Google details how Chrome will block ads


As planned, Google Chrome will start blocking ads on February 15. The company today shared more details on how this feature will work when it’s turned on tomorrow.

Google last year joined the Coalition for Better Ads, a group that offers specific standards for how the industry should improve ads for consumers. The company then revealed that Chrome will stop showing all ads (including those owned or served by Google) on websites that display non-compliant ads, as defined by the coalition. Continue reading “Google details how Chrome will block ads”

Understanding chatbot marketing in the ever-changing world of Facebook

 


When Mark Zuckerberg speaks, digital entrepreneurs and marketers listen very carefully. It’s no surprise, then, that when he announced a major change in the Facebook News Feed algorithm during the company’s January earnings presentation, the world of social media immediately reacted with extreme attention, some raised eyebrows, and a bit of anxiety. Continue reading “Understanding chatbot marketing in the ever-changing world of Facebook”

Optimizely’s decision to ditch its free plan suggests A/B website testing is dead

On December 20, 2017 Optimizely, the leading A/B testing platform, informed its users that it is planning to sunset its free Starter plan on February 28, 2018.

We estimate that this change will impact around 70,000 websites* which will soon be left without a tool that allows customers to test and alter site experience.

Here’s the official message as sent out by Optimizely via email:

Continue reading “Optimizely’s decision to ditch its free plan suggests A/B website testing is dead”

Facebook’s user engagement dips on News Feed tweaks, WhatsApp passes 1.5 billion monthly users


(Reuters) — Facebook said on Wednesday that time spent on the social network fell at the end of last year by about 50 million hours a day, even before the company made changes to its flagship News Feed that may further reduce user engagement.
On the Q4 2017 earnings call, Mark Zuckerberg announced that WhatsApp passed 1.5 billion monthly active users and sees 60 billion messages sent per day. Continue reading “Facebook’s user engagement dips on News Feed tweaks, WhatsApp passes 1.5 billion monthly users”

Facebook to worried marketers: Get users to mark you as ‘see first’

Facebook may have told the world it is pushing brands out of its news feed, but it is giving them a workaround behind closed doors. Facebook is trying to appease advertisers that have voiced concerns by pointing them toward an existing “see first” feature in news-feed settings that Facebook claims could improve their organic reach. Continue reading “Facebook to worried marketers: Get users to mark you as ‘see first’”

Location data is transforming every industry (VB Live)


Prince Nasr Harfouche, a principal at Deloitte Consulting LLP, joins this upcoming VB Live event to share how every industry can leverage location intelligence to transform their digital marketing strategy. Learn how location intelligence, incorporated into digital strategies, helps engage consumers in real time, increases brand loyalty, and provides actionable data. 

Register here for free. Continue reading “Location data is transforming every industry (VB Live)”

The state of AI in marketing in 5 charts

Artificial intelligence is touted as the future of media buying, allowing for automated analysis of several sources immediately.

“AI capabilities are making ad-spend decisions simpler, more efficient and cost-effective,” said Caroline Klatt, CEO of chatbot technology company Headliner Labs. “It’s a new age, and it will only be a matter of time until digital marketers across the board will be leveraging AI strategically to streamline their workflow.”

But while interest and adoption of AI for media buying is growing, the industry is still grappling with roadblocks. These five charts illustrate the push and pull when it comes to using AI in media buying.

Continue reading “The state of AI in marketing in 5 charts”

Google Search will start ranking faster mobile pages higher in July

Google today announced a new project to improve its mobile search results: factoring page speed into its search ranking. As the company notes, page speed “has been used in ranking for some time” but that was largely for desktop searches. Starting in July 2018, page speed will be a ranking factor for mobile searches on Google as well. Continue reading “Google Search will start ranking faster mobile pages higher in July”

‘We get audience data at virtually no cost’: Confessions of a programmatic ad buyer

