Tuesday, May 27, 2008

09 and beyond #5: Guy Gibbs, Head of Agency Relations Google Inc.

So what are the big issues we face moving forward in digital ... and all media? Well, we've asked six respected industry people to give us their opinion.

Week 4 we have Guy Gibbs. Guy is the Head of Agency Relations at Google AU. He heads up Google's vertical based sales team. Prior to this he was at News Ltd, working in the NewsNet Division. In 2006 I played on the same footy team as Guy (Herald Sun Vs Agency AllStars) and he was a pretty determined player who definitely got amongst it ... and he brings the same traits to his work at Google, getting amongst it with agencies and clients alike and playing a pivotal role in spreading the Google gospel beyond the online media nerds.

Here are his thoughts on the digital landscape and issues moving forward.


More information, better resultsGoogle reaches the ripe old age of ten this year and has achieved a fair bit in this time. Search always has been, and remains, the cornerstone of our business and continues to evolve and innovate as we strive towards the goal of making the world’s information universally accessible and useful.

Australian businesses of all sizes have begun to wake up to the opportunity that search provides and we will see significant growth from all categories over the next few years but there are still some issues that we need to work on in Australia. These include educating clients, website optimisation and understanding the extensive data available. Plus, clients and agencies now understanding that their brands should “always be on” because the consumer is online 24/7. Every search is an opportunity for a relevant marketer to enter the conversation with its consumers or potential consumers.The upside is that there is still a huge amount to be realised with estimates suggesting that only 10% of the global content is on the web and only a 6th of the world’s population is online.

The way that we think and understand “search” is expanding. When we talk about search today we include images, news, finance, books, local, and geographical information as well as web search. The move towards “universal search” (incorporating all these sources in the one set of results) is a challenging technological exercise. But there is no doubt that it’s a long term trend. People aren’t always looking for web pages. Sometimes they’re looking for directions, or photos, or tickets for sale, or friends, or newspaper articles.

Google Maps and Google Earth (Google’s “geo” products) are helping to solve a considerable search problem: how do you take all of the information about the physical world and make it accessible and useful? Google Earth has helped archaeologists find things they've searched for over centuries (eg. a Roman villa in someone's backyard).

User-generated content is the rage right now. It manifests itself in Google Maps and Google Earth through online communities, shared placemarkers and self-made maps. The user-generated content that we're seeing on our geo products is profoundly useful and helps us better understand the world.

We think of search as a science. Think of search as being like astronomy in the 17th century. We’re just discovering that the earth moves around the sun and not vice versa. There’s a long way to go.Website Optimisation Data beats opinion. There was a time when John Wanamaker said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half.” Well, with new tools and formats, we’re beginning to see more accountable and efficient marketing, both online and off. Ultimately, data can help a marketer optimise a campaign and gain insight into its consumers. Instantaneous feedback is a mechanism that the Internet pioneered.

Website optimisation

Website optimisation seemed to be the hot topic at SES New York this year. Speakers were discussing how small changes in website content can result in big differences in traffic patterns. This is not a new topic but one that continues to hold companies back from gaining the best return and results from internet traffic. Without a well structured site or an effective strategy to measure, test and refine , marketers are missing the opportunity to create a positive connection, or understand what the consumer did online. Many people confuse website optimisation with search-engine optimisation, so I will clarify the difference here:
Search-engine optimisation means adjusting and improving the content of your site so that it ranks higher in the list of search results for a particular keyword or keyword phrase.
Website optimisation means creating and testing different combinations of site content to increase visitor conversion rates and overall visitor satisfaction.

Analytics best practices

Analytics is at the core of everything we do as a company and marketers can definitely take advantage of the opportunities to optimise site traffic by understanding key metrics. It is still quite surprising how many websites are not set up to engage the consumer, create a positive user experience or qualify the interaction through tracking. The questions that clients need answering:

How to get actionable data out of your analytics
How to use your analytics to understand where your users are having trouble navigating the site
Determining which features of analysis can shine light on special opportunities
How to have a cost efficient campaign and increase conversions
How to use proprietary tools to increase the conversion rate (i.e sales funnel)
How to get everyone in the company to love and use their data

Retail & ecommerce

Recent research commissioned by Google and Monash University found that 50 percent of Australian shoppers research online before going to purchase in a bricks-and-mortar store. It is vital that retailers look to grow and capture the attention of consumers at the very moment they search for a product.

Retailers have a massive opportunity to deliver the basic needs of customers from their websites. If consumers are researching, they want to know many things such as: which of your stores carry the products they seek? Do you have a website with an easy-to-use store locator? When is their closest store open? Can they park there?

This report demonstrates the shift that is occurring in the Australian consumer landscape. The proliferation of broadband, comfort with online transactions and globalisation of retail practices is changing the behaviours, expectations and attitudes of consumers. This shift is confirmed by the growth that we are seeing in searches across all retail categories.


Online video is absolutely mainstream. The demographic of the YouTube audience mirrors that of the Australian internet population.

A couple of stats that may interest you: every day 10 hours of video are uploaded to the YouTube site every minute! That’s something like 3,000x Hollywood’s rate of production – or the equivalent of movie studios releasing some 57K movies into theaters every week. So while you often hear talk about the coming Video revolution, for users, it’s already here.

So, if video is mainstream, it needs to be part of digital marketing plans, and marketing plans overall, and indeed state-of-the-art marketers are recognising this. However there is a real need to educate and engage clients and brands on the key benefits of the different platforms and ad products in the market as well as the type of content that is available.

Check out the channel for The Queen of England on YouTube – her channel has over 1M views – and even Oprah’s on YouTube. Here she’s created what we call a “Brand Channel,” which is just a single home for all Oprah’s video assets because that’s where users are watching.


Ultimately the web is dynamic and moving at a pace that few of us can keep up with as new applications, ad formats and websites appear daily.

The industry needs to doubledown on its education efforts to keep people abreast of the changes, or they will get left behind and we will miss out on digital opportunities.

Google for its part has a program in place with agency partners and will continue to disseminate key insights and knowledge to all partners. This is very much a focus for us going forward.

It’s a cliché, but in this industry, change is the only constant. There is much talk in the industry about how fast things have changed and how we're in the “Web World”. Indeed we are, but it's only the beginning.

As the world gets connected and media consumption patterns continue to change, we all need to be nimble, prepared to adapt to change and ready to embrace the next big idea – wherever it comes from.

Past Posts in the Series

Liam Walsh, MD DrivePM - http://mimelbourne.blogspot.com/2008/05/09-and-beyond-4-liam-walsh-md-drive-pm_20.html
Tony Faure, CEO ninemsn - http://mimelbourne.blogspot.com/2008/05/09-and-beyond-4-liam-walsh-md-drive-pm_20.html
Monique Talbot, CEO & Founder, Tempest - http://mimelbourne.blogspot.com/2008/05/09-and-beyond-2-monique-talbot-md.html
Dave Whittle, MD Mark - http://mimelbourne.blogspot.com/2008/04/09-and-beyond-1-david-whittle-md-mark.html

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