Digital

Using Google Analytics Gets Easier – Users Just Need to Ask the Question

Posted July 24, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 5:02 am

The new AI-powered voice-activated tool will simplify data queries making life easier for both users and analysts at Google

google analytics

Google is continuously innovating and the latest to come out of the software giant’s endless list of updates is an AI-powered voice-based navigation to understand data. The foremost benefit of this is that if a user now wants to ask Google Analytics a question about his website or app data, he’ll be able to do so directly and get the answer. Till now, users have had to navigate through Google Analytics dashboard to get the data they wanted by working around different paths in the analytics chart. Not anymore – if they now want to know the number of users that visited his site on a specific day or wants a breakdown of the traffic on that day from mobile and desktop, he just has to ask Google Analytics aloud or type the query.

Google will be rolling out this tool in a month’s time or earlier and right now it will only be available for users who can ask questions in English only. However, as with most other innovations in Google this tool will surely get smarter over time as it will figure out the kind of queries that users ask and that will lead to better experience for users. After all, Google Analytics is designed to give users a better understanding of their data by highlighting vital facts, figures and trends automatically. The difference now is that usability will get several notches easier with this voice activation tool which is basically the result of efforts by a broader initiative within Google called Analytics Intelligence.

Babak Pahlavan, senior director of measurement and analytics at Google, says, “It feels like you’re actually talking to an analyst. Imagine the possibilities. Anyone who is walking around, walking to a meeting, you should be able to ask it now. You don’t necessarily need to know the segmentation—it does all of that for you.” Google has been using natural language processing technology in Android for a while now, said Pahlavan, asserting that adding voice and natural language controls isn’t some minor upgrade. Google engineers toiled for three years to build this set of tools that will now help users of Google Analytics use the platform like a search engine. He was all praise for his team for having completed the project in barely three years.

Filed under: Digital

Zeta Global’s Adds Machine Learning Power with Boomtrain Acquisition

Posted July 21, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 4:23 am

Zeta helps marketers acquire, retain and develop relationships with customers while Boomtrain offers artificial intelligence for personalized messaging

Zeta Global with boomtrain acquisition

Zeta Global, the software-as-a-service-based marketing automation cloud platform founded by David Steinberg and former Apple CEO, John Sculley, has recently acquired Boomtrain, a marketing platform that is based on machine-learning for something between $35 million and $40 million. With this acquisition Zeta is now more certain of being able to get closer to leaders in the marketing cloud market like Adobe, Oracle, Salesforce and IBM. At the operational level, Zeta and Boomtrain is a win-win combination. The software-as-a-service marketing on cloud of Zeta helps marketers acquire, retain and develop relationships with customers while the machine learning technology of Boomtrain offers artificial intelligence that helps provide personalized messaging across all digital touchpoints.

Zeta was on the lookout for a machine-learning platform that could help it enhance its own machine-learning platforms. Incidentally Zeta already has a number of patents in machine learning and the acquisition of Boomtrain, which is strong in publishing means that Zeta now has a much wider spectrum of SAS marketing automation services. In fact, Zeta will now leverage Boomtrain’s technology for personalization within ZetaHub, which now means that Zeta has one of the largest patent portfolios of machine-learning tools in the marketing technology arena.

Steinberg said, “We will merge 100 percent of its machine learning, decisioning and marketing automation in our entire marketing cloud. It’s a big deal for us technologically. We looked at this and thought: is this a buy or a build? Our existing team is amazing, but we really felt like this team brought a new vision in where the industry was going from an AI/machine learning perspective. For us, without question, this was all about time. It would have taken our team a long time to do with and we’d have to hire somebody like (Boomtrain co-founder) Chris (Monberg) anyway.” However, he also drew the line on how far he sees the blend going, especially in relation to agency services that Boomtrain offers its clients, saying, “We are not an agency. We don’t want to be in the agency business. We are a software company.”

Filed under: Digital

Facebook Now Allows brands to Create Their Own Pages without Admins

Posted July 20, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 6:34 am

Organizations can now create “official” groups and prevent unwanted or unofficial third parties and fan clubs from intruding

facebook boost engagement

Brands and publishers can now boost engagement with niche groups on Facebook where Page administrators will now have the ability to create their own groups. The new feature in Facebook will allow brands to create their own pages without having to depend on admins to set up groups from their own personal accounts. The social site has been testing this feature in some markets for a few months even as it’s expanding globally. Social media managers who want to have more privacy and separation from work will really appreciate this new feature. Now organizations can create “official” groups and prevent unwanted or unofficial third parties and fan clubs from intruding in.

