In his Keynote, Ramaswamy impressed upon us that advertisers need, more than ever, to be there at the moment of search, and to be consistently useful for the consumer. He said that ads should be transparent and trustworthy, and add value.
“Ads should be valuable, transparent and trustworthy for everyone”
As expected, since the introduction of the GDPR in Europe, and the Facebook Cambridge Analytica scandal this year, he talked about the ability for people to be able to control their own data and what Google knows about them, and to mute ads. He promoted Google as a company which cares about trust, and lets people access their own data and control how it’s used to personalise the service. This said, there is still confusion amongst agencies and clients about exactly how to stay the right side of the law, and we can see a wide variety of interpretations from some of the world’s biggest companies.
“People have become so much more research obsessed”
Ramaswamy said that search habits are changing. People are research obsessed, and they are increasingly obsessed with what not to buy. They are impatient, so immediacy is also important. Searches for ‘near me’, have traditionally been used to find local services and businesses but is increasingly used for finding ‘things’ like food or clothing, and ‘things to do’.
Mobile and machine learning marks a step change for the consumer experience which will be faster, more intuitive and personalised. They have no patience for experiences which are not helpful, personal and frictionless.
“Consumers are more aware of how they’re being marketed to, and how their data is being used. And they want more control.”
Ramaswamy said that the dialogue around the industry has changed; digital is now a meaningful part of people’s lives and marketer’s spend.
For Google, valuable advertising starts with understanding and satisfying intent.
Ramaswamy talked about how today, searches are more helpful – providing images, prices, reviews and local store inventory in the SERPS. In YouTube, people researching a product will be given super-relevant and useful videos about that product, and the opportunity to take action like buying the product shown in the video. On Google Play, they will be shown apps related to the product or activity being researched.