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MasterCard buys SessionM for tighter credit card-loyalty program integration

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Mastercard has purchased customer data and loyalty platform SessionM. Terms weren’t disclosed but the startup raised almost $100 million over four rounds.

SessionM is behind loyalty programs for a wide range of companies including Coke, L’Oreal and Chipotle. It uses customer data and numerous behavioral and intent signals to deliver personalized (primarily) mobile offers.

Loyalty 2.0. Mastercard said in its press materials, that “The addition of SessionM will enhance Mastercard’s ability to help brands around the world deliver personalized, real-time offers and comprehensive campaign measurement based on robust, data-driven insights . . . SessionM helps brands create and manage consumer engagement and loyalty programs with industry-leading technology that powers a complete loyalty solution — from data management to campaign execution to program measurement.”

Moving beyond the marketing jargon, why did Mastercard buy SessionM? The deal actually makes perfect sense, as Mastercard seeks to gain an edge against payment card rivals and offer value-added services to its B2B customers.

The acquisition’s rationale. It’s about bringing a lot more data, targeting sophistication and measurement to branded credit card loyalty programs. A SessionM blog post reveals the rationale behind the acquisition:

  • 74% of Americans possess a store credit card; Cardholders receive rewards, discounts and exclusive experiences, while merchants receive a free ad in the customer’s wallet, an additional stream of revenue through credit card fees, and in theory, more ‘sticky’ customers . . . Just having a card to use will increase store sales by some 28% to 30%.
  • Brands can enhance their retention strategy by combining branded credit card + loyalty program [and] gain the ability to recognize, reward and improve communications with cardholders, improve customer experience for non-card members, and acquire more cardholders with personalized interactions.
  • Brands that combine a branded label credit cards with a loyalty/rewards program achieve greater results because a single program better reflects the simplicity that customers want and eliminates pain points, such as redemption limitations.

Why we should care. Mastercard has been working with digital marketing platforms for some time, using its transaction and POS data to enable targeting and attribution by third parties, including Google. Now the company will be able to offer a powerful data-driven loyalty program along with branded credit cards to its B2B customers.

That program will not only provide customer insights for personalized offers and targeting to retailers and brands, it will enable closed-loop measurement at the point of sale. SessionM will also drive additional revenue for Mastercard. It’s a pretty compelling proposition all the way around.


About The Author

Greg Sterling is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes about the connections between digital and offline commerce. He previously held leadership roles at LSA, The Kelsey Group and TechTV. Follow him Twitter or find him on LinkedIn.

Marketingland.com

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NEWS

Google December Product Reviews Update Affects More Than English Language Sites? via @sejournal, @martinibuster

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Google’s Product Reviews update was announced to be rolling out to the English language. No mention was made as to if or when it would roll out to other languages. Mueller answered a question as to whether it is rolling out to other languages.

Google December 2021 Product Reviews Update

On December 1, 2021, Google announced on Twitter that a Product Review update would be rolling out that would focus on English language web pages.

The focus of the update was for improving the quality of reviews shown in Google search, specifically targeting review sites.

A Googler tweeted a description of the kinds of sites that would be targeted for demotion in the search rankings:

“Mainly relevant to sites that post articles reviewing products.

Think of sites like “best TVs under $200″.com.

Goal is to improve the quality and usefulness of reviews we show users.”

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Google also published a blog post with more guidance on the product review update that introduced two new best practices that Google’s algorithm would be looking for.

The first best practice was a requirement of evidence that a product was actually handled and reviewed.

The second best practice was to provide links to more than one place that a user could purchase the product.

The Twitter announcement stated that it was rolling out to English language websites. The blog post did not mention what languages it was rolling out to nor did the blog post specify that the product review update was limited to the English language.

Google’s Mueller Thinking About Product Reviews Update

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Product Review Update Targets More Languages?

The person asking the question was rightly under the impression that the product review update only affected English language search results.

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But he asserted that he was seeing search volatility in the German language that appears to be related to Google’s December 2021 Product Review Update.

This is his question:

“I was seeing some movements in German search as well.

So I was wondering if there could also be an effect on websites in other languages by this product reviews update… because we had lots of movement and volatility in the last weeks.

…My question is, is it possible that the product reviews update affects other sites as well?”

John Mueller answered:

“I don’t know… like other languages?

My assumption was this was global and and across all languages.

But I don’t know what we announced in the blog post specifically.

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But usually we try to push the engineering team to make a decision on that so that we can document it properly in the blog post.

I don’t know if that happened with the product reviews update. I don’t recall the complete blog post.

But it’s… from my point of view it seems like something that we could be doing in multiple languages and wouldn’t be tied to English.

And even if it were English initially, it feels like something that is relevant across the board, and we should try to find ways to roll that out to other languages over time as well.

So I’m not particularly surprised that you see changes in Germany.

But I also don’t know what we actually announced with regards to the locations and languages that are involved.”

Does Product Reviews Update Affect More Languages?

While the tweeted announcement specified that the product reviews update was limited to the English language the official blog post did not mention any such limitations.

Google’s John Mueller offered his opinion that the product reviews update is something that Google could do in multiple languages.

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One must wonder if the tweet was meant to communicate that the update was rolling out first in English and subsequently to other languages.

It’s unclear if the product reviews update was rolled out globally to more languages. Hopefully Google will clarify this soon.

Citations

Google Blog Post About Product Reviews Update

Product reviews update and your site

Google’s New Product Reviews Guidelines

Write high quality product reviews

John Mueller Discusses If Product Reviews Update Is Global

Watch Mueller answer the question at the 14:00 Minute Mark

[embedded content]

Searchenginejournal.com

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