According to Facebook product manager Linda Xiong, the update is an “external reinforcement or expansion of our mission to bring the world closer together. You can imagine having a support group for a product with a lot of technical back and forth. So, instead of having a support hotline that only is manned by the company, you can actually introduce a peer-to-peer support, or you can have another group that’s more about inspirational sharing stories that’s also relevant for people who are thinking about buying your product or services.”

Chief product officer at Facebook, Chris Cox, explained how groups for Pages are relevant for publishers as well, by giving the example of what he called “a digital version of letters to the editor, but with ongoing real-time discussions.” He spoke of a couple of staffers at the Washington Post, who started a group called ‘PostThis’ that allowed reporters to interact directly to the newspaper’s readers. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has already said in the past that focusing more on groups is how he intends to build a more closely organized online community. The social site has already released tools for group administrators and moderators to manage their members and also analyze engagement stats in real-time.

Filed under: Digital

Why do the vast majority Customers Look for Negative Online Reviews?

Posted July 17, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 4:24 am

Research reveals that most shoppers make purchase decisions after reading negative reviews of product they want to buy

Text Rex- dinosaur

While analyzing customer experiences from two online retailers that sell cheaper products along with one retailer of high-end gifts, Northwestern University’s Spiegel Research Center and ecommerce solutions provider, Power Reviews, found that many times, even negative online reviews can be helpful for online retailers. It has been found that conversion rates rise by as much as 270% for retailers who display online reviews; such retailers are also able to sell more higher-priced. This isn’t the first time that negative reviews have shown such amazing outcomes for retailers. PowerReviews, in one of their earlier research exercises, found that 82% of shoppers look for negative reviews.

In fact, consumers to spend 400% more time on websites looking for and reading up negative reviews, which actually boost conversion rates by 67% according to social commerce specialist Revoo. What could be the apparent reason for this astonishing outcome? Well, it is second nature for consumers to be discernable realists and ratings like five on five stars for a product appear “too good to be true” for most customers. Such reviews don’t reveal much about the product anyway. It is the negative reviews that really review a product from different perspectives and they generally live up to what they say about a product. How else can they boost conversion by 67%?

The study by Spiegel and PowerReviews found that negative reviews increase the likelihood of readers making a purchase and products with average ratings between 4.0 and 4.7 on a scale of five are the ones that are most likely to be bought. This is far better than five on five rating because it leaves space for what is known as scope for improvement. That’s a lot more rational than the ‘5 gun salute’ because it helps keep average ratings down. Ratings between 4.0 and 4.7 also mean that the reviewer thinks the product to be optimum and not necessarily premium. Most consumers are generally happy with an optimum product that meets both their budget and expectations to a large extent.

Filed under: Digital

A Chat Bot With a Human Touch Beats AI Hands Down

Posted July 13, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 4:13 am

Restaurants first in New York and then in Los Angeles are rediscovering the advantages of human touch

Text Rex- dinosaur

Text Rex is a free texting recommendation service for restaurants in New York City for now. It has a dinosaur as a mascot, and has very efficient humans responding to requests from registered Text Rex users to find the perfect restaurant for their situation between 8:30 a.m. and 11 p.m. This unique chat bot was first launched in New York where it created quite a sensation. On the day it was launched, the number of people who signed up for the service was around 4,000, and today it has around 35,000 registered users just in New York City. On an average, the team handles around 500 requests every day from users planning a great dining experience.

Text Rex is the brainchild of music industry professionals, Andrew Steinthal and Chris Stang, who founded an enterprise called ‘The Infatuation’ that aimed at young diners although just about anybody is free to check out what The Infatuation website offered. They launched the hashtag #EEEEEATS which has been used more than 7 million times on Instagram but despite all that they found that offering dining ideas with a human touch is more likely to help them cultivate a deeper connection with users. And that was how they came upon the idea of Text Rex.

Following the tremendous response to Text Rex from New Yorkers, Stang said, “At first we thought, ‘what have we done? But we couldn’t start something then put it back in the box. People were excited and happy they could connect with someone. It’s a bridge between automation and a human audience.” He felt, AI solutions can’t “give people value in a fun, trustworthy way.” His partner, Steinthal says, “We have an engaged audience because we’re a discovery platform. Our secret sauce is that people trust us. We put brands and restaurants on our audience’s radar.”

