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At Search Insider Summit 2014, a panel discussed about Google’s Keywordless Ads and its impact. Moderated by Michael Wall, Director, Digital Strategy, Rise Interactive, the panelist of this discussion were

You can watch the video on Ustream.


Michael: Alright. I should say ‘Good Morning’ everyone. My name is Michael Wall, with Rise Interactive. For those of you who might not know who Rise is, we’re based out of Chicago, about a 120 people, independent firm, specializes in digital media and analytics and really our core competency is helping our clients figure out how to be best investing their budget both across and within digital channels, whether we are managing that channel or not.

And the second, I think, we’re just going to really focus more on this discussions today is, how do we make sure we touch point we’ve within those traffic generation channels, is this relevant, as engaging as possible? So I am going to go and let the panel introduce themselves. We’ve a really great team up here, and we’re going to focus on keywordless paid search. I will let you go ahead Gerry and start with the introductions.

Gerry: I’m Gerry Bavaro, Chief Strategy Officer, Resolution Media. Resolution is Omnicom media groups search, social and really broader performance media agencies, so we manage content marketing for clients as well globally. We’ve 1200 employees now. We manage clients like Pepsi, [Safe Arm 0:01:06], FedEx, Nike and you know, again, we’re a global company, but we integrate with the wider media planning and buying that occurs with agencies like OMD, PHD that are inside of Omnicom.

And also separately we manage those clients fully for their media planning and buying and today that’s changed to include many other things that we’re going to talk about today, which touch on where the search engines are going, how they’re evolving and how it’s really evolving past the keyword and more about intense situation that the audience is in and context, that that individual, whether they are on a device or a desktop, kind of doesn’t matter, but you know, it’s all about who that user is and how to meet them with answers.

Mike: Hey there, I am Mike Grehan. I think I’m on the wrong panel here because they said paid search keywordless and I do SEO, so I don’t know….[Laughter] and I should start by way of an apology actually for the slight technical probelm that we’ve with this microphone. It’s a very strange, intermittent problem, and every now and again, it can actually make you sound as though you have a British accent. [Laughter] It’s doing it now, isn’t it? [Laughter] The next guy who picks this up will go straight back to American!

So I have been using that guy goal over the world for as long as I can remember, works everywhere, except London, England, where it never goes down at all! Yes, I’m with Acronym, which is a search marketing agency, boutique agency in New York. My office is on the 65th floor of the Empire State Building. It’s a very nice view. If you come to New York, please come and join me. Prior to joining or re-joining Acronym, I was the group publishing director with InsightsMedia, so I was the publisher of ClickZ. How many people subscribe to ClickZ? Good for you guys, thank you for putting your hands up. Those of you who didn’t, shame on you! ‘Search Engine Watch’ was another one of my publications, and I was also the producer of ‘SES – Search Engine Strategies Conference & Expo’, which then actually became ‘ClickZ Live’ and I’m delighted to be here.

David: Hey everyone, I’m David Rodnitzky. I’m the CEO and founder of 3Q Digital. This microphone gives you an Iowa accent apparently.

Mike: So switch with mine. Actually, I can do Iowa.

David: Oh, that’s very interesting actually. [Laughter] 3Q Digital is, we think, the largest independent agency spending on Google, something I’m sure, we can test that, but we spend about 250 million dollars a year for our clients on Google and on all the other great search engines like Yahoo and our clients are more of the Silicon Valley types, so Facebook, Square, FitBit, [inaudible 0:04:08], [inaudible 0:04:10] are the types of companies we work with and I’m excited to talk about the death of keywords.

Michael: Alright, so let’s get started. We can…you know, let’s start more general and then we can…it up and I will start with you Gerry. So keywordless paid search, you know, close variant matching, I would like to get your thoughts on, you know, what is really the rule behind all this? How much is this [inaudible 0:04:29] can, you know, help us understand, is there something broken, help us understand really what this is all about?

Gerry: Sure. So if you think about the beginnings of search engines, you know, we were utilizing what we had at the time because search engines were created based on a keyword. Keyword was the biggest signal of intent and I always say, you know, with programmatic as a term, that’s turned around a lot, the first programmatic channel was search, because in paid search, you were able to bid based on a keyword. This is someone raising their hand.

