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Chatbots: Hype or the real deal?

Last December, Starbucks announced “My Starbucks Barista,” a virtual barista for its mobile app that enables customers to place orders via voice command or messaging interface. This led me to consider the current perception of artificial intelligence and where it stands in relation to the current reality of the technology. Are chatbots the real deal or yet another victim of hyped technology?If you ask me, chatbots are still in the hype phase within the public eye and don’t deserve a fraction of the attention they currently receive. While this may sound harsh, it’s important to understand the difference between potential and intrinsic value, just like with any other new technology.[Read the full article on MarTech Today.]

via Marketing Land

Driving local marketing change with Uber, Lyft and self-driving cars

Are you ready for pay-per-car marketing? That’s right, PPC is about to take on a whole new meaning.Uber and Lyft recently began testing programs in which local businesses pay for your ride to their locations — assuming you’ve splurged the requisite amount at their cash registers. The result: local marketing is about to be transformed.Local search to certain purchaseImagine this:You’re traveling out of state for business. It’s dinner time, so you search on your phone for restaurants near your hotel. You narrow your choices down to two restaurants. Both restaurants offer the same type of food. Both have the same ratings. Both have a similar price range. The only difference? One restaurant is offering to pick up your Uber fare if you choose them. It’s not much of a choice, is it?As ride services grow in popularity, paying for a customer’s ride will increasingly help businesses stand out of the PPC pack.The primary beneficiaries of this new marketing model will be restaurants and retailer…

Break through 5 common barriers to contextual marketing and connected experiences

Do your marketing programs encourage customers to regularly log in to the brand website or app? Or make use of CRM (customer relationship management) or loyalty membership data to capture known-customer behavior offline? Are you collecting behavioral data across web, mobile app and physical-world touch points?If so, then you have a powerful foundation for fueling genuine 1:1 engagements at the right time and place in a buyer’s journey, an absolute must in today’s experience economy.So, what’s holding you back?For many brands, it’s the inability to connect all that rich data across platforms. This is a common challenge for marketers who want to get closer to their customers by providing meaningful, personalized experiences.Perhaps the biggest barrier to this kind of marketing is tying the data back to the customer at the individual level — and doing so on a continuous basis, as new behavioral data is collected.It’s a gap that most brands have yet to close. But their customers certainly…

Pinterest’s updated browser extension turns off-Pinterest images into search queries

A month after Pinterest teased how it will bring its visual search engine to the real world, the social network/search engine is extending its ability to turn images into search queries across the wider web.On Tuesday, Pinterest began updating its browser extensions so that people can click on an image on any web page and be shown related pins from Pinterest. The browser extension’s search results will not include ads, according to a Pinterest spokesperson.For now, the visual search feature is only available through Pinterest’s Chrome extension, but the company plans to eventually add it to its extensions for other browsers.Pinterest’s updated browser extension will append a magnifying glass icon to the images it identifies on a page. That icon will appear next to the “save” button that the extension already adds to images once a person’s mouse hovers over an image. Clicking on the magnifying glass will open an overlay that will feature a gallery of related pins. People can zoom in on…

What do employee reviews really say about your agency?

I’m obsessed with creating a great culture at 3Q Digital, my employer. If you type in my name and the word “culture” into your favorite search engine, you’ll see at least a dozen articles I’ve written about the importance of culture.I’m also obsessed with data. At 3Q, we measure both internal and external Net Promoter Score and client and team attrition, and we use a tool called TinyPulse to constantly ask our team quantifiable questions about their satisfaction.The good news is that almost every metric we evaluate internally shows that team members are generally happy with the culture at 3Q. We are definitely not at 100 percent, but when we benchmark our performance against other companies (something we can do with TinyPulse and Net Promoter Score), we are always above the mean.If, however, you look at our ratings on Glassdoor, you might draw a different inference. Our overall score out of five stars is a middling 3.8. Granted, this is better than a lot of our peers, but it is also w…

