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How to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy - Part Two

How to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy - Part Two

How to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy - Part Two

Welcome to the second edition of the iASP Central series How to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy.

Our journey began with 'Part One - How to Perform a Social Media Audit'

Part One provided an overview on how to perform a social media audit, in order to establish which social media profiles are generating return on investment (ROI) for your business. 

This time we're exploring setting goals and objectives for a Social Media Marketing (SMM) strategy. 

Part Two - How to Set Goals and Objectives 

SMM can be an effective way to build brand awareness and engage new leads for a business.

To get the most out of any SMM initiative, we suggest creating a plan with clearly defined goals and objectives.

Why set goals and objectives?

Goals are desired outcomes that you want to achieve with your efforts.

Goals provide a framework for a strategy and outline what you aim to accomplish.

Objectives are closely aligned with goals. Objectives are the detailed steps taken in order to achieve the goal.

Setting goals and objectives can be considered an important part of any SMM strategy.

Setting goals and objectives can help:

  • provide structure and direction for a strategy

  • improve SMM efforts

  • challenge and motivate team members

  • measure performance and results

So how can you create strong, realistic and challenging goals for you SMM strategy?

The answer: Create S.M.A.R.T Goals!


S.M.A.R.T stands for:

Specific

Measurable

Achievable

Relevant

Time Based


The S.M.A.R.T formula can be applied when creating goals.

S.M.A.R.T goals have a greater chance of being accomplished. 

Why? 

The aim of the goal is clear, specific and easy to understand. 

When goals are clear, it can be easier to apply the efforts required to accomplish the goal.

Broad and undefined goals can leave a SMM strategy lacking direction and clarity.

Let's dive a little deeper into the meaning of S.M.A.R.T...


Specific - Be specific!

When writing your goal, provide as much detail as possible about what you aim to achieve.

Always consider the following:

  • Who is involved in achieving the goal?

  • Who are you targeting?

  • What do you specifically want to achieve?

  • How will you achieve this goal?


iASP Central Tip: When creating a specific goal for your social media strategy, consider the following:

  • What social media platforms you will use? e.g Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn

  • Who will help to achieve this goal? e.g. a team or specific team member

  • Who is your target audience? e.g. age group, gender, interests, location


Measurable - include a metric in your goal!

Track and measure your performance by including key metrics in your goal. This will allow you to analyse the results.

iASP Central Tip: When adding a metric to a goal, consider the social media platform you are using and the type of metric you want aim for. 

Keep in mind:

  • Do you want to increase page likes, engagement, follows or comments?

  • What specific metric are you aiming for? e.g. 25 Likes, or 25% percentage increase

  • Which analytics tools will you use to measure the results?

We recommend using a social media analytics tool such as Buffer or Hootsuite to measure progress and results. These tools allow you to schedule posts and track important metrics. 


Achievable - Ask yourself is your goal achievable?

A goal can be challenging, but mostly importantly it should be realistic and attainable.

While it is great to have ambitious goals, if a goal is set too high, it can become counter-productive.

Realistic goals can help motivate a team and create a strong work ethic. Realistic goals can create a vision that with hard work, the desired outcome can be achieved.

Setting goals that are 'out of reach' can deter others from working towards the goal. It can also create a notion of failure from the beginning.

iASP Central Tip: When first setting goals for your SMM strategy, we suggest starting out small and try not to overextend the goal.

Goals can be adjusted throughout a SMM campaign.

For example, instead of aiming for a large number of Facebook Likes, such as 1000 New Page Likes in one month, start small with a goal that is in reach.

Review your results from the Social Media Audit performed in Step 1 and create a realistic goal based on this social media performance.

Depending on your Facebook engagement results, you may find that aiming for 60-100 Page Likes in one month is more realistic and achievable.

It may also help to break down the desired outcome into a shorter time-frame. E.g. Aim for 15 likes per week, an approx total of 60 likes per month.


Relevant - Create goals that are relevant!

