The Ghost in the Machine: Google Gamifies Machine Learning

David Mihm to Mike Blumenthal: As for our Halloween topic, a spooky good SEO, Scott Hendison, tweeted a link over the weekend that I found fascinating: https://crowdsource.google.com. Even for those of us who are used to these kinds of initiatives coming from Google, it’s the most brazen public effort we’ve seen to train their machine learning algorithm via user contributions across a whole range of data types.

Mike: It is certainly brazen. There is NO attempt to bury this as an activity within some other program like their Captcha. It’s a gamification of their ML plain and simple, and if I know Google, the reward will be either insignificant or worse: a discount on some “premium product” (i.e., an ad). 

How Engaging Online Games Can Shape Your Rewards Program

My experience managing product for both the “Farmville” and “Words With Friends” franchises at Zynga afforded me critical insight into the lessons smartphone games offer marketers looking to engage with and create loyalty among all types of people. 

Today, there’s a smartphone game for everyone. Regardless of topic, most games tend to follow a few basic principles that are critical to keeping people entertained, attracting attentionm and incentivizing players to return. Using these same principles, marketers can create campaigns that are more engaging, effective, and enjoyable for the consumer. 

What Retail Has Learned About AR Since Pokémon Go

Retailers are only beginning to realize the potential of AR. As a new generation of shoppers steeped in AR grows up, their expectations will exceed the novelty acts the industry has put out to date. AR features won’t just be a one-off promo or tied to a game release; they will become the basis of the in-store customer experience, one that looks nothing like the retail of today. 

For Publishers, When It Comes To Display, Blame the Format, Not the Targeting

A controversial new study by Carnegie Mellon University found that digital publishers get roughly 4% more revenue for an ad impression that is cookie-enabled — or personalized — versus one that isn’t. That’s not much. And while the sample was limited — they only reviewed ads for one “large U.S. media company over the course of one week” — it highlights a question publishers have been grappling with for a long time. 

Is cookie-based ad-targeting worth it? Given the mounting costs of investing in data stack technology; reputation issues (the “creepy factor”) and regulatory concerns like GDPR and CCPA that publishers routinely face as a result of behavioral ad-targeting, is the value really there? And is it justified? The Carnegie Mellon findings suggest that the benefit is minimal. However, as I see it, publishers are focusing on the wrong issue.

To Share or Not to Share: How Gamification is Swaying the Modern Consumer’s Loyalty

Although 94% of C-suite leaders consider customers’ data to be of paramount importance, privacy continues to be a hot-button issue. Data privacy practices have come under increased scrutiny with the passing of regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation, aimed at protecting individuals from the misuse and exploitation of personal information. Even as consumers continue to debate the tradeoff between convenience and control, one thing is clear—they are craving a more intuitive and personalized experience. How, then, can companies reconcile the differences and walk the tightrope as they acquire a 360-degree view of their audience?

Gamification is one path forward.

How Major Brands Are ‘Gamifying’ the Consumer Buying Experience

Although gamification itself is not a new marketing strategy, advancements in mobile apps and location technologies are providing brands with new opportunities to engage customers using these time-tested techniques. Here’s how six major brands are using gamification to change the consumer experience and promote loyalty.

Why Hyperlocal Marketing Will Best Gamification

Hyperlocal marketing strategy and gamification both strive to accomplish the same purposes: attract new customers and drive increased customer-visit frequency. And yet one of these won’t be fueling marketing efforts just a couple years from now. In my mind, it’s hyperlocal that wins, while gamification, as defined and promoted today, disappears.