Which is the best messaging app?
The messaging apps you likely use each day, like Apple’s iMessage and Facebook Messenger, have changed dramatically over the past few months.
These apps, primarily designed for simple conversation, are gradually evolving into platforms for more complex messaging and outside services. The shift can be compared to the move from mobile webpages to apps that took place once smartphones like the iPhone rose in popularity nearly a decade ago.
Google’s new messaging app Allo, for example, integrates the company’s search prowess directly into text conversations. Apple recently launched an entire store just for apps meant to be used within its messaging app, iMessage. And Facebook earlier this year invited companies to design their own chat bots for its Messenger app, which help you shop or book travel plans.
Apple, Google, and Facebook’s messaging apps serve similar purposes, but in different ways. Here’s a closer look at how they differ.
Allo’s biggest asset is its integration with Google Assistant, the company’s conversational new virtual aid that can answer questions and make suggestions.
Allo offers two ways to interact with Google Assistant. In a messaging thread, typing the trigger phrase “@google” will tell the assistant to pay attention to the next string of text you type so that it can answer your query. When making plans with a friend, you might type something like, “@google Show me movie times near me?” to display upcoming showings. You can also chat with Google Assistant one-on-one to ask it questions, set alarms, tell jokes, find news, and remember information like hotel room numbers, among other things.
At this point, Google Assistant adds some convenience to texting by making it easier to retrieve information without having to juggle multiple apps. But for now, it’s only helpful for basic tasks. For finding more complicated answers — like public transportation schedules — you’re still better off using a dedicated search app or web browser.
A crucial difference between Allo and the messaging apps offered by Apple and Facebook is that it doesn’t yet offer third-party apps, although Google is considering doing so in the future. With Allo, you can hunt for nearby restaurants and browse movie times without leaving a text conversation, but you can’t book a table or buy tickets for now.
While many texting apps and keyboards can suggest words as you type, Allo goes a step farther by offering up full replies based on the message you’ve just received. If a sibling sends you a photo of the family dog, Allo might suggest that you say something like “Aww!” or “How cute!” in response. This artificial intelligence-powered feature is part of what makes Allo different than iMessage or Facebook Messenger. These suggestions are on point and natural-sounding for the most part, but I found that in most instances I preferred to type out my own responses unless I was in a rush.
Stickers and expression are also an important part of the Allo experience. There are currently around 25 sticker packs available to download in Allo, which is an especially slim selection compared to the 6,000 sticker collections Facebook Messenger offers. Apple hasn’t said how many stickers are currently available for iMessage, but there are dozens upon dozens in the App Store already. These range from recognizable brand-name characters like Mickey Mouse and Mario to cute animals. The stickers in Allo, comparatively, are made by independent artists and studios.
Allo also has an Incognito Mode, which, as the name implies, is meant to offer more privacy for sensitive conversations. With Incognito Mode enabled, all chats are encrypted end-to-end. You can also choose to make your messages disappear after a certain amount of time has passed. This is similar to the Secret Conversations feature available in Facebook Messenger’s mobile app.
However, many reviewers have criticized Google for not activating this functionality by default, as Apple does with iMessage. Google also stores your Allo conversation history, even though it said it wouldn’t look at your messages when it initially unveiled the app, as The Verge noted. (Google says it does this in order to improve its service, but the company’s advertising-based business model is built around knowing as much about its users as possible.)
Unlike Messenger and iMessage, Allo is only available on mobile, for both iOS and Android. This means you can’t continue your chats on your computer while at work or get notifications on your desktop or laptop like you can with Apple and Facebook’s respective apps.
The new version of iMessage, which recently launched with iOS 10, includes an App Store filled with apps just for Apple’s messaging app. You could, for example, download The Weather Channel’s app for iMessage to look up the forecast and share it with a friend without switching between apps. Or you might have a few friends vote on which restaurant the group should choose for dinner that night through OpenTable.
Apple’s approach to messaging differs from those of Google and Facebook in that it doesn’t focus on the “conversational interface.” This idea has been front and center in both Facebook and Google’s respective apps. Part of the appeal behind Allo, for example, is that you can ask Google to answer questions or retrieve information for you in the same way you would type a message to a friend. Similarly, thousands of businesses have launched chatbots for Facebook Messenger with the goal of making it easier to use their services through casual communication. But using apps in iMessage largely feels the same as interacting with other apps on your phone, rather than chatting with a virtual assistant or automated bot. You can choose to open an app within the text field of your message or expand it to run in full screen mode.
iMessage has changed in other ways, too. In addition to the new stickers, Apple has added visual effects that Facebook and Google’s apps lack. Some examples include: The ability to send handwritten notes by holding the phone in landscape mode, tapping a word or phrase to replace it with an emoji, and sending a virtual heartbeat to recipient.