Let’s not forget that at the time, that was a cash cow also for the beginning search engines and it still is a cash cow today. So you know, the search engine business on the publisher side, Google, Yahoo, Bing, is all about revenue per query, so the keyword has been just this anchor of revenue for those publishers and they wouldn’t deny …see that, if anyone in the room. They report their business that way, the keyword is important, but what has happened is human behavior has changed, right, so what’s driven this move beyond keywords is you have devices now.

Devices, a device for some location, where somebody isn’t. When you look at how keyword level targeting has evolved just in art craft as search engine marketers, you want to understand the intent of the audience from a keyword, but information such as somebody being logged in and who they are, age, gender, household income tells you an awful lot. Then you layer that and you get what their location is, right? So local search, where they are, being able to serve up the right answer to a question that somebody has, when you are in a specific location, huge difference of what you put in front of them on the search engine.

So what has happened is this evolution and More’s laws, for every six months, you know, processing power doubling has been a driver of this too, because there is no secret that what Google’s original vision was and still is today, is to organize the world’s information. You don’t just organize the world’s information, you have to actually deliver to people, so if I am up and about and I’m interested, if I am on the train and I want to, you know, find videos, I am going to search and I do not want a blue link. I want videos, to be served in search results.

The search engines have had to change and go beyond the keyword because we don’t want to just see information based on keywords. We don’t want to just get a piece of information through a search engine. Search is everywhere today; so that’s certainly been the driver of it, but let’s also not forget that there is a, I was talking to Rob about this, there is like, kind of a four horsemen now, we always talk about this in Omnicom. Google, Facebook, Twitter, right? Then you have Amazon…

David: And SnapShot.

Gerry: SnapShot, yeah. There is going to be more horsemen, but there is no secret as well that these are companies that are creating ecosystems where they all map to a user id, so you will, mark my words, see Google roll out their equivalent of ad list. I have always asked Google, “Why don’t you share the information on the backend about who this person is?” So we have an actual identifier being utilized for somebody who raises their hand and searches for something, we know who they are and we can serve up better information for them. That is happening right now; many of you know this.

In marketing list for search ads, you can now take third-party information, data, take first-party data and when somebody comes back into Google, right, you can change the way that you put a piece of information in front of them. So that’s the evolution; that’s what’s happening. Everyone is really battling for the user, battling for this audience and providing them right place, right time within right context information.

Michael: So Mike, you coined, developed a term, I believe called the ‘Concierge Search’ and I am not sure if you want to elaborate on what you mean by that, but perhaps you might want to share a little bit more on how this all works in term and how Google and Bing and others are putting this information together to better understand user intents.

Mike: So before you get to a ‘Concierge Search’, which is going to be basically lot of what you just told about there, understanding the behavior of the person, the intent is the most important thing and information retrieval has been around for as a science for a lot longer than Google has been. Google actually has the data and the processing power to be able to look behind those keywords, so what happens with the end-user is like pretty damask kind of person. You sit down, you’ve no idea what you want to start searching around and eventually you get there.

So Google is a learning machine, and it looks at, you know, the kind of results that people click on, over and over again, and it attaches that to the intent, as opposed to the keyword, so I mean, if you think about the confusion that you can have with the keywords and intent, for instance, if you are building a website on the subject of ‘Tropical Fish’ and you had a fish tank, and somebody searched for fish tank, if only those results came back, you had missed all the glory of the aquarium, which is exactly the same kind of thing. So Google spend a lot of time, looking at the intent and in fact, I was very fortunate, back in 2001, I got to interview the chief scientist of Alta Vista at the time and he had written this seminal papers called ‘The Taxonomy of Search’ and it was all about intent and if you look at intent, it’s a three [inaudible 0:10:04] thing.

It starts with informational, navigational and transactional. And if you start to think about those particular ways of searching, you will develop entirely different types of content to go with that and then beyond that, so what Google has done is create, we use the term ‘artificial intelligence’ over and over again and we are million miles away from that. Even Google will tell you they are internally what Google says, they have artificial intelligence, and they use what they call a ‘Multi-layer Perceptron Network’ which I know you all will want to Google, but you can’t spell it, so…[Laughter]

But if you take a look at that, it actually predicts what it is that’s going to happen in the future and there’s a lot of stuff that perhaps you would recognize yourself, you know. Back in the day, when I first started, people used to do a search at Alta Vista before Google came around and they would look at all of the results and mostly would be crap, and then they click through to the sanken page; nobody have a clicks-through to the sanken page any more, nobody actually scrolls any more.