Why search will save TV

Cord cutting, the death of TV and digital disruption are always hot topics. Agencies and marketers constantly talk about how TV is being disrupted by digital, and how consumers’ viewing habits are continuously evolving and moving away from traditional viewing.Technology aside, nothing has made a bigger impact on television than content — in spite of television’s outdated user interface and user experience.On the internet, everyone has access to everything, right there at your fingertips. And most often, whatever you’re looking for is not that hard to find. Just type in what you want, and it shows up. Search has become the primary form of discovery on the internet and your mobile devices. But what about on your TV?TV search lacks the fluidity of online search, it’s difficult for users to perform simple actions, and often, it’s too cumbersome for consumers to find the right content. And while the intention is noble, the connectivity between smart TV apps is terrible.To stay relevant and…

Twitter will offer viewership stats for Moments makers

Five months after enabling anyone to create a Moment, Twitter will now show these Moment makers how many times people have seen the topical collection of tweets they have curated.On Tuesday, Twitter rolled out Moments Analytics so that anyone who has created a Moment can see stats on how that Moment has performed.People will be able to see how many times a Moment was opened, how many individuals opened a Moment, how many likes a Moment received, how many times people clicked the Moment’s share button to tweet it out and what percentage of people viewed the entire Moment.To view these measurements, people can tap on an icon in the top-right corner of the Moment in Twitter’s app or the “…” icon when viewing the Moment on Twitter’s site.The move to expose Moment measurements appears to be Twitter’s latest attempt to draw interest in its storytelling format and put it on par with similar products from Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Facebook Messenger and Medium.Twitter originally introduc…

Facebook to phase out Atlas brand, shift tools & clients to Facebook’s products

Facebook is finally phasing out Atlas, the ad server and measurement platform that it acquired from Microsoft in February 2013 and has been folding into Facebook since last fall.Over the next year, Facebook will move Atlas’s existing measurement capabilities and its remaining clients to Facebook-branded products like Business Manager, the company announced on Tuesday. A Facebook spokesperson confirmed that the Atlas brand will be eliminated as a result of the transition.The announcement signals Facebook’s final steps in dissolving Atlas into Facebook, four years after the social network acquired the ad tech platform to beef up its measurement capabilities and two-and-a-half years after Facebook unwrapped the revamped platform. In September 2016, Facebook transferred Atlas employees from its ad tech division to its measurement division, and two months later Facebook shut down the ad server side of Atlas.While the Atlas brand will go away, its underlying measurement products will not. A…

What’s a blockchain? And how could it change marketing & advertising?

From Consensys’ white paper on blockchains While the jury is still out on Bitcoin’s contribution to civilization, the digital currency has introduced us to at least one promising technology.Called blockchain, it’s the infrastructure behind Bitcoins. Its advocates hail it as the most revolutionary technology since … well … the internet.Don and Alex Tapscott, authors of a 2016 book called Blockchain Revolution, offer this definition:The blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.Put another way: blockchain tech is frequently described as a shared spreadsheet or ledger than is maintained simultaneously across thousands or even millions of computers, with no central data storage.Every part of the peer-to-peer network verifies every incoming transaction, which becomes a new block of data that gets added to the “blockchain,” so the recorded value is available to ever…

Emoji appear in Google AdWords ads titles

Emoji have been spotted in the wild in Google AdWords ads titles, giving rise to speculation that this option may be rolled out globally for all advertisers soon.We have seen this before, although prior instances of emoji in AdWords seemed to be caused by a loophole that allowed certain character combinations to pass through Google checks. As such, any gains to be made from using emoji were very short-term.However, there is cause to believe that this time round, they could be here to stay.The prime instance of emoji showing up recently in AdWords was last week, when the following ad title was spotted on Google.de for the query “autohaus mainz”:Only a small number of ad titles including emoji have been observed so far, so this may just be a small test and could even be another loophole set to be closed soon by Google – although the latter seems unlikely.It seems more probable that this is an indication of an upcoming change that could have significant implications for many industries.W…

How to monitor Google Knowledge Graph changes and performance

Google’s Knowledge Graph is a very prominent part of organic search results. By now, searchers are accustomed to seeing the panel that appears on the right side of the search result page that provides information about entities such as people, places and brands.Individuals and companies alike are striving to acquire, maintain and monitor a Knowledge Graph listing. At the moment, however, there is no easy way to report on Knowledge Graph performance and changes. In 2016, Google’s John Mueller did mention that links in Knowledge Graph panels would be counted in the Search Analytics report in Google Search Console. However, this still does not give us insight into the algorithmic aspect of Knowledge Graph rankings and changes.[Read the full article on Search Engine Land.]

