Snapchat's Creative Innovation; Google's Lead In Mapping Tech

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Creative Innovation

Snap unveiled a new ad format: sponsored animated filters, which are branded augmented-reality lenses for its outward-facing camera. Dunkin Donuts launched the first campaign using the format Thursday. Snap, which claims 3 billion snaps using animated filters are created on its platform every day, is betting its dedicated audience and innovative creative formats will attract advertisers. For Dunkin Donuts CMO Tony Weisman, Snap’s ability to attribute ads to store visits, thanks to its acquisition of Placed earlier this year, is the frosting on the donut. “These tools are inherently peer-to-peer in nature, which is what we strive for,” he told Adweek’s Lauren Johnson. More.

Eye In The Sky

A deep dive into Google’s and Apple’s respective mapping apps shows how large Google’s advantage is in this area. Even in places that have never been mapped by Google’s Street View cars, Google satellite imagery has been algorithmically converted so precisely that rooftop AC units or building styles are depicted. Google Maps has also started to light up commercial corridors, dubbed “areas of interest,” in cities and towns. “And as Google gets closer and closer to capturing every building in the world, it’s likely that Google will start highlighting/lighting up buildings related to queries and search results,” writes Justin O’Beirne, a cartographer known for contributions to Apple Maps. More.

Get The Message

Chatbots have struggled to lived up to the hype this year, but Facebook’s standalone messaging app Messenger saw significant growth. In a blog post Wednesday, Facebook said more than 200,000 bots are now on Messenger, and more than 2 billion messages a month are exchanged between businesses and users. M, Messenger’s virtual assistant bot, is also seeing a boost. In November, more than 100 million people interacted with M. Fandango, for example, has a chat extension to help pick a movie and buy tickets within the app. It’s all part of an effort to make Messenger stickier. The more useful the suggestions and the more people can do in the app, the more time they’ll spend there. “The main focus will be continuing to improve the quality of our suggestions,” M product manager Laurent Landowski told AdExchanger. “M can only be as good as the experiences it suggests.”

Retail Me Now

A new Walmart unit called Code Eight is working on a text messaging-based shopping service geared to affluent urban parents, Recode reports. Early users have been told they can order a product simply by texting a photo of it, and household goods are delivered within 24 hours of purchase. It’s a sign of progress in the retailer’s quest to match Amazon’s pace of innovation. According to one job listing, “[W]e set our sights on taking the lead in conversational commerce by leveraging machine learning, NLP, and personalization algorithms.” More.

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