Google I/O & Mobile Marketing: What You Should Know

Read Time: 5 - 10 min

Google I/O took place in early May, and the shakeout in the month since has been pretty notable for mobile overall. The biggest news was likely the introduction of the Android P operating system, complete with a new Dashboard that’s meant to plainly show “how you’re spending time on your device, including time spent in apps, how many times you’ve unlocked your phone, and how many notifications you’ve received.” You can even set time limits for individual apps if you want to stare at your phone less.


A quick look at some of the other big trends and how they impact mobile marketers:


1. The general rise of AI in Google products

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Image Source: Android Authority

There were a few jaw-dropping moments at I/O, including when they released a video of Google Assistant calling a hair salon and having a completely natural conversation with the person who answered. It didn’t feel robotic or like AI at all. The feature, called Google Duplex, could be the future of scheduling appointments -- or anything really. There were other AI-driven projects all over I/O, including Smart Compose, which will essentially write emails for you (powered by AI) -- and yes, the example they used on stage was setting up a “Taco Tuesday” with friends.

 

What this means for mobile marketers: All the big tech companies are doubling down on AI now, so you absolutely need a plan for how you’re going to interact within these ecosystems. How will you use Google Assistant? (More on that in one second.) Will you roll more AI into your mobile offerings? As the big tech companies deploy more and more AI-driven features, they evolve from “nice to haves” into “need to haves,” so if your app doesn’t have this degree of effortless completion or personalization, people may begin to turn away. In short: what AI-type features are you incorporating to help your service stay relevant?


2. Augmented Reality

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Source: Business Insider

Augmented reality in mobile isn't new - remember the Pokemon craze during summer of 2016? But having it move beyond games and into a utilitarian app such as Google Maps is a big move - and paves the way for more apps to follow suit. 

What this means for mobile marketers: Augmented reality is just heating up, so take time this year to evaluate your mobile app to see if it makes sense to incorporate AR. This won't make sense for every app (right now at least), but for some it could be big. For example, retail apps could use AR to enhance the in-store experience for customers. 


3. Google Assistant is big (and has John Legend)

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Image Source: 9to5mac

Google Assistant is now on 500 million devices (more than the number of people in the United States) and “smart displays” are coming by the end of 2018. Plus, John Legend will be one of the voices later this year as well.


The entire theme of this year’s I/O centered around Google helping to improve our lives -- tracking mobile screen time, etc. -- and now there’s a functionality where kids can say “please” and “thank you” to Google Assistant and get rewards and nice language back. It’s a tech politeness feature! Who would have thought? There’s also food pickup and delivery straight from Assistant, a new UI, and the ability to continue conversations without saying “OK Google.” In short, Assistant is a big deal and getting a lot of new features and functionalities.


What this means for mobile marketers: Consider getting involved with Actions on Google, a developer platform that lets you create software to extend the functionality of Google Assistant. You can use Actions on Google to easily create and manage delightful and effective conversational experiences between users and your own 3rd-party fulfillment service. In short: more effective access to potentially 500M devices.


Final Thoughts

This year’s Google I/O served as great mobile marketing inspo - since mobile apps were at the center of almost all of the conference’s main themes. This not only solidifies mobile’s place at the center of all futuristic tech, but gives mobile marketers the ammo they need to double down on investments like AI and voice activated apps that will keep their app relevant for years to come.

 

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