Building the Next Generation of AI, with Helixa

Artificial Intelligence touches just about every facet of our modern lives, and its effect on marketing cannot be overstated. So, when you want to learn about what’s now, new, and next in AI, who do you turn to other than the folks that are building it? Today we’re joined by Antonio Maiorino and Alberto Mario Pirovano of Helixa, to talk about the evolving world of marketing automation, from next-gen chatbots to natural language processing. The two shared a peek behind the curtain on new developments in the company and discussed what other innovations could come from cracking the code of processing natural language.

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Is It Live, or is it an Infomercial? The Potential for Livestreaming to Revolutionize Content and E-commerce

The COVID-19 pandemic and the quarantines that followed quickly changed the way brands could sell and show off their products, fostering a need for marketers to get inventive with their tactics. The online space also evolved during this time, becoming increasingly dominant and the perfect place to welcome creativity beyond banner ads, video, and social posts. Enter livestreaming, a tactic already well established by gamers and other communities as a way to connect with one another in real-time. What better way for marketers to connect with consumers with so many traditional methods inaccessible for the foreseeable future? Similar to a television informercial or home shopping network, livestreaming offers all of the benefits of those models but cuts out production costs and call-center middlemen. While brand livestreaming is mainly centered in Asia at the moment, there is a huge opportunity and an eager audience ready for marketers to connect with everywhere else.

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Pulse Issue 22

Are Instagram's Reels... for Real? Exploring Options in a World Where TikTok's Time May Be Up

October 2020

By Josch Chodakowsky, Senior Manager, Research & Innovation at Ask the Expert
By Josch Chodakowsky, Research Manager at Ask the Expert
TikTok’s popularity quickly exploded on the mobile video app scene, and marketers followed suit. Recent controversies over TikTok’s data collection and privacy practices, however, have put the future of the app in the U.S. into question, and this poses a distinct loss for brands carving out a niche there. Amidst this chaos, Instagram launched a similar service – Reels – and while brands certainly want to include Instagram’s latest effort into their marketing mix, the question remains: will it be as effective as TikTok, whether it stays or goes? The resources here look at how lucrative Instagram’s Reels can be, and how to use them for marketing.
App analyst Sensortower found that Triller, Byte, and Dubsmash have experienced a significant increase in daily app downloads since TikTok's ban talks started. Dubsmash has more than 700,000 downloads since the beginning of August, while Byte has reached two million downloads (an impressive figure compared to its 3,400 downloads just a few days before the TikTok's ban announcement). The rise in downloads is most likely attributed to the fact that some of the major TikTok influencers started promoting their videos on the aforementioned platforms. However, transferring your audience to lesser-known platforms can have its obstacles. Forbes discusses why now might be a good time to return company's marketing budgets to the now-classic channels like Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat.
While there’s still a long way to go to ensure Instagram Reels offers everything businesses need to reach their audience in a way that can result in sales, early adoption of Reels is a great tactic to reach new audiences and grow brand awareness. Businesses that grab the opportunity to use Reels right away will contribute to defining the future of the content on the platform, hopefully giving it a reputation as more than people “just dancing,” which has been the perception of TikTok. For those who prefer to spend all their time and energy on one platform, Reels is much more appealing, but do you want all your eggs in one basket, so to speak? Does having five placement opportunities on Instagram really rival TikTok? Is Instagram bigger than that? There are lots of questions that have yet to be answered and only time will tell how small businesses, brands, and entrepreneurs can use this placement.
Many users and marketers have debated the features, functionality, similarities, and differences between Instagram Reels vs TikTok. While these similarities and differences are both notable and relevant, the success or demise of these two social media platforms ultimately rests in the adoption and sustained use of its creators and influencers. MediaKix surveyed and interviewed 16 top and upcoming TikTok influencers across several trending categories including food, travel, pets, home renovation/DIY, and more on their sentiments between the two apps. The responses were mostly divided 50/50, but uncovered unique ways in which both apps will be used:
Instagram Reels allows you to record and edit 15-second multi-clip videos with custom audio, effects, and tools like filters. Users, as well as brands, have taken to it, with brands such as Louis Vuitton and Sephora creating their first campaigns on the app. Whilst the content on Reels is scarily similar to that of TikTok (many users are repurposing TikTok content on Reels), the Influencer Marketing Hub doesn’t believe it will be a direct competitor to the app.  Instead, it will provide Instagram some variety and enable brands, as well as creators, to be less curated and aesthetically-focused. It will give them the chance to show their audience a different side to them through creative, original, and more quirky content.  This article discusses five ways brands can leverage Reels in their marketing strategy.
Reels may be brand new, but brands like Netflix, Red Bull, Louis Vuitton, and the NBA are already using it to reach consumers. Reels offers marketers a new interactive playground, and, right now, the chance to compete without being priced out of the market. With Reels, in addition to stories, Instagram is encouraging brands to let loose their informal side so that customers relish the opportunity to consume content and engage with the community.
HubSpot took a deep dive into Reels and how viable they are for marketers so far. Although it may have some initial drawbacks vs. TikTok, it also offers opportunities. For example, Reels might be a great option if you've mastered Instagram, know what content your audiences want, and are eager to test out TikTok-styled content without using time and resources to build a full TikTok app strategy. It is worth noting that sponsored ads are not yet supported in the Reels area of Instagram Explore, but since Reels show up in this public part of the app, and can be seen by people who don't follow your brand, marketers have the opportunity to reach new audiences across the globe.
Are you an ANA member with a research request? Contact Ask the Expert to submit your question.

About ANA Marketing Futures

Knowing that marketers are increasingly challenged in their efforts to keep up with the latest trends and technologies, the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) tasked itself with creating a program designed to help marketers anticipate—and prepare for—the future of marketing.


ANA Marketing Futures is what emerged. With a focus on innovative topics and emerging trends, ANA Marketing Futures provides resources that will influence and inform via member cases, research studies, and insight from industry innovators. Check back often to learn about emerging trends and become inspired to take steps toward the growth of your business.


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