Key Technology 1: The Ongoing Rise of Machine Learning
Through 2018 we expect to see much more use of machine learning. Already the photo app on most phones can recognise faces and group images by theme, and this is an excellent example of everyday applications for an otherwise seemingly advance technology. Google and other platforms are offering much smarter targeting based on ‘best’ potential customer by using machine learning, and we think that this technology will come into its own in the digital marketing world. We know experts have been predicting this for several years now, but this year we expect to see machine learning explode into the digital marketing scene. It won’t be as futuristic as Hollywood movies would have you believe, but it will help you to achieve more as it starts to improve and become integrated with lots of the digital marketing tech and functionality you know and love. While on the subject of Hollywood level expectations we have seen an active move in the industry to stop referring to this technology as Artificial Intelligence as many feel that using this label sets incorrect expectations.
Key Technology 2: The Growth in The Adoption Of Voice Search.
Alongside this growing use of machine learning in digital marketing tech we expect to see continued growth of voice search and use of virtual assistants by both businesses and consumers, especially after gadgets like Amazon Dot are widely gifted this Christmas. The news that Apple is buying Shazam is also exciting in this area, and we expect Apple will quickly make moves to build Shazam functionality into Apple Music not only to add the functionality it offers but also to help make music recommendations better based on all the data Shazam have. As consumers make greater use of voice search, we expect to see a real growth in traffic for marketers who are optimising their content so it can be found and navigated by voice search. Expect some interesting case studies at this years SEO conferences as marketers explore how to exploit the growing demand for voice search’s best friend ‘questions in natural English*.’
Key Technology 3: Greater Adoption Of Virtual Reality
We also expect to see a real growth in the use of and adoption of Virtual Reality. Initially like many other speculators, we expect this to take off in the gaming world where it offers obvious experiential benefits. The launch of the Xbox VR headset (shhhhh!) will no doubt be widely attributed with starting this rocketing, but we are particularly interested in the self-contained Oculus Go headsets which Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg announced will launch in first quarter of 2018 at $199 price.
Key Technology 4: Improved performance for Google’s Display Network.
Another area of development we have been following with interest throughout 2017 is Google’s interest in improving consumer’s banner Ad experience. Back in June 2017, Google announced it would be adding ad-blocking technology to Google Chrome in a system designed to filter out poor advert experiences. In December 2017 they gave us a date the activity will start. February 15th, 2018
So the clock on this development is already ticking as we race into the new year. We also saw Google releasing some interesting tools for within Google search console designed to grade the advert experience offered by websites which feature banner adverts. This would tend to suggest that sites with a poor advert experience could potentially in the future see a drop in organic search engine performance. If this will become a part of Googles page ranking algorithm remains to be confirmed, but it certainly would make sense.
Key Technology 5: QR Codes To Become Cool Again
And finally ( and for the podcast listeners you will know who in the Target Internet team is putting their weight behind this one) Ciaran is predicting the rise of QR codes from the ashes. Snapchat’s Snapcode which was originally used to help Snapchat users find their friend’s Snapchat profiles, can now be utilised to direct users to any website or app. ” Its the same functionality as a QR code,” Ciaran explains, “But it doesn’t have any of the stigma associated with the black and white boxy QR codes from 2012 which get such a bad rap. Snapchat is much cooler.