On-Point Links: May 20, 2016
This week’s top tech and marketing articles.
Instagram Joins the Analytics Party
As more advertisers make the shift to digital, Instagram is maturing its analytics tools to offer more detailed and in-depth data for businesses and brands. We can expect to see a change in Instagram’s advertising ecosystem, as marketers gain a better understanding of their audiences, content, reach and growth drivers.
“Instagram is preparing to launch a series of new tools for businesses and brands using its platform, including business profiles with contact buttons and access to maps and directions, as well as tools for tracking analytics around posts, and a mobile ad-buying experience.”
“The company has more recently been increasing its efforts around advertising in particular, with things like video view counts and support for longer, 60-second videos, for example. These features have been aimed at attracting TV ad dollars to the platform, which now hosts some 400 million users, as advertisers make the shift to digital.”
“The follower analytics section offers demographic details about your audience, including followers’ location, age, and gender. Location information is available by country or by city, which makes it useful to bigger brands all the way down to smaller, local businesses. Knowing where the majority of users are based can also help businesses better determine when to post content.”
Is Google’s New Allo Messaging App the Assistant We’ve All Been Waiting For?
Google’s new Allo messaging app is not just your standard upgrade from Google Messenger and Hangouts. This time, Google goes several steps further with its Allo app which features a built-in Google assistant. The company is also foreshadowing a future where Google assistant will exist in multiple entry points in consumers’ lives.
“As Google director of engineering Erik Kay describes it, the vision is to bring all sorts of online information and services directly into your online conversations. Rather than bring all your friends into one app and then another and then another, he says, you can bring the apps to them, all via a Google-supplied layer of artificial intelligence.”
“[T]hat bot inside Allo is part of an even broader movement across the tech world, a movement towards online services that let us chat with all sorts of machines as we chat with each other—or at least kinda like we chat with each other.”
“Deep neural nets power the Google assistant that powers both the Allo app and the forthcoming Google Home device…. When you trade messages with friends over Allo, neural nets work to understand what your friends are saying so the app can suggest meaningful replies.”
Google Gives More Seconds Back to Our Lives
Instant Apps is Google’s effort to bridge the gap between the web and native apps, for seamless movement from download to usage.
“Instant Apps is really about re-thinking where apps are going,” Google VP of Engineering for Android Dave Burke told me. The idea behind Instant Apps is to make the native app experience as convenient as surfing to a web site. “Web pages are ephemeral,” he said. “They appear, you use them, and never think about them again.” Apps, he argued, have lots of friction and often you only want an app to perform one action or to get a specific piece of information.”
“The move comes at a time when the app stores are overrun with content, and consumers are becoming less inclined to seek out and try new applications. A 2015 study indicated that consumers spend 85 percent of their time on smartphones using apps, but only use a small handful of third-party apps on a regular basis.”
“Here is what that would look like in practice: say you are in a new city and want to pay for parking with whatever parking app the local municipality is using. You hold your phone to the parking meter, the built-in NFC chip reads the info, and the native app appears almost instantaneously. There is no need to download the app or even log in (or to uninstall it later).”
Google’s Awareness API All About Contextual Experience
The Awareness API will bring an edge to Android apps as it delivers smarter contextual responses to mobile users. The new API is designed to offer customized context-based features without the downside of draining or slowing down system resources.
TechCrunch: Android Apps Can Now React to Your Environment
“Creating a contextually aware mobile experience is something other startups have attempted before… But people have so far resisted having their phone’s user interface overhauled in reaction to their surroundings.”
“The new Awareness API, then, not only offers the convenience of requesting all this information about a user’s situation more easily, it also does so while optimizing for system health. That means the apps get smarter without slowing the phone down or killing your battery.”
“Instead of asking users to readjust how they use their phone, the experience of using the phone just gets better as notifications get smarter and less bothersome, apps react to what you’re doing, and interoperate with other devices around you more seamlessly.”
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