AI

Weekly Digital Breakdown

Google Is Changing How People See Search

Online shopping typically begins with a search bar and a product description.  Despite increased ease, it still poses its challenges. You can find yourself scrolling through pages of results if your description isn’t quite right or worse, the item is no longer in stock.  To alleviate the frustration, Google has a new vision for internet shoppers.

The company highlighted its visual search capabilities this week with Google Lens, an app that allows users to search what they see, which leverages augmented reality to find products online.  While in the works for a few years, Google is placing its bets on the evolving technology to provide a more personal shopping experience.

So how does this differ?  Google brings the products to you based on scanned image through the app.  Your picture can provide details such as color, brand, model, etc. with just one image, cutting down on filtering search results.  Once you find the desired product, you get a virtual view from multiple angles, highlighting the detail. If you really want to make sure it’s a fit, you can even place the image next to items you already own through the app to complete a look.

For marketers, the shift could change search campaign implementation and structure.  While visual search gives consumers a more detailed view of products, resulting in more satisfied customers, it only works if image assets for products are available and mobile optimized.  With products changing so frequently, it could pose significant challenges, particularly for smaller brands.

While improved shopping is only the start of Google Lens capabilities, it’s clear AI and augmented reality are shaping the future and are bringing digital window shopping to your living room.  

https://adage.com/article/digital/heres-what-googles-bet-visual-search-means-advertisers/2170861

Burger King’s “Traffic Jam Whopper” Delivers

Endless traffic is not fun for anyone, but if you’re like most, a hot meal delivered to your window would make the time a little more bearable.  Seems crazy, but Burger King is making it happen with their new campaign “the Traffic Jam Whopper” that delivers orders via motorcycle right to your car.  

With a little ingenuity, Burger King seized the opportunity to feed hungry commuters while also driving brand awareness and burger sales. The promotion is highly calculated for flawless execution to deliver orders quickly and accurately.  By partnering with Waze, Burger King is able to use real time traffic data to identify highly congested areas and dynamically adjust messaging with banner ads and push notifications on the Waze app once drivers enter delivery zones. Ads then lead users to utilize voice commands on the Burger King app to place their orders. Once ready for delivery, drivers rely on Google Maps API to pinpoint and locate drivers.

While the promotion was tested in Mexico City to gauge market interest, the results spoke for themselves. In just one week, the company saw app downloads increase by 44x and delivery orders spiked 63%, making the Burger King app the number one fast food app in Mexico.  

With undeniable success, Burger King plans to replicate the service in other large cities including Los Angeles, Sao Paulo and Shanghai with the potential to expand. With a little luck, the “Traffic Jam Whopper” could be coming to a commute near you.

https://www.adweek.com/brand-marketing/burger-king-wants-to-deliver-whoppers-right-to-your-car-during-nightmarish-traffic-jams/

Facebook’s “Clear History” Causes Uncertainty for Advertisers

If you’ve ever wanted to erase your past, at least on social media, Facebook is giving you the opportunity.  The company announced this week they would be rolling out a new “Clear History” feature in response to their commitment to protecting personal information. Users will now be able to disconnect browsing history that is used for targeting and advertising purposes.  While this is an effort to foster online privacy, it could have a substantial impact the user experience based on limited knowledge of user behavior and interests.

As for advertisers, this creates concerns with targeting capabilities and campaign set-up strategies.  Data utilized from Facebook Pixels and Custom Audiences could become severely limited as their targeting ability is primarily based on user’s activity outside on other sites then leveraged once users return to Facebook.  Uncertainty remains as to how this will effect advertising opportunities, reporting metrics and site analytics. It’s also difficult to gauge how many users will take this action to protect their privacy versus the number that have become comfortable with the fact that very little is private in the digital space.

https://marketingland.com/facebook-warns-advertisers-clear-history-tool-may-impact-ad-targeting-260995

Weekly Digital Breakdown

Streaming Video Exceeds Cable Subscriptions

For the first time, video streaming service subscriptions surpassed cable, jumping up 27% to 613 million subscribers last year. The shift is attributed to the consumers being drawn to services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime for the 24/7 accessibility across devices and original programming.   This trend further is likely to continue as more cable subscribers “cut the cord” and rely on digital video for programming.

ttps://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-03-21/netflix-s-growth-helps-streaming-eclipse-cable-subscriptions

McDonalds Uses AI to Drive Personalization

In an aggressive move to integrate a more tailored dining experience, McDonalds acquired the personalization company, Dynamic Yield.  This technology will be used to create a dynamic menu that will adjust to variables such as weather, time of day or trending menu items.  It will also aid in upselling, or suggesting additional items that compliment your selections. They will begin leveraging the technology for drive-thru customers and plan to expand to self-serve kiosks and the mobile app.  McDonalds plans to roll out the new technology in the US throughout 2019 to increase customer service and clearly distinguish the company from competitors.

