Google Dublin Retail event 2013

By Paul Morris

Wow. I just got back from a 2 day Google retail event in Dublin and am buzzing with the great people I met and great ideas consumed.

I do not want to bore hence here is the summary and below is the detail:

SUMMARY – Top 5 Learnings

1/  Digital Branding/ deeper engagement, Mobile + Cross device multi click attribution are Google’s current battleground. The ‘predictive era’ and ‘consumer context’ are Google’s future battleground (and not that much in the future if today’s Hummingbird announcement is anything to go by)

2/ a/Find the right people, b/ tell great stories and c/ build stronger relationships. A stand out point for me here was that relationships are accelerated through recognition – do not recreate the 50 first dates movie!

3/ Look at for the future of PLA formatting in the UK over the coming 9 months. Other future big PLA related UK developments include a massive upgrade to Merchant Centre/ managing data feeds, Google Trusted Stores and perhaps Google shopping express might even hit the UK at some point (or at least impact other companies focus on same day deliveries)

4/  Move away from the 3 C’s of Leadership and move towards the 3 i’s. a/ Inspire yourself. b/ Inspire others c/ Innovate

5/ Move to a ‘digital mothership’ philosophy if you are a big Brand – essentially all about amazing service, your CRM system and BIG data.



Ronan Harris keynote

Dublin is the Google EMEA Headquarters.

3000. employees. 60 languages spoken.

Focus of the next 2 days will be our shift to mobile, digital branding and how to innovate.

James Cashmore , director – Google Retail expert

He covered ’10 things we know to be true’ however I’m going to be picky and reduce down further

1/ focus on the user and all else will follow

2/ it’s best to do one thing really really well than several averagely

Nice Mobile case studies at the Google mobile Business tool e.g. Adidas and Radio Shack ROPO case studies.

Nice dynamic retargeting done by Skates 

James kept mentioning he came back into Retail after a break. I asked why come back? Answer = he sees huge potential and retailers are generally average at innovating digitally and he is excited about the growth. That makes 2 of us then!


Kirk Vallis , head of Google brandlab

What an amazing speaker who challenged us about how to develop our brand online

We must:

1/Find the right people, 2/ tell great stories and 3/ build stronger relationships

1/ do this via data and context and choice e.g. to be fair skippable true view ads are great at this and should not be viewed as ‘skippable’ but as ‘opportunities to engage’. Kirk made a good point in that some people who do not go on to view the ads will have already viewed them and whilst you do not  pay for non viewed ads the first few seconds of the clip will still have created reinforced recall of your brand.

He showed a great Turkish airlines true view ad that in the 5 seconds got in Messi and Kobe Bryant = a great way of tailoring an ad to the medium (the first 5 seconds of any true view ad are key)

2/ the challenge is to be innovative with the technology that we have in a better way I.e. tell a great brand story

Clinique are a good example of this via their consultancy approach online e.g. Google hangouts regularly talking to people about skin care.

3/ Structured conversations rock. E.g. He was looking at the BMW site for a new car. He was retargeted with a BMW engine construction 50 second video and then invited to watch a 5 minute video on the car. This was a great way of structuring a conversation and developing a relationship when he had not gone in to section such as the Test Drive or Buy pages.

Snickers did a great job of developing a relationship via a hungry misspells campaign 

Relationships are accelerated through recognition – do not recreate the 50 first dates movie and keep showing your target market the same creative over and over. Show them different engaging creative and remarket to them intelligently with story development

I asked Kirk a question on cross device tracking and its impact on cross device retargeting/ story telling. Answer = He talked if this developments importance to mobile advertising justification and whilst he does not have any examples on what/ how we can do we should just rip the rule book up and figure out new ways of retargeting and cross device marketing.


Product Highlights and Demos – Adrain Joseph Director of Search Advertising NACE

Another amazing session

He sees the ‘predictive era’ and ‘consumer context’ being Google’s future key development ground (at present we are still in an attribution and customer journey focus stage) .

The attribution model you choose will be the one that is least wrong (what a great way of placing  attribution modelling) .

