As I see more and more Ads trickle into the Google Maps App on my phone, I can’t help but think that Google is on the precipice of something really great: truly relevant Ads with Local flavor. Ads that benefit my ‘here-and-now’.
While I am surely over-simplifying the pieces necessary to make the above vision a reality [and boon for consumers], there are 3 questions that require answers in order to deliver a more engaging Local Ad unit:
- Where: GPS, IP address tracking - Google can establish my location on Mobile, PC
- What: The things I like
- Why: Figuring out the right Ad to deliver – this requires data about me!
[givens: Who? – me…my device knows this; When? – my existing data set has my engagement patterns logged; How? – Google knows Ad delivery]
Google owns the ‘Where’ and knows how to synthesize the most fitting ‘What’. [Note: They don’t currently have the ‘What’ for Local, but have to tools to figure this out]. What Google lacks is the ‘Why’: Why send this particular Ad or promo? Well, a young company, SinglePlatform, presents a fitting answer:
SinglePlatform enables restaurants – and likely more venue types in the future – a singular place where they can manage their digital presence. This means updated menus, promotions, phone numbers, emails, etc. Once information is updated, it is distributed to SinglePlatform’s Publisher Network (think CitySearch, Metromix, Facebook, Foursquare, etc.).
This is how SinglePlatform would help Google close the gap on ‘Why’:
1) It presents real-time information about restaurants [Google Maps already uses this type of data so users can quickly find or connect with a business];
2) Google can then back into the ‘What’ by linking Ad interaction to SinglePlatform’s database [by observing the Ads and promos you engage with]. This is very important!!
Google already has the means to create a personal, social profile, but doesn’t currently own the relationship / engagement with the user that can link: User <--> Restaurant <--> Like / Dislike
This approach to learning Social through SinglePlatform is different than, say, a game platform like Foursquare or Shopkick, as it’s monetized and improved through Ad engagement (vs. checkins and badges). I would argue that with SinglePlatform, Google poses a major threat to Foursquare since promotions could also be delivered in this way [pushed vs. the need to discover (pull)].
It would be exciting to see Google take a vested interest in SinglePlatform or other Platform competitor, as I’d love to walk out my door, open my Maps at lunchtime, and have recommendations and promos for restaurants Google knows I’d like!