Ensure goals are relevant to:

  • the project or campaign 

  • business values 

  • target market

  • employee skill level and team members

We recommend you steer away from goals that are not relevant to your business or your customer.

iASP Central Example Goal:

  • Broad Goal - To create open communication and engagement with our customers via our social media community.

  • S.M.A.R.T Goal - To increase customer engagement on Twitter, by aiming for 5 x Mentions per week over the course of 16 weeks. A total of 80 x mentions.

In order to understand the relevance of this goal, let's assume a large majority of your Twitter followers are customers. Therefore the potential to reach your key target audience via Twitter is very high.

The customers who follow your Twitter page are far more likely to engage with your brand, as it is familiar to them. So the goal is relevant to the business and key target audience. 

Now consider this alternative scenario... Your business has a LinkedIn Page that is not maintained regularly. It has a small amount of Followers, which consist mainly of employees.

Therefore reaching customers through the LinkedIn platform would prove to be far more challenging. As the page is not monitored, replying to comments would also be difficult. In this situation, including a LinkedIn goal is not as relevant.


Time-based - Set a deadline for the goal to be accomplished!

A time-based goal can motivate others, as it creates a sense urgency to meet the deadline. Time based goals also help manage team expectations, workloads and prioritising tasks.

After you have created the key goals, list the objectives under each goal. Objectives are the detailed steps you plan to take in order to achieve that goal. See our example below.

iASP Central Goal and Objectives Example:

Broad Goal: To increase brand awareness and build authority through the iASP Central blog

S.M.A.R.T Goal: To gain 100 blog subscribers from 1st August to 30th October 2017, to increase brand awareness and build authority in our social community. An average of 8-9 subscribers per week.

Objectives: 

 In order to achieve this goal, we plan to action the following steps:


How to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy

How to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy

How to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy

Welcome to the iASP Central blog series that will teach you How to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy.

Social Media can be an effective tool for communicating and sharing information online with current and potential stakeholders in your enterprise.

When businesses promote or advertise through these platforms, it's called Social Media Marketing or SMM.

Social media marketing (SMM) is a great way to reach new and existing customers. It can also provide an opportunity to send important messages about your products and services.

Being active on social media and posting regular content isn't a guarantee that you will capture the attention of customers (unfortunately!)

There is a vast amount of content available on social media. It can be tricky to stand out. So it's essential your marketing efforts are generating the best results.

One of the best ways to make sure you're on the right path is to create a strategy!

A well structured strategic plan could be considered a vital starting point of any SMM initiative.

Developing a strategy can be a short exercise or a detailed and lengthy process, depending on what you aim to achieve with your social efforts. In either case, the exercise may prove to be invaluable. A strategy can provide direction, help examine customer behaviours and measure performance.

iASP Central's six steps to an SMM Strategy are:
  1. Auditing
  2. Goals
  3. Target Audiences
  4. Planning
  5. Execution
  6. Reviewing

We will cover all six steps in this weekly series, to provide you with guidance and tools to help create a killer SMM strategy!

Not sure where to start? Read on as we begin with part one, a Social Media Audit.


Part One - How to Perform a Social Media Audit 

Our first step in creating a SMM Strategy is to perform a Social Media Audit.

Why?

An audit is an opportunity to review, reflect and evaluate your current position in the social media landscape.

It can reveal which social media platforms and practices are working for your business and which are not.

Auditing can also get your social media efforts back on track and help establish a plan based on your required outcomes.

After all there is no point creating an action plan, unless you have reviewed your current performance!

The aim of this audit is to find out which profiles generate the best return on investment (ROI).

Some businesses make the mistake of having too many social media profiles. This can end up becoming time-consuming, costly to maintain or forgotten all together. This is not always the best practice and can impact the return on investment (ROI) that media engagement delivers.

Instead we recommend researching social media platforms most relevant to your industry and your customers. Invest time into the ones that work for your business.

