Amazon’s Attribution Pixel Tests Ad Effectiveness

Outside of being one of the worlds largest E-commerce platforms, Amazon also runs a growing ad business, competing with the likes of Facebook and Google. That product offering just got a lot more appealing to advertisers, as the company began testing its Amazon Attribution tool.

The tool will help advertisers measure the exact impact that their display, search and video media channels have on how consumers discover, research and buy their products within the E-commerce giant. Brands will be able to optimize their campaigns to page views, purchase rates and sales. Currently, the tool is only available to advertisers that sell on Amazon, rather than through it.

The move by Amazon signifies a big step in their fight against the duopoly, which has historically dominated much of the year-over-year growth within online advertising. Advertisers will soon get a much better understanding of how their media on Amazon compares with that of other platforms, especially when it comes to driving actual sales.

Additionally, Amazon’s moves into the brick-and-mortar space with its Whole Foods acquisition, Amazon Go and Amazon Books will mean that the company should soon offer a way to attribute online media to offline conversion – a necessary step to effectively compete with Google.

Implications

Amazon moving further into the advertising space shouldn’t surprise anyone, but it should be taken seriously. Brands that don’t currently utilize Amazon’s ad products, should look to them as a way to test the effectiveness of their ad dollars across tactics. Take a look back at what your KPI’s are, and use this Attribution Pixel to determine where there’s room for improvement.

If your brand already has a big presence within the site, whether that be percentage of total sales or a higher comparable market share, a shift of budget to Amazons products will help to continue to drive sales and page views, while also allowing your brand to hone in on a specific target.

In one case study, a protein brand found that health publications performed better than all other media types, accounting for 83% of their ad-attributed sales on Amazon. Without this tool, that information would have gone unnoticed, and the brand wouldn’t have been able to effectively use its budget. In todays day and age, it’s incredibly important to understand exactly what sparks your E-commerce business, with Amazon at the helm, this tool makes their ad products worth a second look.

Who is Doctor Fork?

This week, Google’s Unskippable Labs team released its findings with regards to an interesting little experiment they had been working on. The question? What could we unveil about advertising effectiveness for a pizza brand, if we weren’t afraid to fail? To pull it off, the team created a fake company that was ultimately called Doctor Fork.

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The team was able to compile 33 ads using stock footage, and because it’s Google, they were able to deliver over 20 million impressions through the YouTube platform. The delicious sausage pizza you saw last night.. ya, you’re going to have to go somewhere else for that. The team explained that because they weren’t following an explicit client brief, they were able to knock down so called guard rails, typically used in food ads.

Implications

Ultimately, there were a list of findings and underlying implications that came out of this study, and brands should be keen to incorporate some of these into their campaigns. For example, ‘bite and smile’ is not the only way to show a pleasurable food experience. Classic brands may feel constrained by this emotional presentation because they know ‘it works’, however, these findings show that there are a range of approaches that are equally appropriate and may even perform better.

This begs the question, what other findings can we uncover when removing constraints on our advertising? In an industry that relies on creative thinking and innovation to break through to new consumer segments, brands should begin thinking outside of their typical processes to determine new insights. If you have the means to conduct a test similar to what Google’s team did, it could provide valuable information to move your brand forward. If you don’t, take a risk, it’s one of the only ways to move forward.

Google Removes Blanket Exclusion From Mobile Apps

Come this September, Google will radically simplify its targeting and exclusion controls for Google Display Network ads on mobile devices. The change will come in the form of eliminating the adsenseformobileapps.com placement exclusion, which allowed advertisers to specifically remove mobile in-app ads as possible inventory within their campaigns.imageMoving forward, advertisers will be able to set their exclusion preferences based on device type. For example, instead of targeting mobile devices by Mobile app, Mobile app interstitial, or Mobile web, all mobile placements will now be targeted (or excluded). The same format will also be applied to Tablet targeting.

Implications

For advertisers, this change signifies a greater shift within the in-app landscape. Developers will look to capitalize on the influx of inventory by creating additional sources of revenue (i.e new ways for users to look at ads). As the mobile advertising market continues to grow, projected to increase to 31% of global expenditure by 2020, the search giant understands just how important the in-app category is to its overall revenue.

Google has already set the stage for future innovation by partnering with Unity, a massively popular game development platform, that will allow Google’s advertisers direct access to Unity’s global mobile gaming ad inventory. With more than 9.4 billion ad impressions on a monthly basis over 1.5 billion devices and the freedom to cater the experience internally, it’s no wonder that Google wants more advertisers to compete over this space.

In order to break through on these channels, advertisers must ensure that their ad units are catered to specific devices and placements, as well as provide thoughtful, relevant and non-disruptive content. In an age where UX clearly dictates that mobile ads hurt the overall experience, brands that are able to add value will have a great chance of standing out and driving conversions.

Snapchat Launches Voice Recognition Lenses

Snapchat continues to push the AR boundaries by launching a new lense that can recognize simple voice commands. In the past, lenses could react to users opening their mouth or raising their eyebrows. Now, basic English words will have the same effect. Simply saying “love” will cue jazz music while saying “yes” causes the camera to zoom. Other words like “hi”, “no” and “wow” come with their own animations. Users can expect to see five to six more lenses added to the rotation throughout the week.

While Facebook has the advantage of owning other key apps like Instagram and Messenger, Snapchat continues to use camera technology as their strength. Users have already seen visually stimulating updates with the sky changing lenses and selfie games. Snapchat Inc. has noted it is possible to combine these features but has not made any specific announcement for the future.

