SEO Social

Why a Virtual Assistant Could Make a Better Search Engine

Facebook’s recent launch of virtual assistant, M, from the Facebook Messenger app is fully prepared to compete with Siri, Cortana, Google Now or any artificial intelligence currently on the market. How Facebook M immediately differentiates itself from its major competitors is by combining both real people and artificial intelligence, as well as completing full transactions.

facebook-m

So while you can ask Siri where the nearest pizza place is, you can ask Facebook M what kind of food would be best for your house party this weekend — then M will find the nearest pizza place, submit your order, charge your card, and deliver it to your home – a full completion of the buyer’s journey.

David Marcus, Vice President of Messaging Products at Facebook, says: “M is a personal digital assistant inside of Messenger that completes tasks and finds information on your behalf. It’s powered by artificial intelligence that’s trained and supervised by people.”

How a Virtual Assistant Will Change Your Marketing

“M” has every part of the buyer’s journey covered: early-stage answers (birthday gift ideas) to late-stage purchases (having gifts delivered).

“We start capturing all of your intent for the things you want to do,” says Marcus. “Intent often leads to buying something, or to a transaction, and that’s an opportunity for us to [make money] over time.”

Capturing a user’s intent is nothing new. “M” and any AI developments is just a validation that the future of marketing is focused on searcher’s intent with the best user experience possible.

Capturing a user’s intent is nothing new. “M” and any AI developments is just a validation that the future of marketing is focused on searcher’s intent with the best user experience possible.

Rather than having to scroll through SERPs to find the best result that works for you, this VA will choose for you based on your unique behavior or conversations — just another foray into enhancing your personalized user experience.

The thing is, virtual assistants will just get smarter and smarter. Which means, as search marketers, this pushes us to make sure we are providing the best content to our customers and continuing to provide answers all along the buyer’s journey.

More importantly, this increases our competition as marketers.

Marcus says, “This is early in the journey to build M into an at-scale service. But it’s an exciting step towards enabling people on Messenger to get things done across a variety of things, so they can get more time to focus on what’s important in their lives.“

Marketer’s Translation: It’s very likely a user will never have to consciously choose a brand, as long as the user’s transaction is complete. twitter-icon

It’s very likely a user will never have to consciously choose a brand, as long as the user’s transaction is complete.

Two major things marketers need to improve:

  • We need to hyper-focus our marketing efforts. For example, when a user asks M, “find me a gym in New York,” M will most likely pick the gym closest to the user’s location. What does that mean? LOCAL SEARCH.
  • We will need to connect better with our customers at the brand-level. Since M bases its answers on user conversations/information, this means we need to make sure we are meeting our customers and having those conversations better and more regularly. Interacting with our customers is key.

But don’t stress out — a virtual assistant just provides us with another channel to spread our marketing efforts. It also gives us a good reason to get better at marketing to people

After all, if the emergence of smarter, better virtual assistants teaches us anything, it’s that we’re going in the right direction: marketing based on our audience.

Google’s iOS App is now context-aware and has taken a big step towards providing a truly conversational search experience. Find out more.

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