Deceptive in appearance, Alexa looks like a simple, cylinder like device with the usual buttons and volume control…One could easily mistake it for a standard speaker system. If you are not familiar with Alexa just yet, experts believe it’s a matter of time before we will not be able to function in our daily lives without something like Alexa in the house (Google Home is another equivalent currently ramping up momentum in the US).
In a word, Alexa is a super computer bordering on the lines of sophisticated artificial intelligence. The capabilities are so much more than just asking a question and receiving an answer. At the very top level, it will not surprise many people that Alexa will play you your music and talk to you relaying its knowledge base from online sources.
Pretty standard stuff in this day and age. However, where things get taken to the next level is when utilising a feature called ‘downloadable skills’. You can very easily set up Alexa to place an order on Justeat or order you a taxi through Uber…Wait that’s impressive but that’s not all. Alexa can also be hooked up to ‘smart technology’ to control all the electrical and gas appliances in the house. Alexa, can turn off your lights, turn on your heating, all without you moving a muscle (but involves talking to yourself in principle).
Okay, I get it but how does Alexa link to Digital Marketing?
Well, as it happens Alexa is not just a commercial mechanism – As digital experts, we understand and know that digital platforms are a channel to reach out for audience insights and targeting for marketing strategies.
Alexa is actually two-faced. Take that how you will but Alexa is actually a very powerful analytics software tool for marketers (Since 1996 but bought out by Amazon in 1999) that is evolving all the time. Of course it is collecting all the data, actions and instructions that are utilised daily to construct key targeting metrics for the future of digital marketing.
Amazon describe the creation of the commercial Alexa as a virtual assistant and are constantly loading it’s complex algorithms with new features and capabilities. Global network and IT companies are leveraging their services and products towards how they can make them fit in with Alexa’s capabilities.
The short term vision is to anything within the home connected to your wifi (including the wifi itself) can be controlled and manipulated to help you. A more recent development will be relating to helping you find your misplaced mobile phone within the home or even be able to send text messages to someone. You guessed it, Alexa has got you covered.
Enough about Alexa, what clues does it give about the future of Digital Marketing
Evolution of data & targeting
As user behaviour changes at a rapid rate including how we engage with technology, the traditional data capture methods are also conforming to new territories. The traditional metrics relating to what is important are being stretched and to some level becoming irrelevant. Age & Gender for example are not as effective in targeting as occupation, interests or homeowners etc.
With the country predicted to have wifi access pretty much in most public places by 2020, data will be generated throughout every second of everyday – As an example, that means using location tracking (Google Maps etc), a retailer would in theory be able to track the footfall to their store on any given day.
Customer Journey – No one size fits all
Just like there is not one type of conversion anymore, there is no simple answer to understanding the customer journey. Integration across the whole digital landscape is the key to fully grasping the path of your users.
Ultimately, this will filter through from the objective but as arguments within the industry grow regarding how a conversion should be attributed, sophisticated reporting will develop to show you exactly the touch points the user has had within your marketing campaigns.
Cross device targeting
As technology increases it’s range of products and everything becomes to come online, it’s not going to be a total shock for your washing machine to submit usage information into the cloud in the not so distant future (Alexa will certainly be collecting it).
It will no longer be about collecting hits to a website through mobile, tablet, or desktop. It has the potential to allow a website to become a fringe of how we engage (Citing the JustEat-Alexa example again).
savvy marketers will know the value of relationship building to obtain long term success online. It is therefore becoming increasingly important to engage, communicate and become transparent via the medium of Social media.
Social Media platforms already have the most powerful targeting metrics and this will most likely integrate into a lifestyle database with other platforms such as Alexa. For the immediate future though, check out the key social media trends to watch out for in 2017.
Back to Alexa – Amazon Black Friday
Alexa is already flexing digital muscles this week. Amazon announce that some products from their Black Friday 2016 sale will only be available exclusively through voice searching on Alexa.
A bold move but again shopping through voice technology will exclusively be tracked for their analytics interface and will need to be integrated as users will want to see the products on offer before making a purchase decision. As well as having them targeted possibly throughout the Amazon network (Kindle, Amazon Fire TV).
Now you see, hence the mantra we believe in at Run2 – ‘A step ahead’ with our fantastic in-house passion, knowledge, insight and all-round digital expertise, we will help you to keep looking forward.
Get in touch today to see how we can help you to stay ahead.