https://techcrunch.com/2019/03/25/mcdonalds-acquires-dynamic-yield/

Big News From Apple

On March 25th, Apple introduced its streaming service, Apple News+ to the public.  While some industry insiders remain skeptical about the announcement, publishers are hoping to use the service to expand their audience and drive digital subscriptions.  Apple News+ includes over 300 magazines and select newspapers for a monthly fee. Publishers view this as an opportunity to reach and engage a news centric audience, driving their own revenue through advertisements.  While the audience is shared across multiple publishers, this approach offers the chance to reach readers who may never interact with some publications and gain loyalty. Publishers are not expecting this to be a magic solution but an added layer to in their efforts to increase readership and expand audiences.

https://www.adweek.com/tv-video/publishers-view-apple-news-as-an-experiment-not-a-solution-to-the-industrys-woes/


Facebook Amends Targeting to Fight Discrimination

Facebook is refining it’s targeting options as they pertain to employment, housing and credit advertisements as prompted by a recent settlement agreement with leading civil rights organizations.  Brands promoting these items can no longer target users based on demographic information such as ethnicity, age, gender, religious affiliation or family status. Based on the previous set-up, targeting could include or exclude these criteria or create look-a-like audiences to target similar users.  While Facebook continues to be under right scrutiny for it’s policies, this is just another step they are taking to earn user’s trust and continue focus on data privacy concerns.

https://www.adweek.com/digital/facebook-is-revamping-its-targeting-for-housing-employment-and-credit-ads/

2018 Review - The Year in Digital Marketing

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Digital marketing had a tumultuous time in 2018. Technology moved into new areas for growth over the past year that affected the way we shop, communicate, and live. From the growth in artificial intelligence and automated voice systems to live video and changes in Facebook’s algorithms, it was clearly a year to remember in digital circles. Let’s take a closer look.

Facebook's News Feed Algorithm Changes

This year started with a shock when Facebook announced changes in its feed algorithm to promote more content from local news sources, friends, and family for “more meaningful social interactions.” Facebook also wanted to lessen the number of publishers’ news items in feeds, and the company may have wanted to thwart the rise of hackers and bots as well. Regardless, the January move by Facebook threw a wrench into marketers’ plans for the year, creating a period of adjustment. This link shows all of Facebook’s algorithm updates over the years.

AdWords Grew Into Google Ads

In mid-year, Google announced it was switching the nearly 20-year old brand “AdWords” to the simpler “Google Ads.” Google said the change reflected that its ads are all over the digital landscape now in web display and video ads, text and shopping, and even in app installations; ads are not just words on search platforms. Today’s web advertisers with Google can now run ads on Google’s search platform, on apps and websites, in Gmail, and on a variety of YouTube offerings. The name change represents a shift in digital thinking for marketers, and one that will likely pay big dividends to Google in the years ahead.

AI Technology Growth

Another huge trend in 2018 was the advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) technology by marketers across our data streams. Increasingly, companies are using smart systems, chatbots, and devices for more accurate customer segmentation and improved customer interactions.

We all contribute to the increase in AI when we personalize our recommendations on services like Netflix and Hulu. Other brands including Hilton, Levi Strauss and Co., and Nordstrom are using AI in chatbots to customize sales interactions with customers. Look for this digital marketing category to expand in 2019 and 2020.

Smart Speakers and Voice Search

In just two years, smart speakers have invaded our homes. Today, nearly 50 million Americans own a smart speaker, and that number will likely increase as people get more comfortable with sharing their living spaces with these devices.

Voice search is also growing fast. Web research firm Comscore predicts that more than half of all searches by 2020 will not be done by type or text but by voice. You are already seeing more people at work talking into their devices on search requests. It has become as commonplace as our desktop searches were a decade ago. Marketers will have to adapt to reaching consumers on smart speakers in the home.

Growth in Instagram Stories and Live Video Outlets

Another trend we saw in 2018 was the rapid rise in the use of live video and Instagram Stories. The number of users who create live video on their mobile phones and share with the world rose dramatically in 2018.

Google’s YouTube is the frontrunner in live video, dominating the amount of time spent by users watching video online.

The number of daily active users on Instagram Stories rose to some 400 million, Instagram reported in August. That’s from a universe of over a billion active monthly users. By contrast, Snapchat finished the third quarter with just 186 million daily active users.

Marketers are following those numbers, too. eMarketer noted that 86 percent of marketers use Facebook and almost 70 percent of marketers use Instagram. Only 28 percent of marketers use Snapchat. 

