Acquisitions, new advertising options and crowdsourced data – marketing is always evolving. This week, some big brands have made announcements about new advertising options, while others are just hinting at future possibilities.

Here are five things in marketing and technology we are talking about this week:

  • Placed (noun, not verb): the location-based data company purchased by Snapchat last month. Right now, the two brands are being run separately. However, the new acquisition is a game-changer when it comes to creating more advertising opportunities for Snap – like tracking app-to-store conversions. Nice. Adweek has the details.
  • Talk about “Pin-spiration:” Amazon has launched Spark, a social network for shopping. Think a shoppable feed that draws inspiration from Pinterest and Instagram. While not all photos lead to products, the clear objective is to create more engagement around products featured on Amazon. According to Marketing Land, paid influencers are already sharing sponsored posts, but whether (and how) advertisers will be able to participate is still a TBD.
  • “Alexa, ask Kayak…” That might be the new sound of retail, according to a Search Engine Land article. New research shows that 19% of consumers – that number goes up to 37% when looking at Millennials only – make purchases using smart speakers/virtual assistants. This ups the ante on voice search – and may change the way brands and consumers think about the shopping experience.
  • One billion people is no small thing – and that’s how many people are using the messaging app WhatsApp each day. Perhaps more interesting to marketers, though, is that their Snapchat copycat – WhatsApp Status – is attracting 250 million users a day. Zuckerberg (WhatsApp is owned by FB), announced that they are rolling out advertising options soon. Read more on TechCrunch.
  • The power of the people: Mozilla is crowdsourcing voice recognition data in order to build open-sourced AI initiatives. According to brand leaders, this is an effort to help smaller brands compete in the AI space in the future, recognizing that other monopolized search and social media platforms already have an advantage. The first project is called Common Voice, and The Verge talks about it more, here.