If you think about, from a behavior point of view, you actually rearrange the query. You just take a few words out or you put a few extra words in, and then you create this kind of query, you know, a query chain, as it is and Google understands a query chain. I was trying to explain this to somebody the other day so that the most simple way of explaining this. So the guy sits down, and he does a search for ‘Special Edition’ and he looks at the results. ‘No, that’s not it.’

And then he goes, ‘Oh, I know what it is. Special Collection.’ ‘No, that’s not it.” And then he goes, ‘Limited Edition – that’s what I’m looking for.’ All of a sudden he has got all of these results for ‘Limited Edition’ books; that’s what he’s looking for. So with that kind of query chain that’s going on, Google can see it happening over and over again, so eventually what’s going to happen is some guy is going to sit down and he types the words ‘Special Collection’, and Google goes ‘Idiot, he wants the books’, so they give you the books, and you go, “Wow! That’s exactly what I was looking for,” and Google goes, “Yes, but it’s not what you asked for”, because they just understand the intent.


Michael: That’s great. So David, as much you are challenge to do after this panel, sounds like you guys spend quite a bit of money on paid search, so I was hoping that you can help us understand does this impact certain types of businesses, certain verticals differently than others and you know, for the different brands that are in the room today, who should be more concerned, who should be, you know, focusing on these efforts now versus may be a little bit down the road?


David: Yeah. Well, first of all, I want to just add to what Gerry said, just like I thought it was a good…comment. The way I was thinking about this was, if you think about any sort of user experience online, looking for information, you could really divide what they are doing as who, what, where, when, how, why and I think may be that Gerry’s point, a search keyword or query is the ‘what’; the ‘who’ is the user information that you get from Google, the ‘how’ is the device, the ‘when’ is the time of day, the ‘why’ is the behavioral data that you can infer or so.

There is definitely a lot of truth to the concept that keywords by themselves really only offer a very limited sliver of data in terms of value to advertisers. But in terms of which verticals are most, could be impacted by the keywordless search world, I think the most immediate answer is probably eCommerce, and you see that simply by the rise of PLAs, in Google the artist currently known as ‘Google Shopping’ and I think most studies have shown that most eCommerce companies are spending close to a 50% or greater of their spend now on PLAs. I think this should still be co-PLAs because I don’t like Google Shopping. I like PLAs myself, and what the impact of this is that, previously if you had, you know, 20000 SKUs, you could create all sorts of iterations of queries.

So you could have desk blue widget, buy blue widget online, small blue widget, large blue widget etc etc, and what PLAs effectively does is cedes a lot of control from the advertisers to Google and says, “Look, just give us your products and tell us what you think is…we’ll figure out what’s most relevant to you,” and there is some functionality in ad words that allows you to edit and make some keyword based decisions on your PLAs. So you can create negative keywords and do some manipulations, but you know, the Google product team that I’ve spoken to, specifically recommends that you don’t spend that kind of time on PLAs, that you spend your time worrying about having a high quality image, and having, making sure products are in stock and making sure your feed is clean.

So PLA has been incredibly successful for Google from a profit perspective. I think they are effective for most advertisers. But it definitely takes some control away and I think Google has done some testing in the area of a travel, which is sort of another logical extension of PLAs, so someone types in “Las Vegas Hotel’, there is no reason to believe that Google wouldn’t have a PLA like experience. They did some testing in mortgage, and so, you know, those are the verticals, where I think the most immediate…you know, I don’t know if you want to call this threat, but certainly changed the way that search engine marketers have thought about their advertising, is going to be most apparent.

Michael: Okay, great, so a shift to the strategy, so you know, I mention the word ‘An independent small agency’ – we are managing enterprise of a paid search across the country and you know, increase traffic, lower CPCs, that is great, and you know, the challenge I have of that is that our customers don’t hold us to that standard. They want increased revenue. They want higher average order values, they want longer lifetime value, so you know, I want to go back to David really quick. You know, how should we approach keywordless search as opposed to keyword search as it relates to the strategy, to achieve the overall business calls that all of our customers are holding us to?

David: Well, I think number one is you have to take advantage of all the targeting functionality that is available, so you know, we’ve talked about this, the ability to do device-based segmentation, ability to make decisions based on search partners versus Google, the ability to do time of day, day of week, geography, behavioral layers, RLSA, all the things that are not keyword based, that you can use to have, the way I describe it is, I call ‘Information Asymmetry.’