Another feature unique to iMessage is the ability to send full screen animations with a text, like a barrage of fireworks in the backdrop of a message that says “Congratulations.” iMessage also allows users to send blurred text or photos that unscramble when the recipient swipes over the message. With the new iMessage, it’s possible to make text bubbles larger or smaller, (Allo offers a similar effect), and tap on a specific in a message within a thread to ‘react’ to it, like you would a Facebook status. Plus, iMessage users can now search for animated GIFs and images with the iPhone’s keyboard by default.
Apple’s service is only available on Apple products, including iPhones, iPads, Mac computers, and iPod Touch devices.
Facebook began integrating third-party services into its chat app before Apple and Google, first introducing Messenger as a Platform in 2015. Facebook took this a step further in April, inviting app makers to create chatbots for its messaging app. There are currently more than 30,000 bots on Facebook Messenger, allowing users to shop, get weather forecasts, and read the news within the app.
When done well, using bots in Messenger almost feels like having personal assistants for specific tasks. The Whole Foods bot, for example, serves up recipe ideas. Shopping app Spring’s bot, meanwhile, will ask you what you’re shopping for and pull up relevant items. The experience is different with each bot. Some will proactively ask you what need help with, while others field questions or send news updates. What each bot does is largely in the hands of their developers rather than Facebook, which is why some bots are more responsive and engaging than others. By contrast, the Google Assistant experience is consistent since Google is in full control.
In addition to chatbots, Facebook also lets third-party apps plug into Messenger. These are different than chatbots in that they’re not conversational, instead working more like iMessage apps. You can, for instance, request an Uber or Lyft when chatting with a friend or send money through Facebook’s payment service without leaving your conversation. Some of these options appear in your in the tool bar above the text field in Messenger, while a larger selection is accessible in the More section. Many of the app integrations currently available for Messenger include different types of keyboards, games, quizzes, and photo apps.
Other than its massive sticker library and selection of third party keyboards, Facebook doesn’t offer many different tools for expression. You can’t, for example, add full-screen animations to a message or tap a word to replace it with an emoji the way you can with iMessage. It did, however, recently gain the ability to start a live video in a conversation and embed polls in group chats.
Facebook Messenger is available for iOS and Android and can also be used on the desktop.
Ultimately, most people will probably opt for the messaging platform that’s most convenient for them. Most often, that’s the app that most of their friends and family members are currently using. This is where Apple and Facebook have a major advantage over Allo. iMessage is baked into every iPhone by default, while Facebook’s Messenger app is among the largest messaging services in the world, boasting 1 billion users. With Allo, Google will have to convince users to download a new app they likely haven’t heard of.
Still, there are reasons to like (or dislike) each app. The ability to search for GIFs and stickers alone is a major step forward for iMessage, which has lagged behind apps like Facebook Messenger in this respect until now. The overall app experience in iMessage, from discovering new apps to actually using them, feels very much like installing regular apps on your iPhone, which Apple fans will likely appreciate.
Messenger, on the other hand, appears to be focused on building the conversational user interface by pushing developers to create chatbots for its platform. It’s still early days for these bots, and the vast majority of them still have yet to prove their worth. Regardless, it’s clear Facebook is focused on messaging, as the app has seen several significant changes over the past year alone. For now, the app’s ease of use and vast selection of stickers remain its biggest strengths.
Allo has potential, but for now it feels more like a testbed for Google Assistant more than anything else. The idea of having a virtual assistant present in chats to help you make plans with friends is helpful and appealing, but it does present some privacy concerns. For now, the lack of third party app integration and desktop compatibility puts Allo behind Messenger and iMessage, although it will be interesting to see how Google Assistant improves over time.
Google désire simplifier l’organisation des vacances avec sa nouvelle application mobile baptisée Google Trips.
Google désire simplifier l’organisation des vacances avec sa nouvelle application mobile baptisée Google Trips.
Google ne vous lâchera pas, même pendant vos vacances. La nouvelle application Google Trips est présentée comme « un guide de voyages personnalisé qui tient dans la poche ». Elle est disponible gratuitement sur l’Apple App Store (pour les terminaux iOS) et Google Play Store (pour les appareils Android).
A travers une seule et unique app, Google veut planifier l’organisation des voyages et séjours et profiter de ses vacances en évitant de se prendre la tête avec plusieurs outils à coordonner. Selon une étude GoodThink, 74% des voyageurs estiment que l’aspect le plus stressant des voyages est de peaufiner les détails.
Dans cette application, chaque voyage regroupe des catégories clefs d’informations, comme les plans pour la journée, les réservations, les choses à faire, des informations sur les restaurants à proximité…En tout, Google Trips propose des itinéraires pour 200 villes dans le monde entier.
