Consumer journey and online search (Interview of Rob Griffin – YP National)

YP National.

Today’s consumer journey is almost always kicked off with an online search. And it doesn’t end there — consumers use search to find reviews, compare prices and locate a business near them. This reliance on search gives marketers a unique opportunity to connect with consumers in a meaningful way throughout the decision process.

Over the next few months, we’ll be featuring a series of interviews with search experts to explore the opportunities and challenges for brands in the ever-evolving world of search marketing.

Our first interview is with Rob Griffin. Rob spent the past decade building search marketing teams and product solutions for Havas Media clients worldwide. He possesses a unique global perspective on the next wave of advancements and challenges we should expect for search in the years ahead.

Rob recently brought his transformative expertise back to North America, joining Havas Media’s U.S. management team as EVP of Futures & Innovation.

He spoke with T.S. Kelly and Henry Hall of The Media Strategist about his perspectives on local search and the future of SEM.

While keeping close watch on the dramatic changes happening within local, data, programmatic, etc., what are some of the trends you’re witnessing in the search arena?

To be clear, innovation in SEM is a vital part of my new role. Despite the many ways consumer search is evolving via local, mobile, etc., in the 10 years since I launched the first search department at Havas, the three fundamental reasons why people use search remain unchanged – discovery, immersion and navigation.

1. Discovery — I want to discover something new
2. Immersion — I want to immerse myself in that topic
3. Navigation — Using search as a primary navigation tool

What has changed is how consumers search. Google and a few others still largely own the navigation piece. Much of the discovery and immersion activity, however, has fragmented, splintering off into niche, app-based environments. Our internal numbers show it; depending on the platform or category, over 40% of search activity takes place outside the major search engines.

What does search fragmentation look like from the consumer’s point of view?

Let’s consider John Doe, passionate wine enthusiast, who constantly seeks out new varietals and labels. John starts the discovery process in his favorite wine app, shifting to Facebook for wines friends are discussing and then Twitter to hear from the experts. He revisits his wine app, heads over to Amazon for pricing options, and later utilizes YP for local shopping options. John may even access Expedia for travel ideas to visit the vineyard itself.

All this time, John is continuously shifting focus, ‘zigzagging’ back and forth between immersion and navigation. Google or another general search engine may be somewhere in the zigzag, but typically just playing the navigational role.Consumer journey

That’s a quite a bit of jumping around. How does all this ‘zigzagging’ consumer behavior impact the local search marketer’s planning process?

‘Zigzagging’ creates fragmentation, disjointed and frequently disconnected user experiences, an anathema to attribution and related ad tech in our space. It comes down to two critical SEM challenges, with regard to local – attribution and integrated planning tools.

Attribution. In a ‘zigzag’ consumer scenario, general search engines such as Google lose some ‘connective tissue’ to specialized apps such as local search, maps, etc., living outside of search domains. When consumers go back to Google (for navigation), relevant mid-funnel search activity will be absent. It’s hard to rely on existing attribution models if they’re missing key touchpoints of the consumer zigzag.

 Integrated Planning Tools. Simply, we need more holistic management for all forms of search. Search marketers have lots of tools – Kenshoo, Marin, etc., are OK with Google, Facebook, etc.  However, none offer clearance into search activity inside specialized app environments. Even useful location-specific services like YP — I’d love them further integrated in relation to all other SEM activity.

What would it mean to marketers if the industry could better address these issues?

I could offer dozens of possible applications if attribution could incorporate more apps activity and related tools could better integrate the planning and results. However, bottom line is the bottom line; my SEM teams would not only spend time and investment across more apps and more specialized tools, we would likely have a more holistic view on how to better utilize local for our brands, YP included.

Stay tuned for part 2 of our interview with Rob — coming next week.


BMW Radically Rethinks The Car Buying Experience with the Genius product

BMW Radically Rethinks The Car Buying Experience.


The world’s automakers are showing off their sleek new 2015 models and concept cars at the New York International Auto Show, which opens to the public today. The most radical innovation in the car industry might not be obvious on the show floor, but instead in the showroom of a BMW dealership near you.