If you are starting in social media, you may want to begin with one or two platforms. Facebook or Google + are commonly used for enterprises.

Then once you are happy with their performance, you can look for opportunities on other platforms.

To further help, we have compiled a list of online analytics tools and templates to get started.

Follow these steps and you could be auditing in no time!


Step 1 - Set up a Social Media Audit Template

The first step of this audit is to set up an audit template or spreadsheet.

Use an audit template to record the data in one place, which will make it easier to review later on.

You can download a template or even create your own simple spreadsheet.

Record, organise and compare data collected throughout the audit process on the spreadsheet.

A spreadsheet is also easy for team mates to access and contribute to.

iASP Central Tip: If you don't have time to create one from scratch, there are a number of free templates available for download. We have provided some links in the Resources list at the end of the article.


Step 2 - Identify Social Media Profiles

What social media profiles are you currently using?
  • Facebook Business Page
  • Twitter Business Page
  • Google + Page
  • LinkedIn Company Page
  • Instagram Business Profile
  • Pinterest Business Profile

List them on the audit template or spreadsheet you set up in Step 1.

Remember that Pinterest account you may have created a few years ago but never used? Can't remember exactly? Could a past employee or family member may have set up a profile without your knowledge? Well let's find out.

How?

Perform a Google Search to locate the social media profiles associated with your business.

It's important to know which profiles exist, even if they haven't been maintained or updated recently.

This can help determine which profiles are beneficial and worth maintaining, versus those that aren't.

List the accounts on the spreadsheet, including the URLs and passwords.


Step 3 - Review Social Media Analytics

Reviewing analytics is an important step of this audit.

Analytics measure overall patterns, behaviours and performance.They convey how well a social profile is performing.

Analytics can include various metrics such as Reach & Frequency: The size and demographics of your audience and how often they were exposed to your campaign and Engagement: The actions users took such as new Facebook Likes or new Twitter Followers, sharing your content with others or visiting your corporate webpage

Where can you find analytics for social media?

Tools:
  • Facebook Insights
  • Twitter Analytics
  • LinkedIn - Company Page Analytics
  • Instagram Analytics
  • Pinterest Analytics
  • Google Analytics
  • Hootsuite / Buffer / Sprout Social - These tools compile analytics from multiple social media profiles in one place


The Process:
  • Go through each profile and review analytics
  • Set time frame - How far back are you reviewing? Are you recording current metrics or including past metrics?
  • Decide on the most valuable metrics
  • Record data on your spreadsheet

Sometimes there is so much data available, it can be difficult to know what is the most valuable.

To figure this out, ask yourself what you're aiming to achieve through each social media profile?

Example of aims:
  • To increase brand awareness
  • To generate leads
  • To increase engagement and audience growth
  • To increase traffic to website

At iASP Central, we focus most efforts on Facebook and Twitter.

Our primary target audience consists of current and potential customers for the iASP Technology Platform, which facilitates publication of corporate websites, e-stores and enterprise software applications.

Our current strategy is to engage our social media community, by building a hub of informational resources valuable to our clients.

Therefore the primary metrics we measure audience and engagement, number of followers and the amount of mentions the content we publish generates.

This is some of the data we find most useful to record at iASP Central:

Facebook Insights
  • Engagement Metrics: Page Views, Page Likes, Post Engagement, Reach
  • Posts - Top performing posts and posting times
  • People Insights - Fan demographics such as age groups and locations

iASP Central Tip: Facebook Insights feature a data export tool, that allows you to export a summery of analytics to a spreadsheet. It features a date range and data type export option, that provides data specific information on engagement, reach, impressions and more.

Twitter Analytics
  • Engagement Metrics: Tweet Impressions, Engagement Rates, Profile Visits, New Followers
  • Twitter Audiences: Key demographics, interests and geographical data
Buffer / Hootsuite
  • If you prefer to view all your analytics in one place, we suggest using a social media tool like Buffer or Hootsuite.
  • These platforms are designed to help manage multiple social media accounts such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google + Page and Instagram.
  • They feature real-time posting, content scheduling and more.
  • Both of these platforms offer free versions. The free version of Hootsuite provides basic analytics, however Buffer charges a fee to access analytics.