L’app peut puiser certaines de ses informations dans votre boîte Gmail ou bien Google Maps. C’est en effet sur la base de l’historique Google de l’internaute que l’application dévoile ses recommandations.
Il est donc nécessaire de s’identifier au préalable avec son compte Google. C’est une manière également de garder une trace de l’ensemble des réservations réalisées (vols d’avion, hôtels, voitures de location et tables de restaurant).
Fonction intéressante : Google Trips présente également l’avantage d’être disponible sans connexion Internet, selon une contribution blog. Avant d’effectuer un voyage, il suffit de taper sur le bouton « Download » pour sauvegarder localement les éléments de l’app dans la mémoire du smartphone.
Ce nouvel utilitaire de voyage vient en complément de Destinations on Google, une autre application de planification de séjours pour organiser ses vacances (dont le lancement remonte à mars dernier).
Pour alimenter Google Maps avec du contenu éditorial, la firme Internet de Mountain View avait acquis Zagat en 2011. Le rachat de l’éditeur américain de guides de restaurants, également spécialisé dans la notation d’espaces d’accueil pour les touristes, avait permis d’enrichir le service de cartographie.
Toujours au registre des acquisitions (et toujours en 2011), Google avait aussi jeté son dévolu sur les bons plans localisés de Dealmap. Le deal est plus curieux avec :es guides de voyages Frommer’s : neuf mois après leur acquisition, le groupe Internet a finalement fait volte-face en revendant en avril 2013 les actifs au fondateur Arthur Frommer sans donner d’explications.
Malgré ce dernier couac, Google s’est forgé une solide expertise dans l’e-tourisme. La firme Internet avait poussé l’approche très loin en acquérant en 2010 l’éditeur ITA Software, qui développait des logiciels de bases de données pour le transport aérien et les voyages.
Au-delà de l’apparition de Google Trips, il existe une concurrence déjà bien installée avec des applications thématiques comme TripIt (app orientée voyages d’affaires de Concur) ou d’autres davantage orientées vacances comme TripAdvisor ou plus pratiques comme Yelp. Airbnb plancherait également sur une application similaire à Trips.
Vidéo de promotion via YouTube :
(Crédit photo : @Google)
To radically change TV-watching habits.
Traditional television viewership is on the decline, and fewer people are actually going to the movies. Meanwhile, streaming video services like Netflix, Amazon’s Instant Video, and Hulu keep adding subscribers and original programming.
It’s getting harder and harder to deny that digital content providers are dramatically altering the entertainment industry. So, how did they do it—and what will be required for traditional networks and studios to stay in the game?
Michael Smith and Rahul Telang—two professors at Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College of Public Policy and Management—explore these questions in their new book, Streaming, Sharing, Stealing: Big Data and the Future of Entertainment, published by MIT Press last month. In an interview with Fortune, Smith discussed the new book, Netflix’s hit, House of Cards, and the future of entertainment.
The following conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Fortune: Your book describes the success of Netflix’sHouse of Cards as a turning point for the entertainment industry and digital content. Why was that such a big deal?
Smith: The making of House of Cards illustrates how a bunch of different changes coming together at the same time can be really disruptive to the traditional industry. The thing that Netflix had that nobody else in the industry had was they didn’t just know that there were a bunch of [fans of the House of Cards‘ lead actor, Kevin Spacey] in the abstract, they knew exactly who those Kevin Spacey fans were and they could use the platform to target them directly. So, Netflix went out and created nine separate trailers for House of Cards and targeted them directly to those users. So, I think part of the story is the power of detailed customer data to help you do a better job of marketing the content.
Has the thinking among traditional media giants—who have frequently downplayed the competition they face from services like Netflix—evolved at all in recent years?
There are a lot of very smart, very capable people, who I respect, saying we’re in a content bubble [and] there’s way too much content being made right now for what’s economically feasible. And, what we’re trying to gently push back in the book is the economics of the large-scale bundled subscription model that Netflix is pursuing, [where what the] economic theory says is you can profitably make things in a bundle that wouldn’t be profitable if you sold them separately. I think it’s just as likely that what we’re seeing is the new economics of what’s possible in a Netflix-style bundle. This isn’t a bubble of content production; this is the new normal of what’s possible.
What’s the biggest reason streaming services have a leg up over traditional media companies?
Netflix, Amazon, and Google all own their own data and they don’t share it with anybody in the entertainment industry.
People have made a big deal about the idea of “binge-watching” as the embodiment of the changing way weconsume media. But, what about the tailored content, based on users’ tracked habits? Which is more important?