So if you have one advertiser who is buying the word ‘Blue Widget’ and it’s not doing geo type of day of week device etc, and another who is doing all this, well, that is what is happening is, the advertiser who has all this extra information makes smart bids at the right time for the right users and let’s the dumb advertiser make the bids on the users that the smart advertisers doesn’t want, so it ends up, you know, in a situation where the smart advertiser is buying the word ‘ Blue widget’ and doing just fine, or buying a PLA for ‘Blue Widget’ and doing just fine and the dumb advertiser is scratching their heads, saying, “Why can’t I make this keyword work in my competitor camp?” So taking advantage of that, I think, is important.

I think just sort of really understanding your user’s behavioral profile, trying to, again, not just think about the ‘what’, but the ‘who’, that’s buying from you, and then I think the other thing I would say would be I have this concept of, that I call ‘Keyword Sculpting’ which is really saying that life today is no longer about the longtail. You know, I am not impressed if someone comes to me with an ad words account with 250 million keywords in it. The truth is that the number of queries that are getting significant volume is getting smaller and smaller and in some respects, queries are disappearing altogether, so how do you address that?

Well, you first of all make sure you’ve really great ad text or creatives, so you know, boost media, you know, is being used by a lot of the top advertisers. That will be an example of really paying attention to the ad text and then, the second thing is have the right targeting within that keyword or that, whatever that unit is and the third thing is having a great landing page. So in other words, I will stop rambling, focus on creating an incredibly conversion experience for the few instances that you show up on rather than trying to create the [inaudible 0:19:17] keyword that’s going to get you one click every 16 years, which is may be the old model of thinking about SEO.

Gerry: I just want to add to that, because there is one thing that David was talking about is making sure that you layer on these different targeting criteria and get down to who the audience actually is, but I think that, to my point about these four horsemen and their growing, these ecosystems, Google’s behind! When I say that, you know, you’re going to see their equivalent of ad list, people-based targeting or the Facebook ecosystem where you can match a Facebook id to other data like data logics, which is 40 million plus individuals with loyalty cards.

You can actually know that you are serving in ads, or somebody that is your customer; think about Google, right? If we can bring data logics data into that ecosystem, know the person that’s searching right now is my customer, and then do close loop measurement very easily in real-time, where they’re walking into a store in that specific area, where you’re serving up an ad, right, in Google search. You’ve the equipment then of Facebook customer audiences, Twitter tailored audiences, you have that, so don’t be surprised, like the big thing that’s going to happen here is keywords become important as an intent signal, but search today is this huge channel. It’s still over 50% of digital spend, but it doesn’t have the first and third-party data inputs to understand audience and bid by audience at the levels of like display, right?

Programmatic display has that; DMPs today, right? Data Mangement Platforms are not necessarily in the world of search, but that has got…these ecosystems will become the future DMPs. You know, that is what’s happening, is, “Hey, come to Google. We understand your audience, we understand intent.” You can toggle on, that you want to target this individual based on them being a customer. We have time honored cablers as a client, knowing that they only have phone service, and then using RLSAs, to serve in actual Google ads, or somebody with, “Hey, you’re going to get HBO at a discount if you sign up for cable.” That just makes sense for marketing purposes and I feel like search has lagged, right? So where we’re going is there.

David: Gerry, I just want to add to that. I think it’s two thing. One is, you know, if you look at search lagging, you say, “Well, why is it lagging?” Well, one thing that I find interesting is…

Gerry: Privacy!

David: Well, privacy – Google is very concerned about privacy and I give them a lot of credit for that. They’re more concerned than some of the other horsemen that you referenced, but one thing that I find interesting is that on Google, you know, everyone’s favorite ‘Enhanced Campaigns.’ You are no longer allowed, you know, AdWords and search to do with device or operating systems segmentation. However, you’re still allowed to do that in the Google Display Network. So why is that, you know?

Well, one might speculate that advertisers are going to keep coming to Google search, no mattter what, and you can take away some segmentation, to push people on a certain direction, because the competitive threat is not there. Now, if you look at where Google has as essential threats, as a company, I think there is two things. One is Facebook Audience Network, which is the competitor of Google Display Network. GDN is approximately 30% of Google’s revenue. Facebook Audience Network arguably has more behavioral data; what you can definitely as more behavioral data than anything Google [inaudible 0:23:07] from Google Plus.

Not to mention the fact to your point about privacy is, Facebook has much much less concern about privacy. They allow custom audiences, they allow lots of first-party and third-party data. And then the second threat I think is Mobile, in general, and Apple in particular. So what would happen if Apple decided to not serve Google as a default search engine on Apple phones? I mean, you know, then you add apps. on top of that, there is a lot of things that Google has to worry about other than the create revenue from search right now.