Links to these tools are included in the Resources at the bottom of the article.


Step 4 - Review Branding

Review branding across all social media profiles. Is the branding current and consistent?

Check for the following:
  • Logo - Is the logo high quality? Is the same logo used on all profiles?
  • Profile Images / Banners: Do they fit the space without being cropped? Are they consistent?
  • Profile Name - Is it consistent across all profiles?
  • Business Description - Is it current? Does it include relevant keywords?
  • Links - Are all links current and working? E.g. website, blog or product links
  • Brand Values - Does your branding reflect your core values?

Write down your findings on the audit spreadsheet.


Step 5 - Monitor Mentions

Find out when and where the business is being 'mentioned' online.

What are mentions?

Mentions are when your business name or relevant keywords are cited on the web. They can appear in social media, search pages, videos and more.

Monitoring mentions can provide more information on:
  • Social Media Audience - Who is citing, sharing and tagging your business on social media? What platform do they use?
  • Feedback - Are your fans supporting or critiquing? This can be an opportunity to reply to feedback that you may not be aware of.
  • Content - Which websites and blogs are referencing the business or keywords in their content?

iASP Central Tip: We recommend Mention.com. This free tool provides real-time alerts when your business name is mentioned on social media, websites, blogs and more.

Record top mentions on your spreadsheet.


Step 6 - Research Competitors

Now let's talk benchmarking!

It's time to compare your social media to industry competitors. By reviewing your competitors, you may discover potential strengths, weaknesses and other opportunities in the social media market.

Research Suggestions:
  • Who are your top industry competitors? Both local and national / intentional?
  • What social media platforms do they use?
  • What messages are they sending? Are they effective?
  • How would you rate their social media persona?
  • What are their strengths? Weaknesses?
  • How often are they posting? How many followers and likes do they have?
  • Do they use social media influencers to promote their brand? If so, who are they?

Tools:

Facebook Pages to Watch
  • We recommend using the nifty tool featured on Facebook Insights called Pages to Watch.
  • This tool allows you to add your competitors pages, to privately view analytics on their post performance, engagement and page likes. It compares your competitors analytics to your own page performance.

SEMrush Social Media Tool
  • The SEMrush Social Media Tool provides detailed reports on your competitors social media analytics and social media campaigns. The SEMrush tool can also track your competitors online mentions across the web.

Google Alerts
  • Monitor your competitors online mentions using Google Alerts. This free service sends an email report every time your competitor's business name is used online.

Step 7-Compare and Analyse

The final step of the audit is to analyse your findings! Let's take a closer look at your audit spreadsheet.

Review and compare the following:
  • Metrics - Key metrics including engagement, followers, likes and shares
  • Branding - Is it current or does it need to be updated?
  • Performance - Which social media channels are working? Why?
  • Competitors- How do you compare your performance?
  • Opportunities - Can you see any potential opportunities in the market? Do have a point of difference?
  • Conclusion- What are the top performing profiles? Which require more time and input? Should any be deactivated?

Audit Complete!

When you have finished conducting the social media audit, we hope you have a clearer understanding of:
  • The social media profiles generating the best ROI
  • Your current market position in the social media landscape
  • Other potential SMM opportunities

Continue to use your audit spreadsheet to track future data and examine the audit results.

Stay tuned for the next release in the series: How to set S.M.A.R.T Goals - Part Two








Have you completed a social media audit before? Were you surprised by the results?
Let us know on the iASP Central Facebook Page or Get in Touch.


A More Secure Web

A More Secure Web

A More Secure Web

If you publish a website - especially one that allows visitors to login and ESPECIALLY if you operate an e-store and ESPECIALLY if you use the iASP Technology Platform - please take a few minutes to review this article and take the recommended action without delay.