via Marketing Land

Machine learning is marketing’s future

When you hear “artificial intelligence” or “machine learning,” what comes to mind? A complicated technology that demands deep domain experience or a degree to use?This was once the way technology worked; only a select few had access. But innovation has a funny way of changing things. What might seem out of reach today can become widely accessible tomorrow — just look at the GPS system, or drones.We’re seeing this now with marketing technologies. Machine learning has made it so that marketing automation platforms can be predictive — able to learn, think and act without explicit instructions. The result: more precise, efficient marketing that adapts to the journeys customers travel. What used to be nice only in theory (predictive analytics, often complex and expensive) can now be put into practice, via features that allow for real-time data optimization, automated workflows and personalized content.Think of it as a team of robots at your disposal — at the ready to evaluate, modify and o…

How To Find Part-Time Gigs Without Being A Sellout

The struggle is real for the artist who faces a blank screen or a blank canvas. The struggle is even more real for the artist who has to compromise his/her work for the sake of making a living.The term ‘sellout’ might be a bit too harsh for these people. While many consider the term ‘sellout’ to be derogative, it has worked wonders for artists like The Beatles or Michelangelo to become the best at what they’re known for.As an artist or creator of original content, it is essential that you do work that does justice to your aspirations, even if it is just on a part-time basis.Part-time gigs are a great way to flourish your inner yearnings while making some bucks on the side.If you’re working in a day-job that is not the one you’ve always dreamed of, part-time gigs are a great way to find your true calling.Personally, I’ve always wanted to be a writer or be a music composer, but I also had a knack for technology. Now, although my day job is in technology, which is very close to me, I use…

Marketing Day: Google’s ‘One True Answer’ problem, B2B content marketing & more

Here’s our recap of what happened in online marketing today, as reported on Marketing Land and other places across the web.From Marketing Land:[Reminder] Live Webinar: Intro to Agile Marketing
Mar 6, 2017 by Digital Marketing Depot
Are you struggling to keep pace with rapidly changing customer needs and market demands? Are you slowed down by organizational silos, hierarchies and processes? It may be time to get agile.Google’s “One True Answer” problem — when featured snippets go bad
Mar 6, 2017 by Danny Sullivan
Obama’s planning a coup? Women are evil? Several presidents were in the KKK? Republicans are Nazis? Google can go spectacularly wrong with some of its direct answers.5 quick web page fixes any blogger can make
Mar 6, 2017 by Drew Eastmead
Do you include subheads in your content? How about CTA buttons? Columnist Drew Eastmead outlines five best practices to keep in mind when you’re adding content to your company’s website or blog.5 top hacks to step up your B2B content marketi…

[Reminder] Live Webinar: Intro to Agile Marketing

Are you struggling to keep pace with rapidly changing customer needs and market demands? Are you slowed down by organizational silos, hierarchies and processes?It may be time to get agile. More than 90 percent of marketers who have adopted agile marketing say it has improved their speed to market for ideas, products and campaigns.Join agile marketing expert Andrea Fryrear, and Workfront Creative Director David Lesué, as they explore what it means to be an agile marketer and provide practical tips on how your organization can make the transition.Register today for “Intro to Agile Marketing: Work faster and smarter by changing how you work,” produced by Digital Marketing Depot and sponsored by Workfront.

via Marketing Land

Google’s “One True Answer” problem — when featured snippets go bad

Here we are again. Google’s in hot water because of what I call its “One True Answer” feature, where it especially highlights one search listing over all others as if that’s the very best answer. It’s a problem because sometimes these answers are terribly wrong.At the end of last month, it was spotted that Google was listing several US presidents as being members of the Ku Klux Klan, even though there’s no conclusive evidence of any of this. This week, Google has featured answers saying that former President Barack Obama is plotting a coup and that Republicans are the same as NazisWhat’s happening in these cases involves a “featured snippet,” where Google has taken on of the 10 web listings it normally displays and put it into a special box, to highlight it as seemingly the best of all the answers, the listing that may fully answer your question.I’ve taken to calling this Google’s “One True Answer” feature, because that’s effectively what it is to me. Google is expressing so much fait…