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Google opened their doors last week for a special client/agency presentation, during which they detailed their vision for the future, and High Position had front row seats. Unlike many recent events, this one was at their King’s Cross office, not too far from the location of a NEW King’s Cross Headquarters which is set to be ready in 2016. The presentations were from a variety of sources including a couple of new businesses and a BBC journalist, not just Google Heads of Service, making it especially relevant for the clients we took with us. And not just from a PPC Paid Search perspective but from a much broader angle that took in new technology, consumer insights and the future of contextual targeting.
It was great for us to be able to give our clients access to some of Google’s top people and get an exclusive, behind the curtain look at one of the world’s biggest companies. Here are a few key points we were able to take away.
Connectivity and Identifying Opportunities
Mark Howe presented around the theme of ‘Connectivity’. Using figures that industry insiders have been monitoring for some years now, Mark used real examples of how businesses who out themselves in the right place at the right time, and use technology to do this, are breaking new ground in marketing and ways to generate new business. There was a great video of how Adidas had created a touch screen shop window that enabled viewers to browse products and interact with the store using their mobile devices. It took the experience of in store shopping, out onto the street!
Perhaps the most impressive example was the simplest. By collecting data about what people wanted, Cooper BMW in Thames Ditton were able to tell people via an email that the car they were looking for was now in their showroom. Mark was so impressed with this simple but effective use of data that he ultimately bought a car from the Thames Ditton dealership.
From a personal point of view it was interesting to hear Mark talk about the role Search Agencies have to play in identifying these opportunities and helping drive ‘Connectivity’. It’s the best Search Agencies that will be able to help implement the data capture, apply that data to a workable marketing strategy and report on the effect it has on a business. This skill, Mark was in no doubt, is a valuable commodity and should be treated as such.
There are known knowns; there are things we know we know…
Next up was Adam Shaw, a BBC Journalist, familiar to most from TV and radio including Radio 4’s Today Programme. Adam entertained us with his deconstruction of the type of economic figures we are fed every day in the news. At first the presentation seemed a million miles away from Google and all things Search related, but what emerged was the compelling idea that economic uncertainty and instability are the perfect breeding ground from which innovation and new ideas emerge. Adam backed up by showing how brands which now dominate our cultural landscape all started during periods of economic downturn; Burger King, Microsoft, MTV and Wikipedia.
A Contextual Revolution
Phil Miles, Google’s Director of Media Buying Solutions in the UK and Ireland brought things back to more familiar territory. He began by saying that it wasn’t impossible to see a future, 2020, where investment in audience targeting would exceed investment in search. At High Position we’ve always been interested in where all the advances in search marketing technology will lead, so it was interesting to hear Phil talk about contextual targeting and the move from targeting via content towards actual audience signals. It’s a move from volume to precision which could open up all sorts of avenues for businesses.
Last year we learned about advances in Google Analytics which would take targeting to a whole new level. Universal Analytics brought with it the idea of session based information to user based information. We immediately saw the potential this could have for targeting an audience. Rather than look at targeting based on which pages people visit we will be able to target based on the behaviour of those people, not only on your site, but on their browsing history. For example, we’ll be able to highlight visitors based on the amount of money they spend on line. Putting in place a spend threshold we can then decide the value of targeting a certain audience. People who spend more money per visit online are obviously high value and targeting that group is worth putting some money behind.
Part 2 of this blog will be published next week. Come back then to find out what Responsive Design, Taxis and Steve McClaren have in common.