E-commerce explodes: 45% growth in Q2

E-commerce explodes: 45% growth in Q2

Years of economic growth have been wiped out by COVID-19. However, the story for e-commerce has been the opposite: an acceleration of growth that otherwise might have taken years. Approaching 20% of retail. The U.S. Commerce Department reported new retail sales data (.pdf) earlier this week. It shows a huge spike in second-quarter e-commerce spending as a percentage of total retail, growing from 11.8% in Q1 to 16.1% in Q2. Some analysts and outlets exclude categories such as restaurants, bars, automobile dealers and gas stations to tell a stronger growth story. Using that formula, which is a bit of a cheat, e-commerce is now closer to 21%. To put all […]

Yelp’s updated ‘Request a Quote’ and new ‘Nearby Jobs’ provide lead-gen for SMBs

Yelp’s updated ‘Request a Quote’ and new ‘Nearby Jobs’ provide lead-gen for SMBs

Yelp introduced “Request a Quote” business messaging in 2016. In the interim, the company added capabilities and is now reintroducing it as a more full-featured lead-generation and business matching tool with appointment booking. Yelp is also launching “Nearby Jobs” for local services businesses, which gives them the ability to access a flow of local leads a part of a $240 monthly subscription. Businesses can proactively reach out to interested consumers based on a feed of local projects and service requests. On track to 100 business categories. More than 60 business categories now offer Request a Quote, featuring a newly revamped lead-gen questionnaire. That will grow to 100 in the near […]

Strange bedfellows Google and Firefox renew their ‘default search’ partnership

Strange bedfellows Google and Firefox renew their ‘default search’ partnership

Google and Mozilla’s Firefox need one another. That was recently reaffirmed in the decision to extend their 2017 search partnership, which was set to expire this year. Mozilla gets most of its revenue from search partnerships, the most important of which is Google — the latter is the default search engine for Firefox in North America. Google needs Firefox as a competitor in the browser segment, which it dominates globally. Google’s browser is under antitrust scrutiny in both Europe and the U.S. Existential time for Mozilla. Failure to extend the search deal with Google could have been a potentially existential blow to Mozilla, which has laid off 320 employees since […]

Facebook launches free ‘paid online events’ for SMBs and others

Facebook launches free ‘paid online events’ for SMBs and others

Facebook wants to help small businesses (SMBs) survive the COVID crisis — and make money. A few months ago, the company announced $100M in cash grants and ad credits for SMBs. It later introduced Facebook Shops to help SMBs sell online. And today it announced a new product to monetize classes and online events called, matter-of-factly, “paid online events.” Potentially powerful new channel. Paid online events is currently a free product that enables “businesses, creators, educators and media publishers” to set up paid events or classes online and keep 100% the revenue themselves — except on iOS, where event hosts must give up the 30% “App-Store tax,” as Facebook called […]

Google now enables GMB profile edits from Search and Maps

Google now enables GMB profile edits from Search and Maps

Until now, local businesses or their agencies had to use the Google My Business (GMB) site or mobile app to update business information. But the company is making it possible to edit or update GMB profiles directly from Maps and Search. Google announced Thursday morning that local marketers will be able to “create posts, reply to reviews, add photos and update business information” directly within these consumer-facing interfaces. Here’s how it looks in Google-provided images. Edit business data from within search results or Google Maps To do this, agencies or business owners need to be signed in with the Google account associated with the business. Just search for ‘my business.’ […]

Majority of chains call local-digital marketing an ‘untapped opportunity’

Majority of chains call local-digital marketing an ‘untapped opportunity’

When people hear the phrase “local business” they tend to think of mom and pop stores. But national brands like Chipotle, Anytime Fitness, Home Depot, Macy’s and Walmart are also local businesses because they exist in specific communities. Local laggards. Despite the fact that they make most of their money in stores, multi-location brands have typically been slow to focus on local-digital marketing tactics such as local SEO, GMB optimization, review management and localized social media marketing. Many have traditionally relied on national strategies despite evidence that consumers engage with these entities primarily at the local level. A new survey from Forrester, commissioned by SOCi, finds that 60% of multi-location […]

DuckDuckGo: Google’s mobile share would drop 20% with new search choice screen

DuckDuckGo: Google’s mobile share would drop 20% with new search choice screen

Responding to a European antitrust decision against app bundling and pre-installation, Google announced a system last year to present search alternatives to Android users upon device set-up. The resulting “Android choice screen” presents three alternatives (and Google), using an auction to determine the specific competitors. DuckDuckGo and Info.com bid successfully and are available on the choice screen in all European markets; otherwise there is some variation by country. Google critics decried the auction mechanism as “pay to play” and some Google rivals declined to participate in the auction accordingly. New choice screen would boost competition. DuckDuckGo has now produced user research that argues Google would see its mobile market share, […]

Google adds ‘last updated’ hours notification to GMB profiles

Google adds ‘last updated’ hours notification to GMB profiles

Google My Business (GMB) profiles now indicate when business hours were last updated. A small but important change, this happened roughly two weeks ago. Not a test. Some SEOs interpreted this as a test when it first appeared, but I confirmed with Google today that it’s not. In the examples below — both are London retail store locations — the hours information includes the notification: “updated by business” and how recently. Profiles showing how recently business hours updated It appears to be a global change. However, I’ve had trouble finding U.S. examples. Yelp did this in June. Yelp introduced a similar “last updated” feature along with other COVID-19 notifications and […]

Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook set to preview antitrust defenses before Congress

At a time of unprecedent political polarization, there’s a rare bi-partisan consensus in Congress that the major U.S. tech companies have too much power. That proposition and its implications for the economy will be at the heart of a hearing tomorrow before the House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee. Socially distanced video testimony. The CEOs of Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple will all give socially distanced video testimony, starting at noon Eastern, and be questioned by committee members, which should make for a marathon hearing. Originally scheduled for Monday, the hearing was postponed because of the memorial service for Congressman John Lewis. This will be the first time that Amazon CEO Jeff […]

Google rolling out LSAs and ‘Google Screened’ to select professional services nationally

Google rolling out LSAs and  ‘Google Screened’ to select professional services nationally

Local Services Ads (LSAs) have been a success for Google. Originally designed for home services advertisers, Google initiated a test last August with select professional services categories (lawyers, financial planners and realtors) in San Diego and Houston. National rollout. After a successful trial run, Google has decided to formally roll out LSAs for professional services nationally. It will be available initially to lawyers, financial planners, real estate agents and tax preparers, although I’ve seen other categories discussed as well. Currently there are nearly 50 business categories and sub-categories available for LSAs, most of which are home services. LSAs appear at the top of search results and deliver leads to advertisers […]