more information past the baseline Name, Address, and Phone (NAP), your value can increase. With Google and Apple supporting niched local queries through search and apps, syndicating in-depth and accurate brand listings data can make all the difference in ensuring that Google surfaces your store information.
Google will enhance the overall user experience with Project Tango, an area learning technology that uses a camera to create a mathematical computation of the world around it. That data is stored in the device’s memory and then it uses that memory to recognize its location within a space. Tango tracks key landmarks and keeps track of how those landmarks shift within a given field of view. From an in-store navigation perspective, Google aims to provide brands with the opportunity to improve the customer experience through this type of local centricity.
While Apple’s efforts with in-store location are tied to iBeacon, the provider has recently upgraded user experience on the Maps application with an entirely new design. This seamless navigation is done outside of store locations, and shows suggestions based on a user’s location, daily habits, and calendar events. Maps will also include a search feature that allows users to filter things like “restaurants,” by swiping the bottom panel and choosing the type of food they want.
Google and Apple are user-centric engines that maintain searcher loyalty by providing the most accurate and current results. With navigation in particular, brands have the opportunity to provide these engines with location data to get users to stores, and are starting to use these new technologies to map inside stores to help users find exactly what they are looking for.
With approximately 90 percent of all global sales occurring in stores, Google implementation of ads on Maps was a long time coming. Now, users will see branded pins on their route or nearby their search results. With so much organic local real estate growing, this advertising capability shows Google’s focus on drawing the most valuable and relevant organic and paid information for customers searching for the nearest product or service.
With regards to search, Apple is focused on apps. The provider will now have over 2 million apps in the app store, and these apps have been downloaded over 13 billion times. Much like Google, Apple is providing brands in saturated, organic spaces with the opportunity to advertise their apps within the store itself.
The uprising of paid search demonstrates a great opportunity for brands to examine their competitive local strategy and ensure that they are beating similar brands on both the mobile web and app fronts. For brands with apps and websites with valuable, location-specific information, paying to play may be the only way to get customers the answers they are looking for.
Both Google and Apple are making strategic moves toward developing an enhanced, user-friendly technological experience. The focus on voice-search and navigational improvements mean that brands will need to make personalization and data syndication priorities in order to attract visitors to store locations.
At Brandify, we can help you manage critical local information for your multiple store locations, ensure the accuracy and quality of this information and manage any data updates to Google and Apple as these user technologies change and grow.
Learn more about mastering your local presence by viewing your local data quality and Brandscore in our free brand scan!