Is MUM the future of search?: Monday’s daily brief
Plus stories from Volkswagen and statistics from TikTok.
Good morning, Marketers, are the machines going to be our teachers?
It looks like it if Google’s MUM initiative (see below) lives up to its promise. It can all be traced back, of course, to the original AI dream. In his seminal 1950 paper, “Computing Machinery and Intelligence,” Alan Turing argued that intelligence could plausibly be ascribed to a machine if it was able to maintain a conversation just as well as a human.
Now, there are many objections to that claim, but it is remarkable that we seem so close to having machines able to do just that. Huge advances in Natural Language Processing and Generation, combined with neural networks, big data and affordable computing power at scale are what have led us to this moment.
Google essentially promises that search of the future will not be a matter of inputting some keywords; it will be more like an informed conversation with an advanced expert. And it’s easy to imagine voice being involved. What will this mean for search marketing? No, I don’t expect an immediate answer to that, but it will soon be time to start thinking.
Volkswagen takes their EV to Pinterest for virtual test drives
Volkswagen has taken to visual discovery platform Pinterest to rev up curiosity about electric vehicles by allowing users to take its VW ID.4 for a virtual spin. The immersive driving experience launched June 14, with an additional walk-through by Pinterest’s influential creators rolling out in July.
Pinterest partnered with the production studio Unit9 to implement a technical, immersive 360 test drive experience. Marketing agency 3P built the microsite for the experience that ran within the Pinterest platform. As the EV market matures, and models go down in price, automakers are looking for broad exposure that can make owning a chargeable car more mainstream.
Volkswagen was looking for a way to optimize digital experience beyond the standard in-feed, in-stream ad experience, according to Gardiner.
“Through a collaborative effort, we decided that a virtual test drive experience would be a great way to leverage Pinterest’s audience insights and platform to bring the ID.4 to life for millions,” said Kimberly Gardiner, SVP Volkswagen Brand Marketing. “This is the first time we’ve ever done something so completely custom, allowing users to experience the drive from their homes, offering a variety of terrains from the mountains to the coast, to get a feel for what it would be like to be in the seat of this brand new, revolutionary vehicle.”
Google’s Pandu Nayak shares his roadmap for MUM
For the most part, search engines have operated the same way for the last two decades. They’ve improved at determining intent, providing relevant results and incorporating different verticals (like image, video or local search), but the premise remains the same: input a text query and the search engine will return a mix of organic links, rich results and ads.
With more recent advancements, like BERT, search engines have increased their language processing capabilities, which enable them to better understand queries and return more relevant results. Even more recently, Google unveiled its Multitask Unified Model (MUM), a technology that is 1,000 times more powerful than BERT, according to Google, and combines language understanding with multitasking and multimodal input capabilities.
Google’s short-term goals for MUM largely focus on knowledge transfer across languages. “In the longer term, we think that the promise of MUM really stems from its ability to understand language at a much deeper level,” said VP of search Pandu Nayak, adding, “I think it’ll support much deeper information understanding and we hope to be able to convert that deeper information understanding into more robust experiences for our users.
TikTok is wide open for brands
- 73% of TikTok influencers dedicate 1-5 hours to TikTok each day, and 65% post content daily. An overwhelming majority (almost 90%) report using it more since the pandemic hit.
- But only 17% are sharing brand or product-related content weekly, 6% daily.
Why we care. It seems a lifetime ago that the Trump administration was threatening to shut TikTok down. Instead, the platform is thriving, and some brands, like Chipotle and e.l.f. Beauty are noticing.
But it looks like plenty of scope remains for brands to get involved, with influencers — so far — little involved in promoting products and services. Two questions: Are TikTok influencers less susceptible to the temptation of paid promotion work than influencers on other platforms? Is this a TikTok bubble, which will burst when the next great social idea comes along?
Quote of the day
“Heading out on vacation tomorrow for the week. Here’s your annual reminder that your OOO message is prime billboard space! A great place to plug the things you’re working on. Don’t waste it.” Max Altschuler, VP Sales Engagement, Outreach