Gerry: Yeah, just one second. Yeah, I do want to point out though that how many of you, by show of hands, if Google showed you user information about every query that you were bidding on, how many of you, if you looked at queries that you’re bidding on, and found that it wasn’t targeting the individual that you want to target, would opt out of it? Show of hands, how many of you might pull back on that? Right, so…that would cost Google potentially billions of dollars, right? So it is also behind because in the paid search world, when you move to a world where the query isn’t everything and you actually know that this is an individual, like you don’t want to target, you start to opt out of your bidding. You’re not going to be at position one any more, paying $5, $10, $15, $20 as a cost-per-click on a keyword and again, I mean, big cash cow, that’s their business and that is when it gets really tough. I think it’s a tough model for them to move into, because of that on paid search.

Mike: So I think we all still talk about Google as being a search engine and that’s one of the great things that Google can do, but I think Google corporately looks at itself now as being the world’s largest digital marketing company. They do a lot more than search. They have a lot more data and you know, most of what Google did in the early days was based around the world-wide web. I have spent about 20 years and I find it’s incredible that I am still doing this, trying to explain that there is a big difference between the internet and the world-wide web and because we use those terms interchangeably, everybody thinks it’s the same thing, but in absolute honesty, how many people in the room knew that the internet and the world-wide web are two different things? Put your hand up. So a few people do.

This is really important, when it comes down to understanding intent and moving away from what’s just happening on the web and that’s why being logged in is going to be important and that’s what Google is working on now. So I uploaded a paper in 2008 called ‘New Signals to Search Engines’ and in that paper, I was explaining why the protocol of http has reached the glass ceiling that it has done, and we are moving away from that. [Ray Curling 0:25:56], the guy who was doing the local thing before was talking about kids and smartphones – “I am 60 years old, I’ve got 5 kids, I’ve got 5 grand-children and I look at what they’re doing, with their tablets and their smartphones, and rarely do I ever see them open a browser and they could spend the whole day on the internet without ever going anywhere near the world-wide web.”

When I wrote this paper, was impressed because Chris Anderson, he mentioned the longtail before the guy who wrote the book “The Longtail” is actually quite short, by the way, if you go and check on it. He wrote a column about ‘The web is dead’ in Wired magazine, based on this thing that I had written some time ago, saying exactly the same kind of thing, so that brings me back to the ‘Concierge Search’ – to be able to predict and understand the environment around you, and all of the implicit data that Google has; not explicit, but implicit data; to be able to preempt.

So what I was saying before about searches, I mean, if you are a… I live in New York, as you can tell by my native New York accent. If you are a Yankee’s fan and you keep searching for these things, you know, if a [inaudible 0:27:07] day opened and you stayed him till they get a new player blah…blah…blah, eventually understanding that intent, you will not have to ask any more. You will just be served that information and then all of a sudden, Google becomes, not a search engine, but an information provider. It’s a different kind of thing altogether.

Michael: Great. So let’s talk about the future. So, you know, the only thing consistent is that things consistently change, so you know, David, do you envision a world without keywords entirely and you know, if you do, what steps do companies need to start taking?

David: well, first of all, the future, the next year is going to be the year of Mobile. I just want to say that, for the record. My prediction – Mobile is going to be big, Mobile is going to be huge. You know, I think it is possible and I think the problem with keywords is that they require too much knowledge to do well and that creates an inefficiency for the search engines, from both a monetization perspective and a user quality perspective and you know, I know that when Google looks at, you know, whether they should serve an ad or not, I mean, there’s two factors – how much money will it make and how likely will this ad encourage this user in the future to click on ads? So, how much money will they make now and how much money they will make in the future basically?

And I think that Google, the product people at Google feel that in many many cases, there are better ways to create both more revenue by concentrating advertisers in fewer auctions and also more user confidence in ads than through keywords and that’s…again, that’s largely because keywords require people, humans to think about, finding out, you know, what someone’s searching for, reverse engineering the search. So for that reason, it would not shock me.

I don’t think it’s going to be in the next year or so, but, you know, sometimes I will say that I do feel like a frog in slowly boiling water. I mean, you know, first they came for, you know, shopping and I didn’t care about shopping, and so it didn’t matter. Then they came for close match variant, and I didn’t care about close match variant, and you know, eventually, you get to the point where you are something like, “Hey what happened to the keywords?” So I don’t think this is going to be an overnight sensation. I do think that Google will balance revenue and user experience, but I could see it happening eventually.

