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A bi-weekly summary of the most exciting recent news in marketing technology and trends. If you’re trying to keep up, consider this your one-stop shop.

  • You can now speak to Alexa on your Amazon Echo by talking to Cortana on your Samsung smartphone. Amazon and Microsoft are making their virtual assistants compatible in the US as they take on Alphabet’s Google Assistant and Apple’s Siri. How well this new marriage of voice recognition technologies works will be open to users’ feedback.

 

  • Email has the highest ROI (59 percent) when communicating with customers and prospects, according to a study by Campaign Monitor. While 53 percent of the marketers and experts surveyed said they use automated email campaigns, only 5 percent said they plan to manage their campaigns with artificial intelligence.

 

  • Ready for your close-up? Mediapost reports that L’Oréal and Facebook are planning to deploy augmented reality using Facebook’s camera apps to help consumers choose their makeup. L’Oréal has bought the AR firm ModiFace. Consumers will be able to test lipstick shades and other makeup brands in real time using the AR technology on Facebook.

 

  • The popular website cars.com plans to use machine learning to make the car purchasing experience even easier. Deploying AI, the website will match vehicle features with consumers’ answers to a series of lifestyle questions, offering up to 20 different recommended vehicle options. The app gets smarter as users give a thumbs up or down to the different options offered.

 

  • The Singapore startup WhereIsWhere has launched a location-based mobile app that lets retailers send promotions to mobile phone users conducting searches within a kilometer of a brick-and-mortar store. The app, dubbed “WhereIsWhere,” is downloadable on Apple and Android and will include push notifications and live updates from stores based on the mobile phone user’s location.

 

  • The geofencing market is expected to grow to US $1.7B by 2024, according to a Global Market Insights study. The technology that allows retailers, restaurants, and many other businesses to send push notifications and other types of messages to nearby mobile phone users is expanding rapidly, with the fastest growth predicted in the Asia Pacific region, including Australia and India.

We are introducing a bi-weekly summary of the most exciting recent news in marketing technology and trends. If you’re trying to keep up, consider this your one-stop shop.

Hotels are discovering the power of voice-activated digital assistants to build customer loyalty. Marriott is trying out the Amazon Echo in rooms at select properties allowing guests to access information and hotel services as well as their favorite music.

Video ad spends by brands doubled in 2017 compared to 2016 according to a new report from InMobi. In-app video advertising surged by 136 percent in 2017 worldwide and has grown by 500 percent in China so far this year.

Most consumers don’t trust how brands are using their personal data and would like to see improved personalization of offers, according to a new study from Jebbit. The study found consumers would even be willing to relinquish some of their privacy to get access to better deals.

Viewers of streaming video say they are watching more online (47 percent report more live online video streaming) and less offline (regular TV) as a result (44 percent), according to a May survey by the Interactive Advertising Bureau.

E-Commerce communities continue to force brands to go digital with 46 percent of brand marketers telling Ingenuity that they are revamping their go-to-market strategies as a result, including moving faster to make sure they are covered on all channels. A little over 25 percent said they are making changes to how much they spend online.

Try it on—on Facebook? The social media giant has announced it will test augmented reality ads with users in the United States, with products including makeup and furniture. Michael Kors will be among the first brands to use the technology to advertise its sunglasses.

Facebook New Customer Tracking Tool for Brands, called Journeys, is no ‘Magic Bullet’
Andrea Lopez, head of the social media agency Socialyse in Miami tells Portada.

MediaMath has won $225 million in new financing for its demand side and data management platforms powered by artificial intelligence aimed at making connecting brands with consumers more efficient and effective.

Door-to-door on-demand delivery service Rappi, with operations in Colombia, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay and Argentina, has caught the attention of Headway, the Buenos Aires, Argentina based mobile marketing company. Headway will serve as Rappi’s exclusive partner for promoting the Rappi app.

Know your customer has taken on new urgency, according to a recent study published by the Harvard Business Review. A majority of companies (58 percent) said customer analytics have improved customer retention, but even more (60 percent) said real-time analytics is “extremely important.” Nearly three-quarters said they have increased spending on real-time analytics over the past year.

What: Facebook announced it is entering the world of augmented reality during the F8, its annual Developers Conference, taking place April 18-19.
Why it matters: Mark Zuckerberg each year presents new technologies the social media giant will be adding to its platform. This year Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality were discussed. Both technologies open up enormous opportunities for marketers and the advertising industry.

Facebook has once again surprised the marketing and tech community. The company’s big bet this year is on augmented reality and virtual reality, according to Zuckerberg’s comments at the F8, Facebook’s annual global developers conference.

The augmented reality plan is to enable an add-on in the app for using the phone’s camera, so users can share fun moments using special effects such as 3D and object recognition.

“Precise location, 3D effects, and object recognition are the three technological bases for augmented reality,” Zuckerberg said.

According to Zuckerberg, the potential for 3D elements within the FB virtual platform are tremendous for brands. Imagine, for example, that a candy company decides to invest a couple of million dollars in a campaign. Through this new platform, you could take a photo of your bedroom or living room and then fill that virtual space with millions of sweets. The visual impact created through this technology will be beyond anything we imagine.

Precise location, 3D effects, and object recognition are the three technological bases for augmented reality

It would also have a relevant impact on object recognition and information. For example, if you have a bottle of wine on the table, you could ask for information about it, from brand details to where to get it. This technology will change the way e-commerce is done.

The new technology is in its beta phase. The company will be releasing the changes little by little, it said. But it is estimated that users will be adding virtual reality to their daily lives by the end of this year.

If you have a bottle of wine on the table, you can ask for information about it, from brand details to where to get it.