Filed under: Digital

Facebook Aims to Check Low Quality Links, Fake News, Clickbait and Spam

Posted July 6, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 3:47 am

The social site is keeping a close watch on users, to reduce the spread of sharing clickbait and misinformation

facebook Fake News

Facebook, the world’s largest social network, has about two billion monthly active users. It’s now taking a step to weed out low quality content like clickbait, sensationalism and hoax news, after hoax stories had spread widely during the US presidential election, e.g. Pop Francis endorsed Donald Trump and the federal agent, who had been investigating Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, was found dead.

Last Friday, Facebook revealed that it was going to change the computer algorithm written for news feed which aims to limit the reach of users, who frequently share links or clickbait content. According to the research done, there are only 0.1 percent people approximately, who share more than 50 posts every day with nuisance content such as fake news or misinformation, clickbait, etc, that create chaos or sensationalism among people.

Facebook aims to discourage the influence of these spammers and deprioritize the links from users that post more frequently on the social site rather than regular or informative and entertaining posts. As a result, it is expected to have a positive effect on the ranking of high quality content with useful informative posts because this update will apply to individual clickbait articles or links and not on pages, videos, photos or domains.

Once this update is done, publishers will see a reduction in distribution of links which they routinely share on public posts and they should keep in mind the basic guidelines to follow. In order to reach their audiences through Facebook the content they post, should be relevant and informative. Tackling fake news in news feed is a part of the new update showing Facebook’s efforts and by August, the update will de-emphasize news or stories with clickbait-type headlines or sub-headlines.

Filed under: Digital

Now Ads on Facebook Will Allow Brands to Target Specific People in Households

Posted June 27, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 8:40 pm

The new feature will help reduce waste in ad spend by tailoring ad-targeting based on products that individuals have purchased or not

household audience feature

Facebook has now made it possible for brands to target their ads down to specific households if not individuals. It will soon be introducing a new household audience feature that will allow brands to not just target individual families but even go further by targeting specific individuals in the family. With this new tool brands can now narrow down their targeting to individuals in the family who influence purchase decisions as well as those in the family who make the actual purchases. The tool allows brands to select a source audience uploaded on the social site comprising customers drawn from an email list or any other database. The marketers can then turn on the household audience feature to filter down their ads to specific individuals in the household.

Graham Mudd, product marketing director at Facebook, said, “What we want to do basically is leverage the power of our network to enable that kind of influencing or to support that kind of influencing across the family. Explaining how this might work during the holidays, he gave an example where he purchased products from Brand A, and invariably ends up in the brand’s customer database. Next, if his wife wants to buy him a gift, Brand A would target Mudd’s wife and even their children with ads designed to influence their purchasing decisions even as they’re shopping for their dad.

Traditionally advertising has been all about how you show the same ads to the same household at the same time. Facebook’s new feature will change all that by identifying individual members of the same household based on signals, as well as the relationships among family members and also the frequency of shared check-ins or where they access the internet. This will mean that advertising dollars will begin moving away from television networks toward Facebook in a major way because marketers will now be able to get a lot more ROI (Return on Investment) for the money they spend on advertising. This kind of precise targeting will ensure that brands have a better chance of maximizing their chances of getting their customers to make faster purchase decisions.

Filed under: Digital

A Facebook Messenger Bot That Turns Emotions Into GIFs on a giant LED display

Posted June 26, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 6:38 pm

San Francisco-based agency Heat made this innovative, artificial-intelligence-based program for this year’s for Cannes

Facebook Messenger Bot

San Francisco-based creative agency, Heat, came up with an interesting application – a Facebook Messenger chat bot that reacts to users’ emotions. Stijn Jansen, digital art director at Heat, said the idea for the chat bot began about a couple of months back when about 400 young people were competing, networking and attending classes in connection with Cannes. Jansen recalled his time at this school and wanted to do something to make it more interesting for the attending students. He said, “I think exactly 10 years ago I was an attendee of that school as well and it’s a very overwhelming week. Their cubicles are kind of sad-looking, very white—not the most inspiring space to brainstorm. So, we wanted to be really close to them where they could hang out, escape from all the white light.”