Dynamic search ads are a great way of picking up the fact that 15% of searches are new every week.

New PPC Video ads are definitely worth looking at for CTR and engagement .

Adrain showed us a demo of conversational search (something I highlighted earlier in the year at the Google Omnicom event I attended) = frickin amazing and a complete game changer

…Then we moved on to Neisha santamarian who works for Adrain and is the Search ads product expert

She highlighted the fact that Google are having to change as consumer expectations are changing as they become more demanding shoppers across devices and want more than a basis text ad as a result

Product listing ads are part of the solution to the above challenge however much more innovation and deeper partnership with merchants via feeds needs to happen

…And this is starting to happen with betas occurring on in the USA

E.g. type in ‘Nike air Max’ on and experience a very visual search.

Type in ‘Nikon d5200’ and receive a very different visual treatment

This has been done as Google feel visual is right for trainers whereas electronics should be more fact and review based

In the trainers example you can pick by many attributes e.g. colour and size hence it just shows the growing importance going forward of a clean and detailed PLA data feed

Within certain results you will also start to see ‘Merchant promotions’ highlighted and so yet another way of making you stand out from the crowd

Google are also massively developing imagery for certain products e.g. type in ‘ BARBIE FLOWER ‘N FLUTTER Fairy Doll’ and click on the top result to see 3D imagers in the PLAs. Now you might think this is nothing special but it is when it (along with thousands of other products) have been shot by Google themselves.

Product listings on android devices produce really nice visual search results

Watch out for a massive upgrade to Merchant Centre/ managing data feeds soon as Google are aware the interface is pants

Watch out for Google Trusted Stores hitting the UK in the next few months (still third party backed though)

Google shopping express is an interesting trial from Google where you can get same day delivery for select items and in select areas

Watch out for Google integrating PLA’s into other channels e.g. YouTube as increasingly YouTube is being used as a research portal hence an important link between products and hands on reviews/ recommendations that could naturally fit well with PLA’s


Petri kokko – Google Director of Retail and Travel DACH – The enlightened leader

What an utter dude. He wore his heart on his sleeve letting into his life as an ex world champion ice skater and now leader at Google in Retail

Essentially he said move away from the 3 C’s of Leadership and move towards the 3 i’s

Inspire yourself

Inspire others


= brilliant

Love what you do, make a difference, do things differently and be brave


Digital first – Lars bratsberg – Nordic branding , Google

An intense Nordic chap who really resonated with me by talking about the ‘digital mothership’

Essentially the digital mothership is all about service, your CRM system and data. Find out what people are looking for in your category and then create a destination for them so they keep returning. e.g. L’Oreal created a destination Beauty for beauty tips and they now ‘own’ beauty as a digital mothership!


Rutger Zonneveld, industry head

Can product diversification be a boon or bust to business? – What it means to diversify your business

A great session on how to diversify.

This one was quite detailed, and I’m not going into it here, however essentially some tips on how to pick the right area to diversify into: check your strengths and weaknesses, how flexible is your brand to bend into a new category, check search volume, maturity of market, habits of your existing consumers, margin, ability to source widgets, growth potential e.g. Google Trends and the depth of competition.


Big data , big profits getting more from analytics – Shane Cassells, Google online conversion expert

What a great delivery and a simple approach to getting more from your analytics:

1/ Check and simplify (e.g. check tags via tag assistant by Google in Chrome and use a tag management solution)

2/ Track and value (e.g. track every meaningful customer interaction such as sales of course but also find a store, share product, download brochure, download voucher, reach a key point in your videos, add to basket, etc)

3/ Divide and deduce (e.g. segment by device and try to improve the customer journey for those people + do not forget to segment by browser for usability and then of course versions within them).

4/ Attribute and test (use attribution modelling! For short sales cycles many use a decay model. For longer sales cycle many use equal distribution modelling. Though there is no best model!)

5/ Target and convert (e.g. use GA remarketing and it can be quite powerful when specific retargeting employed such as abandoned shopping baskets, particular areas, level of engagement, up sell and cross sell, etc)

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