Google's Matt Bush: What can search tell us about the future of advertising?

| 29 Jul, 2014

GoogleŠ—'s Matt Bush: What can search tell us about the future of advertising? from Digital Journeys

Hello everyone. I'm back here for my third year, thank you Jellyfish for inviting me back.

First year I talked about winning the moments that matter for those of you who remember. So making sure you got the right content in the right place at the right time, last year I talked about the future of search. And some of the techs and tools and hardware that actually are starting to develop search. This year I'm going to move things around a little bit, go back to the basics of search. I think we've lost some of the basics of search, so I'm going to take you on a bit of a journey, which I'll be honest with you, I've changed virtually overnight. And you'll see why as we go through the presentation, there is a big event going on in Brazil right now and I want to kind ofξcenter the presentation around that.

So I was going to do something completely different so if this fails miserably, bear with me but I'm sure it won't. So the first thing I want to bring up is my picture, seriously, are you kidding me? So I'm going to do a picture of Jim and throw him in the competition to see if I can make him look as if he's at an exorcism as well.

So here we go, moving on. So look, you are all search marketers, you are all excellent search marketers and if there is stuff that you don't know about Google, then you can speak to Jellyfish about it.

What I want to do today is to think about search in a slightly different way, go back to the beginnings of search and the reason why we actually started to do search originally. And try to get to grips with this, what can search tell us about the future of advertising?

Now let's start with a contentious statement and this isn't meant as a dig at my very, very good friends at Twitter who are coming on directly after me. I'm a massive Twitter fan. It's my number one social network after YouTube and Google Plus. But what I'm trying to say here is when we publish things in social spaces, we curate them. We are thinking about what we publish, we're being very, very careful about the type of persona that we're putting forward about ourselves. So if you look at my Instagram page for example, it looks like I got the lift of a Hollywood A lister. I haven't, I've got three kids and I do a lot of really, really dull stuff.

But as far as Instagram is concerned, it looks like I got an unbelievable life. Search is different, search behavior is often strange but it's always true. It's where we're intimate, it's where we're truthful, and itŠ—Ès where we're honest. We go to search when we want to find answers to stuff that quite often we don't really know who to ask. Quite often we don't really want them to know we're asking. So I want us to explore some of this to look at some of the ways that we can try and exploit this behavior that's going on in search, to actually deliver better experiences for our consumers and better campaigns for our sales.

So first of all, obviously Google presentation, we need some big numbers in there, two and a half billion users globally of Google search now. Two and a half billion, that's a lot of people, doing about a hundred billion searches every single month. A hundred billion searches every month, of those about 15% are new every month. 15% of searches we've never seen before. The average search behavior is about 25 searches a day.

So what does this gives us? This basically gives us a kind of the largest focus group that we could imagine in the world. These are people around the globe, telling us exactly what they're thinking and what they're feeling and what they're really, really interested in. And because of mobile, we're always in search mode.

So we don't have to wait until we get to a desktop, we can search whenever we want, wherever we want. I was lucky enough to get Google Glass last year, I think I might have demoed it here last year, I can't remember. So that's starting to take away the barriers of a device.

On Monday, I trialed the new LG G-Watch, so the LG G-watch, it's basically on your wrist, you don't even have to take a phone out of your pocket, what a disaster that would be. But basically you say, Š—“Okay Google, take me to ReigateŠ— and it will give you directions without you having to do anything whatsoever on your wrist. So the fact is we're searching more and more and more. And so there's more and more information that we're finding out about consumers, about what they're thinking and feeling and believing.

Who remembers this phrase, the database of intentions? Anyone remember this, anyone at all? James good lad, Oli, thank you, he works at Google so I hoped so. So this was a quote by a very, very smart guy called John Patel, back in 2003. And this was what he used to describe Google Search, by then Google search was about five or six years old. He wanted to try and understand what Google search was telling us about human behavior. I'm actually going to read very quickly something that he said in his original blog post, which is still online obviously because itŠ—Ès the database of intentions, you can find anything online using search.

So there's a really nice piece that I can share with you in detail but the bit that really resonates with me. Google represents in aggregate form a placeholder for the intentions of human kind. A massive database of desires, needs, wants and likes that can be discovered, archived, tracked and exploited. Now are you doing all of those things right now?

Or are you basically thinking that I know if I put these certain keywords into an ad words query, into an ad words campaign, I can sell a couple of hundred cameras a day. There is all this rich data in there that we're missing right now. And I think marketing has gotten really, really complex. So what I'm talking about is going back to basics, if you look at the winners of Cannes. The Cannes Lion, the winners in Cannes Lion tended to not be thinking about new technology platforms.