Mike: I have kind of fairly radical thoughts on the changes in human behavior, the way that we consume media is so entirely different to the way that it was before and a lot of what we know about mass media has changed, a lot of the metrics and things that we used to use in advertising going back 60 years don’t work any more and I do believe that intent is the most important thing. So the radical idea that I’ve is much as people have talked many times before about shifting away from an intention economy, where advertising is always trying to burst into your life, into your space and interfere with your day, that we will move to an intention economy, that there will be this huge shift and I know it’s radical, but there will be this huge shift and whereas now we sit as marketers with our CRM, our customer relationship management systems, they are going to change and the customer will be in-charge and they will have a VRM – that will be vendor relation management and it will be a different thing altogether.

Michael: Interesting, where in Forrester research calls at the age of the customer. So let’s go and we have about 10 minutes, we are going to make sure we have enough time for questions. So you know, it looks, Gerry, what do you think the next big thing is, besides Mobile? We all agree that it’s going to be Mobile, but you know, there is the internet of things, there is the internet of me, I think the reality is at the end of day, we are all trying to strive to get to that one-to-one interaction, which is aspirational. It’s not easy to do and you know, is it man, is it machine, is it man plus machine? What are your thoughts on really what the true feature is of paid search or just, you know, internet marketing in general?

Gerry: So I think the writings on the wall, in a couple of areas, on where things are going, so if you look at what IBM is doing, if you look at what SalesForce is doing, if you look at Adobe, these are the software companies out there that are creating marketing cloud solutions and they are buying up companies and Google is doing this, right? So Google acquired Adometry and Adometry is part of the web analytics that Google Analytics side of the house in Google, but it’s no secret that double-click bid manager, which is your DSP for bidding on Programmatic Display inventory, Exchanged-Based Display Inventory, they have the inventory, right?

And then they also have double-click search and this double-click digital marketing suite is their version of their marketing cloud, and when I say they’re going to roll out the equivalent of what Facebook did, they’re going to have a level of a view of who the audience is, based on a Google id, because we all know that when we are logged in to Google and we do a search, the search results are very different organically and the search results are also, from a paid search perspective, to David’s point is, you can layer on different targeting criteria. So where it’s going is, we can read articles every day about our industry. The one theme is we are completely fucking fragmented! You know, we are all over the damn place – DSP, DMP, search technology, I am using one agency to run search and use another one for, now it’s content marketing. The hell like, now SEO, SEO 2.0 is content marketing. If you just kind of sit back and look at where Yahoo is going, with content, with Tumblr, they’re creating their own ecosystem.

Now if you line them all up, you should all do this, just line them all up and then look at the software companies that are coming at it from the other angle. Google, Facebook, Twitter coming at it from the CMO angle. SalesForce, Adobe, IBM marketing cloud, Oracle marketing cloud coming at it from the CIO level. “Hey, we’re going to manage your data,” and they are acquiring companies like social, so they get into the media business. So where is it going?

It’s the agencies or the service providers that can truly understand these ecosystems and provide solutions for clients in this world of fragmentation, where you might be using five or ten different tools. I don’t believe that…I mean, I just think that’s where it’s going. I don’t believe that there is one great marketing cloud that does everything good for you and I also don’t think that putting all your stock in a Google to do that is necessarily in the best interest of anyone either.

So I don’t know if that fully answers the question, but I think the point I am making is, we are in a storm; the next big thing is going to be the next big thing, and we need to figure out what does that really mean for our clients? Are they generating more sales? So my point about data logics is, I would love to be able to bring data logics data in, match it to a Google id, and tell a client like Louis, “This is what you got as sales in real-time in this store.” And it’s going to happen, but for those of us who need to really look ahead and figure out what the next big thing is, I think it’s not just one big thing; I think it’s all these big things kind of…glued. We are becoming middle-ware providers. We are becoming experts at all these different things that eco success for clients. Does that make sense?

Michael: It does.

Mike: I like when we use the term ‘cloud’ and everybody wants to be, like Adobe wants to be the cloud, IBM wants to be the cloud…

Gerry: 20 clouds now!

Mike: So I get my stuff on the cloud and I wanted to check on where the cloud is and with Google, where all of my documents are. It’s an industrial estate in Dublin, where they have a data center, which doesn’t sound like a cloud at all to me, but that’s where all my stuff is. I think probably the major changes you will see next year, those at a very obvious Mobile, two words that I would use – Mobile and Video.