Both. It’s understanding at a detailed level how individual consumers are accessing the content, and then using the platform to help them discover and find exactly the right content that’s going to meet their tastes. What the academic literature says is that consumers get an incredible amount of value from being able to find exactly the kind of content that meets their unique tastes—and that consumers’ tastes are incredibly varied, more so than what you can find with traditional broadcast channels.
So, what’s the future of entertainment? What will the industry look like in a decade?
We try not to prognosticate too much in the book. What I do think is true is, because of the nature of the data and consumer behavior, a lot of these channels become winner-take-all or winner-take-most-all kind of markets. I think we’re going to have a small number of very powerful players. Now, we’ve always had a small number of very powerful players—what we’re saying in the book is there’s a very high likelihood that it could be a different set of players if the traditional industry folks don’t move quickly.
Could there be consolidation among some of the big companies operating Hulu?
It’s possible. I honestly think that’s their best strategy, to come up with a separate platform. The separate platforms are certainly a good start. The problem is I have no idea what it CBS content versus ABC content, and even less so for movies. Both for marketing reasons and pure economic reasons, it’s much better to go with a common platform that brings together content from a bunch of different players than to try to go with individual platforms for all the different players.
How professional cycling is transforming itself through data storytelling
In all their many shapes and forms, sports entertain us, bring us joy, and showcase the pinnacle of our physical and mental abilities. We love following sports! But in all the excitement and exhilaration they offer us fans, it’s sometimes easy to forget that they’re also businesses. For event organisers, sponsors, the media, and professional athletes, sports must also be lucrative, profitable, and sustainable.
The Tour de France is organised each year by Amaury Sport Organisation (A.S.O.). It’s a great example of how a professional sports business saw the massive potential that the digital era holds for all organisations … and how it’s now transforming itself in several ways to leverage that opportunity through technology. A.S.O. is revolutionising the viewing experience of pro cycling and is doing so through data storytelling. Here are seven important lessons we can learn about digital business from A.S.O.’s journey so far.
Lesson 1: Know what it is you’re really selling
As a sports media organisation, A.S.O.’s product is not necessarily the sport of cycling itself, but the stories it’s able to tell about it. The newspaper L’Auto created the Tour de France back in 1903 with the sole purpose of selling more copies. The newspaper featured fantastic stories of this exciting cycling event: the trials, tribulations, crashes, punishing climbs, daring descents, and dashing sprints to the finish line. That was the product they were selling … and it hasn’t changed much throughout the evolution of A.S.O. , nor in the more than a century of the Tour’s existence.
Cycling today is still a sport in which fitness, teamwork, strategy, mental endurance, and sheer skill all play a part in ensuring victory and glory. The more compelling, intriguing, and entertaining that story is, the more attractive the product that A.S.O. has to offer, and the greater the audience it will attract to consume that product.
Lesson 2: Change will always happen – recognise it when it does
What did change over the last century, however – and massively so – was the buyer of A.S.O.’s product, the consumers of sports stories around the world. And much of that had to do with technology. As technology evolved over the last 100 years, so did the ways in which sports audiences wanted to consume their stories. With the dawn of the digital era came an explosion of new devices, applications, and social and digital channels. Along came a new type of sports fan, too, for whom traditional TV, radio, and print simply weren’t good enough anymore. The new sports audiences wanted more ways of consuming sports stories, more information, more involvement, more interaction, and more conversation about the sport they were passionate about.
Read this blog or download this infographic for more about the close relationship between the evolution of technology and sport.
Lesson 3: Technology has the power to transform entire industries
A.S.O. therefore faced a challenge: they knew they needed to adapt, enrich, and enhance how they told the Tour de France story, in order to leverage the opportunity that technology and new audiences had to offer. And there was only one way of doing so: through the power of technology itself. As a result, A.S.O. dipped its toes into the world of live-tracking and data analytics for the first time during the 2015 race, with the help of Official Technology Partner, Dimension Data. By 2016, A.S.O. was ready to use data to tell truly exciting stories about pro cycling, and deliver this newly enriched product to fans, professionals, and the media around the world – not only via traditional channels, but also online and through social media.
But how exactly did they go about it and how was Dimension Data able to help?
Lesson 4: Digital business begins and ends with data
Data is the lifeblood of digital business. But making the most of your data means more than collecting, storing, and processing bits and bytes. A reliable flow of data across a secure, stable infrastructure also helps to turn data into useful information. At the 2016 Tour de France, it was all about data in motion. Our mobile data centre, called the big data truck, was literally on the road every day to follow wherever the greatest cycling race in the world went. Watch this video for more about how the big data truck formed the analytics hub of the data that flowed from each bike in the race, to eventually help A.S.O. tell great stories of pro cycling.
