5 Tech Things we learned in May

May 2017 reinforced a number of key trends that are happening in the world of tech, giving a huge nod to the future look of our industry.


Voice Search is getting louder

We produced a mini-whitepaper in April on Voice Search (see here) — and it’s becoming increasingly clear that voice will be a key part of the future screenless (or less screen) future. Approximately 11% of the US will use a voice-activated device this year — a near 130% YoY jump; whilst in the UK it’s around 9%. Amazon’s Echo will dominate having already achieved 70% of the US market with Google Home trailing on 24%.

The software battle is heating up too with the likes of Alexa, Siri, Cortana and Google Now being distributed across various hardware from smartphones & watches to smart home devices & cars. For instance; Amazon released an Alexa dev kit that may see more hardware devices with the tech on, and similarly Cortana released a skills kit. Ad developments will be key e.g. AudioLabs’ native audio ads for Alexa, and Alexa’s launch opt-in notifications.

Google is going AI-First

As if you didn’t know — AI is getting pretty serious. In Q1’17 34 AI startups were acquired by tech giants such as Apple, Facebook and Intel. Google has acquired most AI startups since 2012 — with 11 — and its I/O 2017 event was further evidence of its AI focus:

“In an AI-first world we are rethinking all our products” Sundar Pichai, CEO@Google

Expect Google to continue broadening the availability of its AI products as well as diversifying its feature set. At I/O Google announced a range of developments including Google Lens (an image-recognition feature); expanded partnerships for its Home device to work with other devices; whilst Google Assistant and Actions are now available on iPhone as it looks to expand its reach. The AI developments were underlined by the launch of Google.ai to serve as the centre of Google’s AI efforts; as well as the reported launch of an AI-focused VC program. Whilst Google’s key AI battle may come in the form of Microsoft.

One year to go to GDPR

On 25th May 2018 the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will become law — a policy that will increase privacy for individuals and put data top of the agenda for marketers across sectors with GDPR compliance a key focus for brands & martech vendors alike over the next 12 months (if it hasn’t already). Awareness of GDPR remains high at 96%, though the DMA’s most recent GDPR and you research series found that only 54% of businesses are on course or ahead of their plans to be ready, down from 68% in February. One quarter of companies have yet to even start a GDPR plan.



Concerns are likely to ramp up with compliance failure capable of seriously harming profits, even putting some out of business. This will mean rising costs as companies will need to undertake their own internal privacy impact assessments, perform regular data protection reviews, understand and control all the data they collect and have a designated Data Protection Officer (DPO) to make sure good GDPR hygiene is practiced. The biggest challenge is likely to be gaining consent from consumers, something we discuss as an opportunity to gain consumer trust in our upcoming mini-whitepaper focusing on GDPR, big data and working with a martech vendors. Keep an eye out on our LinkedIn and Twitter for that mini-whitepaper.

Snap invest in ads as things get Pinteresting in visual media

If there’s anything that Snapchat has taught us, it’s that the thirst for visual content is huge. The recent introduction of its self-serve ad manager could help attract more ad dollars from smaller brands; although it’s disappointing user growth is an increasing concern growing just 5% to 166m DAUs in Q1. Other concerns include poor targeting, competition from Instagram and a decrease in engagement rates. Snap also recently released some new ad types — World Lenses, Audience Lenses, and Smart Geofilters.



Pinterest is another contender for image ads; having opened its search ads to ad partners such as Kenshoo in Q1 to help brands take advantage of the 2bn monthly searches the platform sees from users. In addition Pinterest added new visual search features — Lens (where Pinterest identifies products through the camera lens); the ability to isolate each product in an image to jump to related products in the image; and Instant Ideas (small circle at bottom of each pin to search through related product suggestions).

Reality Check

We can expand this visual media trend further with the upswing in buzz around AR/VR. Tech giants such as Facebook and Apple are investing heavily in the space, with Goldman Sachs estimating the AR/VR market will be worth $80bn by 2025; with many people seeing it as the future of content & brand experiences. According to AOL; 55% of the UK’s media buyers and sellers believe immersive formats, such as 360-video, will provide one of the best revenue streams over the next 12 months. What’s more, 62% of UK advertisers see room for VR in the digital video marketplace. However; there’s still a way to go in terms of accessibility/affordability, acceptance of experiences, and developments in apps before the market can really take off.

Other Good reads

  • This Economist article makes some great linkages between the power of oil companies at the height of the oil industry, and the now dominant digital forces who control most of the world’s data. Specifically it takes a look at the demands for the break up of such dominance; particularly as the amount of data available to these giants grows
  • Check out how 5 tech giants make their billions that takes a closer look at the breakdown of how Alphabet, Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft make their money. Whilst there’s no huge surprises, the diverse nature of Microsoft stands out.
  • Check Chiefmartec’s latest “Martech 5000” super-infographic of the key 5000 marketing technology players, in which we’ve been featured! Whilst we’ve been placed in the category of “Ecommerce Marketing” — we’re targeting other parts of the ecosystem as we continue to develop our adtech.



Follow us on Twitter/Linkedin for updates across the tech world — including our upcoming mini-whitepaper on big data & marketing — featuring opportunities to gain consumer trust from GDPR.