Finally, Facebook provided a glimpse of Facebook Spaces, the virtual reality app through which users can hang out with each other without leaving home. Here again, we see significant potential in terms of marketing and a revolution for the world of advertising.

Nintendo’s release of Pokemon Go has taken the world by storm, as a walk down the street is now an exercise in dodging the many players, heads buried in their phones, that run around in person of imaginary creatures that are overlayed onto their devices’ cameras.
We speak to Zachary Rosenberg, president of MBMG Media Group, about just how this somewhat unexpected eruption of augmented reality will affect digital marketing strategies.

Are Marketers Ready for Augmented Reality? 

To most of us, it felt like Pokemon Go came out of nowhere. But were marketers ready? According to SmarterWeb, 5.9% of Android users were on the app by July 15, nine days after its release, sending marketers scrambling to find a way to monetize it.

Zachary Rosenberg, President, MBMG Media Group
Zachary Rosenberg, President, MBMG Media Group

In-game advertising, to this point, has been limited to “lures” that attract a Pokemon to your place of business for 30 minutes in what is called a “Pokespot.” Physical businesses like restaurants, bars or stores have already seen huge results: A New York pizzeria that paid $10 for a lure apparently saw a 75% increase in revenue, and who doesn’t like to see local businesses thrive?

Brands looking to target Hispanics will be particularly interested in Pokemon Go, because the demographic uses mobile heavily.

Brands looking to target Hispanics will be particularly interested in Pokemon Go, Rosenberg pointed out, because the demographic uses mobile heavily.

Rosenberg’s take is that the adoption was more astounding than the technology, given the fact that the game requires so much action: “You never know how much effort people are willing to put into something. When you think about, expecting people to leave their house/couch to go out into the streets to accomplish these missions is a big ask.”

I would urge my clients to take a step back and evaluate if developing a game fits into their brand voice and objectives. If it does, the key will be riding the wave while AR is on the upward trend.

Pokemon Go, backed by Nianta Labs (a spinoff of Alphabet, which owns Google) and Nintendo, had the backing of big brands with lots of resources. Rosenberg asked: “The real question is, would a game/brand with less recognition have been able to have the same effect?”

Challenges: Fear of the Unknown, Timing

Nianta claims that more advertising options will be introduced in the form of sponsored locations, which use the logic of Google AdWords by charging per visit instead of click. But the app’s continued success may be affected by timing: “Releasing the game during the summer was a smart move but once kids are back in school and overall mindset shifts away from summertime fun, it will be interesting to see how the user base fluctuates,” said Rosenberg.

Continued momentum will also depend on a “second wave” of players adopting the technology, and any other AR games that are released. “As with all new technology, there will be early adopters and those who are intimidated at the unknown,” Rosenberg added.

The key will be riding the wave while AR is on the upward trend. If not, brands can find other ways to leverage the current trend, especially within social.

Tracking ROI

Augmented reality is unique in that it is so dependent on physical location, but time will tell how effective location-based marketing is. Aligning brands’ objectives with the reach of AR-based marketing will “vary from one campaign to another, depending on each campaign’s specific goal,” Rosenberg asserted, and “understanding this goal will inform the exact metric for the return on investment and determine if those metrics are in fact, trackable.”

While physical locations like restaurants and cafes can measure ROI easily through visits that convert to sales, the success of other campaigns and sponsorships may not be as easy to measure.

Hispanic Targeting Opportunities

Brands looking to target Hispanics will be particularly interested in Pokemon Go, Rosenberg pointed out, because the demographic uses mobile heavily.

Not only do they use mobile heavily, they often depend on it. A new study from the Pew Research Center found that while just 10% of white smartphone owners rely on mobile devices to access the Internet, the same is true for 23% of Hispanics.

The study also found that the digital gap between Latinos and Whites is shrinking, which makes sense, since the Hispanic population is the fastest-growing in the United States. In the study, the percentage of Latino adults who report using the Internet increased from 64 percent to 84 percent between 2009 and 2015, versus an increase of 80 percent to 89 percent among White adults who use the Internet. This means that while the gap was 16% in 2009, it is now just 5% in 2009.

“Targeting options are consistent across games,” Rosenberg added, and augmented reality will afford brands tools for “relevant in-game options that may appeal to a particular segment of a brand’s target.”

The app has drawn big numbers of minorities to the Pokemon franchise. A recent study by mobile marketing firm mfour found that 40% of Hispanics said that the new app was their first introduction to Pokemon, while that was only the case for 32% and 31% of Caucasians and Asians, respectively. The study claimed that 13.4% of respondents identified as Hispanic/Latino.

Lee Vann, cofounder of Hispanic marketing agency Captura Group, commented: “The Pokemon Go craze looks like it is here to stay and along with it AR is becoming a top-of-mind tactic for digital marketers.  It is not surprising that the hottest game on the planet, or virtual planet, is being embraced Hispanics and marketers looking to tap into the nation’s fast growing, digitally connected consumer group should considering going with Pokemon Go to reach them.”

Rosenberg also highlighted what is one of the biggest  concerns with augmented reality: intrusiveness. While AR ads are effective because they generate such high levels of engagement, they may be so engaging that they become annoying. Like they are with pop-up ads, brands must be careful.

The final verdict: “Until adoption of AR games grows in scale, targeting may be more limited.”

Above all, Rosenberg reiterated that not all brands’ messages align with augmented reality games. “I would urge my clients to take a step back and evaluate if developing a game fits into their brand voice and objectives,” he advised. “If it does, the key will be riding the wave while AR is on the upward trend. If not, brands can find other ways to leverage the current trend, especially within social.”

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