Industry Insights

Industry IQ: Social Media Giant Looks to Challenge Google in the Land of Local Search

Facebook Honing in on Local Search Market

When your monthly search volumes clock in at a whopping 63% (desktop) and 95% (mobile) of the market share, it’s a pretty foregone conclusion that you’re the best. That’s Google we’re talking about.

Is there anyone out there that can dethrone Google, or even come close for that matter? According to Wesley Young, a VP at Local Search Association, Facebook is already putting the right pieces in place to be a dark horse in the race.

Young’s recent article for Search Engine Land details seven changes that the social media behemoth has made in the last 18 months, which he believes could significantly close the gap with Google. Facebook’s recent moves include putting a greater emphasis on delivering results based on your current location, better indexing of the information the platform collects, and crowdsourcing to improve accuracy of results. (Two billion active users is a pretty good crowd to work with, after all!)

How quickly Facebook is able to catch Google remains to be seen, but it’s safe to say that the race is officially on.

Good News Comes in Threes for Snapchat Users

Snapchat’s most recent update includes three new features — it’s a triple threat! — that will give users even more capability when creating a snap: Paperclip, Backdrop and Voice Filters.

Paperclip is ushering in the age of links on Snapchat, given this is the first instance of the app allowing users to insert them. Now, you can tap the Vertical Toolkit’s brand new Paperclip icon, paste a link (provided it’s allowed under Snapchat’s Terms of Service) and it will appear as a preview to your friend when he or she receives the snap.

Backdrop, lets you select objects within your snaps and apply designs, which will change on a daily basis, while Voice Filters come exactly as advertised — you can alter your voice to sound like a chipmunk, a robot and other strange and exciting things.

Sears Holdings Letting Go of More Stores

Whether or not you believe that the retail industry is currently in crisis mode, for Sears Holdings, parent company of Sears and Kmart in the United States, big changes are on the horizon.

Once considered a giant in American retail, the company continues to nosedive following the recent announcement that it’s getting set to shut down another 43 stores. The closure of 35 Kmart and eight Sears locations below the 49th parallel will bring the grand total to nearly 300 this year alone.

As the company continues to sell off assets — including its popular Craftsman brand of tools, which sold to Stanley Black & Decker for $900 million — the finger is pointed squarely at the company’s inability to modernize quickly in order to effectively adapt to the digitally savvy consumer.

The news hits north of the border as Sears Canada, 10 per cent of which is still owned by Sears Holdings, also has its back to the ropes. The Canadian retailer, now in bankruptcy protection, announced the closure of 59 stores and has come under fire after revealing 2,900 laid-off employees won’t receive severance, nor will retirees be getting benefits.

Despite this news it’s important to keep in mind that amid the crisis narratives, several retailers are actually thriving. Check out our roundup of 5 retail brands that are making waves with brick-and-mortar stores — and learn what sets them apart from the pack (hint: consumer-first thinking.)  

Miss the news last week? Get up to speed right here. 

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