Data leakage is becoming a huge problem for publishers as ad dollars shift toward programmatic. For the latest installment of our anonymous Confessions series, in which we exchange anonymity for honesty, we talked to a programmatic buyer at an independent ad agency about publishers’ data ineptitude. The source said publishers have lost control over their audiences because advertisers can pluck information about users from ad exchanges without ever paying publishers for the data. Continue reading “‘We get audience data at virtually no cost’: Confessions of a programmatic ad buyer”

4 things I learned building chatbots for major brands in 2017

In 2017, my team powered chatbots and voice skills for leading brands like Nike, Vice, Jameson, Marriott Rewards, Simon, Gatorade, and more. We witnessed new user behaviors and uncovered an evolved set of best practices to build a chatbot. Here are four actionable learnings from our work that you should consider when launching your own chatbot in 2018.

1. Personalization drives engagement

Bots that are designed to segment and engage customers throughout the entire conversation drive higher metrics than chatbots that do not personalize the conversation. For example, in our testing, personalized results yielded the highest click-through to website, up to 74 percent in some cases.

This year, a leading athletic brand set out to inspire a sneaker style for girls across the globe. The brand launched a customized sneaker builder where the user uploads of a photo of her outfit, and magically, in an instant, the bot pulls up a pair of shoes that matches the uploaded picture. This experience drove a click-through rate 12.5X higher than the global brand average.

Bud Light launched a chatbot with the goal of driving demand and purchase of Bud Light’s team cans on game day throughout the NFL season. A personalized data model and chatbot powered the ordering and delivery of team cans every game day during the NFL season. The Bud Light chatbot acted as a utility to remind fans that it was game time, and to order Bud Light before the game. Bud Light saw an 83 percent engagement rate with personalization.

2. Get to the point quickly

Across multiple chatbots, about half of the first actions that users take is free text entry. Updating the onboarding copy to manage expectations — “this is a bot that can do X and Y,” for example — lowers that initial friction. If the first intent is help-related or a long-form text entry, you can provide a customer service number, FAQs, or an option to “talk to a human” from the very beginning.

When users get into the designed experience, point of sale should be within five clicks. For example, after A/B testing a chatbot across 250,000 users, we noticed a significant drop-off occured when the core focus (click to purchase, etc.) was beyond five clicks.

3. Chatbots go beyond mobile devices

Bots are an effective tool to drive real-world activities or offline conversions, with coupon redemption rates as high as 30 percent.

A leading quick-service restaurant brand launched a new bot that drove users through an immersive content experience with videos, quizzes, recipes, and coupons. This high engagement led to over 71,000 coupons redeemed from the chatbot.

The Jordan Brand aimed to reach elite high school football, basketball, and baseball athletes with an ongoing training chatbot experience for pre-season training. Jordan delivered nightly prep videos and daily workout series to a targeted group of high school athletes in advance of basketball season on Facebook Messenger. Athletes loved receiving push notifications reminding them to work out. Jordan saw an extremely high completion rate as well as a high re-engagement rate compared to regular customer relationship management programs: Over 70 percent of users surveyed enjoyed the experience.

4. Truly understand your users

Understanding why people did or did not enjoy the experience is key. One way to do this is using free text analysis to understand sentiment and drop-off. For example, we launched a new bot with a leading shoe retailer. Most people came to the bot knowing what specific shoe they wanted to buy or with a question about the shoe they already bought. Cater to the specific pain points and make sure your bot handles customer intent at every stage.

Finally, make sure to survey users and learn from both your best purchasers as well as your qualified no’s. One way to do this by asking your users directly. You can use a chatbot for net promoter score surveying.

Jonathan Shriftman is the director of business development at Snaps, a mobile messaging service.

2017: Year of the podcast

The year 2017 will likely be remembered for many things across the technology spectrum, from major breakthroughs in artificial intelligence (AI) and milestone moments in autonomous vehicles to Amazon conceding that a major offline presence in groceries was needed to compete in retail.

But buried within the big headline-grabbing stories of the year were microtrends that sprang up almost by surprise. And one of those relates to the humble podcast. Continue reading “2017: Year of the podcast”

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