Lesson 5: People who work for digital businesses work in new and exciting ways
It takes a fantastic group of passionate, willing, and able people to pull off a massive technology project like the Tour de France. It also takes some great technology to bring them all together, in real-time, from around the world. Our Tour de France team worked every day of the event from inside the big data truck, their office on the road. Through a 24-hour technical development cycle, the team ensured the solution kept up with the dynamics of the race. The truck itself is a great example of a workspace for tomorrow. It’s completely mobile and incorporates an impressive range of communication and collaboration tools that bring people together from all over world, while they work. If you wonder what it takes to operate within a global team in an office that moves every day, watch this video.
Lesson 6: A cornerstone technology of digital business is cloud
Cloud gives you the ability to scale your digital business instantly in order to respond smarter and faster to massive data volumes and dynamic market conditions. This was also true for the Tour de France. This year, we delivered valuable race information to A.S.O. through a unified digital platform hosted in the cloud, in parallel with a big data truck disaster recovery solution. The quality of data and real-time availability of that data were critical components of the technology solution. Dimension Data’s cloud ensured we kept the data secure, and encrypted connectivity allowed the race information to be transmitted to broadcasters, the media, the teams, and viewers securely. Watch this video to learn more:
Lesson 7: It always takes a team
As much as technology stands central to digital business, business itself is always about people. The Tour de France technology solution was no exception. Behind all the buzz and excitement ofone of the greatest sporting events in the world, was a large, global team of dedicated, passionate people working together to deliver something great. They’re the ones who made it all happen. Watch this video to meet some of them, and find out what it was like to help A.S.O. tell great stories of pro cycling.
Lastly, if you’re wondering what stories we were able to help the A.S.O. tell at the greatest cycling race in the world this year, take a look at this infographic. It’s a great example of how data analytics can help revolutionise the viewing experience of professional sport through effective data storytelling.
Social media has redefined marketing & it has continued to evolve. Here are the top social media marketing trends to keep an eye on as you refine your marketing
Extract of Jeff Bullas Blog
YouTube was a sensation in 2004. That technology allowed us to record, upload and view but 12 years later the mobile phone has become abroadcasting device that allows you to capture the live moment. Not recorded and sanitized with editing but raw live footage.
Meerkat was one of the first social networks to make live streaming video easy, then Twitter bought Periscope and blocked Twitter’s sharing on Meerkat.
Blab tried hard for a year in 2015 and made some waves but has been switched off.
Now Facebook “Live” is taking on Twitter’s Periscope.
This trend is changing how we share our stories (both business and private), live events and educate. It is another way to engage with your audience.
Buzzfeed recorded a Facebook live stream that attracted millions of views. The topic? How many rubber bands does it take to burst a watermelon?
It can also be a new way to build trust and credibility online with authentic unfiltered content.
Chatbots are a conversational agent that is designed to simulate intelligent conversation without a human being present.
In the artificial intelligence era it’s all about embedding human smarts in machines.
Facebook chatbots are one application of this revolution, as they rapidly gain popularity and provide a new tool for marketers to leverage. These chatbots are the incorporation of automatic chatbots within Facebook Messenger.
Chatbots offer flexibility in order to automate tasks, and assist in retrieving data. They are becoming a vital way to enhance the consumer experience for the purpose of better customer service and growing interaction.
In April 2016, Mark Zuckerberg announced that third parties could use the messenger platform to create their own personal chatbot. Since then, the popularity of chatbots has rapidly grown all over the world. Their prime functionality remains the same, and that is to improve real-time engagement.
Customers are always searching for prompt and ready replies to their comments and queries. The chatbots are designed in such a manner that they are able to answer most of the queries placed by customers, without human intervention.
Chotu, one of the leading chatbot technologies, is an AI robot on Facebook messenger that assists in accelerating customer information acquisition through Facebook messages. It provides all the needed information from your messages itself, rather than relying on several different apps working together.
Chotu performs multiple tasks at a single time and offers 24×7 customer service.
These can help in bonding a strong relationship with your customers and potential crowds, without paying for high overheads on staff.
Attracting attention online is a battle between brands with big budgets and savvy marketers with little cash but who know how to hack business growth with technology.
The result? A lot of online noise and clutter. The challenge is standing out and gaining attention. Normal marketing tactics don’t work like they used to.
But Snapchat decided on a different tactic.
Make content expire.
This brought urgency to the content table. Visitors now knew that they had limited time to read or view content before it disappeared.
This included the watching of 10 second videos that are gone after one view and then it extended to Snapchat stories. These only last for 24 hours.
So Instagram saw the future and just “copied” SnapChat Stories and brought its own “Instagram Stories” to its platform.
Image source: Instagram
Expiring content is now part of the evolving social media landscape. It’s trending and the spurning of Facebook by Snapchat when they were offered a $3 billion ≈ net worth of Oprah Winfrey, talk show host and media proprietor, 2011
“>[≈ box office sales of Gone with the Wind, 1939]buyout seems to have become personal.
