Here’s a recap of what’s happening this week in the world of digital marketing:

NPR reports 57% of smart-speaker owners have made voice purchases

With 20 million households containing a smart-speaker, virtual assistants have become the future of digital marketing, according to a study by NPR and Edison research. 800 smart speaker owners, and 800 people who do not own one, were surveyed and results were reported in the “Smart Audio Report.” Part one, released in July, reported that over half of owners were happy with the function of their smart-speakers and 42% wouldn’t go back to life without one.

Part two, however, reported on the buying power, or v-commerce, of virtual assistants. 57% of smart speaker owners have used one to make a purchase and an even higher percentage used one to add items to their cart for future purchases. At least half of the purchases were of something the user had never purchased before. Surprisingly, a quarter of the purchases were between $100 and $199, which really proves the buying power of virtual assistants.

Though the study only included GoogleHome and Amazon Echo, there are many more VAs being improved upon and introduced to the market, such as Microsoft’s Cortana and HomePod from Apple. With price points for all demographics, the future of v-commerce will only brighten with time.

Call-only ads are now eligible for 3 extensions

Extensions for text ads give context beyond just the description such as where the business is located and how far away it is from the potential customer, and finally, these account-level extensions are available for call-only ads. With more information on display, reducing the amount of pages it takes to get to the information will potentially increase actual phone calls to the businesses.

The location extension allows searchers to see where the business is and helps them choose the most convenient location. This is especially important for businesses with multiple locations, so potential customers know they’re calling the correct local number instead of a national call center. Callout extensions make it easier to include more details in the ad, and lastly, structured snippets provide simple context to goods and services. Google reports a 10% improvement for click through rates when the extensions were tested with call-only ads.

The extensions will automatically be available if they’re already set at the account level and can be customized for the campaign level.

Target partners with Pinterest, integrating Lens technology to search for products

The partnership between Pinterest and Target marks the first time Pinterest’s Lens, a visual search technology, will be used as a tool for a retail app. Integrating the two will allow users to photograph any item they like and find a similar product for sale at Target. For now, Lens can only be used with Target’s registry, however they will expand to the app and desktop platforms.

With 200 million users worldwide, Pinterest is a goldmine for advertisers, prompting Target to increase their ad buys with the app and drive traffic to their website.

Lens search technology can turn a simple smartphone camera into a powerful search engine, giving users the means to find products to style their home or create outfits from articles of clothing. The goal is to jumpstart the buying cycle with Pinterest as the initial search engine instead of others such as Google.

Youtube releases new tools for advertisers: Director mix, sequence videos, and more

Youtube’s newest set of tools, most notably Director Mix, utilizes consumer searches and behaviors across all of Google’s platforms to help digital marketing professionals reach audiences with relevant messaging. Director Mix allows advertisers to create thousands of ads  for use across many audiences with a single creative asset. The tool will take a set of videos, voiceovers, and copy to create multiple variations of ads and match them to target audiences as specified by the advertisers, also using machine learning to analyze which ads are working and which aren’t.

In the past, ads were targeted based only on search data, and with an expansion to the Custom Affinity Audience offering, Google will use search data, Google Maps searches, and even the kind of apps downloaded. Say you’re a local gym, for example, looking to increase sign ups for your classes. For your digital marketing strategy, you’ll now be able to target people who have downloaded a fitness tracker app, searched for gyms in the specified area, and looked up at-home fitness training videos, narrowing your target demographic to those most likely to convert to an actual sale. Google says this new process will increase brand awareness by 50% and ad recall by 20%

Another update allows for different ad sequences that unfold over time, leading consumers down a more effective path. Ad series may tell a story that begins with a short teaser, leading into longer, more informative ads. 

As a digital marketing agency based in Brooklyn (NYC) , our focus is to increase ROI through social media advocacy, email marketing, and content optimization. Our digital marketing strategies have been proven to work with start-ups, Ecommerce, and hospitality. Contact us today for a free consultation!