September 2

The Weekly Briefing: Facebook Challenges Siri & Cortana with A.I. Assistant “M”

SEM Specialist Andrew Vandereit & Copywriter Jared Townsend discussed Facebook’s A.I. push…

Watch out Siri, Cortana, and Google Now, because Facebook is launching their own A.I. assistant. Simply known as “M,” the service will be integrated into the social network’s messaging platform and will assist users with gift ideas, item purchases, trip planning, restaurant recommendations, and much more. What’s most interesting, however, is that “M” won’t run entirely on artificial intelligence…at least not at first. According to a report from Wired, there’s a human element in the mix as well, with human trainers assisting M along the way. Meanwhile, M will likely become more helpful over time as it builds up and learns from its growing data bank of interactions. “M” is currently experiencing a limited release for testing, but will eventually roll out to all Facebook users. As marketers, it begs the question…”How will we work to get client products and/or services to appear in chat sessions with M?” It’s still early, but it’s something we’re keeping an eye on.

SEM Specialist Reed Langton-Yanowitz discussed recent changes to Google’s local pack for mobile…

Google has revamped its local pack for mobile search results, now displaying a “directions” option on paid ads that appear above organic results, a change mentioned in an article by Gregg Stewart of Search Engine Land. The move allows the user to automatically pull up GPS navigation with the tap of their finger. More importantly, however, the addition of directions makes paid ads look more natural and thus, more organic in search results…something that will probably increase inorganic click rates. Google completely revamped the snack pack by reducing it from 7 listings to 3 just last month – meaning it’s more important than ever for local businesses to rank within the top 3 results.

mobile search

SEM Specialist Tory Vang discussed new extensions for Google Adwords…

More customization options are now available for Google Adwords, giving advertisers more discretion over exactly how wording appears in their ads. “From amenities to brands to product types, you’ll now be able to select a predefined “Header” and input a list of customized values that make the most sense for your business,” Google explained in a post on the Inside AdWords blog. The tech giant initially introduced its dynamic structured snippets in March. 

Web Developer Zac Forsman & Account Manager Michelle Lyons discussed a change in Google Ads…

Google Adwords ads can no longer be Flash-based, a change that went into effect on the 1st of this month for the company’s Chrome web browser. It’s part of a larger move by Google against Flash intended to cut down on laptop battery exhaustion. Google previously announced in June that they’d begin pausing Flash features “not central to the webpage” in Chrome, still allowing Flash to work…but only when users press play. Meanwhile, the tech giant is encouraging Adwords users to transition to using HTML5-based ads instead.