Like many of the world’s most admired car brands, BMW AG is taking the wraps off its newest models at the NY Auto Show. The German automaker unveiled its new M4 convertible and an X3 crossover SUV. It also showed off the 4-Series Gran Coupe. If that’s not confusing enough for the average car buyer, BMW also introduced the X4 model, which will be offered in the U.S. as the xDrive28i and the xDrive35i. BMW offers more than 40 different models, in addition to countless configurations. How can the average salesperson at a BMW dealership be expected to educate shoppers on an increasingly complex number of choices and facilitate sales transactions all day long? They can’t, and that’s why BMW is radically rethinking the entire customer experience.

“The dealership experience is as old as the car industry, roughly one hundred years old. While cars have changed, the retail experience is much the same as it was one hundred years ago,” says Dr. Ian Robertson who oversees global sales and marketing for BMW and is a member of the company’s board. In a recent interview from his office in Munich, Robertson told me that about four years ago BMW’s leaders realized that the retail experience was changing dramatically and that the luxury car maker would have to evolve its dealership experience to remain relevant. “The old model of dealerships are, in my opinion, under extreme risk for the future if we don’t change,” says Robertson.

BMW leaders studied brands outside of the car industry to create BMW’s “future retail strategy.” According to Robertson it led to “a complete redevelopment of BMW’s digital world, the physical experience at the dealership, and how our people interact with customers in the sales process.”

Meet the geniuses. With an obvious nod to the Apple AAPL +1.14% Store, BMW decided to create a new role in its dealerships—the product genius. The BMW product genius is a non-commissioned expert who will spend as long as it takes to educate car shoppers about their choices. According to Robertson, “We have a sophisticated product and it’s complicated to explain. For example, we have a 3-series, 5-series, 7-series, and Roadsters. Then we added a range of X-products, 6-series, etc. The product genius is not a salesperson. The product genius is there to explain the products and to help the customer understand the product in more detail.”

“Dr. Robertson, are you saying that if I leave a BMW dealership without having purchased a car, the product genius won’t chase after me to make a sale?” I asked.

“The product genius is not encumbered by the sale process and is not motivated to sell a car,” Robertson responded. “His motivation is customer satisfaction.”

BMW has already recruited about 900 people [≈ population of Jamestown, capital city of Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha] for its product genius positions and will hire a total of 2,000 over the next 12 months. In another sign that BMW is radically rethinking the entire car buying experience, the automaker is searching outside its industry for the best candidates. New hires for the role of product genius include people from the hotel industry, electronics, technology, and other service sectors. “We’re looking for a person with emotional empathy, great communication skills, and motivated to excel in a service environment,” adds Robertson.

Overcoming inertia. Robertson acknowledges that during the piloting phase of the program some dealers were skeptical. Dealerships with three or four salespeople were being asked to add a person to the payroll who wasn’t in a sales role. “It wasn’t an easy sell,” says Robertson. “But in our pilots, dealerships started seeing the benefit. Now some are saying, ‘I have five salespeople and one genius; maybe I should have three salespeople and twogeniuses or maybe three geniuses.” In the pilot dealerships customer satisfaction scores went up because customers didn’t feel pressured into a sale and the salespeople could spend more time on what they did best – facilitating trade-ins, financing, and completing the transaction.

Building customer loyalty. The product genius role is just one way BMW isrethinking the dealership experience. The physical space is also being reconsidered. “We want the space to be more inviting and engaging,” says Robertson. “What you’ll see are open floor plans, traditional desks replaced with tables where people sit next to each other, and large screens to help customers visualize cars with different colors and characteristics.” The dealerships will also offer a seamless multi-channel transition from the digital store to the physical one. For example, a customer can begin researching and configuring a car online and, once they enter a store, the product genius can call up the product and extend the relationship that began in the digital space. The genius will also be in charge of the delivery of the car and will encourage the customer to visit the store for follow-up questions or instruction, creating even more brand loyalty.