Their message to Snapchat? If we can’t buy you we will beat you. Social media is no longer an experiment or a game. It is big business.
Expiring content is a trend you may need to test and try in your future digital marketing campaigns.
Any evolving industry moves from a Wild West frontier to a more centralized and concentrated group of players over time. In his book “Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires” Tim Wu (a professor at Columbia University) reveals this pattern has been with us since the rise of the telephone in the 1800’s.
Social media is no different.
Facebook bought WhatsApp, Instagram and Oculus Rift. Twitter paid for Periscope. And Microsoft just acquired LinkedIn for a lazy $27 billion≈ Gates Foundation total giving since 1994, as of 2011
“>[≈ Manhattan Project, the original US program to develop the atomic bomb].
Image source: Fortune.com
As big enterprise moves into the social media landscape the rules will continue to change. Control will be exerted and buying a seat at the table will become a high stakes game.
Expect this to continue as smaller social startups struggle to break through the clutter.
The significance for the modern marketer is that it is dangerous to assume that things will remain the same. You will need to watch the changing landscape and keep reinventing your tactics.
Earning attention in a digital world was straightforward at first. You earned it by growing Likes on Facebook and followers on Twitter. No need to beg the gatekeepers or pay the newspaper and media moguls.
But that is changing.
Facebook, Instagram and others are removing chronological timeline updates. They are starting to make you invisible unless you pull out the credit card. Social media is just becoming another paid media.
This is a simplified algorithm that shows the key factors behind how Facebook determines what they show to you the user. The reason? Too little space and too much content.
Image source: Business2community.com
This will make more businesses go back to digital basics. What does that mean for marketers?
So don’t put all your marketing eggs in the social media basket. It is time you pursued a multi channel strategy.
The splintering of media from TV, radio and analogue to digital multimedia and social has made marketing a complicated and messy endeavour.
Managing that with a pencil, piece of paper, spreadsheet or a room of human worker bees is inefficient and doesn’t scale well.
Apps like Marketo, Hubspot and other marketing automation software platforms are now essential tools for any grownup marketer.
These are becoming smarter, more intuitive and cheaper to buy. If you aren’t using one today or thinking about it then you may find your competition giving you a marketing wakeup call.
Also……it’s costing you money.
Image source: IMCS360.com
As tools have become smarter and people’s resistance to general advertising grows higher the need for personalized and relevant content and advertising delivery becomes more important.
Facebook re-targeting and adverts driven by identifying where you have been on the web and your interests are becoming the digital advertising tactic of choice for campaigns. It delivers relevant content that converts at a much higher rate.
Digital marketing automation also can provide the data and the tools to send the right content at the right time to the right customer.
Relevance is king for catching a distracted eye and online glance in a noisy world of data clutter.
The social web gave rise to global topic tribes.
Bloggers created content on fashion, food and thousands of other niche passions. They also built loyal followers and advocates on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. They constructed credibility and trust built on authentic content.
Image source: Twitter
As the noise increases online and reaching your target customer gets harder because of content clutter the influencer and thought leaders who have built reach globally are the new niche gatekeepers.
Brands are now paying to reach their admirers and devotees.
Making a mistake or receiving a complaint in the past was behind closed doors. A telephone call, a letter or even an email discussion was private and hidden conversation for most.
Stuff up in a world of social networks is like airing your dirty washing in a stadium. It’s visible and sometimes viral.
Uber rates the driver “and” the passenger. Don’t drink too much and abuse the driver. Otherwise you may be walking a bit further in the future.
This visibility has been adopted from social.
So …transparency is the new business paradigm. Some brands just don’t know it yet.
The rise of the robots has been predicted since we watched HAL in “Space Odyssey 2001” in what was another world in 1968. In the decades since we have seen the emergence of the personal computer, the internet, social networks and the mobile smart phone.
The intersection of these technologies is changing entertainment, business and our lives.
The last 2 are obsessive technologies that have made 7 billion of uspublishers. We are now all video creators, selfie photo producers and writers that share by the billions every hour.
The result? A content explosion.
As the data volume has increased exponentially, the scale of the noise means that making sense of it needs artificial intelligence and machines with big powerful processors.
It includes search on Goofle and even search on Facebook.
Image source: Boomtrain.com
Where is this artificial intelligence being used that maybe you don’t even notice on your favorite social media networks?
In many ways, it has gone completely unnoticed by marketers and social media managers but it’s growing dominance means that it shouldn’t be. Musical.ly continues the trend of video popularity on social media as it has users share 15-second skits and music videos for followers to watch. Thanks to easy editing tools it has become a place for teens to get creative on social media. Will it be even higher next year? Maybe. Its rise is very similar to Snapchat but it remains to be seen they will be able to maintain this growth. If teens are among your target audience, it’d be wise to keep an eye on this network.
