Digital Digest: 8th June 2017


Abbey Torrance and Emma Saddleton round up the best social and mobile news from the last two weeks in this edition of Digital Digest.

Apple Mary Meeker voice search

Apple Announces HomePod, Their Take On The Home Speaker

Apple is currently holding its Worldwide Developer Conference in the States, and once again are using it as a platform to announce new products and software updates.

This year’s keynote -which took place on Monday- saw not only a number of software updates and developments on their current products but the launch of the HomePod – Apple’s own digital assistant that will compete in the market with Alexa and Google Home.

Digital assistants (which have been taking the small steps) have been written about before (even considered by our own Rick and Matthew,) so for an innovative company like Apple to join the party, we may expect this to be the giant leap for digital assistant-kind.

Not quite.

That giant leap needs work, as the HomePod is heralded for its technical capabilities over functional. There will be benefits, given Siri’s power built into the product, and there is no denying the premium people will pay for Apple products. However, the speaker at present is still exactly that – a speaker.

Now - for all you Taylor Swift fans out there, you’ll be able to access her back catalogue through Apple Music, so feel free to go and Shake It Off to your heart’s content.

However, there are still areas for development to allow these systems to bring even more value to our homes and particularly for Apple to stand out from the competition e.g. ordering products through HomePod, suggesting recipes based on limited input and learning your preferences (Siri, I have an aubergine and chopped tomatoes. What would you recommend?), or even in a work context – being the literal voice of a consumer based on data inputs and insights.

The product will be released in December, at a cool $349. The Conference continues throughout the week.

Mary Meeker’s Report Is Out Now

Mary Meeker, the KPCB partner, has released her 2017 Internet Trends presentation, giving a rapid-fire insight into key digital trends for this year.

Our key take outs:

  • Smartphone use is slowing, but Android is growing in terms of share
  • Voice searches are growing, taking up 20% of all searches
  • Gaming has become much more mainstream, with revenue estimated at $10bn in 2016
  • Facebook saw the biggest YoY growth in investment between 2015 and 2016.

The Rise Of Voice Search

In January, Forbes reported that ‘2017 is the year of voice search’. Mary Meeker can also be seen to devote a significant portion of her trends report to the subject matter. The truth is, voice search is a big deal, and brands need to get a handle on it ASAP.

A large number of us use voice search in our day-to-day lives, and there are numbers to back it up. ‘Google announced at I/O that 20 percent of all searches have voice intent, while Meeker’s charts show that in May 2016, 25 percent of searches on Windows 10 taskbar are voice searches’.

Currently, the experience is far from perfect – being from Scotland, Siri doesn’t always understand my accent, and therefore search results are never bringing up the correct results. However, now that Amazon democratised the pricing of voice-driven technologies, with the huge push of Alexa in Christmas 2016, user behaviour will increasingly continue to use voice search.

Which brands are doing it really well? Ted Baker, the high-end high street women’s and menswear retailer, did a campaign in the UK last year utilising this feature. It incorporates real life stores prompting users to read promo codes into their smartphones in order to unlock more content giving users a more immersive experience. Read more here. A brilliant example.

Another great example of using Alexa was the activation through Philadelphia, guiding people on how to make a cheesecake. It will be interesting to see how brands continue to use this new technology and make it useful for consumers. Get thinking!

Kantar BrandZ Top 100 Brands Results

Kantar, the data and insight consultancy, released the BrandZ 2017 results yesterday, showing their list of top 100 brands globally. Proof that the big tech companies continue to dominate the results:

  1. Google
  2. Apple
  3. Microsoft
  4. Amazon
  5. Facebook
  6. AT&T
  7. Visa
  8. Tencent
  9. IBM
  10. McDonald’s
  11. Verizon
  12. Malboro
  13. Coca-Cola
  14. Alibaba
  15. Wells Fargo
  16. UPS
  17. China Mobile
  18. Disney
  19. GE
  20. Mastercard
Apple Mary Meeker voice search
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