Near the end of our conversation Robertson made an observation that applies to most business ventures in today’s digital economy: “What we have done in the past is definitely, definitely, definitely, not good enough for the future.” BMW isn’t satisfied with the status quo. Its leaders realize that today’s customers experience products very differently than they did even five yearsago.  Brands that fail to improve the experience at every touch point run the very real risk of losing the loyalty of their customers.

Carmine Gallo is a popular keynote speaker and bestselling author of “The Apple Experience” and “Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds.”

UK Mobile Ad Spend Hits £1bn | Mobile Marketing Magazine

UK Mobile Ad Spend Hits £1bn | Mobile Marketing Magazine.

Mobile ad spend broke the billion pound mark in 2013, hitting £1.03bn, 93 per cent up on the 2012 total of £529m, according to the latest Internet Advertising Bureau UK (IAB) Digital Adspend report, conducted by PwC. Mobile now accounts for 16 per cent of all digital advertising spend compared to 10 per cent in 2012.

Social media advertising spend on mobile increased to £221.8m in 2013, and by 71 per cent across digital channels overall, to £588.4m. Consequently, mobile now accounts for 35 per cent of total digital social media advertising.

Display advertising across the internet and mobile grew by 22 per cent on a like-for-like basis to reach £1.86bn. With mobile display growing by 180 per cent on a like-for-like basis to £432.4m in 2013, mobile now accounts for 23 per cent of total digital display advertising.

Digital advertising online and on mobile increased by 15.2 per cent to 6.3bn, compared to £5.45bn in 2012. And among media owners who submitted revenue figures to the IAB/PwC, tablet-dedicated advertising (not including internet advertising displayed on a tablet by default) grew by over 400 per cent to reach at least £34.4m in 2013; up from £6.8m in 2012.

Tablet ownership up
This increase has been fuelled by an increase in tablet ownership, which grew 63 per cent year-on-year from 11m to 17.9m Britons in February 2014 according to comScore’s mobiLens research. Over one in four British consumers now owns a tablet, and 36 per cent of people accessing the internet are now doing so via tablets, according to UKOM/comScore February 2014 figures.

57 per cent of tablet owners online say it’s their “go-to” device to surf the internet at home, according to YouGov data. 66 per cent say it’s easier to go online using a tablet, while 65 per cent say they like to use them while watching TV.

Online banking 
Banking and finance is the area of people’s lives that would be most affected without the internet or mobile phone – cited by 48% of Britons online – followed by keeping up with current affairs (37 per cent) and relationships with friends and family (35 per cent).

“Digital advertising continues to grow at impressive rates simply because marketers are becoming more responsive and savvy to the increasing ways people consume content across different devices,” said Tim Elkington, director of research & strategy at the IAB. “However, there’s still a lot of work for the industry to do when it comes to tablet advertising. Spend on ads designed specifically for tablets is growing fast but it’s still a very small part of the pie – despite the increase in tablet ownership, and the crucial role they play in people’s internet use at home. The tablet has moved from the offices of early adopters to the nation’s living rooms and advertisers should be following suit.”

Paid-for search marketing increased 14 per cent on a like-for-like basis to £3.49bn. Classifieds, including recruitment, property and automotive listings, grew 9 per cent like-for-like to £886.5m, accounting for 14 per cent of digital ad spend.

Video advertising grew by 62 per cent year-on-year to £324.9m. Video now accounts for 18 per cent of all online and mobile display advertising. Driven by mobile display and video, the consumer goods sector continued its dominance as the biggest spender on digital display advertising, overall – accounting for 18 per cent in 2013, compared to 16 per cent in 2012.

Zac Pinkham, managing director, EMEA at advertising platform, Millennial Media, believes that breaking through the £1bn mark proves that mobile has moved from an experimental to a strategic phase.

