Google Vs. Microsoft, Bing, AWS & NORAD

Are you looking for examples of interactive content for brands? Or festive content that creatively promotes logistics and call center management? Say hello to Santa Tracker 2023.

This article explores Google’s approach to interactive content experiences vs. the official 2023 NORAD Santa Tracker powered by Microsoft, Bing, Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Zillow.

The Unofficial Santa Tracker 2023 By Google

While not the official Santa Tracker of 2023, Google’s interactive content experience adds seasonal joy to an educational experience.

It also features an engaging design similar to the new look at Labs.Google for AI experiments.

Screenshot from Google, December 2023

Opinion: this Santa Tracker has the best graphics.

Teaching Coding Skills For A Future In Technical SEO

Santa’s Village, the main interface of the Tracker, is filled with various characters and offers activities suitable for all ages.

Coding games like “Code Lab” and “Code Boogie” merge fun with learning, allowing users to navigate an elf through a forest and choreograph elf dances using coding fundamentals, which can be useful for technical SEO.

Understanding Cultural Diversity In Content Marketing

Google’s Santa Tracker website features a section on global holiday traditions, a vital lesson for marketers and advertisers in understanding and appreciating cultural differences.

Holiday-themed quizzes and games highlight the importance of cultural sensitivity while teaching all ages about diverse cultural celebrations.

Content creators must conduct thorough research into cultural nuances to resonate with diverse consumers who value inclusivity.

Demonstrating The Value Of Google Translate

One of the features highlights the power and simplicity of Google’s translation services. Visitors can select different languages to see and hear holiday greetings across the world.

google translate in action Screenshot from Santa Tracker, December 2023

Utilizing Content Creation Tools

For creative expression, Santa’s Village includes activities that involve drawing, painting, and building, encouraging users of all ages to try content creation tools.

It could ultimately inspire future generations of artists, some of whom will go on to create amazing assets for advertising campaigns.

Helping All Ages Tap Into The Power Of Search

Google Assistant integration is a notable feature, offering a range of interactive experiences.

Users can receive daily updates from the North Pole, hear Santa jokes, or even help Santa with his musical concert rehearsals.

This feature is accessible to children under 13 with parental permission and managed through Family Link, demonstrating Google’s commitment to safe and age-appropriate content.

Additionally, Google encourages the exploration of other Google products, providing tips and tricks to enhance voice search experiences.

It will be interesting to try this experience next year once Assistant with Bard is available.

Exploring The Code Behind Interactive Content

For those who want to learn even more about building interactive content experiences, you’ll want to visit Github. There, you’ll find the recently updated repository for the Santa Tracker website source code.

The Official NORAD Santa Tracker For 2023

This year, NORAD is not alone in the effort to dox one of the most important figures of the holiday season.

official norad santa tracker 2023Screenshot from Santa Tracker 2023, December 2023

Link Building With Sponsorship Opportunities

Over 40 brands and organizations partnered with NORAD to track Santa’s location online.

The press room page on the Santa Tracker website features links to over 40 sponsors of this year’s interactive content.

santa tracker sponsorsScreenshot from Santa Tracker, December 2023

Best Practices For Internal And External Links

Adding an educational and interactive twist to the website, the Santa Tracker website includes clickable icons at each of Santa’s stops.

The “stops” along Santa’s journey take visitors to an ecommerce store for holiday gifts, a page to learn more about NORAD, interactive books, games, music, and a film on YouTube.

In addition, links to the Santa Tracker’s social media profiles appear at the top of the website.

This demonstrates the importance of properly placed links throughout any content experience to ensure that visitors stay on a website longer, learn more about the brand, and have an opportunity to convert into a sale.

Enhancing Location Tracking With 3D And Bing Maps

NORAD collaborates with Cesium, a developer platform for creating 3D web map applications. Through this partnership, they have developed a 3D tracker that vividly displays Santa’s current location.

This innovative app employs Bing Maps satellite imagery, providing a realistic texture to the 3D globe rendered via the CesiumJS library. This immersive experience allows users to follow Santa’s journey in a visually captivating manner.

