By Erin Clark, Planning Director with Guest Contributor Tony Dieste, Founder & Chairman
Illustration by Nicole Hamilton, Digital Jr. Art Director
Today marks a major milestone for Provoke Weekly! This is our 250th consecutive weekly newsletter…that’s 1,750 days or about 5 trips around the sun.
Just to give you a peak behind the curtain of Provoke Weekly, here at Dieste we have access to mind-blowing amounts of first person data and our cultural experts scrounge for insights to earn their paychecks (myself included). Knowing what to search for is only half the battle. Understanding cultural nuances and staying on top of the latest search methods is also key to hunting the right information and insights for our clients.
As an agency that specializes in exploring behavioral insights and American subcultures, how and where we get our information is critical. And, while we are proud of delivering these insights to you in the form of our newsletter for 250 weeks in a row, we want to ensure that we stay focused on the future to keep you on top of the cultural evolution.
So, as we celebrate the achievements of the past (WOOHOO!), let’s now turn our sights to the future…
Search is Evolving
Ever wish you could quickly find a specific subject in the vast ocean of video content on Youtube? With Google’s latest development in computer vision technology, you may soon be able to search and discover precise footage inside a video or a collection of videos. For now, this new capability is geared more towards developers in large media organizations and consumer tech companies to help build media catalogs and manage consumer-generated content. But, we can’t help but wonder what the evolution of this tool will offer.
And, one of the newest players to the search game, Snapchat, just announced plans to ramp up a new search page. The new functionality will allow users to sort through millions of Stories to unlock certain subjects. Now you can type in “puppies,” “March Madness,” or even your favorite pub and find video Stories related to these topics.
Digital Assistants – Our New BFFs?
“Ok, Google.” “Hey, Siri.” “Alexa.” “Hello…Bixby?”
Voice search is considered by many to be the next gen of search. And, if the explosive growth trends from 2016 are any sign, this year is poised to change the game in how consumers are searching. ComScore has projected that 50% of all search queries by 2020 will be done by voice. Personally, I find voice-based search to be the next best thing since sliced bread, but there are some significant implications that we as marketers need to keep in mind. For one thing, your optimization strategy will have to account for longer queries, instead of the short keywords we’re more accustomed to using. Secondly, (and perhaps more importantly) voice commands still pose some unique challenges for different users particularly when it comes to accents and inflections. Case in point…
“Hey Google, find me a recipe for pozole.”
Luckily, text-to-speech technologies are improving every day, and our new best friends (a.k.a. digital assistants) are evolving with the help of artificial intelligence to grow smarter by going beyond voice input, analyzing user intent and behaviors with data collected with each interaction. Just last week Samsung announced a new assistant, Bixby, that allows you to search via voice, text or touch, and “when you’re at a loss for words, you can just open the camera and Bixby will search for you.”
Let’s Get Visual
“Sometimes you don’t really know what you’re looking for until you see it.” Evan Sharp, Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer at Pinterest, believes typed-words aren’t the right way for search engines to get to the best results when it comes to searching for ideas or products.
Over the past few years, visual search has become the company’s specialty and point of differentiation from other platforms. At SXSW Pinterest announced new products that will allow a person to search for elements in pictures, either live using your phone’s camera or through a more typical image search using a small “window” that you can drag around on a photo to find information about various items in the frame. This allows businesses to create more awareness of their products and the users to easily explore ideas and products with a single step. And this is no small step…it’s one giant leap to help close the gap between searching and purchasing.
Interestingly, our very first Provoke Weekly highlighted the captivating tool, Pinterest. Since then, the platform has continued to evolve along with many other search technologies. How we use these tools will also continue to change and cultural sensitivities will play a key role in generating the best results.
When I asked a few fellow cultural explorers at Dieste what they hope to see in the future, their answers ranged from the recognition of bilingual voice-based search to face-recognition (e.g. find yourself in other’s unknown albums) to even having a digital assistant automatically run a search based on a conversation you’re having with another person (honestly, this one creeps me out a bit).
Only time will tell what the future will bring…but I can assure you, Dieste will be watching closely.
Erin is a Strategic Planning Director at Dieste and is endlessly curious about cultures and the world around us. She’s always had an insatiable desire to travel – to date, she’s visited almost 30 countries, with her most recent adventure being in Sri Lanka. Her personal motto: “Explore”
Tony is an entrepreneur and adventurer who hates the status quo and likes turning ideas into reality. Doubles as a rancher on the weekends.