“Where the UK mobile ad market was initially driven by performance advertisers, these results show that it’s now maturing and mirroring the US more closely as growth is fuelled by brand advertisers,” he said. “Driven by a 93 per cent overall rise on the previous year, the IAB’s results have indicated the significant impact of tablets near-ubiquity in UK households in driving spend. Our own platform data from 2013 supports this, with tablets accounting for 24 per cent of ad impressions, and overall growth also being driven by mobile video and display advertising.
“Mobile ad spend is only set to continue, and we believe that the next phase of growth is in new measurement solutions. When brands can easily evaluate the effectiveness of mobile to demonstrate the impact on real-world metrics – such as brand uplift, foot traffic, or increased revenue – then I believe we’ll see even further dramatic growth in the industry.”


Les réseaux sociaux remplaceront les moteurs de recherche

Les réseaux sociaux remplaceront les moteurs de recherche.

Un sondage de Forrester (*) montre que pour trouver des sites web 54% des sondés affirment utiliser les moteurs de recherche. 32% des sondés disent utiliser les réseaux sociaux pour trouver des sites.


En 2010 la part des sondés qui disaient trouver des sites depuis les réseaux sociaux était de 18% ; en 2011 ils étaient 25% et en 32% en 2012. La progression de l’utilisation des réseaux sociaux pour trouver des sites est donc manifeste. Les gens considèrent les réseaux sociaux comme une alternative aux moteurs de recherche.

Sérendipité contre Recherche

L’importance grandissante du social media face aux moteurs de recherche révèle que les gens s’habituent progressivement, à leur insu, au concept de sérendipité.

Ainsi, est-il juste de comparer un site de réseau social à un moteur de recherche quand l’un permet dedécouvrir et l’autre de rechercher ? Si le site de réseau social met à disposition des fonctionnalités pertinentes pour la recherche d’informations, alors oui la comparaison peut être effectuée. Le hashtag –mot-dièse -, par exemple, permet d’effectuer des recherches de données en temps réel sur un sujet précis. Twitter améliore souvent son filtre de recherche, notamment celui de TweetDeck. Même Facebook vient de s’y mettre en introduisant le hashtag dans son réseau social.

Les moteurs de recherche permettent de chercher des informations précises dans des sites web qu’ils sont susceptibles de connaître. Comme les réseaux sociaux les moteurs de recherche permettent aussi de découvrir de nouvelles sources d’informations dans de nouveaux sites web, mais étant donné la nature statique des moteurs de recherche les informations proposées dans les premières pages sont parfois vieillissantes malgré l’annonce de l’ingénieur de Google Amit Singhal en 2011. Celui-ci affirmait que le moteur de recherche de Google utilisait un algorithme de fraîcheur qui visait à présenter les résultats les plus à jour possibles. L’année précédente, en 2010, Google Caffeine était lancé, il s’agissait d’un nouveau système d’indexation qui indexait et affichait plus rapidement les nouveaux contenus web dans les résultats naturels de Google.

La progression rapide du social media

Il faut noter que le sondage révèle aussi une croissance de l’utilisation des moteurs de recherche. Entre 2011 et 2012 le taux d’utilisation des moteurs de recherche pour trouver un site est passé de 50% à 54%. Toutefois la progression n’est pas au même niveau que celle de l’utilisation des médias sociaux. D’ici 2 à 3 ans l’utilisation des réseaux sociaux pourrait arriver au même niveau que l’utilisation des moteurs de recherche.

(*) Rapporté par le site Search Engine Land. Le document du sondage coûte 499$.

Infographie : la Longue Traîne SEO – Actualité Abondance

Infographie : la Longue Traîne SEO – Actualité Abondance.

Une infographie qui nous propose quelques graphiques et explications sur le concept de ‘longue traîne’ (long tail), essentiel en SEO…

Notre infographie du vendredi est proposée aujourd’hui parBitRebels et nous présente un grand classique du SEO en images : les notions de “courte traîne” et “longue traîne” chères à Chris Anderson, rédacteur en chef du magazine Wired qui a pour la première fois développé cette idée en 2004. Un concept qui a par la suite été adapté au monde du SEO : définition, taille des mots clés, potentiel de positionnement et taux de conversion et de clic, bref, quelques graphiques intéressants pour mieux s’approprier ce concept essentiel en SEO  :

Source de l’image : Bit Rebels

Making the Most Out of Search Data

Making the Most Out of Search Data.