But they tend to be going back to basics, about great storytelling, about understand your customer and about getting great insights from your marketing campaigns. And we're seeing some really, really interesting changes in the way that people are using search. So originally it was just 'what?' It was what do I need this for? Just really, really basic questions, but we're now moving into much more existential questions. Searches for 'why?' are growing one and a half times as fast as 'what?'. As people get a lot more sophisticated about the way they use search. So these are the top kind of three time memorial searches. So 'why is the sky blue?', I think for anybody who knows Rob Pierre, the CEO of Jellyfish had done a phenomenal video on why the sky is blue. I urge you to seek that out because it's fantastic.

Why do men cheat? A colleague of mind maybe can answer that, I don't know. Why do cats purr?These are things that people ask all the time, if we bring this forward into 2014, the top why search in 2014 is 'why was Flappy Bird deleted?' Everyone knows what Flappy Bird is right? This is giving you an insight into what's really important to consumers. Now, I'm not suggesting you're going to do a huge amount of why was Flappy Bird deleted? But it does demonstrate that this is changing all the time.

There are some things that are constant, there are some things that people are always interested in like 'why is the sky blue?' But then there are things like 'why was Flappy Bird deleted?' Which is absolutely of the time that will not be anywhere near the top why queries next year.

The other thing is searches for 'how to' have tripled in the last three years. So these are people actually using the Internet to develop themselves, to try and understand more about the world that they live in. If I think about, I've got three kids; my three kids always get mentioned in my presentation. So my six year old has basically taught herself how to build better houses in Minecraft by watching StampyLongNose videos. There are hundreds and hundreds of hours of this guy, he's got the most irritating laugh, please don't allow your kids to get into it. But I have no idea how to play Minecraft, she has done everything on her own.

My ten year old has taught herself how to do very sophisticated loom bands, this isn't why I've got one on today; it's not one of my sophisticated ones. But she's taught herself how to do that just by watching YouTube videos.

And my eight year old is a bit of a fashionista, we'll come to that in a second and she's constantly trying new things with her hair, just teaching herself on videos in YouTube. Now these are all people kind of saying I'm interested in this stuff, come and talk to me, come and give me more content, come and give me more information about this area that I'm particularly interested in. So there is this kind of hierarchy of search queries, you got what at the bottom. Which is the standard stuff, which is probably where most of your campaigns are aimed at the moment.ξ

How, why, but then what's next, where is this going to go to next? And I think by looking at Google Search and trying to understand what's under the bonnet, what people are really searching for we could get to that answer.

So for those of you here last year, you heard me talk about Google trying to build this Star Trek computer. And this is essentially what Larry is getting at here, so the perfect search engine understand exactly what you want, exactly what you mean and gives back exactly what you want. So the point is we should understand what it is that you're trying to get at, we should know the context, we should know who you are and we should know where you are. And if we know that, we can give you much, much better information back. Isn't it the same with brands? Shouldn't brands be doing the same thing with their consumers?

Shouldn't they really be trying to understand what it is that there consumers mean? And then giving them back exactly what they want? Rather than having some products which we try and push towards our consumers? So some things to keep in mind, the kind of the notion of purpose not product. What people are really interested in increasingly in search, isn't can I find this particular product? It's can you tell me more about how I use a product. So can you tell me more about how I might cycle in France as opposed to can you help me buy a bike in France?

Those things are still going on, but they're not going on as much. There's much bigger ratio of searches about purpose, not product. If we look at the kind of the hierarchy of those searches, purpose searches, category searches, which IŠ—Èm sure, you are familiar with. So purpose would be cycle routes in France. Category searches would be bikes, branded searches would be a specialized bike.

And generally for brands that aren't necessarily sold online, we see about a ten to one ratio of purpose vs. branded. Ten to one ratio of products that aren't sold online. So FMCG products predominately but there are a number of different examples. So at the moment it's quite likely that this is the bit you're taking advantage of, it's this bit here, the branded search and maybe category search as well. Part of the reason behind that is because of what digital did in the first place.

Digital made marketing the most efficient means of driving performance ever invented in the history of the world. So you've probably got, if you're working with Jellyfish, they held to very tight CPAs, that you don't allow them to shift away from. But those CPAs were probably created when you were thinking about digital with a much smaller audience. And probably thinking about digital just on a desktop, now digital is everyone and most people are using a mobile device or a different screen.

Most people are searching about lots and lots of other things. So how do we take advantage of all of this stuff? Which you're probably doing if you're running any kind of offline campaign, you're probably taking advantage of all of that. TV, press or outdoor or radio, have all been driven by this.