Next year, the likelihood is and it’s a close competition, but next year I think becomes the world’s second largest search engine and becomes the world’s number one search engine. So I think there’s going to be that switch and it’s going to be a marginal thing, but people want that much richer end-user experience, so video is extremely important. I think generally speaking, in terms of looking at the future, being a futurist, we talked about, touched on the internet of things and the internet of everything, as it is now, and I am kind of a classically trained marketer and I am learning a lot or actually unlearning a lot of what I was trained to do, when it was all about mass media.

And when we talk about marketing, you can go back to the four pillars of the four p’s – you know, product, price, place and promotion and we are all very good at product, we are all very good at price, and we are all very good at promotion, but very rarely do we think about the one that had to be shoe-horned in there, which is place and that is about distribution and I think with the internet of everything, in the future, when we have things that didn’t have a voice before, machines that can talk to machines, you will see the most dramatic change ever in distribution and that will change the way that business functions.

David: To add two more things quickly on this topic. First of all, I do think next year is going to be the year of the ‘cloud’ as well, so get ready for that everyone! Now I think the way that I think about the fragmentation that was discussed, I say the opposite of long tail is the [lighttail 0:37:08] and the notion is that as search engine marketers, we truly aren’t search engine marketers any more. I think that there’s few people in this room who just wake up every morning and say, “All I have to care about is search engine marketing.” Now you care about SEM, you care about Facebook, you care about YouTube, which is, you know, a different type of marketing; you care about Twitter, LinkedIn etc. etc, so rather than the longtail of going a mile deep and an inch wide on SEM, I think that the future for all of us really is do the mile wide, inch deep; you have to go where the customers are and customers are fragmenting themselves across numerous social networks, across numerous devices etc. So you know, I just did a analysis for a client where last year, 58% of their traffic was desktop search. This year it was 53%. It’s a pretty significant drop in 12 months and that’s going to just continue.

Michael: Great. I guess we can open up to questions.

Valerie: Hi, I’m Valerie from P M Digital. David, I agree with your thinking about the nomenclature on PLAs. Keywordless ads, I know we got a little bit off topic on this panel, but really important information, so thank you guys for a great panel. Keywordless ads, we at P M Digital have a huge eCommerce kind of fusion, so we see really strong strength and growth in PLAs and dynamic search ads as well. I think the industries that were seeing barriers is largely due to compliance or things like financial services, interns and EDU, and so I don’t think that keywordless ads are going anywhere fast from that perspective. Do you have any perspective on that?

David: Well, first of all, Google did have a mortgage comparison product that they had in beta for a long time and it was actually when you did a search for mortgage, you were seeing the comparison product above all the search ads. They discontinued that and I don’t think it was because of compliance, because mortgage is as or close to as compliance, as we have insurance or financial. I actually don’t know why they discontinued that; I think it might come back.

Valerie: It’s more actually from client perspective, so we have clients in the EDU space and financial services space which we’ve been trying to get that off the ground and there’s a lot of concern with how to serve from a query perspective, so you can control the ad copy, but you can’t really control the query that would serve within that dynamic ad, so I think that’s where there is a big barrier. I know that Google had said in a meeting once with us, “If we had to do it all over again, we would have created this as the product first, than the search product.”

David: Well, I will just add one other thing. Google has addressed challenging industries in the past, so there is ‘Pharma Check’ – I think that’s what it’s called, for pharmaceutical companies, which are also heavily regulated, so I don’t see that as a barrier. I mean, I think the good news for Google when it comes to like education, for example, is that the clicks are already $30 to $50 a click, so or higher in some cases, right? So I’m not sure they have…there is losing sleep over monetizing EDU.

I think, you know, shopping is an area where there’s so many SKUs, there is so much fragmentation, that it makes a lot more sense for them to move into that space. I also think just…you know, I think PLAs are working great for people; however that may also be an albatross moment where people just don’t know how to upload their feeds and don’t know how to optimize them and so, you know, over time, I think, you know, I think my experience has been typically that people are seeing [inaudible 0:40:52] of around 400% to 500% on PLAs for shopping, and which is typically about one and a half to two times higher than what you see on a text ad, but I think that’s good with the client every time.