Search data is not one-size-fits-all – it goes way beyond search engine marketing and knowing which search led to a specific action. In fact, if search data can be used to forecast flu outbreaks, then I think we should consider the use cases beyond just an SEM campaign.

There are various search entities where data resides – such as search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo!, and then other search entities including vertical sites, shopping comparison engines, e-commerce sites and social networks. The combination of all of these searches is creating opportunities for marketers to take search data beyond SEM and into other types of marketing territory.

Value Of Search Data Beyond Search Engines

Today’s search world is anything but linear. When you think about it, search has really become more organic; something that has grown into multiple elements and can be placed in a variety of contexts to provide greater insights. Marketers should start by understanding that the use of search data in SEM is different from the use of search in display.

Additionally, search data is a great source of consumer behavior and an identifying factor of where a consumer is within the purchasing funnel.FUnnelSearchKeywords

Given this sheer volume of data, it’s easy to see why search data is becoming more important for display advertisers. Today, search data allows display advertisers to reach a broader audience, proving that it’s no longer just a lower level, funnel-marketing channel for SEM advertisers.

This has evolved because in display, marketers aren’t buying keywords related to a search from a list, but an audience based on search. Rather than bidding on specific keywords; in display, you are targeting a much larger audience that is based on other related words, not just a single keyword.

For example, in search, marketers that want to target using the keyword “lawyer” will need to purchase all three related keywords: attorney, legal advice and lawyer.

In display, that same “lawyer” keyword is expanded to include related terms, and would result in an audience that includes people that search for lawyer, attorney, law advice, lawsuit, legal counsel, etc. These keywords are without an additional cost to the marketer and result in an increased reach for the campaign.SEMvsDIsplay

Search Engines + Other Search Entities = Greater Insights

As mentioned earlier, search data that is used in display advertising comes from a vast range of sites that aren’t search engines. These types of sites include e-commerce sites, vertical and shopping comparison sites and social networking sites.vertical_sites

The breadth of data available on these sites increases the likelihood that display campaigns based on search will reach consumers earlier in the purchase cycle. This allows advertisers to get their brand and message in front of those consumers during the influence/consideration phase, before they have made their purchasing decision.

The analysis of various sources of search data leads to a pool of insights into consumer trends, purchasing decisions, and the demographics of consumers that are searching for your product or related products.

For example, when you combine search with additional browsing behaviors, marketers get a much richer picture of how long a consumer may consider specific products, what factors play a role in the purchasing process, the kinds of sites that consumers who are interested in the product visit, and other, perhaps even unrelated products, your consumer audience is interested in, etc.

Understanding The Value Of Search In Display

While the search industry has had a proven model since the ’90s, it’s also true that display has created even more value for the search channel and its data. In my opinion, marketers shouldn’t overlook the value that comes, very cost-effectively, from the use of combining search data with display advertising, as many of the insights gleaned go beyond what Google and Bing have.

Search data shouldn’t be seen just as a marketing channel, or be used only for SEM; it should be seen as a major contributor to the overall digital marketing mix. Below are a few ways marketers can make the most out of search data for their display campaigns:

  1. Leverage search retargeting for search extension: Take your search keywords and work with a partner that can expand your SEM list for greater scale in display.
  2. Apply search insights to display strategy: Use search data to gain insights into consumer trends, purchasing patterns and trends, etc., refining your display campaign and targeting parameters accordingly.
  3. Use display as a method for conquesting: Search engines like Google don’t enable conquesting. By utilizing search data within display, marketers can target audiences with display ads based on competitors’ key terms.
  4. Break free from CPC pricing, while using search data: Buying each keyword in search quickly adds up, and some keywords are simply more costly than others. When you apply search data to display targeting, you place value on the audience vs. each individual keyword.