Is Google Further Fragmenting the Path to Purchase?

Edgar Estrada | Jun 1, 2015 11:36:00 AM

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Last week, Google dominated social media and news with its Android developments from its I/O conference in San Francisco. These advancements with the Internet of Things have our team excited for the future of local search! And now that the flurry of information has settled, I’m going to highlight three key takeaways from these developments and what they mean for your brand.  

Takeaway #1: Wearables Are Getting More Glanceable, Actionable and Effortless

Wearables were a major talking point during both days of Google I/O. Google is pushing the envelope by making platform investments to develop useful, wearable apps. We saw a lot of overlap with the release of Apple Watch with internal capabilities such as microphone, GPS, heart rate monitor, barometer and more. Google is setting the foundation for the Android developer community to make full use of these capabilities and allow for more deep and interactive customer experiences.

On the path to purchase, more and more key players will be making their mark through wearable devices. Among the many app developers that are delivering on Android Wear, Foursquare is one that we always keep a close eye on. On these devices, Foursquare will geofence and send users context notifications to suggest the ideal entree as they walk into a new restaurant. When we talk about giving users what they want when and where they want it, this is what we mean!

Google I/O, Foursquare

Takeaway #2 - Your Location Data Can Soon Be Accessed Offline

Google Maps will soon be accessible offline. This enhancement will allow the full functionality of Google Maps, including the ability for turn-by-turn voice direction that consumers have all grown to depend on. Users with low connectivity can access Google Maps to explore nearby business to visit, such as a popular restaurant or department store to find business information they depend on, such as hours of operation, website and photos and reviews.

In terms of what these updates mean at the enterprise level, the endeavor of connecting with local consumers could potentially get more difficult. If your location data is not already consistent, current and accurate, you need to catch up. Google is adding another facet of the omnichannel path to purchase with offline data availability in order to help its users. With this unprecedented data availability, brands will now need to work harder to meet both online and offline consumer (and Google’s) demands.


Takeaway #3 “Now on Tap” Will Advance Your User’s Actions

We’re particularly excited to see how Google will help in making brand information readily available with  “Now on Tap” through the Android M operating system. “Now on Tap” can understand a mention of a local business within a text conversation or an Instagram photo and prompt a Google card to display with relevant store information. These cards can display ratings, call locations button, navigation to the location through Google Maps or options to open the store locations Yelp, Foursquare or Opentable profile.  

Google’s advancement in machine learning capabilities says something huge about the importance natural language recognition for local search. With “Now On Tap” specifically, we see an opportunity to provide value contextually to users in real time. The pressure is now on enterprise-level advertisers to anticipate ways to organize and deliver information to Android users when and where they want it.

For consumers, Google’s newest updates are terrific in that the user experience is now more personalized than ever before.  But for brands, these updates are a marketers nightmare.We can expect that the path to purchase will continue to fragment into a more situational search experience for each and every user. Modern digital marketers need to be savvy and seize conversion opportunities preemptively by observing how users will implement these technologies in their lives. This all comes down to Local-- if you’re not in the right place at the right time for your customers, you just lost a sale.

**UPDATE 6/3/15

Google is looking into a way of having websites also appear within Now On Tap cards. Not only does this demonstrate the importance of your data crawlability, but the presence of your local pages as another channel to funnel in searchers via Android.

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Topics: Online-to-Offline Attribution

Edgar Estrada

Edgar Estrada

Sr. Local SEO analyst and soccer buff. Quiz me!

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