Musical.ly is mainly known as a lip-syncing and video sharing app popular with teens, but it’s starting to sing a different tune and expand its user base.
“Users are creating more original musical comedy, skits, fashion videos,” Ferguson said. “That type of content is becoming a focus for us internally. It’s a matter of creating a broader use case for ourselves.”
Musical.ly is in the midst of running what Ferguson called “revenue experiments” to show that it has what it takes to be a partner for brands without sacrificing user growth and engagement.
Music-related efforts make perfect sense for the platform. A number of recording artists, for example, are turning to Musical.ly to launch albums, run contests and promote their music, including Jason Derula, Selena Gomez, Flo Rida and Megan Trainor.
But having amassed a large, loyal audience – users create more than 9 million videos per day on the app – it’s up to Musical.ly not to ruin that with an ad experience that feels at odds with its roots.
That’s part of the ever-present challenge facing apps looking to monetize without alienating their users. But for Musical.ly in particular, the greater challenge is demonstrating that the app can be a valuable partner to general brands, not just teen-focused ones.
Musical.ly recently ran a campaign with Coke, and another with Lionsgate for the release of its film “Nerve.” In the Coke example, users were asked to shoot videos of themselves sharing a Coke with friends or family. More than 900,000 videos were submitted.
“Some folks have asked me, ‘Is advertising on Musical.ly really valuable considering how young your demo is?’ But they have credit cards – whether their own or their parents’ – and they have an incredible amount of influence,” Ferguson said. “I think a lot of people underestimate that.”
Consider that 16-year-olds and their parents could be on the cusp of making a car purchase. A 17-year-old is likely about to head off to college and be in-market for a whole host of products – everything from bedding to financial planning.
“It makes sense to start chatting with that demo now,” Ferguson said. “But it’s not about trying to create endless monetization opportunities off of our users. It’s about creating marketing opportunities for brands and studios that feel organic to the app and lean into the behaviors we’re seeing on Musical.ly so that users are excited to participate.”
Facebook have released their “Hot Topics” report for August, highlighting the most mentioned topics, and which demographic groups were discussing them, across both Facebook and Instagram.
Naturally, the Olympics were high on the agenda, with the record-breaking efforts of swimmer Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt getting specific focus – though it’s somewhat surprising that Simone Biles and Ryan Lochte didn’t also make the list.
In terms of celebrities, the death of actor Gene Wilder sparked many Facebook users to post their memories and sentiments, while Colin Kaepernick’s “Star Spangled Banner” protest also divided opinion.
In terms of brand mentions, Southwest Airlines got attention, while “Parmigiano Reggiano” was also a big topic of conversation amongst female users.
Over on Instagram, the trends bore some slight differences.
UFC is always a popular topic amongst Instagram users, and the data shows that both Nate Diaz and Connor McGregor got a lot of attention on the platform, while new computer game “No Man’s Sky” and a new album from Frank Ocean also got more attention on Instagram.
When you compare the data, it’s clear that Instagram hosts more pop culture-related discussion with Wizard Entertainment (the team behind comic convention “Wizard World”), the MTV Music Awards, “Friday Night Lights” and director Guillermo del Toro all making the list, despite not appearing on Facebook’s topics. It’s interesting to compare the audience attentions on each as an indicator of which is more relevant for your brand.
Facebook’s monthly Hot Topics outline provides some great insight for marketers and those looking to generate more engagement – and thus reach – with their Facebook posts. And given Facebook’s latest algorithm update, sparking your readers into action can play a big part in how Facebook determines how many people will see your updates.
Normally Facebook also publishes reports for the UK, Canada and Australia at the same time, but thus far only the UK report is available.
Employees in fields such as customer service and transportation face a ‘disruptive tidal wave’ of automation in the not-too-distant future
By 2021, robots will have eliminated 6% of all jobs in the US, starting with customer service representatives and eventually truck and taxi drivers. That’s justone cheery takeaway from a report released by market research company Forrester this week.
These robots, or intelligent agents, represent a set of AI-powered systems that can understand human behavior and make decisions on our behalf. Current technologies in this field include virtual assistants like Alexa, Cortana, Siri and Google Now as well as chatbots and automated robotic systems. For now, they are quite simple, but over the next five years they will become much better at making decisions on our behalf in more complex scenarios, which will enable mass adoption of breakthroughs like self-driving cars.
These robots can be helpful for companies looking to cut costs, but not so good if you’re an employee working in a simple-to-automate field.
