Predictions for the Year Ahead
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Ask any real estate, search, or digital marketing expert about the major trends they expect to see in 2016 and the importance of Local Content will top the list. Companies everywhere, of all shapes and sizes, are realizing the importance of location and the impact that precise geographic data can have on their bottom line.
Here are the top three areas where we believe access to local geographic data will continue to be a hot topic in the coming year, and what that means for the team here at Maponics.
Localization of search remains an important trend in 2016. Today’s consumers are performing more and more searches for solutions within their neighborhoods and communities. In 2014, we saw Google refine their emphasis on local search with the release of the Google Pigeon update, which tailors their listings according to local areas. As the number of users searching on mobile devices grows, it continues to be a requirement for not only Google, but any type of search and display portal to customize listings and results according to location.
Search engine algorithms are consistently evolving to favor local results, identifying them as more relevant to the searcher. This year’s game-changing brands will be those that enhance local relevance and put more emphasis on not only localizing their search results, but also leveraging geographic data insights to improve search and launch more targeted, appropriate search campaigns.
The job of getting unique content into the hands of a target audience keeps getting more difficult and complex. The amount of content available to today’s consumer has skyrocketed. This availability will continue to boost end-users’ expectations when it comes to quality and variety of content offerings. There is an increase in the overall expectation that only content that is filtered for relevance is delivered—with geographic location being a primary filter. Winning content creators in 2016 will create new, informative, and useful content that leverages location-related targeting in both B2B and B2C spaces.
Airbnb's approach to local content is a great example. Their neighborhood guides offer a look at top cities around the world and provide insider details not only about the city, but also about the individual neighborhoods within them. The ability to locate a specific New York City neighborhood, or explore different ZIP Codes in California, makes Airbnb unique. If they had simply created content that was fast and easy for every market they serve, their local strategy would have fallen significantly short, mimicking every other city map or neighborhood guide available today.
Instead, Airbnb took the time to build out each geographic area, one by one, combining local elements such as photographs taken by people native to the user-selected locations and local editorial perspectives. The result? Practical and unique information about neighborhoods worldwide that allows users to discover interest-based experiences in specific city locations.
Mike Ramsey from Moz stated it perfectly when he said, "The key point to understand is that local content isn't just about being unique on a landing page. It is about being local and useful.” Presenting or acting “like a local” requires local knowledge, and local knowledge from a consumer standpoint is expected to be embedded and on demand. At Maponics, we strongly believe that the importance of localizing content with geographic context to effectively engage with a broader, more intelligent, and more nuanced customer base is a trend on the rise.
According to the folks over at Search Engine Land, location data will become the foundation for local marketing. Their belief is that the increasing strategic value of location data paired with the strength and presence of mobile will make local more of a foundation for all marketing — and we couldn’t agree more.
Location-based services aimed at consumers must empower a fresh, customized, and truly local experience at all times and all places. This may seem unrealistic, especially to an older generation, but there are millions of consumers voting with their phones and dollars for the user experiences that deliver just that.
Millennials have a completely different buying process than Baby Boomers and Gen Xers. These newer buyer personas expect to do their own pre-purchase research and information gathering. They expect to personalize search filters and criteria on-the-fly and want access to the most accurate and current information as a normal course of action. As millennials’ buying power continues to increase, so too will the demands on marketers and content providers to provide the freshest and most accurate content available.
Currently, we’re seeing this rising trend in residential real estate, travel and tourism, and advertising, though the impact is expected to be nonexclusive and will affect most industries in the coming years.
What does this mean for Maponics?
Maponics is focused on expanding our coverage of Areas of Interest (AOIs) and delivering deeper and richer lifestyle information about those AOIs. This includes information about things like shopping, recreation, and residential areas — both as map-based content and as editorials, reviews, ratings, and fact-based descriptive material. We will continue to reduce cycle time to get ever-fresher content into the applications that use and rely on our products. We are increasing the ability for our customers and their consumers to provide feedback and suggest improvements to our products, and we’re developing the capacity to ingest, process, and deliver real-time product updates that reflect important changes and constant product advancement.
In working with our customers, we recognize that demands to ease back-end costs for ingesting data and performing regular are increasing. With more features, complexity of integration increases exponentially. We also understand that the ROI for short cycle updates for existing applications is difficult, yet pressure coming from new entrants continues to build on existing platforms. At Maponics, we’re investing in the technology, infrastructure, and expert knowledge required to make it easier for our customers to respond to an ever-changing landscape.
Our focus remains simple: to provide relevant, cost-effective, geography-based products that meet the demands of a shifting buying climate and the overall changes in consumer behavior. Our goal is to make functional location-based products that are easy to use, easy to implement, and easy to integrate. And our ongoing mission remains unchanged: to deliver and maintain the best spatial representations of specific geographic boundaries and the attributes that describe them.
Mapping the world’s most relevant and interesting boundaries is a goal with built-in imperfections. Things are always evolving. There will be some features that change, new additions, necessary tweaks, new technologies, and new ways of thinking and using our products that require improvements. We remain committed to perfecting the process every day so that our customers can stay focused on their core business. We understand that in the end, applications that are more complete and up-to-date are the ones that are going to win.