Yext begins to verticalize local business listings syndication with ‘Yext for Food’

Business listings with more content see more engagement, tend to rank higher and perform better overall. And as more searches take place on mobile devices (and eventually smart speakers and virtual assistants), marketers will need to expose more local business attributes and enhanced data for discovery and competitive advantage.
According to previous Google research, 50 percent of smartphone users conducting local-intent searches visit business locations within 24 hours. These numbers are even higher and more immediate for restaurants, which often see searches translate into visits within a few hours or less.
TripAdvisor found that “Restaurants with hours of operation on their TripAdvisor listing see 36 percent more engagement than those without them.” Yelp reports, “Businesses who complete their profiles see, on average, 5x the customer leads each month.”
Both sites also point out the importance of images on profiles. TripAdvisor said restaurants with between 11 and 20 photos see “double the amount of diner interaction over others with no photos at all,”

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Dex Media acquires YP Holdings to expand its SMB marketing automation platform

Dex Media has announced its acquisition of YP holdings in a deal that brings together two rival marketing companies that focus on the local and small business space.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The Wall Street Journal reported before the announcement that Dex is spending $600 million. The new company will be called DexYP.
Best known as a phone book publisher and online local search portal, Dex Media also offers a digital marketing automation platform for small and local businesses called Thryv (formerly DexHub).
[Read the full article on MarTech Today.]
The post Dex Media acquires YP Holdings to expand its SMB marketing automation platform appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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OpenStreetMap debuts Google Street View alternative: OpenStreetView

OpenStreetMap (OSM) has launched an effort to build an open-source version of Google Street View, called (not surprisingly) OpenStreetView. The hope is to use crowdsourcing to generate street-level photography for OSM on a global basis.
To do this, OSM supporter Telenav has built Android and iOS apps for those who want to capture images for upload while driving. There’s some technical complexity to recording and uploading images. Thus it’s really not accessible to general users; the project is for “mappers” and mapping enthusiasts.

To my knowledge, there are no incentives to participate beyond a leaderboard and/or a desire to see the project built. While a long shot, it’s quite possible that OpenStreetView will succeed over the long term, given the history and unlikely success of OSM itself. However, it will take years for the coverage to build up and become meaningful for a global user base.
There was an early attempt at an OpenStreetView in 2009, but it failed to

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YP brings search and location data together in “audience cartography”

Local search provider YP has introduced a new location data offering it calls “Audience Cartography.” While designed for mobile display (mostly in-app) advertising, the company incorporates local search intent data into the mix of signals it uses for audience targeting.
Here’s how YP describes the new offering:
[A] proprietary methodology powering our Enhanced Mobile Targeting display solution for national brands, using first party search intent and mobile location data to develop unique insights on both target audiences and their actions. These insights make it possible for marketers to refine their targeting efforts across multiple media channels in real-time, leading to more effective mobile marketing campaigns and greater online-to-offline conversions.
Location history (and search) data are combined for audience identification and segmentation. It also enables offline attribution based on a control and exposed methodology. At a high level, it resembles other solutions in the market, some of which I previously identified in a post yesterday about a partnership between Cuebiq and

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Android launcher and search engine Evie “reimagines” the mobile homescreen

Evie CEO and former Amazon engineer David Zhao insists that his company isn’t trying to replace or compete directly with Google. What Zhao and his team say is that they want to re-imagine the Android homescreen.
As a practical matter this means overcoming the current fragmentation in the mobile ecosystem between apps and the mobile web and among apps. The company wants to speed content discovery and task completion (i.e., reservations, tickets), whether on the mobile web or in apps.
In some ways Evie tries to emulate Apple Spotlight Search as an app launching tool for Android. Zhao explains the company’s philosohy in a blog post:
We believe the core solution to this app proliferation and fragmentation problem lies in understanding the relationships between apps, services, and content on mobile. We want to provide people with a direct path to what they want, when and where they want it — without toggling between multiple apps.
In development for about 18 months, Evie indexes

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Survey: Under 40 Percent Start A “Local Search” With A Search Engine

What we widely call “local search” is only partly about search engines. Finding local content and making offline purchase decisions is a multifaceted process that involves several categories of information and devices. That’s according a new survey and report from IDC and YP.
The report is called “Local Search Unleashing Opportunities for National Advertisers” and based on a survey of 750 US adults (between 18 to 44). Roughly 80 percent said they own smartphones, matching overall US smartphone penetration of just under 80 percent according to comScore.
Where Users Start Local Searches

