We’re already well into October, and for many communicators, that means it’s planning season. As we enter the fourth quarter, it’s a great time to review your communication work from the last year and to begin laying out objectives for 2018.
As you enter this time of year, make sure you’re up-to-date with important news and trends related to communications and measurement. We’ve gathered some of the best posts from the last month to help you stay informed as you develop strategies. Here’s your list:
AI, Big Data, and Analytics
- The MIT Tech Review explains the capabilities of iFlytek, vocal recognition technology used by millions in China to overcome communication obstacles. Since its invention in 2010, the free app has collected data from real-life interactions to enhance its ability to mimic these interpersonal conversations.
- Nieman Labs summarizes a report from the Tow Center for Digital Journalism about how AI can be both helpful and harmful to journalists, the reporting process, and readers.
- Coca Cola uses AI and AR technology and big data, among other communications and measurement tactics, to develop their brand and continue to deliver the products and narratives that align with their massive base of customers.
- Do Tech Companies Really Need All That User Data? A new working paper, produced by Lesley Chiou of Occidental College and Catherine Tucker of MIT, studies how the EU’s privacy regulations affect how search engines work. Search companies suggest that user data is necessary to improve the effectiveness and personalization of their products, but the study finds that this may not be the case.
- British fashion icon Burberry is using customer data, apps, and AI to boost sales. Burberry incentivizes customers to share data through loyalty and rewards programs, allowing sales associates in stores to make recommendations based on prior purchases, and RFID in stores can communicate with customers’ mobile phones. The result is a 50 percent increase in repeat customers, and the ability to adjust sales tactics on products that do well in stores but not online.
- The term “big data” gets thrown around a great deal, but what people really want to see are the solutions that can be derived from analysis. ZDNet looks at how UPS is using real-time data, AI, and analytics to improve performance.
News on News
- As tech companies continue to assess the impact “fake news” had and is having, efforts to reduce its effects are running into problems of their own. The New York Times takes a look at how Google’s efforts to prioritize authoritative content might be penalizing smaller or lesser-known sites.
- A Pew study conducted on where Americans get their information about science topics contains some interesting insights, especially for mainstream media outlets. “General news outlets” is where most Americans (54 percent) get information about science news, but only 28 percent feel that those outlets get the facts right when covering science topics. The lack of distinction between low-quality and high-quality studies is cited as a major problem.
- FiveThirtyEight looks at televised media coverage of hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria and concludes that Hurricane Maria, which hit Puerto Rico, received comparatively less coverage than the two hurricanes that hit the mainland U.S. Looking at data points such as share of sentences mentioning each hurricane to Google search trends, FiveThirtyEight also provides a visual representation of the data.
- Poynter reminds us everything old is new again by highlighting the growing number of text-only news sites. As bandwidth has increased, so have the number of auto-roll videos, photos and images, and other eye-catching doodads. When don’t these fancy features work? When there’s limited internet connectivity, as recently happened during the multiple hurricanes that have hit the US. It’s precisely during these types of natural disasters that people turn to news organizations to learn more, so reverting to text-based sites is a smart option.
Social Media and Software
- A big change is coming to Twitter, and not everyone is excited about it. Criticism flew fast and furious right after the announcement, claiming it wasn’t necessary. So why the change? The company says it’s to address frustration with attempts to cram in thoughts by deleting vowels–and, Twitter’s own research indicates that when people have more room to tweet, they tweet more often. In other words, this is likely a move to boost revenue.
- Social media isn’t just for sharing blog posts and cat videos; Facebook is premiering a new feature that could save lives. Beginning on October 1, which is India’s National Blood Donor Day, Facebook users will be asked to tag themselves as blood donors and to share this with friends. People and organizations requiring donations can then post requests for them.
- With 85 percent of online users completing a search query at least once per month in 2017, and three out of five of those users completing it on a mobile device, marketers are working to evolve search technology to match consumers’ digital device habits.
- One of the best measurement tools already at your fingertips is an Excel spreadsheet, and it’s about to get a whole lot more useful. Microsoft has announced that by introducing some machine learning into the spreadsheet program, it will soon be able to understand your inputs and pull available information from the internet, and will generate data visualization from your inputs.
- Snapchat has been facing challenges related to audience growth and declining use, especially since Instagram premiered its stories feature. A Mediakix report tracked the behavior of top influencers on the platform to compare its popularity and how their behavior may affect use by the average account holder.