Performics POV: Google I/O Conversational Search Highlights the Importance of Cross-Screen Marketing Strategies

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Performics POV: Google I/O Conversational Search Highlights the Importance of Cross-Screen Marketing Strategies

At its I/O 2013 Conference, Google announced the introduction of “Conversational Search” on desktop devices via its Chrome browser.  Users can now ask Google questions on desktops and laptops, and Google will perform queries and provide answers—just like on mobile through Google Now.  A user prompts Conversational Search by saying “OK, Google” into his microphone, similar to how he’d prompt Google Glass—hands-free—to ask a question.  Conversational Search is part of Google’s strategy to become an artificial-intelligence platform that answers and anticipates questions.  It’s also part of Google’s strategy to make search less about device and more about user intent, no matter if the user is on a phone, tablet, desktop or wearing Google Glass. IMPLICATIONS for ADVERTISERS With Conversational Search, Google is essentially bringing a now-common mobile feature to desktop.  Not only is this a great example of mobile leading product development across screens, but it’s also a prime illustration of how searcher behavior transcends screens.  Today, people move fluidly across devices to consume and discover content. Conversational Search is just the latest example of the need for advertisers to integrate user experiences across screens and devices (see Google Enhanced Campaigns or the new Facebook News Feed for other examples).  Marketing strategies can no longer be siloed and screen based; like searcher behavior, they must transcend screens.  Marketing strategies must be designed per context (user intent), not per device. Creating cross-screen strategies starts with uncovering where your participants are, how they move fluidly across the web, and how they want to engage with you.  At Performics, we call this “building the participant journey.”  At the start of our strategic planning process, we gather all available participant data, including data from the client’s customer databases (online and offline); web analytics; third-party data from providers like comScore, Hitwise, and Forrester; and social-listening insights.  This data uncovers customer needs, motivations, and barriers that inform cross-screen engagement strategies—campaigns, keywords, bid strategies, creative messaging, and landing pages.  Through this process, we understand participant intent (and how to satisfy that intent), no matter the device or screen. We expect the engines and social networks to continually introduce more features and functionality that blur the lines between devices.  For advertisers to excel in this new landscape, they must fully understand the participant journey to create integrated cross-screen experiences.

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