9 things I learnt @ Google @ Manchester

By Paul Morris
As Head of Search for Mccann I was invited along to yesterday’s Google @ Manchester event. It consisted of circa 250 attendees, international speakers, hangouts with Mountain View (Google HQ) and a mad (in a good way) futurologist.

Rather than cover each presentation individually I have decided to cover 9 things I learnt @ the Google @ Manchester event:

1/ Google will eventually own the internet. Google were announcing another vertical development in the guise of Hotel Finder. It’s clear Google are not afraid of ruffling the feathers of big spending advertisers and moving into key verticals such as finance and travel.

2/ All in for Google+. Failure is not an option and all Google’s social chips are on Google+. Google are trying to wrap a social layer around their products and are in particular looking to use Google+ to improve/ personalise Search.

3/ SoLoMoCo. I have already written about SoLoMo (Social Local Mobile) however the COmmerce bit on the end was new to me. Essentially Google were saying Mobile that is Social and Locally personalised can absolutely drive direct Commerce revenue in the years to come.

4/ YouTube is being used, in part, to fuel Google TV. Google clearly sees the volume of videos uploaded as both a help and a hindrance. Google’s research finds that many people leave YouTube as they have become bored/ overwhelmed/ cannot think of anything else worthwhile to watch. However with the YouTube developments currently being enacted Google is trying to create a personalised EPG (Electronic Program Guide similar to TIVO – not the more basic Sky functionality) that knows what you are interested in and thus fuels engagement.

5/ Android Ice Cream Sandwich… Is brilliant, particularly when coupled with the new Samsung Galaxy Nexus, however it is not an Iphone 4S/ IOS killer.

6/ Voice Search still has a way to go. Google was showcasing voice search however when it fails on stage 1/5 of the time you have got to be wary of its accuracy and application. And the same concern is equally aimed at Apple’s SIRI.

7/ ZMOT was focused on. “It’s a new decision-making moment that takes place a hundred million times a day on mobile phones, laptops and wired devices of all kinds.  It’s a moment where marketing happens, where information happens, and where consumers make choices that affect the success and failure of nearly every brand in the world”. ZMOT will change the way we market our products and services.

8/ Offline impact. Google were promoting econometrics and ROPO (Research Online and Purchase Offline) and telling us to think beyond online data to look at how Google is impacting offline footfall, phone sales, enquiries, etc. Google were certainly not focusing on this area a few years ago to such a degree.

9/ Emotion. Patrick Dixon’s (a great futurologist who I have seen before, got his book and used to work with his son) talk focused on ‘emotion’. Essentially you have to truly engage with your customers and ‘touch them’ for your marketing to prove effective. Patrick believes social networks came along and saved search as social stops SEO’ers from gaming the SERPS. Whilst It’s far too early to say this is true I believe Google echo his beliefs and we should watch out for more ‘emotion’ from Google going forward.