But your audience is here and they're telling you that I'm interested in this area, why wouldn't you get involved? So this is showing you at the bottom, running shoes and Nike Running. So Nike Running is one of the biggest running brands, running shoes, it's pretty big. But you can see there's not a lot of variance, it's kind of ticking along at the bottom. If we layer over the top of that marathon running, you can see there's about four times as much traffic with a big spike during the marathon last year and the data would tell you the same. So these people are saying Š—“Tell me about marathon running, I want to understand more.Š—

We know this audience is growing, there's a lot more women coming into marathon running. A lot of middle aged men having mid-life crisisŠ—È going into marathon running and trying to stay trim. And so we know that this category has grown, but at the moment no one is really playing there, Nike isn't playing there, Asics isn't playing there, Saucony isn't playing there.

Why not? These people are saying, Š—“Help me understand more about marathon runningŠ— and so you can get some traction from here. But you can't take advantage of all of that. So one company that has, one of the biggest companies on the planet in terms of marketing, Unilever. So Unilever noticed, using the ten to one ratio, there are about ten times more searches around what you can do with your hair as opposed to the products that they actually sell. So things like Dove or Tresemm’© and things like that, that's the limit of my Unilever hair products.

So how can we play in this space? If people are interesting in hair, how can we play in this space? What they did initially was they looked at a thousand different key words and started to put them into themes. So things like hair inspiration, products for specific problems with hair. And then they thought do we have the right to play in this space? Is our brand right for this space? And when they decided that it was, they started to reach out to bloggers.

For those of you who are fans of YouTube or have daughters at home, you all know the straight to camera how-to beauty video is one of the biggest sub genres in YouTube. It's just blown up, it didn't exist anywhere on the planet before, and now it's just massive. And so what they did was they connected to a bunch of bloggers who already got massive audiences and started to say if you could do a few more videos using Unilever products around some of these things?

So they started to create new content but using people who already had audiences. And so ultimately this led to a cycle of All Things Hair, just using originally search data. Looking at search data, looking at things people were interested in and then building this, this is not expensive to do.

Ok, it's Unilever and you might be thinking they're a massive global brand, they are, but this is not expensive to do, anybody could do this. It's just building out these partnerships with the right people. Various videos that you've got about frizz which is obviously a massive problem for me. And then once you've done that, how do you actually get people to try and find your content? It's all very well to put content out there, you have to connect that audience.

Obviously, search is a pretty good place to start. So now, bun hair styles, again massive in my house, is the number one ad on Google. So previously, bun hair styles, somebody else would own that. It would have been a link about who knows what. Now Unilever is in there getting the products out there in a very different way. Adding some value to the consumer when they want it most.

The consumer is going to think much more keenly towards Unilever products next time. So search data helps us makes products with purpose, I'm going to skip through this quite quickly, anyone ever heard of Hombre? Who knows Hombre? So Hombre is basically a two-tone hairstyle, so you basically dip dye the bottom of your hair. These are things that we never knew.

Nobody knew and apparently it's become a big craze in Hollywood a couple of years ago. And using Google Search data, L'Oreal found out, there were loads and loads of people looking for Hombre hairstyles and there wasn't a product that actually delivered that. You could go to a hairdresser and pay $300 for it, but you couldn't actually do it at home. So there's a search trend growing massively, so they actually created a product specifically to allow people to apply a Hombre hairstyle. It's the fastest growing product they've had in the last two years and it was just from using search data. So even big FMCG companies can very quickly look at search data and improve their business as a result.

It's not just your product but it's your purpose that counts. And culture is hugely important. Now what the Internet has done is obviously give us this notion of a global culture. If you look at some the ads that ran for the World Cup, so I'm thinking of Nike, Adidas, Beats and McDonalds even. These are global ads, they're running in every single country in the world and that's how they can get like 100 million views in a week on YouTube which is what they did.

And so for that reason, sometimes we think that everyone around the world is looking for exactly the same thing. That's not the case, global culture doesn't equal a monoculture, there are very different local nuances that we need to take into account. Martijn, my colleague will be up later to talk about export and how you can actually start to use with Google, to understand some of those local personalization that you need to add in.

But what you can do using search data is show how we are the same, but also how sometimes we are very, very different. So if you are thinking about exporting or if you're even thinking about doing something different, this becomes quite important. Who's a parent in the room? A few people, so becoming a parent is probably the most extreme binary metamorphosis of anything.

One day you're not a parent, next day you are. And you kind of expected to know what goes on right when you become a parent. All of a sudden it's like I have a baby and I'm supposed to be an expert and nobody tells you what to do. People turn to Google a lot to try and understand how to become a better parent, it's one of the biggest categories that we have.

