As apps continue to rival the web as a primary interface for all manner of information, entertainment and communication, publishers lose sight of their ability to take advantage of their location. This had been a defining ingredient for incredibly successful early apps such as Instagram and Uber, helped drive the success of Starbucks’ mobile app, and upended the game category with Pokemon Go.

That’s not to say that this week, though, we saw two big mobile players infuse their apps with greater location awareness. The first is red-hot Snapchat, which continues to draw “beat ‘em or join ‘em” attention from larger ecosystem players as it plans a path toward a massive IPO spectacle. A publisher that has created innovative advertising opportunities, it has teamed up with Foursquare to enable geographically oriented filters that can be used for enhanced advertising campaigns. The move is a natural for the advertising pioneer who has created filter sponsorships for brands and could drive Snapchat into local commerce opportunities.


Snapchat hopes to repeat the success it has had with sponsored lenses as it adds geographic information. Source: Snapchat

Most of the attention in the streaming business for the past year has centred on the growing rivalry between Spotify and Apple Music. This has been driven in part by Apple’s high-profile Beats acquisition a few years back that brought Beats Music and Beats’ co-founders Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre into the Apple fold. But don’t overlook the market potential of Google Play Music (GPM), which enjoys a native advantage of Android even if Apple Music is beating it on its own turf.


Amidst a slew of announcements and updates this week, Google announced that GPM would begin incorporating location as an input to personalization and song suggestions. Music and places are certainly intertwined and Google’s knowledge of where consumers have been might help create a more poignant soundtrack. Given this, the addition serves to help differentiate  what often feels like Google’s vanilla service, even after incorporating Songza at the beginning of the year. However, it’s unlikely to have as significant an impact on GPM as the filter capabilities will have in advancing Snapchat and its passionate and active user base.

AuthorRoss Rubin