On 22nd March I spoke at an event hosted by Burgis and Bullock Business Mastermind Group at the Warwickshire Golf & Country Club. The event, “Winning Profitable New Business with Online Marketing”, featured speakers from Arkle Finance, Enquir3, and Google, all sharing their expert knowledge on the subject of client acquisition and online marketing. Supported by SilverDisc, Joe McEntee from Google discussed what 2018 has in store for online marketing, where artificial intelligence fits in, and why businesses should be thinking beyond keywords for their Google marketing strategy. Here’s an overview of the valuable information Joe had to offer.
“Predicting the Future” with Joe McEntee
Joe started by taking us all the way back to the garage where Google was born in 1997, and then showed the two decades of search innovation that happened since, from "Did you mean?" suggestions in 2001 all the way up to the Google Assistant that was launched in 2016.
He looked at the effect that the smartphone, still only just over 10 years old, has had on our lives, first by giving an example of an apparently haunted house whose lights and devices were simply being controlled remotely by kids playing on smartphones.
Joe introduced the concept of the Age of Assistance, where our devices enable experiences that are intuitively and undeniably helpful: fast, efficient and really welcome. Today, more and more aspects of our lives are powered by mobile and digital. We love our devices, of course, but what we really love is the POWER our devices give us. The power to get exactly what we want, instantly and effortlessly. To have our needs not just met, but anticipated.
As a result, the very nature of how consumers behave and what they expect has changed. They’re actively curious, incredibly demanding and very impatient! There are no low consideration purchases any more. People research the most mundane things, like toothbrushes and shower curtains, both of which have seen mobile searches more than double in the last two years. More and more, people aren’t even bothering to type "near me" when doing a local search, and there has been an 85% increase in "where to buy (product)" searches on mobile. "Same day" shipping searches have doubled in the past two years; travel searches for “today” and “tonight” are up 150%; and searches for shops and restaurants “open now” have tripled!
This need for speed has vast implications for businesses. And that’s why Google believes that "Assistance is the new battleground for growth." The ability to use data to predict consumer needs will define a brand’s ability to grow. 89% of leading marketers say that it’s critical to their growth to anticipate customer needs and provide assistive experiences along the consumer journey. Every industry and every brand must build a strategy driven by assistance.
In the past, Google has targeted context and content more than people, but audience is the way forward. Enders Analysis has predicted that 58% of all online media buys will use high quality audience data by 2020. Don’t wait until then. The ability to put your audience first in everything you do, is here today. Know them deeply, join up their journey, and turn the right audiences into your most valuable customers.
Joe used the example of Google DeepMind’s AlphaGo Artificial Intelligence (AI) program taking on champion Go player, Lee Sedol, and winning 4-1 as an example of Google's AI ability. The win included an inspired move 37 in the second game that took Lee Sedol 30 more moves to realise that it was the winning move. This deep, pattern learning that Google has developed has a much broader application. Google can apply it to a wide array of challenges, for example: reducing energy costs in data centres by 40%; or, for marketers, placing just the right ad in literally the blink of an eye (400 ms) by analysing 70 million signals to determine the best ad to place.
In conclusion: Get ready for the Age of Assistance. It’s here. We’re already seeing a new, more confident and capable consumer with completely different behaviour and expectations. And it’s becoming clear that a new ethos of assistance needs to drive our entire industry. Mobile really shook things up and everybody, Google included, had to play a lot of catch-up. But we have an incredible opportunity to get ahead of the trend this time. Google's job and commitment is to make it easier for you to do just that.
If you would like to explore how Google fits in with your own marketing strategy, SilverDisc can help. Contact us online or call 01536 316100.