Jansen calls his innovation Heatbot, which has a 42”by 42” LED matrix panel fitted with more than 1,700 lights where each pixel contains three LED lights making up the display of the chat bot. A user must type a code into Facebook Messenger to verify that he is inside the Cannes installation before starting interaction with Heatbot. The technology that connects the panel to Facebook Messenger is what makes this chat bot interesting as it offers scope for other applications. Heatbot first asks a few questions to the user about how he is feeling. On the backend, Heatbot covers eight basic emotions that are connected to 1,000 responses.

Depending on the answers it gives to the users, Heatbot then produces on the LED display, a series of GIFs and photos that relate to the emotion and are based on color theory. For happy users, it may show goofy GIFs while for those who are sad; it will show GIFs of hugs and smiles. “Heatbot plays a sequence of GIFs for you that make you feel a certain way, “If you’re feeling good, it wants to celebrate with you. If you’re feeling tired, sad, lonely or uninspired, then it will create content that helps you get over that hump,” Jansen said.

Filed under: Digital

Reality Check for Traditional Supermarkets as Amazon Acquires Whole Foods

Posted June 23, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 5:23 am

Amazon will bring in it full range of big data crunching technology to engage customers more intensely than ever before

whole food market

When Amazon acquired Whole Foods for $13.7 billion on June 16, the food retail world woke up to a new reality – the prospect of relentless competition from the eCommerce giant and its desire to dominate the market for years to come. The fact that Amazon backs it up with amazing efficiency and daring strategies, makes it even more of a worry for its competitors. On the other hand, the supermarkets and grocery businesses are the ones that will have to figure out ways to meet the challenge. Amazon will be unloading its heavy artillery armed with big data and the only way to tackle that will be to match the firepower which most supermarkets and grocery businesses don’t have.

If they try to make peace, Amazon is likely to make them an offer they can’t refuse, and tell them ‘it’s my way or the highway.’ Grocery retail is now increasingly coming into the focus of technology as traditional and relatively old-fashioned businesses gradually come under its ambit. These segments haven’t had any innovation for years even though some outlets offer self-checkout but that is few and far between. In most supermarkets, customers still have to stand in long queues and that’s where technology is going to aim at. It boils down to convenience and most importantly, time.

The use of customer data is unknown to these traditional outlets because most of them are not bothered about their customers’ behavior at the point of purchase. They don’t know that customers’ market movements can be tracked and so can their purchase patterns. Amazon is definitely going to bring all of that into play with Whole Foods, which is good for the market. Of course, Whole Foods had literally dug itself into a hole with its ridiculously high prices for the organic foodstuff to sells. Amazon is surely going to make the necessary corrections because it will aim for scale in quick time. Amazon’s won’t entirely go for ecommerce with Whole Foods but will also spice up the in-store experience with technology that will help eliminate queues. Overall, grocery retail is in for a major shakeup.

Filed under: Digital

Has Instagram Stories Caused Snapchat Growth Slowdown by Over 80%?

Posted June 21, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 5:09 am

With 250 million active users daily who get to replay live videos, Instagram Stories is now powering ahead of Snapchat at great speed

Solid-Marble case

Most reports stop short of saying that but a number of analytics by several providers as well as social media talent managers agree that there has been a huge decline in preference for Snapchat ever since Instagram Stories was launched. Snapchat was doing really well in early 2016, but began experiencing a massive drop in growth after the launch of Instagram Stories, a direct competitor which now appears to be running away with the largest part of the market. In fact the drop in Snapchat’s growth is over 80% which is very close to complete stagnation and these stats seem to be hurting Snapchat even as its IPO (Initial Public Offering) hits the market.

Using the technological leverage of parent company, Facebook, Instagram will now allow users to replay live videos on the site, which will not disappear immediately after the livestream. This follows the strategy of Facebook where users are allowed to tune in even after the broadcaster has tuned out. Instagram had first announced Live Stories way back in the beginning of the year and by March, began allowing users to save their own live videos. However, Snapchat is not done and dusted yet and far from that, might want to bypass the negative perception around its inability to scale up as it was doing when it had a monopoly.

Snapchat still has some remarkable analytics to show that this decline in the number of its users is not really the end of the story. In fact, it’s already talking about the deep engagement it enjoys with its users in the stats it shared in its IPO filing which focused on just how much its users liked to open the Snapchat app. The stats mention that the average daily user opens the app around 18 times every day and stays on for up to 30 minutes. Snapchat also informed that 60% of the users create Snaps and use the chat feature every day. This kind of engagement along with vibrant full-screen ads is where all the monetization opportunities lay although Snapchat would have to work harder to convince Wall Street about it.

Filed under: Digital
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