Implications

Social media marketers should be on the lookout, as this voice recognition lense may be open to advertisers soon. Snapchat is proving to be an essential platform for connecting with teens and the growing, older audience. The emphasis on interactive content has helped keep users engaged which is crucial when it comes to brand messaging. While users may still choose Facebook and Instagram to view content from creators, Snapchat is enabling the creation of content. Brands that can find a way into that creative process, potentially through these new lenses, will be at the center of users’ messages.

The Evolution of The Camera

Computing is quickly moving from the small screen in our hands, to the world around us. The camera, and advanced AI algorithms behind it, are driving this shift.

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‘The Evolution of The Camera’ dives into the trends and use cases that we see today revolving around three key areas.

Communicate: How the camera has changed the paradigm of communication and virtual presence.

Enhance: How computer vision and AI can play a role in digital engagement and what that means for consumers.

Augment: How AR is enabling new experiences and utility through the camera.

 

AR Steals the Show at WWDC

Virtual tape measures, Memoji’s, Tongue Detection, and more were all part of Apple’s AR updates announced at this years WWDC (Worldwide Developer Conference). As part of ARKit 2, developers will be able to upgrade their experiences to include improved face tracking, realistic rendering, 3D object detection, persistent experiences and shared experiences.

The first few of those updates allow for greater looking experiences, whereas the latter completely shift the paradigm of what is possible in an AR environment. Multiplayer experiences will be big for gaming, allowing multiple users to interact with each other in their own synthetic layer of reality. Apple will surely aim to bring this functionality to other aspects of their software – one can only imagine shared data visualization, product demonstrations, educational experiences, and much more.

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Persistent experiences will turn AR applications into something that was once a one off use case, into an environment that offers an incentive to return. An easy way to visualize this is that if you were to hang up a virtual painting one day, you can return the next and that painting will still be there. Unless of course, your son or daughter went into that same virtual environment and decided to draw all over it.

Memojis are Apple’s way of personalizing yourself, just as Samsung, and many multiplayer games have done before them. However, in this case, Apple is allowing you to bring your Memoji into the camera – overlaying your virtual avatar onto your physical body. It’s somewhat of a snapchat like effect, which should lead to more native sharing within the messages app.

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With all these AR updates, Apple needed to make it easier for creatives to develop content for them. They did this through a new file format for AR entitled USDZ. In partnership with Pixar, this new file format will make it easier to create and share AR concepts. What’s better, Adobe will be integrating USDZ support into its suite of creative cloud applications. Developers will be able to natively edit AR designs and objects within software that they already know and love.

To cap it off, Apple made a few nods to web based AR integrations, which will entirely change the landscape of the consumption of AR content. Within Safari, virtual products will soon be instantly viewable in a users physical environment, and will eventually evolve into full on AR experiences, completely negating the need for one off apps and reducing the friction involved in accessing them. AR has long been hyped as the next great computing platform, and while we’re still not there yet, Apple has certainly provided us with some exciting updates as we work towards that day.

Implications

For brands and marketers, AR can seem like a shiny object that may look cool, but not necessarily bring value. As more and more users are given native ability to access an augmented world, and developers are given more tools to create objects that inhabit that world, that will no longer be the case.

It will soon be table stakes for ecommerce sites to offer AR viewability of their products and experiences will be inherently personalized as live data is brought into the experience. AR is an extremely exciting category, and will soon be an integral part of digital experiences, as computing moves from the mobile phone into spatial existence.

From Feeds to Stories

In its essence, social media is merely a window into someone else’s life – their hobbies, adventures, beliefs, friends and family. Over the past decade, social media companies have worked to expand that window as much as possible, giving users a more holistic view. What we’ve landed on, thanks in part to Snapchat, is the story feature – a comprehensive view of an individuals or businesses life at all points in time.tumblr_inline_p8didlS0u71uk4gsu_540.jpg

Since 2016, the creation and consumption of stories is up 842 percent, according to consulting firm Block Party. This is due in part to a broader movement of turning the camera into a platform, a trend we’ve been following for quite a while now. The camera is an entry point into a users virtual world and advancements in technology have allowed us to empower consumers with tools to better capture, create and share that world.

Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook are all heavily invested in Augmented Reality tools, allowing people to enhance their experiences, aid in commerce, entertain and inform. We’re also slowly seeing the integration of more and more real-time data into these experiences, enabling more live sharing and contextual content creation.

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Instagram recently announced third party integration support for stories, allowing users on Spotify and GoPro to quickly share a song or video footage. While currently constrained to those two partners, we’re sure to see more services jump on, which will eventually give users an even easier way to post what they’re currently doing to their stories. In time, trend setting Millenials may not even have to take a picture of their Insta worthy brunch – they’ll simply press a button on their table, and it’s uploaded for them.

Implications

All the major social media companies have ad products designed specifically for stories, and if that’s where the majority of eyeballs are at, it’s also where your product or service should be. However, integrating with stories is not simply about disrupting a consumers content reel, but rather providing them with a value that can help to enhance what they’re currently doing. Are you giving them tools to create? Offering compelling content to consume? Or are you simply asking them to swipe up to unlock a special offer?

The augmented reality tools available for marketers to create content for these platforms offer a new way to interact with consumers. We’re currently undergoing a shift in media consumption, it’s no longer about simply pushing content, but rather enabling creativity for the end user. Brands that are able to provide consumers with experiences that empower them to create and share will end up seeing longer engagement and more return visitors, than those who simply aim for passive viewing.

Additionally, and even more importantly, how are you telling your own story? Your brands Instagram and Snapchat feed may be the one place that you can confidently reach millions of consumers at all points in time with a consistent message. It’s incredibly important to ensure that message is relevant, timely, and paints a picture of how you want your brand perceived. It’s always best to answer these questions with the end consumer in mind, and how you’re providing value to them.