Digital Days: IAB’s Future of Search conference

Measurably Daring™

There ain’t no party like an IAB party! (If by party you mean forward thinking Future of Search conference, which I do ” I’m a gigantic nerd”). The theme of the day at IAB HQ was Search 24/7, highlighting the importance of the latest innovations and developments affecting client’s decisions around the clock.

They kicked us off with several hard hitting figures from VCCP: hands up who’s been told over 80% of global search queries comes through Google? Almost everyone? Amazing. We’re all in agreement? Well you’re wrong. All of you. Shame. Shame. Shame. The most recent data reveals that over 55% of all US product related searches come through… Amazon. With the recent addition to Amazon’s arsenal being Alexa and the increase in use of Voice Search, Amazon are slowly growing into Search’s new essential platform. This is a game changer, with the likes of similar Asian-centric platforms such as Alibaba following similar growth trends. So with this unconsidered platform, what other platforms, and what central view should we be providing to clients to give them an accurate representation of the services that are moving from the “suggested” category of our agencies to “essential”?

We moved over to Bing and Google reps giving us a breakdown of how search is becoming an absolute lynchpin in the consumer journey, and how we can utilise key pieces of data to inform our clients future further. What kinds of queries are our audiences searching for most? Any guesses? The answer is: to research a product or service! And what does that look like from Cortana searches: queries predominantly containing How or What questions! And here was me assuming most of voice search queries were taken up by me asking Siri to tell me a joke. Spoiler: Siri does not understand comedy.

We then had case study respondents from L’Oreal, ROAST & Secret Escapes, discussing how to manage 22 brands under one strategy, the importance of granular insights on performance and the undeniable power of using Dynamic Search Ads.

But the two elements of the entire day that truly stood out came from Sleeping Giant & Performics. Sleeping Giant’s Luke Quilter demonstrated in a series of stats how reliant we are becoming on search in all its forms, from YouTube to Uber, and how ultimately the Google fine (aka 2 Billion Euros (aka oh my god, aka literally an insane amount of money no matter the currency) is somewhat misplaced. The original complaint covering the dominant use of PLA’s over any other kind  of comparison site initially came from Foundem’s as they attempted to launch their own comparison site in 2006 and was struck down heavily by the efficient and easy-to-use Product Listing tool prompting and investigation into Google’s domination of that service. The argument was raised that similar fines have occurred for similar breaches of competitor dominant before, Microsoft installing Bing & IE as its primary browser tools on its hardware (2004, 2006, 2008) and Facebook’s acquisition and use of Whatsapp (2017). How will that affect Google aside from the burning hole in the giants back pocket? Well future roll outs of products such as CareerBuilder; pulling job listings together in a PLA like fashion and cutting out the hours spent trawling on job listing sites. This cutting out of the middle man is exactly what Foundem is contesting, and as such the current project has been put on hold. Future projects using this format may be placed on hold or permanently closed depending on the outcome of Google’s counter ” nevertheless” the impact this is going to have is undeniable.

The second section came from Performics segment on the rising importance of visual search. So much so the very first statement presented was “Images are the most important deciding factor when making a purchase” a hefty statement, but one backed up by a plethora of data. We have attention spans less than goldfish, we process images 60,000 times faster than language, the importance of keywords is being eroded! A lot to take in, but with the rise in technology being invested in platforms such as Pinterest and Google Image Search catering to the huge increase in demand for these services, they’re not wrong. Our audiences are starting to branch out, get ideas and purchase through new channels and convert in different ways. They highlighted the importance of the rapidly changing digital landscape, and even more importantly how we as advertisers have a first-hand opportunity to adapt to this.

Jess – PPC Account Manager at Fetch