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This week, Travis and Stewart discuss the implications of the largest AI funding round in history, let alone one of the biggest Canada has ever seen. They also dig into eBay’s foray into computer vision, how image search will be bigger than conversational UI, and what is going on in the world of rewarded video ads.

We then launch our CTAConf series of interviews with the amazing and outgoing Oli Gardner of Unbounce, in a session that was recorded live on stage in front of 1,000+ people in Vancouver. Get ready to have your mind blown.


By listening to this episode of VB Engage, you will hear:


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  • Welcome to VB Engage episode 62! [0:10]
  • Stewart is in SF this week, as he is bouncing around the world [00:45]
  • This week we begin our Unbounce CTAConf series of interviews with Oli Gardner, which was recorded ONSTAGE in front of 1,200 CTA attendees! [01:20]
  • Element AI raised $102 million, which is the largest round ever for an artificial intelligence company. [02:00]
  • Its value prop is Element AI, which helps turns the world’s leading AI research into transformative business applications. [02:45]
  • This is one of the biggest fund raises in Canada, so much so that the Prime Minister of Canada called the CEO of Element AI. [03:25]
  • Toronto is a hotbed for great startups. [03:55]
  • eBay announces computer vision search that helps you identify items using photos. [04:20]
  • User-generated content is such a valuable marketing tool that we had Damien Mahoney, the CEO of Stackla, on to discuss that in episode 57. [05:00]
  • You can take photos of things, and the AI will identify the products for sale on eBay. [05:20]
  • Google Lens visual search is launching soon, as well. [05:50]
  • Pinterest also has a visual search tool that’s similar. [06:10]
  • eBay brings eCommerce and UGC together with visual search. [06:20]
  • Stewart predicts visual search and computer vision will become more popular than conversational UI. [07:00]
  • When you are in public, conversational UI lacks privacy. [07:25]
  • Travis predicts visual search and AR. [07:45]
  • Rewarded video ads grew 80 percent in the past year, according to Tapjoy. [08:20]
  • The conversion rates on rewarded video ads are much higher than industry standards. [09:45]
  • Last week at TUNE’s Postback conference, the main topic of discussion was mobile advertising. [11:00]
  • Travis keeps seeing this fitness trainer management app, which he’s obviously not in the demographic for! [11:45]
  • Travis and Stewart enter the stage at the Unbounce CTAConf in Vancouver. [12:20]

  • After the quick intro and some average jokes, Oli Gardner, cofounder of Unbounce, comes onto the stage. [14:45]
  • This episode quickly earns the NSFW label beside it in the podcast store. [15:00]
  • Now our podcast is going to get all of the traffic! Cuss words are the future! [15:40]
  • “Unbounce markets marketing to marketers using marketing content to help them be better marketers.” [16:10]
  • 99.2 percent of Unbounce’s conversions take place on a desktop. Either mobile isn’t that important in B2B marketing or Unbounce sucks at conversion. [16:40]
  • Travis asks how AI and machine learning will affect landing pages. [17:15]
  • AI could be using every test on every parameter and give you the exact recommendations most likely to convert. [18:00]
  • Some things aren’t predictive when it comes to website conversion. [19:00]
  • Emotional intelligence is what is missing from artificial intelligence. [19:50]

  • Digital empathy is not very far away. [20:15]
  • Unbounce’s data science team said they are working on neural networks to attempt to figure out design recommendations. [21:05]
  • What about the future of landing pages? Will AR or VR have landing pages? [23:05]
  • How do you turn a distraction into something delightful? You can watch people wear VR and monitor behavioral changes. [24:10]
  • Unbounce has a very balanced speaker lineup and has launched a great initiative to inspire and empower women speakers at conferences. [25:00]
  • The main concept came from five women in Unbounce around diversity and came up with #PresentHer, which has evolved into CentHERstage.org [25:50]
  • That will be a series of training to help women develop excellent presentation skills. [26:00]
  • What should marketers be thinking about the future of marketing with all of this AI, deep learning, and the technology explosion of the next 5-10 years? [27:00]
  • Continue to be a good person. [27:45]
  • Travis circles back to Oli’s earlier question about desktop conversions for Unbounce, which stands at 99.2 percent, and why mobile is so poor.[28:10]
  • It’s all about attribution. That’s the key for mobile, and it’s not quite there yet. [29:25]
  • We end the live session and do our end of show recap. [30:30]
  • BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE. We have an off-stage bonus chat with the CTO of Unbounce, Carl Schmidt. [30:50]
  • This is like a DVD extras reel with Carl, except these are 4K extras. [31:25]
  • Carl’s team was leading a project test at the conference around “are humans or machines better at predicting the better conversion rate.” [32:00]
  • They tested their machine learning and AI game to see if their code can beat humans’ intuitive. [33:00]
  • 437 marketers took the test. People guessed the correct answer 50 percent of the time. A coin flip. And machines guessed it correctly 79.7 percent of the time. [33:55]
  • 3 out of 4 of those taking the test at #CTAConf were probably drunk marketers. [34:45]
  • CMO Jeremy Wallace should consider using this humans vs. machines conversion test as a game for non-CTAConf attendees. [35:10]
  • Connect with Carl on Twitter: @Schmidtdisturbr and with Oli: @OliGardner

Next week on episode 63, we have the second of our Unbounce CTA Conference interviews, with the Wizard of Moz, Rand Fishkin.

If you missed last week’s episode, we interviewed the awesome Cathy Hackl, who is helping big brands get real returns from VR and AR, even at this early “Wild West” stage of the game. Cathy schools us in what works, what doesn’t, and what the future holds.

As always, thanks for tuning into VB Engage. Last year, VB Engage had over 880,000 readers and downloads, but very few reviews on iTunes.

This week, we’re asking you to review us on iTunes. Or, in other words, quit being a freeloader, listening for free, and not reviewing anything. Jeez.

Were you born in a barn? (We’re just playing with you, obviously.)

Honestly, the Apple podcast channel is a UI pain in the neck: It’s hard to get to the user ratings and reviews area. If you can’t find the review area, open Podcasts app > Search > VB Engage, and then you will see three tabs. Click on Ratings and Reviews and earn your keep around here!


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