Source: IDC (2016)
The survey looked at how people go about finding local information on the desktop and mobile devices. It focused on discovery of information tied predominantly to national brands but in an offline/local context across a range of categories:

Financial services and insurance
Automotive
Retailers
Travel
Casual dining
Business services

The research found that “general search engines” were largest single starting point for local search users. However, as the graphic above illustrates, that was

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Report: Nokia Sells HERE Maps For $2.7B To BMW, Mercedes, Audi Group

According to Bloomberg and CNBC, Nokia has found a buyer for its HERE mapping unit. The company had sought as much as $4 billion for the platform. However, the reported purchase price is roughly $2.7 billion (€2.5 billion).
The winning (and perhaps only) bid was made by a German consortium of car manufacturers, which had always been reported among the interested parties. It includes BMW, Audi and Mercedes.
In a way, their effort to acquire the platform was defensive. The car companies use HERE Maps in their in-dash navigation systems, and they recognize mapping and navigation as a strategic asset for further development of self-driving cars.
HERE is the rebranded NAVTEQ, which Nokia bought in 2007 for more than $8 billion. Other companies that had been rumored to be involved in the bidding for HERE included Uber (which acquired some Microsoft mapping assets) and several Chinese companies. Yet it appeared that Nokia was struggling to sell the asset, which could explain the reduced purchase

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Apple Renews Maps Agreement With TomTom, Will It Buy The Company?

Reuters reported this afternoon that publicly traded TomTom is up on news that its mapping-data contract with Apple has been renewed. Rival HERE (Nokia) is currently for sale and may fetch as much as $4 billion dollars.
There aren’t many global mapping data vendors available; and there’s a great deal of interest if not competitive bidding for Nokia’s HERE. Identified and rumored bidders include Uber, Baidu, Microsoft, German automakers, private equity and others. Any of these players could turn around, if unsuccessful with HERE, and try to buy TomTom.
The company offers a range of mobile and in-car navigation and mapping products.

Yesterday TomTom was worth less than $2 billion. Today on news of the Apple renewal the company’s value has risen to $2.1 billion. Still that’s half of what HERE will probably bring in for Nokia.
This weekend Apple confirmed acquisition of a company called Coherent Navigation, which offers more precise GPS location by combining signals from higher and lower orbit satellites. If

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Uber Teams Up With Baidu For HERE Maps, Apple Buys More Coherent Navigation

When Nokia announced HERE Maps was for sale it sought to generate interest from multiple buyers to drive the price up. That now appears to be happening.
Bloomberg is reporting that Uber and Baidu have teamed up, as multiple parties are now bidding for the mapping unit:
Uber Technologies Inc. is teaming up with Baidu Technologies Inc. and Apax Partners to pursue Nokia Oyj’s maps business, people with knowledge of the matter said, as a bidding war for the unit intensifies.
Another group, comprising China’s Tencent Holdings Ltd., NavInfo Co. and Swedish buyout firm EQT Partners AB, is also bidding for the unit, which may fetch as much as $4 billion, three of the people said, asking not to be identified because negotiations are private.
Microsoft Corp. has offered to buy a minority stake, while three U.S. private-equity firms — Hellman & Friedman, Silver Lake Management and Thoma Bravo — are also in the running, the people said.
Previously it was reported

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Report: Uber Makes $3 Billion Offer For Nokia’s HERE Maps

Uber is the latest company to throw its hat in the ring to buy Nokia’s mapping unit HERE. The NY Times reported that the ride-sharing service has submitted a $3 billion bid (unconfirmed) for the mapping provider.
If Uber succeeds it will be the second mapping acquisition made by the company. Earlier this year Uber bought independent mapping platform deCarta. Maps and routing are a key component of Uber’s business. Currently the company uses Google Maps. Presumably all that would change if Uber succeeds in buying HERE.
Uber is testing out other services beyond ride sharing, such as delivery services. Owning its own maps and routing algorithms would be both strategic and open up new opportunities for the company. HERE is one of only a few global mapping and navigation platforms. The others are Google Maps/Waze, Apple Maps, TomTom, Bing Maps and OpenStreetMaps.
There are also a number of other smaller or regional players. Among that group, a product/company I particularly like is EEGEO’s 3D

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