With so many AI Assistants out there, companies focus less on technological superiority and more on product positioning and differentiation.
During the past decade, we have witnessed a massive increase in the development of AI technologies. IBM has managed to excel in its AI technology with Watson, the know it-all computer translating vast amounts of data into insightful information, and it can even beat Jeopardy professionals.
Businesses are also finding AI technologies appealing. The best example is chatbots that allow businesses to provide a better, engaging automated service while maintaining or reducing manpower costs. Facebook’s recent announcement to integrate chatbots into its messaging platform has legitimized start-ups and companies to invest in chatbots’ technologies.
Although most people do not interact on a daily basis with supercomputers or with chatbots, they do have their own digital assistant in their pocket, laptop or home.
When Apple introduced Siri with the launch of iPhone 4s, it presented a whole new way of AI communication. In fact, Apple dictated the characteristics of many AI technologies to come: A feminine assistant that mediates between the device abilities and your digital daily needs. The development of new mobile and connected devices allowed AI assistants to penetrate into new territories.
Post Siri’s launch, various technological leaders developed their own proprietary technology to support their devices and services. Amazon introduced Alexa, and provided its connected device Amazon Echo. Microsoft developed Cortana, a supportive assistant in many Microsoft operating systems including laptop and mobile devices. Google presented Google Assistant as one of the main features on the Google Pixel launch, and incorporated it with Allo messenger app and Google Home. Samsung is also a probable candidate to enter the race, as rumors indicate the forthcoming Galaxy S8 will already be equipped with Samsung’s Assistant.
As we look at the competitive landscape we identify that the digital assistant is becoming a point of parity in connected devices. In this battleground, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Google are investing heavily in advertisements highlighting the benefits of their AI assistants. However, as this market evolves, the real battle between these companies is focused less on technological superiority and more on product positioning and differentiation.
Exploration of creative messaging and digital activity discloses a different marketing message and a similar humoristic tone. Let us go over how these companies present their AI technology.
Apple – An integral part of your life
Although Apple presented Hands-Free Siri feature already in December 2015, it has come up with another humoristic ad focusing on how Siri meets you in your daily activities. By referring to a lovely routine activity such as cooking for Cookie Monster, Apple is emphasizing how Siri is immersed in your daily life. In other words, apple shifts from a focus on Siri’s massive capabilities to Siri’s role in everyday life.
Amazon #JustAsk – Bringing AI outside mobile
Amazon demonstrates Alexa, the AI Assistant in all Amazon Echo devices, by promoting the #JustAsk campaign. By doing so, Amazon takes a similar position to that of Apple’s, but exports it outside the realm of mobile devices into the connected home territory. Since Alexa was first presented, Amazon promoted it with many short videos demonstrating Alexa’s capabilities: Finding locations, answering questions, playing music and more.
Microsoft – Better technology, better assistant
Microsoft parodies Apple’s What’s a computer? Ad, to illustrate how Surface Pro is better than Apple’s iPad Pro. The alleged dialogue between Cortana and Siri presents Siri and iPad Pro as inferiors to Cortana and Surface Pro technology.
Moreover, by looking at previous introductory videos of Cortana, we can see Microsoft implies its AI technology has a more human connection than other digital assistants out there. By comparing itself to a market leader, Microsoft aims to establish itself as the leading AI service.
Google – A new experience to reach our services
Google is using a new concept to present its pixel iPhone. while parodying Apple on the removal of its 3.5mm headphone jack, Google does not clash with Siri’s technology as Microsoft did.
Google presents Google Assistant as one of Pixel’s main features. Google Assistant is shown as an enabler to Google’s services and as an extension of Google Now. This process is part of Google’s wider strategy to implement Google Assistant into new connected devices.
The AI Battle Moves to Our Home
Looking at the activity from November, we see Amazon and Google are both focusing on promoting new products containing a digital assistant with the new Amazon Dot Echo and Google Home.
As the connected devices market is still in its premature stage, both Amazon and Google are following a similar approach and marketing message. They both introduce many daily situations whereby the digital assistant can partake in the activity.
Amazon is using the same humoristic tone from the Amazon Echo launch, while Google mixes between emotional and humoristic tone ads.
|Parameter||Google Home||Amazon Dot-Echo|
|Top Ad Duration||15||10|
|# youtube Channels||1350+||1450+|
|Most Popular youtube Category||Music||Music|
AdClarity US Video Data, Pre-Roll Format | Nov 1 – Nov 22
With the data provided by AdClarity, we can point out the differences in video distribution: Amazon uses much more creatives than Google, and distributes video ads in more than a 1000 different publishers. On Youtube, both companies choose music and entertainment channels as their most popular categories. Also, a long-tail of channels is used to distribute their ads. This indicates that while approaching the same audience with mostly short and unskippable pre-roll ads, Amazon media distribution is much wider in both creatives and publishers’ than Google is.
In summary, it seems like the marketing activity differs depending on the device. While Siri probably dominates consumers’ perceptions on mobile devices, Amazon and Google are positioning themselves as the leading home options, and they strive to offer a product that you interact with almost exclusively via the digital assistant.
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