Location World And The Current Age Of Exploration

This Age of Exploration is about knowledge, says Yext CEO Howard Lerman. And that knowledge is increasingly powered by interactive maps.

It’s the inherent nature of people and business to constantly be in a state of exploration. The only thing that changes are the tools that are used to make those advancements that expand horizons.

That was the underlying theme throughout Yext’s Location World conference last week, which brought together brands as diverse as Microsoft, Fed Ex, Walgreens, Papa John’s, Farmer’s Insurance, Mastercard, Morgan Stanley, Guess, along with agencies and platforms including IPG Mediabrands, iProspect, Foursquare, xAd, HERE, Verve, Factual, and others. (Special keynote speakers Mark and Scott Kelly, the identical twin NASA astronauts and Tony award-winning actor Leslie Odom, Jr., who portrayed Aaron Burr in Broadways’ Hamilton: The Musical also gave their respective definitions of exploration during the two-day conference.)

“The current Age of Exploration is about knowledge — and that knowledge is powered by Artificial Intelligence,” said Lerman, kicking off the conference. “And maps are at the heart of that knowledge.”

Yext's Howard Lerman, on stage at Location World, which was held at the Conrad NY Hotel.
Yext’s Howard Lerman, on stage at Location World, which was held at the Conrad NY Hotel.

While Yext has been in the business of powering business listings, the demand for deeper information about those places goes beyond a street address. Location is about providing consumers answers about a businesses hours of operation, and managing social media presence, online reviews, and inventory information.

Above all, its about satisfying digitally-connected consumers’ needs at the moment they want to search for something from where they are in the world.

“For example, tagging Instagram pictures with a location increases engagement by 70-plus percent,” Lerman told attendees. “That’s the power of location.”

In a larger sense, xAd CEO Dipanshu Sharma summed up the value of location during a panel discussion featuring Lerman and Foursquare’s CEO Jeff Glueck: “We think of location as what defines us as people.”

In the way that search helped define the way consumers navigated the internet, and created a whole new structure that touches all businesses, location technology is taking it all a step further.

“Search used to be about links on a page,” Lerman said. Now, thanks personal digital assistants like Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Google’s expanding services, “Now search is an answer from an AI powered device. With voice search, you don’t want 10 answers back, you just want one — the right one.”

For more Location World coverage, check out:

Foursquare CEO Jeff Glueck: Location Is The Real-World Cookie: From improved attribution to real-world gaming, the hot topic at last week’s LocationWorld was the ‘future of location.’ Is that future already here?

How Cicis: Beyond Pizza’s Redesign Boosted Search Volume, Foot Traffic: The restaurant chain corrected the data in over 14,000 online listings.

IPG Mediabrands’ Stoller: The ‘Tin Foil Hat Era’ For Location Technology Is OverConsumers, marketers, and agencies are less wary about using geo-data — as long as there’s a clear value proposition for the exchange.

*Plus… Check out Branded3’s wide overview of the two-day event by Stephen Kenwright, director of Search, on his company’s blog.

(Full disclosure: Yext is GeoMarketing’s parent company. More details on that relationship here.)



About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.