What we see are these massive differences between the ways people search and the things that people are concerned about. So in the US, we looked at a bunch of queries, and just to give you an idea of local differences, can pregnant women eat shrimp? Now we wouldn't even use the term shrimp in the UK, it would be prawns. But in the US it's shrimp, in India it's pizza so Indian women are worried about eating pizza and I have no idea why, if anyone can help me, maybe Hari later on. Germany, can they fly, Brazil, can I dye my hair? So it's giving you a really good insight into local markets. In Nigeria it's drink cold water, so clearly they're a bit scared about the quality of the water. Anyone hazard a guess as to what it is in the UK? It's a bit dull actually, cheese, I tell you what, you guys are good. Eat feta cheese, look at that.

So can pregnant women eat feta cheese? This is even better actually, my pregnant wife, so if you put in the search term my pregnant wife, in Mexico it's romantic. They're Latin lovers, poems for my pregnant wife, words of love for my pregnant wife. Let's look at the Americans, what do I do? Now what? But us Brits don't get off lightly either, let's have a look at what the UK does. And it goes on and on and on, and this is true, test it this afternoon. I promise you it's true, poor old Brits.

We wanted to look at how we can test our differences in a moment of togetherness. Now you probably realize that there is a big soccer tournament happening in Brazil right now, it's a bit difficult to get away from it. Couple of great games again last night and we wanted to try and understand how Google search had evolved, how people who interacted with Google had evolved. But also the differences between local markets.

So the first thing we did was go back four years, so we looked at the World Cup final in 2010 to try and understand search behavior. So as you can see, general research behavior happened at the end of the game. So right at the end of the game, there's a big spike in search, and you can see the big spike around the goal. And predominately around desktop as well, so desktop is taking about 18% of all searches. Fast forward four years to the champion's league final and as you can see, search grids are happening throughout the entire match.

It's happening every single minute of the game, yeah there are also spikes around the goals but there are spikes everywhere. 63% of searches are now happening on mobiles, so there's a consistent behavior for people to constantly be looking at their phones and trying to understand a lot more of what's going on the pitch.

So just think about this, we create this World Cup trends, war room in effect. So we put a bunch of people in a room for the whole of the World Cup to look for these real time trends. So at the moment you can use Google Trends, Google Insights to try and understand some of this stuff, we want to do it on the fly, we want to do it the second each match had finished.

There are some of the guys working on the World Cup trends, so these are some of the numbers we're expecting to see at the end of the tournament. So some of the things that we've noticed, so if you look at the one on the left, which was Germany's first match. So people in the US weren't particularly interested, so initially searches for Jurgen Klinsmann,ξthe US manager were higher, double the number in Germany as they were in the US.

By a couple of games later, searches for the World Cup in US were higher than anything else, they were searching more for the World Cup than anything else ever. Now I don't know if you've read any of the reports about the US, finished now they're out. But up until then, a massive World Cup fever has gripped the US for the first time ever. And we knew this was happening because we could see it in Google search, it was up and running already.

And there are some new stars that have come up, James Rodriguez, he was virtually unheard of outside of Colombia and the Tottenham Scout who turned him down. After he scored that amazing goal, which if you haven't seen, please watch it on YouTube, he became the most searched player on the planet ahead of Messi, ahead of Ronaldo, ahead of Neymar. And as you can see, there are still some keen interests in the wives of some of the footballers. I don't know if you've seen Wesley Snipes' wife, most of us have searched for her.

And just looking at some of the group stages. So UK or England, did get number two in terms of most searched for teams in the group stages. So even though we are having search a disaster, we were still actually performing quite well in search. And a favorite of mine, we havenŠ—'t got David Beckham anymore, so we didn't get a listing in the best hair, but Neymar is now beating Ronaldo and David Luiz for best hair. He's got a front Hombre, I don't know if you've seen him. But he's got a front Hombre. And then again, Naymar and his ex-girlfriend are very popular.

To wrap up, I just want to give you a quick insight there into some of the things we're looking at right now. And these real time trends are becoming more personal and please speak to us if you want to find something more about your business. But by the next World Cup, we might not need a war room, we don't know how this is going to transition, what dashboards can we build for you so you can just take advantage of this and we don't need to have humans mining this.

Everything should be machine learning as far as we're concerned. And it might not even be the World Cup, who knows what global event is going to come up in the next four years that's going to bring everyone together but also enable us to show our differences.

So some key takeaways just think beyond your CPA, CPC campaigns and start to use search. Even if you're not necessarily running campaigns against it to start with, use search in a very, very different way to understand what you're consumers are searching for. Watch out for those hockey stick curves, if you see something rising dramatically, that is a trend and so jump all over it and make sure that you're taking advantage of it.

There are some global truths out there, so there are some things that without question bring the world together. But there are some things that are quite unique to different parts of the world. London has got a very different search behavior to maybe not to Reigate because we're quite similar, but maybe to the North East and Scotland.

And listen to the data, so the data isn't lying. This is real data and do everything you can to actually take advantage of what the audience is telling you.

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