Mike: I think human beings have this natural information need and the only way to express it is by using words, whether you speak them or whether you type them in, the end product that comes out of search isn’t necessarily always attached specifically to those keywords, which is why the intent is much more important. So I would guess that talking about the taxonomy of search that I mentioned before, if you look at informational, which is most queries that Google gets, for instance, are informational; then navigational, transactional, you would have different kinds of content to go with those particular queries anyway. Nine times out of ten, now if you do a search at Google, and take a look at the result, the likelihood is what it was you typed in, the result that you have is important, but those keywords probably don’t even appear on the page and may be it’s a video that you get, that didn’t have those keywords in the first place, you know.

Michael: Any one?

Steve: Steve [Inaudible 0:42:14] from MediaPost. You mentioned Apple’s potential decision of dropping Google. Well, it seems to me that another, may be, the more powerful search box is that basic search box at the top of the operating system on mobile now, which is starting to do deep linking, and indexing across apps. So when I do a search, I am starting to get trained already by Apple, that I can do a search off of that top line search box and I won’t even see a web result for three to four screens down. I’m seeing specific links into apps. Does that change your thinking, that ultimately you’ve to change your thinking about partnering with specific apps. at a whole new universe, an app. universe, that you have to start talking to?

Gerry: Yeah, I didn’t mention the fifth horse! That’s Apple! I think what’s happening is you are simply seeing certain ecosystems like Apple which have the anchor, being the device in someone’s hand and the mobile being here, is being an opportunity for them to further their close walled garden ecosystem. It’s right there, the search field, and this is going to challenge, you know, I said the talking fragmentation, we are all over the place, here’s another one.

So apps. have been, I think, overlooked. A lot of our clients, they have an app. and they now are running things like the Facebook Audience Network and serving ads into apps. However, what is the content strategy? What’s your app. content strategy? What do you do with apps., when you know that a huge percentage of the population is on an Apple device and going to use that search field now? So like even with SEO for us, there is a difference between mobile SEO and desktop SEO, and we are optimizing for specific app. related queries, that goes to a whole other level.

So it is just like a new tool-kit that I think all of us need to understand and leverage. So you are absolutely right, and then there’s Google with their Android devices and even Microsoft. My wife just got a SurfacePro, and she said something so interesting to me the other day, when she was setting it up. She was like, “Wow! Microsoft really fights tooth and nail to have me not work within a Facebook or a Google.” Like she was trying to set the machine up. I was like, “No, you want to go over here, you want to go into the Microsoft world,” and was making it very very hard for her. So I can’t stress enough that like the ecosystems are, they are tightening and we need to understand them better and there will be new platforms that are specifically within these ecosystems, technology platforms, data, targeting criteria, workflow, processes that we need to learn and that’s really like the future. I mean, I just feel that’s so important.

Mike: I just really have the need to say ‘fucking fragmentation’ in a British accent, while I have the opportunity! I can do it in Iowa and …has good effect. So the ‘Concierge Search’ I’ve mentioned it before, is going to be much more about your information needs, so I think you would only talk about a device when you are driving in your car, and you talk to [inaudible 0:45:37], [inaudible 0:45:38] or whatever the other one is and ask for these things; mainly search has been around a lot of unstructured data which is what the web is built from and Google is doing a lot more now to pull in partners with structured data, which is exactly what Apple does. So when you drive your car and you ask that question, you want that information, it’s just as likely to come from open table, if you’re looking for a restaurant, as it would be to Google. So it’s not always going to be Google first,when it comes to search. Your information provider will have multi-model opportunities to give you information.

David: Just want to say one quick thing about Apple. I think there’s a cold war going on right now between Google and Facebook for international mobile dominance and Google has invested in Android for that purpose. Google has ‘Project Loon’ which sounds crazy, but is a way to drive millions of internet access around the world. Facebook has done internet data work, doing the same thing. Facebook has bought WhatsApp, which is an [interim 0:46:37] to the operating system entirely. I don’t understand why Apple has seemingly not wanted to play in this war, either from an advertising side or just say a user acquisition side. To me, it’s a huge opportunity that they’re missing. I don’t understand why ‘I Ads’ is still like, something you’ve to pay $50000 to just to play with. it is befuddling.

Great. I think with that, thank you guys for being here, we are a little over time, thanks a lot guys. And just a couple of common points on that there, if anybody wasn’t watching the tweet board, a couple of sort of studious guys in the audience did some homework and looked up on search engine [inaudible 0:47:23] places that Bing has already powering CRE and Spotlight search on Apple devices, so just to…out to the Google sort of a device, that one.


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