Cortana with Edge is a Digital Marketing Game-changer
By integrating the Edge browser with Cortana, Microsoft may have found Google’s Achilles heel. And in many ways, Microsoft may have just turned the marketing industry on it’s ear. Is your company prepared?
Windows 10 and New Marketing Opportunities for Businesses
From a user’s perspective, Windows 10 is an obvious improvement from the last version of Microsoft Windows. From a marketers perspective however, improvements in the OS and in the new web browser is certain to influence how businesses approach digital marketing from here on out.
To fully appreciate how this is a marketing game-changer, let’s first look at Windows 10’s most obvious improvements…
The Desktop Remedy for the Windows 8 and 8.1 Mess
Where Windows 8 excelled for tablet users, Windows 10 shines for keyboard-and-mouse power users. The unpopular toggling between the Start screen and Windows desktop is gone for PC users. Instead, the popular Start Menu is back and improved. The new Start Menu not only has selections presented in text (as seen in older versions of Windows), but it also presents clickable visual icons (as seen in Windows 8). Basically, everything a desktop user would want to do in Windows 10 can now be done without having an awkward tablet-centric experience.
Cortana: The Voice-activated Assistant for the Desktop
Cortana is a technology many of us already use with our smartphones. Haven’t heard Cortana? Well, it’s the Microsoft version of Apple’s Siri or Google’s Google Now voice-enabled assistants. The Windows 10 version of Cortana, however, isn’t a piecemeal add-on. Unlike the one-dimensional Q&A relationship smartphone users have had with their phone’s virtual assistant, Windows 10 takes the virtual assistant to the next level. Microsoft had interviewed a troupe of top executive assistants to find out why they were considered the most valued and incorporated their findings into Cortana’s behavior across the Windows 10 experience. This attention to detail is evident with the initial ‘interview’ Cortana has with its primary user. Upon completing this baseline interview, Cortana catalogs the answers in her ‘Notes’ and continues to learn about and act on her user’s preferences.
The Microsoft Edge Browser is a Marketing Disruptor…
By tightly integrating Windows 10 tech with the Edge browser, Microsoft is implementing a full-scale shock-and-awe campaign across the digital marketing industry.
First, the Microsoft Edge web browser was created from scratch. Everything about his browser is brand new. It replaces Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser as the Windows 10 default browser. Also, this light-weight browser will not support Microsoft’s legacy products, such as Active X. So, if your company website is running any of Microsoft’s legacy website tech, it’s time to plan a site remodel.
Second, Microsoft is retiring their Internet Explorer browser; and its successor, the Edge, is expected to be the heir apparent of IE’s desktop marketshare (53% as of 2015). Microsoft is also anticipated to broaden further its browser market share as a result of how the default browser is chosen during Windows 10 setup. When market share is combined with the unique browsing features the Edge offers, we can expect this browser to leave a lasting impact.
New UX Provides New Digital Marketing Opportunities
Initial reviews of the Microsoft Edge browser are very positive. Many reviews declare the browser to be an intelligent integration of leading technologies. Cortana will complement your browsing experience with supplementary information. Users can make annotations right on a webpage and share them from the browser to another application or to a friend. And, the browser will create a distraction-free reading experience. These client-side controls of web browsing will surely influence how businesses undertakes future digital marketing.
Organized by functionality, the following short-list describes how Microsoft has set themselves up to pivot the future of digital marketing.
Create and Share Notes
Microsoft Edge comes with a feature called ‘Web Note’. With Web Note a user can write, draw and type notes on a webpage; and then share them with family and friends.
How will this impact digital marketing?
If your company undertakes social media marketing, plan for the Edge browser to disrupt the accuracy of your analytics; and, don’t be surprised to see a drop in social shares over the next year. Here’s why… The Edge browser comes with an integrated sharing button intended to be used with Web Note. Users will create a note, and then to share, they’ll click a sharing button that resides in the browser menu bar (bypassing the button on the webpage). The browser sharing button opens a list of sharing options. Currently, the options are limited to an initial set of applications, such as OneNote and Outlook. But over time, Microsoft is expected to expand the list to include other social media apps, such as the Twitter and Evernote applications. The ability to tally these Edge shares by your company’s marketing team will be lost.
Siphoning Off Your Analytics and Selling it off to Advertisers…
Engineers at Microsoft are very smart… er, very wily. They understand marketing information will be lost to marketers once Edge users start using the sharing button. That’s why they packaged an ‘Advertising ID‘ within Windows 10. As of the Windows 10 2015 Fall Upgrade, we can start seeing advertisements in the Windows 10 Start Menu disguised as ‘Suggestions’. Users currently have the option of turning these ads off. We’ll see how long Microsoft supports this option.
How Edge Sharing Works
Distraction Free Browsing
All of us have found ourselves on a webpage at one time or another that screamed distraction from every nook and cranny. Jumping mortgage ads. Video ads that automatically play. And banner ads that spontaneously open and close. With Microsoft Edge, these distractions can go quickly away. With a simple click of the ‘Reading View’ book icon button, the browser reads the page and only presents the page’s main content. All of the peripheral ads and distractions disappear!
How Edge’s Reading View Impacts Digital Marketing…
If you’re company has a marketing budget for Google Ads, you can now assume a good percentage of these ads will no longer be seen. As Microsoft Edge assumes IE’s market share over the next 24 months, your marketing team should expect a tapering in volume of ad clicks.
How Edge Distraction-free Reading Works
Cortana Helps You Surf the Web
Cortana is There to Assist You!
Whether it be Apple’s Siri , Google Now or Microsoft’s Cortana, all of us have some measured exposure to a smartphones digital assistant. Within Windows 10, Microsoft has tightly integrated their voice-activated and voice-controlled digital assistant, Cortana, to help assist with daily tasks. Across every Microsoft-published application, from Word to the Edge browser, Cortana is ready for use. She’ll open the calendar. She’ll look up statics of the world. She’ll suggest synonyms for writers. And, all requests can be initiated by voice-control. With the initial rave reviews Windows 10 is receiving for this feature, expect Cortana to be a game-changer.
How Cortana Impacts Digital Marketing…
Cortana’s regular referencing of Bing search is Microsoft’s opportunity to crush the Google Search monopoly. If Cortana becomes a popular feature, it’s likely we’ll see Google Search eclipsed by Bing. Google Search’s market share has been dropping this year while Bing’s share has grown, breaking the 20% market share threshold (excluding Yahoo Search). As Windows 10 continues its roll-out, marketers should expect even further market share gains by Bing . If your marketing has yet to do this, now is the time for your company to execute Bing SEO.
How Cortana Works in Windows
Everything You Want to Know About Windows 10
There’s a lot more to Microsoft’s Windows 10 than what we discussed here. For your leisure, here’s a playlist of videos that cover the new features in Windows 10.