“By 2021 a disruptive tidal wave will begin. Solutions powered by AI/cognitive technology will displace jobs, with the biggest impact felt in transportation, logistics, customer service and consumer services,” said Forrester’s Brian Hopkins in the report.
The Inevitable Robot Uprising has already started, with at least 45% of US online adults saying they use at least one of the aforementioned digital concierges. Intelligent agents can access calendars, email accounts, browsing history, playlists, purchases and media viewing history to create a detailed view of any given individual. With this knowledge, virtual agents can provide highly customized assistance, which is valuable to shops or banks trying to deliver better customer service.
Forrester paints a picture of the not-too-distant future.
“The doorbell rings, and it’s the delivery of a new pair of running shoes, in the right style, color and size, just as you needed to replace your old ones. And here’s the kicker: you didn’t order them. Your intelligent agent did.”
In the transportation industry, Uber, Google and Tesla are working on driverless cars, while similar technology is creeping its way into trucking to replace expensive human drivers.
It’s easy to get dazzled by such innovations, but what happens to the 6%? The call center staff, the taxi drivers and the truckers. There may be new jobs created to oversee and maintain these automated systems, but they will require an entirely different skillset.
“Six percent is huge. In an economy that’s really not creating regular full-time jobs, the ability of people to easily find new employment is going to diminish. So we will have people wanting to work and struggling to find jobs because the same trends are beginning to occur in other historically richer job creation areas like banking, retail and healthcare,” said Andy Stern, the former president of the Service Employees International Union.
“It’s an early warning sign and I think it just portends a massive wind of change in the future.”
Studies have shown that higher rates of unemployment are linked to less volunteerism and higher crime. Taxi drivers around the world have already reacted with violent protest to the arrival of ride-hailing app Uber. Imagine how people react when Uber eliminates drivers from its fleet.
“There is a lot of correlation between unemployment and drug use,” said Stern. “Clearly over time, particularly in urban settings, the lack of employment is tinder for lighting a fire of social unrest.”
The challenge posed by automation is not being taken seriously enough at a policy level, Stern added. “Politicians would rather talk about getting a college degree and technical skill training, things that are probably five to 10 years too late. We don’t really have a plan and we don’t appreciate how quickly the future is arriving.”
Does this mean we’re all doomed? “No. But what level of pain do people have to experience and what level of social unrest has to be created before the government acts?
Workers, many of whom don’t have technical skills, are competing for less and less jobs. If the market works without intervention we’re going to have no way to mediate the displacement.”
By now, marketers shouldn’t need convincing that personalisation is the way forward – but a new study by Adobe has given even more reason to delve into tailored marketing.
By now, marketers shouldn’t need convincing that personalisation is the way forward – but a new study by Adobe has given even more reason to delve into tailored marketing.
According to a new study by Adobe Digital Insights, here’s a correlation between website traffic growth and forms of personalised marketing.
The study says that European websites with rising traffic are enjoying 2.6 times more web traffic from tactics like social advertising, and 1.2 times more from paid search than sites with traffic on the decline.
But, advertisers and marketers in Europe are behind North American counterparts when it comes to targeted or personalised advertising tactics to drive traffic to websites.
New growth will require an evolution in thinking that revolves around a holistic consumer experience
For example, European websites which grew their traffic in the last three years see 8% more traffic coming from personalised advertising channels than declining counterparts, whereas in the US growing websites see 36% more traffic from personalised channels.
In general, digital advertising channels are “critical” for driving traffic to brand websites, accounting for 68% of visits, the study showed – and over half of sites in Europe grew their traffic over the last three years.
In particular, mobile advertising is seeing a rise – and advertising accounts for two of every three website visits from smartphones, according to the report.
“Internet traffic is nearing saturation in Europe and elsewhere. The days of organic website traffic growth are coming to an end. New growth will require an evolution in thinking that revolves around a holistic consumer experience—capitalising on mobility, deploying a market mix that supports the customer journey, and creating personalised content that resonates with the customer,” said Becky Tasker, managing analyst at Adobe Digital Insights.
Of course, if you’re talking digital advertising these days, you can’t not mention the rise and rise of adblocking. And Europeans in particular – including those in the UK – remain ‘sensitive’ to advertising, the report said.
Out of those who use adblockers, 44% said they only use one as ads were annoying and interruprive, while the majority of consumers in the UK, France and Germany prefer not to watch ads that automatically play sounds.
However, 40% of European consumers added that they thought advertising has improved over the last few years, and that they’re beinng shown valuable and compelling advertisements.
But this of course brings us back to the personalisation debate; tailored advertisements are favoured by nearly two in three European consumers – but less than a third think they’re as targeted as they need to be.
The study makes interesting reading for those marketers who still aren’t convinced by the highly personalised approach.