Last year Google made an announcement that read in part:

"Beginning in January 2017, Chrome (version 56 and later) will mark pages that collect passwords or credit card details as "Not Secure" unless the pages are served over HTTPS..."

Read the related article: Moving towards a more secure we

What Does This Mean?

Google has made a game-changing decision to pro-actively inform website visitors that the information they are entering is not secure if the web page uses HTTP and not HTTPS.

You can see an example of a non-secure page from the screenshot that we took just this morning of the Vodaphone website (see the blog image in this article).

While Google is currently limiting this new security measure to web pages that collect passwords or credit card details, they plan to label ALL HTTP pages as 'non-secure' in the future.

Not surprisingly, the Firefox web browser (which along with Chrome accounts for around 70% of Internet Users) has already followed suite by labelling non HTTPS Encrypted pages as non-secure. It would seem inevitable that Safari and Microsoft Edge will also comply.

This means that websites that do not offer customers the peace of mind of HTTPS face the significant risk of turning customers away to their competitors.

What is HTTPS?

HTTPS in an Internet Protocol that encrypts the data being send back and forth between a customer's web browser and a website.

Setting up HTTPS encryption requires the purchase, periodical renewal and installation of an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) Certificate.

An individual SSL Certificate is generally required for every individual domain name resolving to a website, however, there are multiple domain SSL Certificate options available.

SSL Certificates have various properties such as the level of encryption they offer, the amount of warranty paid to customers if a Certificate is issues incorrectly and more.

The purchase and periodical renewal costs vary significantly from only a few dollars to many thousands of dollars. Some providers offer sweetheart pricing for the initial purchase that significantly increase on renewal.

The renewal period for SSL Certificates is either 1, 2 or a maximum of 3 years as determined by ICANN, the global authority for this area of the Internet.

In some cases longer registration periods offer discounted registration costs, and importantly, SSL Certificates must be re-installed each time they renew, which involves a multi-step process that must be coordinated between the Certificate owner and the system administrator managing the related website server or network.

SSL Certificate installation for both new Certificate registration and subsequent renewals typically attracts a cost and therefore the longer the registration period the less the associated installation costs.

What are the Benefits for HTTPS Encrypted Websites?

  • Visible Security - Sites with HTTPS encryption display a secure padlock icon in the address bar that when selected confirms the identity of the website publisher to the visitor.
  • Privacy - End to end encryption of all data entered by visitors into HTTPS pages greatly increases security and reduces the risk of data theft
  • Search Performance Advantages - Secure websites may result in higher ranking in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) than non-secure sites

What are the Disadvantages for HTTP Websites?

  • HTTP pages will be marked as non-secure with an 'Information' Icon or 'Non-Secure' exclamation mark Icon
  • Search Performance - HTTP sites may be penalised in SERPs
  • Website Traffic - Website traffic may be effected if users choose to avoid non-secure sites

How Will This Affect iASP Clients?

Enotia Australiasia Pty Ltd. developer of the iASP Technology Platform, fully supports Google's new initiative to provide a safer web.

As a professional service provider adhering to best practice security policies and procedures, in addition to the actual security risks of non-compliance with Google's security initiative, our company's reputation, along with that of our clients, is at risk.

As all iASP Systems require an administration login via user-name and password, and are therefore already being flagged as non-secure unless they are HTTPS encrypted, as advised in the client bulletin distributed on February 21st:

From July 1st 2017 all iASP powered websites will be required to use HTTPS encryption.

This means all iASP Central websites will require an SSL Certificate to be purchased and installed prior to June 30th. 

As indicated in the client bulletin, all Enotia clients are free to purchase the certificate of their choice from any third party vendor, however, the Enotia Network Administrators must install all certificates on our network for which costs will apply.

Additionally Enotia is offering turn-key SSL Certificate registration and subsidised installation services as part of our on-going service offering.