Personalizing the Consumer Experience

A growing trend in 2018 was the increase in personalization in many of our customer experiences. With our mobile devices and search immediacy, we are able to move quickly between purchase considerations and actual purchases. Increasingly, our expectations have risen across all our customer experiences. The winners will be those businesses that can deliver on the personalization process.

Marketers recognize this and have advanced to using SMS messaging, mobile apps, social media, and voice automation to personalize their communications with us as consumers. It’s a world in which we’re becoming increasingly comfortable, and we anticipate more of these personal customer journey touchpoints around us in the coming year.

You Shouldn't be Scared of Programmatic Advertising. Here's Why.

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Programmatic advertising automates spending and helps determine the types of ads that run and where they're placed, which all gets done using cutting edge technology like artificial intelligence (AI).

Sounds great, right? But there seems to be an overarching reluctance to embrace programmatic on the part of brands and advertisers alike. Although programmatic has experienced some bumps in the road, there's nothing to be afraid of. In fact, today's programmatic advertising can help you reach your audience for less money.

Before we highlight its benefits, let's debunk some common fears of advertisers and marketers to help you widen your marketing horizons. Once you realize there's nothing scary about it, you are free to explore the real benefits that programmatic advertising offers.

Common Fears

Feeling scared? You're not alone. Fortunately, we've gathered some of the top fears and debunked them for you right here:

●      Poor Placement: Misplaced ads are among the top concerns for advertisers and brands.Previously, advertisers simply bought space on a page or on a section of a website. Today's savvy marketers use programmatic platforms, which allow them to reach their target audience everywhere on the web using invaluable first- and third-party data.

●      Fraud: Have you heard that programmatic advertising puts you at risk for fraud? Ad fraud is nothing new, but when you move to a more tech-savvy, automated solution, you minimize the risk. . Artificial intelligence and various algorithms can identify ad fraud and avoid it. Of course, that's no replacement for doing your own due diligence to stay on top of things.

●      Lack of Control: Although it's true that this format automates a lot of the advertising process, it doesn't take the control entirely out of your hands. Instead, it lets you work within a real-time environment that allows you to optimize at any time for amazing results. It automates, but it doesn't replace the need for a great strategy and a great team.

●      Complexity: Oftentimes, marketers fear that programmatic advertising is overly complex. While it’s true that it is a complicated, intricate process, the heart of how it works is simpler than you might think. A consumer clicks on the page, the page's publisher puts the ad impression up for auction, advertisers bid for the space, and the ad is delivered to the prospective customer. The ability to adjust in real-time allows advertisers to target, retarget and optimize along the way to drive results.

Benefits of Programmatic Advertising

By 2019, experts estimate that programmatic will account for about half of all advertising. And there's a very good reason for that — as more marketers and brands overcome their fears, they begin to embrace the benefits unique to this format, including:

●      Cost efficiency: Using programmatic advertising strategies, brands and advertisers can track the performance of their campaigns beyond simple clicks and impressions. This provides the architecture necessary to design and optimize campaigns to achieve the metrics that matter most. And that is priceless for gaining spending efficiency.

 

●      Real-time data: With this format, marketers no longer need to wait until the campaign is complete to make adjustments. Instead, they receive real-time insights from the moment it launches, enabling them to adjust along the way for improved performance.

●      Bullseye: All the data that goes into programmatic advertising improves your targeting, allowing you to reach a wider, more accurate audience.  For example, Adtaxi uses top-notch tag management to collect actionable data, leverage the power of predictive modeling and use first- and third-party data to target the consumers most likely to act on your message. We also employ cross-platform targeting to make sure the messaging is seamlessly delivered over every device and channel to provide the best experience for your target audience.

Programmatic has the ability to change the face of advertising and empower marketers and brands to better reach their audiences. Once you overcome your fear of the unknowns of programmatic, you will begin to see how it can take your marketing strategy to the next level. 

 

 

Harnessing Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Predictive Modeling in Digital Marketing

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Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and predictive modeling offer a clear path for digital marketers to deliver personalized service efficiently and with ever-increasing reliability. But they're not the same thing. Here are the differences, and how they can be used.

What Is Artificial Intelligence (AI)?

As humans, we're able to harness our natural intelligence to make predictions based on experiences we've had in the past. Say, for example, you've allotted 15 minutes for your morning commute, but in the last week you've actually spent closer to 30 minutes navigating through traffic and construction. You predict that next week will be the same based on these experiences, and modify your schedule to allow for 30 minutes in the future.

Artificial intelligence allows for a computer to make these predictions without your input. Based on the dynamic traffic and construction data available to it, an AI system can estimate, often with greater accuracy than human intelligence, the amount of time your commute may take, and then rely on traditional programming to prompt you to leave sooner for work.