The 2D version, powered by Bing Maps API, maintains an intuitive and user-friendly interface. It features a pin that marks Santa’s real-time location, making it easy for users to track his progress.

Ensuring Fast Load Times For Interactive Content

The North Pole experience on the Santa Tracker website has seen significant changes this year, courtesy of developer elves who have rolled out a new JavaScript-based site. This update supports nine different languages and is hosted across six Azure regions worldwide, enhancing accessibility and user experience.

The new site leverages Azure static web apps built with Angular, among other frameworks, to accelerate the delivery of files and reduce resource consumption, making the site more efficient and responsive.

In addition, Azure Front Door, Microsoft’s cloud CDN, caches the site across 192 Points of Presence (POP) locations in major cities around the world. This extensive distribution significantly improves file delivery speeds, making the user experience smoother and more reliable.

Helping Everyone Stay On Task

Azure DevOps (ADO) was utilized for project and software lifecycle management in the NORAD Santa Tracker.

It provides a comprehensive set of services and tools for software project management, encompassing everything from planning and development to testing and deployment.

Exploring Holiday Traditions Around The World

Similar to Google’s website for the holidays, the NORAD Santa Tracker offers an interactive map to learn about holiday traditions around the world and discover the multi-language support and configurations offered by Azure Maps.

Santa Tracker 2023: Google Vs. Microsoft, Bing, AWS, And NORADScreenshot from Santa Tracker, December 2023

This further emphasizes the importance of understanding diverse perspectives, especially for brands with global audiences.

Demonstrating Creativity In Content Marketing

This year, NORAD will work with Amazon Connect to provide live tracking of Santa’s route.

With a toll-free number for live updates as Santa makes the most important deliveries of the year, NORAD expects 150,000 calls about Santa’s current location.

Utilizing Amazon Connect, a cloud-based contact service, a team of 1,250 American and Canadian uniformed personnel and Department of Defense civilian volunteers will be ready to ease the concerns of excited audiences.

Amazon will also play a crucial role in delivering joy to customers globally, including to the iconic residents of North Pole, Alaska—Santa and Mrs. Claus.

This process starts as soon as an order is placed, with Amazon’s fulfillment centers swiftly packing the items. These packages then journey to an Amazon Air gateway in Portland, Oregon, before making a four-hour flight to Fairbanks, Alaska.

Amazon Air, using a Boeing 737-800 aircraft, efficiently carries thousands of packages, including those bound for Santa Claus House, enduring all kinds of weather challenges.

Once in Fairbanks, the packages undergo meticulous sorting based on ZIP codes at a logistics warehouse. After sorting, the packages are loaded into box trucks and dispatched for final delivery across central and northern Alaska, courtesy of third-party partners.

This extensive network ensures that even the most remote locations, like Prudhoe Bay and the Santa Claus House in North Pole, receive their deliveries.

The posts shared by Amazon also serve as prime examples of how to creatively describe enterprise services through content marketing.

Zillow Features AI-Powered Listings Showcase

Real estate marketers can get inspiration from Zillow’s listing for Santa’s home in the North Pole.

zillow ai powered listings showcase santas house north poleScreenshot from Zillow, December 2023

The page features an AI-powered Listing Showcase, an exclusive offering on Zillow that includes immersive media along with a fresh design. It provides deeper insights into the property’s layout and attributes.

zillow 3d home tourScreenshot from Zillow, December 2023

A Chatbot Not Powered By OpenAI

While NORAD partnered with Microsoft and Azure, it doesn’t appear that the official Santa Tracker website uses OpenAI technology for its Radar chatbot. It appears to pull from a KB as opposed to being an AI chatbot.

radar customer service chatbotScreenshot from Santa Tracker, December 2023

Lessons In Holiday Marketing

The top websites tracking Santa’s package deliveries in 2023 offer several important lessons for marketers about creative storytelling and the technology that goes into creating interactive content.

Each interactive experience combines tradition with modern technology, offering a unique way to educate audiences and promote specific products.

Marketing and advertising professionals should use these examples as inspiration for integrating similar interactive content and creating storytelling into campaigns to engage audiences effectively throughout the holidays.

Featured image: nikkimeel/Shutterstock

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