Enotia clients are welcome to contact us anytime, but will be contacted personally regarding this important matter over coming weeks regardless.

If you are concerned with the security of your website or would like more information on purchasing an SSL Certificate, please contact the Enotia Support team on 03 9855 8517 or Get in Touch.




Resources:





Australian eCommerce Trends & Predictions for 2017

Australian eCommerce Trends & Predictions for 2017

Australian eCommerce Trends & Predictions for 2017

2016 was an odd year for eCommerce in Australia.

The shopping year started off slow, and many retailers were predicting a lack lustre year for themselves.

Yet, the NAB Online Retail Sales Index has estimated that Australians spent more than $21 Billion online between November of 2015 and November of 2016.
If you recall, Australian online shoppers spent $17.6 Billion in 2015.

The statistics support both sides of the story though, showing that Australian consumers did ease off their spending habits for the most part of the year, but (seriously) made up for it in November and December.

The good news is the outlook for 2017 is for another year of positive growth for eCommerce in Australia, with the predicted trends suggesting that this will be a year for significant changes in the industry.

Mobile

Mobile eCommerce will continue to grow as it has been.

But the prediction for this year is that the focus will be on improving two keys areas: SEO and Payment Methods.

Mobile & SEO

Last year, Google announced that it will be splitting their current search index into two, one index for mobile search and another index for desktop search, with the mobile index becoming the primary search index.

In response to this, we should see eCommerce websites focus on improving their efforts in local SEO, as well as improvements to take advantage of the shift to Voice Search.

If you haven't heard the term Voice Search before, we suggest you read up on it. We've included a link in the list of resources at the end of this article.

Mobile Payments

New payment methods that aren't as cumbersome as entering Credit Card details every transaction are also predicted to trend this year in Australia.

Last year contained a lot of buzz about mobile wallets and mobile payments, but stalled once Apple and The Big 4 banks started to battle for control of the Australian market.

This caused a very slow uptake of mobile payment technologies by consumers in Australia, and online stores were happy to continue with the options they were providing.

Now that the dust has settled, online retailers should start to incorporate mobile payments into their eStores as they start to see more demand from their customers.

Traditional store owners will also move to align their offline payment method options with their online payment method options (such as PayWave or Apple Pay or ANZ Mobile Pay) as a way to improve their customer shopping experience.

Chat Bots

Chat Bots are predicted to be the next big thing in 2017.

Down here in Australia though, we don't predict that Chat Bots will take off as much as in larger markets, such as the United States or Europe.

The ultimate decider in whether Chat Bots become a useful tool for eStores will be the Australian customer.

If Australian shoppers don't find a Chat Bot to be both a convenience and a delight to their shopping experience, they will ditch them faster than an out-sourced call centre.

Unless they're done very well, Chat Bots may end up in the same vein as Chat Support plug-ins that were touted as the next big thing in Customer Service.

To the Australian customer, Chat Support has turned out to be more of a gimmick than true customer service and resulted in the technology (and the companies that use them) being viewed negatively.

Amazon Invasion

Of course, the big shake-up predicted for eCommerce in Australia this year will be the entry of Amazon Australia into the market.

Amazon announced last year that they were coming to Australia.

At the time of writing, Amazon had not yet officially launched their Australian arm, but no doubt every sharp business owner that sells products will be keeping a tight eye on them.

No one knows how the Australian market will change once Amazon officially open, but predictions are that it will hurt, and hurt badly.

Competition is good for the consumer though, so it will be interesting to see how Australian eStores respond to counter the hit to their business.

iASP Central Tip: The best way to prepare for Amazon is to refocus your business plan to offer something that Amazon cannot. Products, offers, experiences - anything that will differentiate your business from what Amazon can offer.




Resources:




Do you own an eCommerce website? What do you think will be key for eCommerce in 2017? Start a conversation on the iASP Central Facebook Page or Get in Touch.


