On Artificial Intelligence
“It will be very limiting to be a marketer five years from now if you don’t really understand AI, if you’re not very prolific with analytics and data and if you’re not a user experience expert.”
— IBM CMO Michelle Peluso
Digiday ran a piece explaining how advertising schools are future-facing their curricula, incorporating more classes in AI and the various ways agencies can apply it to their strategies. While some might be terrified by the implications of AI, we have to accept that all the denial in the world won’t keep it at bay—especially if the next generation of marketers is studying up on the topic as we speak.
Last week, Facebook announced its intention to purge news feeds of brands and publishers, causing social media marketers everywhere to freak out just a bit.
Some are optimistic about the change, expecting it will usher in some magical new era where all content is excellent and super engaging. Some think it means we all need to rethink what we are doing on Facebook. Others think it will take time to sort through.
Our longer take on the ordeal can be found on the HZ Blog, but in short: not much will change for us as marketers.
Not much should change anyway. We have known for ages that organic Facebook content is mostly a waste of time—we have been saying that Facebook is a “pay-to-play” platform for literally years. While engagement metrics will probably take a hit, the change will only support the idea that a heavy organic strategy is a poor investment of resources. For clients that haven’t been listening to us on that front, we now have a word from Zuckerberg himself that backs up exactly what we have been saying.
On top of that, nothing Facebook has said indicates that this will affect paid, and based on how it is presenting this change, we’re not convinced we should expect ads to be impacted, at least not in the near future.
All that being said, news outlets and media publishers like Buzzfeed will feel the change pretty significantly—as their business model relies on posting more content (and specifically more organic content) than brands do. The spirit of Zuckerberg’s announcement certainly felt more geared towards filtering those kinds of publishers out of newsfeeds. He’s effectively saying, "I want Facebook to be for friends!" but the changes are likely an attempt to distance Facebook from being labeled as a media company itself, which would help it to downplay its role in the 2016 election.
For their part, Buzzfeed had a pretty clever reaction to the news.
While the news sounds pretty dramatic at first glance (the hero images for these articles are all weirdly post-apocalyptic), we’re not sure it’s the massive sea change moment it might may like at first blush.
Advertising on the Internet of Things
Well, it's 2018 and smart homes are officially everywhere.
As R/GA's EVP and CTO, Nick Coronges, put it, “It’s only been a year since Alexa got introduced to the market, and I have not seen the pace of acceleration so fast in terms of the adoption and people getting accustomed to it.”
With 27 million smart home devices sold (and more on the way—Facebook recently announced a plan to develop a smart home of its own), many are betting big on voice as a major marketing medium for 2018 and beyond.
As of now, the extent of what these devices are recording isn’t entirely clear. However, industry pros who are looking at Amazon and Google’s patent applications seem pretty confident that the next development for smart homes will involve these devices recording just about everything you say (whether or not you are “activating” them). These private conversations and details could then be sold to brands.
“One Amazon patent shows the company could instruct the Echo device to listen for designated trigger words, like a discussion of vacation destinations. It could then transcribe that conversation and use it to try to sell the device's user a related product.”
Consumer Watchdog took the implications of a “smart home”–connected future a step further:
A study of patent applications filed by Amazon and Google with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office reveals a vision for an Orwellian future in which digital assistants eavesdrop on everything from confidential conversations to your toilet flushing habits to children’s movements and the books on bedside tables. They would know when you go to sleep and whom you wake up with.
It’s import to consider how murky the ethics are here, as consumers may not realize the implications or consequences of owning a smart home. It’s easy to imagine a backlash against perceived invasion of privacy by the end of the year, specifically as a result of IOT services.
Instagram Adds Gifs
The headline says it all—just a fun new feature. No real hot take on this one—we’re sure brands will start using them, but it's not something that should require us to revisit content strategies.