Three Innovative technologies to watch – version 2.0

Todd Carter, Chief Digital Officer

At YA, we are always keeping a close watch for emerging technologies that will impact the way brands engage with their consumers. Three of those technologies are in various states of evolution, but I expect their impact will be significant.

Snapchat
With approximately 70% of users under the age of 34 and more than half being female, Snapchat garners a highly sought- after group of consumers. Snapcodes are one way to engage with these consumers. Introduced in 2015 as a simple method to link to friends, Snapchat has enhanced Snapcodes as a feature for marketers to drive traffic to content or experiences.

One recent example of this in the promotional space came from Pepsi. As part of the launch of Pepsi Fire, Pepsi leveraged snapcodes printed on bottles to drive consumers to an online enter-to-win promotion.

Chatbots
A chatbot is software that mimics a human conversation, usually through text or audio. Chatbots are the next step in the evolution of search engines, enabling a user to narrow in on a search through a “conversation.”

Chatbots have been around for decades, but they have grown in popularity in recent years as they have become smarter. Advancements in artificial intelligence have allowed chatbots to learn from previous conversations and continue to become more effective. It’s a little too early to truly measure the ROI on chatbots, but many large brands are actively exploring their use, including Sephora, Dominos, Bank of America, Whole Foods and Starbucks. Some of the most common functions are focused on product research, ordering/ecommerce and customer support.

RCS messaging
Rich Communication Services (RCS), the next evolution of text messaging, creates a rich and interactive communication channel. While still in its infancy, one of the biggest benefits with RCS is the ability to engage with consumers directly in the messaging stream, since current engagement activities often require a consumer to click a link, which removes them from the message.

Just a few of the interesting capabilities that RCS will enable are:

  • Custom colors and icons: Brands can use their own color pallet within the message; current messaging apps only allow a limited set of standard colors. Brands will also be able to insert a logo in place of the standard message photo.
  • Verified Sending: Phishing attacks continue to get more sophisticated, and consumers are increasingly cautious. RCS will allow a brand to be verified by the consumer.
  • Suggested actions: To the consumer, these actions come in the form of buttons within the text message, creating more of an “app like” experience. Common actions may include opening a video, click-to-call and other engagement activities.

Android is the primary mobile platform leading the charge in RCS, and it is not clear if Apple will adopt the standard. Even if Apple chooses to pass on RCS, it most likely will respond by evolving iMessage to include RCS features.

Let’s talk
We’d love to hear what other technologies you think are going to shake up the way brands engage with their consumers. And we’d love to tell you more about how YA can use our marketing and tech savvy to turn even first-time customers into loyal brand advocates who take action, buy more and spread the word. Please contact me to begin the conversation.

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