Is the Pixel Perfect? We ponder the new Pixel by Google

Is the Pixel Perfect? We ponder the new Pixel by Google

Is the Pixel Perfect? We ponder the new Pixel by Google

Did you know Google launched a new smartphone device last week?
It was a surprise on the day, but now you can't miss it.

The new Pixel Phone by Google has arrived and it means business.

Set to replace their Nexus range of products, Pixel is "the first phone built by Google inside and out".

Regular readers will know that we at iASP Central are difficult to please.
We aren't the types to jump ship to the latest gear, only to the greatest gear.

In the past we've liked the Apple iPhone 6, loved the Apple iPhone 6S, laughed at the Apple iWatch, and didn't even review the iPhone 7.

So let's find out if the Google Pixel will stick, or if it looks to be a dead Pixel.

The Hardware

Just like the Apple iPhone, the Google Pixel is available in two sizes - The Pixel and the Pixel XL - with the Pixel XL being the iPhone Plus equivalent.

And on paper, the new Google Pixel defeats the Apple iPhone 7 hands down.

Just the presence of a headphone jack will be enough for some to consider the argument over, but there are more important things to consider.

When you compare the two side by side, the Google Pixel is always slightly better than the Apple iPhone. Not surprising really.

This means the biggest differentiator will be between the operating systems and their ease-of-use.

The Software

As you know, Apple's iOS has won the global market in terms of usability.
The simplicity in learning how to use an iPhone for the first time is the root of the iPhone's success.

And while the Android OS has been available on several different devices (most notably the Samsung Galaxy), Android devices still haven't reached the benchmark set by the iPhone.
Nobody is walking around saying "I want it to be as simple to use as an Android".

Google's latest phone might just change this perception however.

And as always, it's the little-big differences.

For example, the Pixel is the first phone that has Google Assistant built into it.
And when you look at it, this could be a game changer.

Google Assistant is more than just a voice activated bot that you give commands to.
Imagine Siri, but with AI learning capabilities that enable it to remember past conversations, and understand you better each time you use it.

Plus, Google Assistant can be used in everything from your smartwatch, to your smartphone, to your car, to your home. It isn't just limited to one or two devices like Siri or Cortana. So you can ask Google Assistant to turn on your TV and start playing a Youtube video, from your car as you're pulling into the driveway.

Apple doesn't appear to have anything close to this capability... yet.

As Google's chief executive said during the launch, "Our goal is build a personal Google for each and every user."

This might be a little spooky for some people, but it does seem to be the future we are heading towards.

And what might just be the final nail-in-the-coffin, is the Quick Switch Adapter that comes standard with every Pixel phone.

One long-standing excuse for iPhone users to stay with iPhone was the excruciating task of transferring "everything" from an iPhone to an Android device.

Not anymore.

The Quick Switch Adapter allows you to transfer just about everything from any device running Android 5.0 and up, and iOS 8 and up, across to the Pixel phone.
And it doesn't involve any great depth of geek knowledge to do it.

The Verdict

The new Pixel Phone by Google is definitely a new challenger in the smartphone market. With features and functionality that is on-par with the Apple iPhone, the line that once clearly separated the iPhones from the Androids is becoming blurry.

If you do have an iPhone 6 or an iPhone 7, you won't find much reason to go out and get yourself a new Google Pixel today.

And if you aren't across all of Google's latest technologies (you're still a way off buying your first smart car, and building your first smart home), you probably won't get much more out of a Google Pixel phone than you would from an Apple iPhone.

But if your smartphone is getting on in years, and it's time to upgrade, you might want to give the Google Pixel a test run.

The Google Pixel is very comparable to the latest Apple iPhone.
The differences between the two for the average person will come down to your personal preferences.

Smartphone users now need to start considering the other smart-devices they use, and put device compatibility at the forefront of their buying decisions.

You'll either be an Apple user, or a Microsoft user, or now perhaps, a Google user.

What do you think about Google's new phone? Let us know on the iASP Central Facebook Page, or Get in Touch.