How AI Is Used in Digital Marketing

AI takes a data-driven approach to digital marketing by analyzing customer patterns, profiles, and purchasing decisions to deliver personalized content that is relevant to your customer and results in conversions. Product suggestions and pricing can be based on data pulled from any of these dynamic sources for a complete customer-driven experience.

What Is Machine Learning?

Machine learning is a subset of AI that allows machines to learn and improve from experience without being programmed to do so. Returning to our commuting example, if our AI system predicted you'd need 30 minutes for your commute but your trip actually took 35, the machine could automatically change its estimate for the following day based on this new experience.

How Machine Learning Is Used in Digital Marketing

Facial recognition, natural language processing, and chatbots are three major areas where machine learning has created a marketing stronghold. Machine learning is also used to manage user-generated content (to flag or rank posts), to rank search engine results to determine which appear on the first page, and to determine which marketing activities have the highest return on investment.

It's also important to note that machine learning is responsible for filtering certain types of marketing emails to the spam folder, so it's even more important to send relevant emails that your customers want to read.

What Is Predictive Modeling?

Predictive modeling is used as a practical application of machine learning. It's a general practice that relies on using identified patterns to make informed decisions about future events. Predictive modeling existed before AI, but now can be used in tandem with these very large digital marketing data sets.

How Predictive Modeling Is Used in Digital Marketing

Predictive modeling allows a digital marketer to chart a marketing campaign's performance in real time, assign priority to sales leads, or rank product search results for relevance in real time.

With the vast amount of data now available to digital marketers, AI, machine learning, and predictive analysis offer ways to work smarter, not harder. A digital marketing strategy focused on improving the quality of customer data can result in actionable insights with ever-increasing reliability.

Getting Smarter: Here's How AI Is Changing Digital Marketing

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Artificial intelligence (AI) is changing the way marketers see interactions with consumers. It's becoming the way for products and processes to work smarter with more data and less human intervention. Put simply, AI is "intelligence" shown by machines rather than that of humans.

AI exists in making things work through a combination of machine learning, big data, and cloud computing. At AI's core are algorithms that are integrated within products and processes to solve specific problems. Over time, products using artificial intelligence can be trained in a variety of ways to learn from past examples.

AI in Digital Marketing

Each time humans interact with artificial intelligence machines, we leave more and more data to be parsed, sorted, filtered, and used to increase AI learning. With a wider range of data, algorithms can work faster on their analyses. This increased data collection is how digital marketers learn more about our searches, buying methods, among brand preferences, among other things.

More than 50 percent of marketers already are using AI in some form, according to recent Salesforce research, and another quarter (27 percent) of marketers will start using AI technology in 2019. Also, a recent Business Insider study noted that marketers are using elements of artificial intelligence to better plan and execute keyword tagging, segmenting and tracking in current campaigns.

For brands and advertisers, the big question for using AI is how it fits into their current processes. AI machines are great at sifting and sorting through incredible amounts of data for programmatic advertising, for example, but will AI learn to create stories using human emotions in ads?

AI to Anticipate Consumer Behavior

Data collected via artificial intelligence are helping marketers anticipate consumers' needs.

Natural Language Processing (NLP) is a promising area for the study of consumer behavior, and is being researched by data scientists and digital marketers. NLP machine-learning technology can find trends in patterns and behaviors, and help digital marketers to look past keywords and show online ads to people based on much more context. 

AI in Chatbots and Customer Service

Chatbots are another way that AI is changing how marketers interact with consumers using machine-based AIs. For example, HGTV launched its own chatbot named Hazel to interact with customers on Messenger or the HGTV Facebook page. HGTV uses its Hazel AI to share design-themed pictures and information to customers in the form of pictures, videos, and content. 

AI in Voice Search

AI is already being used in voice-activated digital assistants. Marketers are exploring how to use voice search for Amazon Echo or Google Home devices, and shifting their SEO strategies to include this new machine learning.

Google is also using AI technology in its search tools. When you ask Google, "How old is Drake?" the search box below automates related questions to you based on your initial query about Drake's age.

AI in Data and Demographics

Successful AI-based machine learning is dependent on large sets of data, and uses those data sets to specialize in specific demographics data collecting and targeting. As digital marketers collect more data through AI experiences, brands can use that data to gain more organic traffic from potential buyers.

AI in Image Recognition

AI is advancing the use of image recognition for easier creation of ads/social media posts.  Facebook recently experimented on Instagram with learning tools to create higher accuracy rates for image recognition. Facebook engineers were able to train image recognition networks using hashtags, and ended up achieving an 85.4 percent accuracy rate.

Google, too, is using AI to enhance image recognition with its Cloud AutoML Vision. It's an AI-assisted tool to let enterprises, brands, and agencies create custom ML models for image recognition. Brands with thousands of product images can use machine learning models for image recognition to avoid having to do this work manually.