Marketing Week in Review: February 19, 2017

Marketing NewsWith February, and the first half of the first quarter well behind us, our team has been thinking and taking about marketing strategies and how important it is to continually be learning and adding to our respective skill sets in order to stay relevant in such a rapidly changing industry. It’s exhilarating and terrifying, both at the same time. Hopefully the information shared in our weekly Marketing Week in Review will help you stay abreast of what you need to know in marketing, demand generation, and lead generation for your company.

The Instagram Conundrum. Sure, Instagram is great. And it’s popular. But for marketers, the struggle to convert Instagram followers into customers is a real one. According to a recent Forrester report, Instagram not only now has more than 600 million monthly active users worldwide, the platform also has 10 times the engagements found on Facebook and users appear to be more interested when redirected to websites, over all other platforms.

With Instagram’s continually increasing popularity, it’s important for marketers to find ways to tap into the potential the platform presents, and finding ways to that happen is top of mind for many marketers. Whether you’re using apps to understand Instagram user demographics, participating in paid shout-outs, or using Instagram ads, there are a number of choices that are worth your time to explore. This AdWeek article does a terrific job of breaking that down, so it’s well worth your time to check out.

Shopping is the new battlefield for virtual assistants. Amazon’s Alexa robot blazed the trail, and Google hasn’t been far behind, with the recent launch of Google Home. On February 16th, Google announced that users will now be able to shop using Google Assistant on Google Home, which mirrors the services available on Amazon’s Alexa devices. Whether you’re Google or Amazon, making it easy for consumers to shop (and buy) is clearly good for business.

Much like the Amazon Alexa experience, Google Home can send items from any participating Google Express retailers like Costco, Whole Foods Market, Walgreens, PetSmart, and more than 50 other national and locally available retailers. Set up is easy, just requiring a delivery address and payment method for new users, and even easier for pre-established Google accounts. For anyone who wants to give it a try, to help spur adoption Google is waiving Google Express delivery and membership charges through the end of April.

It will be interesting to see how sales and marketing efforts change to adapt to the influx of virtual assistants making virtual shopping even easier. Kudos our friend Jason Sibley (@jasoncreation) for this share.

As expected, Facebook is preparing to take over consumers’ TVs. Announced this last week, Facebook debuted an app that is able to broadcast premium fare on Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and any other similar set-top boxes. According to Facebook’s Dana Sittler and Alex Li, the video app for TV “is a new way to enjoy Facebook videos on a bigger screen,” MediaPost reports.

Many people remember when Facebook started allowing users to stream videos from Facebook to their TVs last year and this new event is actually an expansion of that effort. Now, users can watch videos shared by friends or pages they follow and also watch popular live videos. Smart move, Facebook.

Some of the recent changes for Facebook include making vertical videos more user friendly on mobile devices, being able to minimize videos to a picture-in-picture view, and word is that Facebook has been de-emphasizing live video in hopes of pushing publishers to create longer and more professionally produced video content.

For the rapid movement toward video, this looks to be a giant step forward.

Watch out LinkedIn, Facebook’s Coming for You! LinkedIn is losing business after missing opportunities that Facebook optimized on. Facebook’s new job posting is capitalizing on helping lower-skilled workers and people who aren’t actively looking for a job, two arenas LinkedIn has neglected to reach. Now, Facebook is rolling out a slew of new job features that may hurt LinkedIn’s growth prospects even more. In fact, we think Facebook’s job postings feature, where the bulk of humanity hangs out daily, with be a threat to LinkedIn in more than only as it relates to unskilled workers.

So what’s new? Business Pages can now post job openings to the News Feed and host them on a Jobs tab on their page. When a user sees a job ad they are interested in, they can now select “apply now” to instantly send an application through Facebook Messenger. To make it extremely user friendly, Facebook will now pre-fill the user’s name and profile picture.

One difference between Facebook and LinkedIn is that LinkedIn is a destination for purposeful job seekers, but can be intimidating to people who don’t have resumes or education but Facebook reaches so many more people, in a much less intimidating way. Another difference is that LinkedIn bores many social media users and that same audience feels completely comfortable with, and spends a lot of time on Facebook. In fact, job posting information is frequently shared there. Adding this functionality to Facebook, and adding yet another potential revenue stream (read that: when Facebook starts to charge brands to expand the reach of job postings, which is inevitable), is brilliant. Want to see how it works? TechCrunch

Facebook example

Payments Made Easy. The latest Internet of Things advancement brings IBM’s Watson and Visa together to accept payments on any IoT device. IBM’s Watson already allows businesses to connect billions of connected devices, sensor,s and systems globally to gain insight. On the other side, Visa’s global payments are already used by more than 3 billion consumers.

Now, the idea is to join the two together so that payments can be made by any smart device, like smartwatches, appliances, or cars. If started, companies would use the Visa Token Service via IBM’s Watson IoT platform. All we can say is that it’s about time. Offering the functionality of payments via devices is sorely lacking in the U.S. and this change is a much needed one.

 

 Study reveals how people use virtual assistants on their phone. While many smartphone users are regularly searching for information through voice command virtual assistants like Siri and Cortana, new research looked at how often US smartphone users employ virtual assistants, why and when they use them, and what they commonly search for.

HigherVisibility conducted a survey in January 2017 that found a significant number of respondents (28.7%) still don’t use virtual assistants; however, nearly 27% of people use voice search assistants at least once a week, and 22% use them daily. The report found that search trends varied among different generations but that the majority of usage happened while users were driving because they were unable to look at their phones. We use voice search all the time—what about you?

For marketers, this report offers usage information that can help develop marketing campaigns around voice searches and virtual assistants. eMarketer

voice searches and virtual assistants chart

Photo Credit: etargetmedia1 Flickr via Compfight cc