Google Emerging Technology Media

Emerging & Assistive Technology :

Consumers are beginning to expect more intuitive, assistive, and creative experiences from brands. Explore the new technologies that are shaping the future.

Digital assistants are the next marketing revolution. Here’s how to be ready :

Digital assistants are fundamentally changing the way we live, and therefore, the way brands engage with consumers.

The “holy grail” of marketing is being able to predict consumers’ needs. And I have no doubt that digital assistant technology will get us there. Digital assistants are already going beyond providing simple “request and response” features. From giving us makeup advice to adding magic to our kids’ bedtime stories, they’re changing the way brands engage with people.

Imagine what will be possible with additional customer signals. Think about the digital assistant that understands our daily routines and needs, to not just respond, but recommend. That’s an incredible value exchange for the user — one where the digital assistant moves beyond reactive response based on user query and into proactive recommendation based on user context.

Inside Google Marketing: 4 ways we’re planning for an automated future

Does that sound familiar to any marketers? For years now, we’ve been told that marketing automation technologies like programmatic will unlock efficiencies, freeing us up to focus on more creative work. That vision has also yet to materialize.

So a short while back, my colleagues and I at the Google Media Lab — the team that manages the media strategy for Google’s advertising campaigns — laid out and started enacting a plan that we think will make that vision a reality.

Use the time you’ve freed up to think beyond ads

We’ve spoken a lot about the role of algorithms, data, machine learning, and artificial intelligence so far. Is there a part for humans to play in our automated future? Absolutely. In fact, by doing everything we’ve discussed, we’re freeing up people’s time so they can spend it on more interesting creative work — the real custom stuff that can’t be forced into a template.

Why it’s time to shift from a ‘human vs. machine’ to a ‘human plus machine’ mindset

As advertisers in the age of machine learning and artificial intelligence, it’s easy to think of ourselves in an epic face-off with these machines. But I believe we do ourselves and our work a disservice with this “human vs. machine” mentality. There’s much more to be gained by embracing machine learning as an accelerant for our creative powers.

To explore these opportunities, it’s important to understand what machines do well. First, they’re able to identify patterns that can reveal insights and shape our sense of creative possibilities. Second, they can automate tasks we already do at intense speed and scale, saving time and improving outcomes. Finally, they can bring together sets of data in ways that open up entirely new kinds of creative expression.

And while each of these strengths can help accelerate our creative capabilities, they also help expose what machines can’t do well — and why humans continue to wield a significant amount of creative power.


Automation and machine learning technologies are changing the way marketers drive results for their customers and brands. But there’s still a significant gap between those who are just talking about machine learning and those who are taking action. For marketers looking to become leaders in their field, this is an exciting time. It’s a chance to make your mark, get ahead of competitors, and drive real results.