Waze is shifting focus to what it calls “destination-based marketing” from location-based ads to highlight how its social navigation app helps mobile marketers reach on-the-go consumers. Read more…

Further Reading

Retailers and restaurants can use all the marketing help that Waze and Google Maps can offer, considering the prevailing trends toward e-commerce — especially the massive growth in mobile shopping. U.S. retail m-commerce sales are forecast to surge 30% to $269 billion this year (and by another 26% to $338 billion in 2020) from $207 billion in 2018, researcher eMarketer estimated this week. Amazon will benefit the most from that growth, given the popularity of its shopping app and mobile website. The skyrocketing growth in m-commerce will be about seven times bigger than the predicted 4.4% gain in total U.S. retail sales to $3.8 trillion this year, per the National Retail Federation. But at least a healthy economy and rising wages are giving consumers more confidence to shop.

The shift to e-commerce will continue to disrupt the retail industry, although it’s too early to tell how those trends will affect Waze and Google Maps. As online sales including m-commerce grow to 25% of total U.S. retail sales by 2026 from 16% today, 75,000 store locations need to close, UBS retail analysts Jay Sole and Michael Lasser estimated this week. That figure doesn’t include restaurants, although the diminished number of retail locations and growth of time-saving food delivery services will lead to fewer occasions to eat out. The number of meals bought from restaurants has fallen 14% from the most recent peak in 1998 — when the average American ate out 286 times a year — to 245 times last year, per researcher NPD. Fortunately for the industry, meals delivered from restaurants and eaten at home rose 6% last year, NPD found.

Snap’s first partner summit revealed lots of ambitious plans for its image-messaging app Snapchat, such as a mobile ad network, gaming platform, camera features and original shows. The planned Snap Audience Network will let marketers reach users of third-party apps with ad inserts resembling the full-screen, vertical videos in Snapchat. Read more…

Additional Reading

Facebook and Google, which bought ad-serving network Doubleclick in 2008, have similar platforms that give marketers broader campaign reach among apps and mobile websites, even among digital audiences who don’t use their services. That extensive reach is the major reason why Facebook and Google are called the “duopoly.” The two companies have a combined market share of about 60% of the $129.3 billion U.S. digital ad market, researcher eMarketer estimated. So far, the biggest threat to the duopoly is Amazon, whose rapidly growing ad business is denting Google’s dominance, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Snap doesn’t share personal data about the people who use Snapchat, in stark contrast to Facebook’s looser policies that let app developers collect data about millions of users and all their social connections. Such promiscuous data sharing let political campaigns recreate Facebook’s social graph for ad targeting, and directly led to last year’s Cambridge Analytica scandal. Facebook has changed its data-sharing policies in the past year, and this week called for governments to regulate the internet more closely to protect privacy and prevent the sharing of harmful content.

Tech companies are pushing into videogames as multiplayer gaming becomes a focal point for social networking. “Fortnite,” the hit battle royale game from Epic Games, exemplifies the trend as an online gathering place. Not only does “Fortnite” host multiplayer games among its 250 million users, but it also is adding live events like the concert from Marshmello. The popular DJ’s February 2 concert had a virtual attendance of a stunning 10.7 million people, the equivalent of about 150 outdoor stadium concerts (10.7 million attendees divided by stadium size of 70,000 equals about 150). “Fortnite” players showed up for the 10-minute show by using their player avatars to dance, jump around and rush the virtual stage.

Apple this year will release Apple Arcade, a game-subscription service with more than 100 exclusive video games. Google is planning a videogame platform called Stadia that will let players stream games from the cloud without the need for an expensive console like a Microsoft Xbox or Sony Playstation. Facebook last month added a dedicated gaming tab to its mobile app and has games on its Messenger app. More than 700 million people play games, watch gaming videos or participate in gaming groups on Facebook every month, the company said. Viewership of live videogaming content on Amazon’s Twitch streaming service surged 41% to 8.9 billion hours last year from 6.3 billion hours in 2017, per researcher Newzoo.

Snapchat’s remaining announcements focused on the user experience, including camera features and original programming. The company added Photomath and Giphy as partners for Scan, Snapchat’s camera search feature. The new services add to features that let users press and hold on the camera screen to unlock experiences, such as scanning Snapcodes to unlock filters and lenses; scanning physical products or barcodes to see Amazon search results; and identifying music tracks with Shazam.

Snap’s upcoming slate of Snap Originals, its exclusive shows for Snapchat, next month will be available on Snapchat’s Discover page. The shows include a range of genres such as serialized scripted dramas and comedies, character-driven docuseries, unscripted social commentary, among others. Production partners include Bunim/Murray Productions, Dakota Pictures, New Form, Bazelevs and other film and television writers and producers, per an announcement. Snap’s original programming is another way for the app to keep users engaged on its platform, and to sell video ad inserts.