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  1. 1. A collection of viewpoints from our offices around the world
  2. 2. 2 Perspectives 2014 Tim O’Neill Co-Founder & Joint Managing Director There is no turning the digital tide. Each year our industry brings new technologies and new ways for marketers to speak with their audience. Introduction
  3. 3. 3 In last year’s Perspectives, we looked at connected retail, expanding interface challenges and the value of personalisation – each one of which has proven to be an important concept for marketers to grasp if they want to connect to their customers. 2014 is, unsurprisingly, no different. This year we look at changes in Google’s search algorithm, developing for mobile, and wearables – things we think our clients need to be aware of and on the lookout for when it comes to succeeding with new digital communications. There is a lot of digital noise out there, and we want to help you filter through it. But connecting to your customers is not the only important relationship your business will have this year. There is no turning the digital tide. Each year our industry brings new technologies and new ways for marketers to speak with their audience. The way you communicate with your agency and the way they partner with you should not be overlooked. We are excited to delve into the client-agency relationship, whether it is how we make sure to talk less and ask more (‘Unconditional Project-Rearing,’ page 22), or how we make sure to regularly experiment so we always have a stash of ideas brewing for you (‘Innovating from Within,’ page 50). I hope you enjoy Perspectives 2014 and, as always, would love to hear your feedback. Tweet @reactive with #perspectives2014. Thanks for reading. Introduction
  4. 4. Jules Lau Head of Content & Lead Copywriter, Melbourne Blair Larkin Content Writer, Melbourne Google’s New Era of Search & Content 4 In August 2013, Google quietly switched on its new search algorithm without much fanfare. Aptly named Hummingbird, it revolves around breaking down searches as questions and then serving up relevant answers from the multitude of content they have indexed. What does this mean for your brand’s search and content strategy?
  5. 5. Google officially unveiled Hummingbird to the world, just in time for its 15th birthday. More than just a mere algorithm update (as Panda was), this was a complete overhaul of the entire search algorithm, changing the way Google pulls in search results from its inconceivably massive database of information. At the time of the announcement, Google called it the next leap forward in search technology, with Hummingbird affecting around 90% of all search queries. But...Why? The rise of mobile device usage led to two major insights. Firstly, with voice recognition applications on mobile devices (Siri, anyone?) growing in uptake, more people are beginning to speak their searches into their smartphones and tablets. Secondly, instead of simply typing in keywords, more people now search using whole phrases and questions. The result? An entirely new formula and search algorithm to handle these changing search habits. While still incorporating many traditional aspects used in previous algorithms, Hummingbird shifts from keyword-based search to semantic search. This means that now Google can process real speech patterns and provide more relevant results based on the searcher’s intent of his query, not just the keywords he types in the search box. Particularly with voice search, which falls under the semantic search, people tend to do so with natural language – “I want pictures of the Eiffel Tower” rather than “Eiffel Tower.” So now Google will serve up images of the monument, and not just a bunch of links related to the Eiffel Tower. They are cutting out the need to sift through a heap of somewhat relevant content, thereby making it far easier and much quicker for a user to find exactly what he is looking for. And with a smarter search engine comes the need for new and clever ways of creating and marketing content to get higher rankings and more traffic. Get Smart…er Content is King – no matter how much we try to avoid that overused phrase, we somehow keep coming back to it. And in the constant battle around whether content should be created for search or for users, Google Hummingbird has laid down the law – it’s for both. Google’s New Era of Search & Content
  6. 6. It’s about creating useful, quality content that’s directly relevant to what people are actually searching for. So setting up a blog and filling it with keyword-dense metadata and on-page copy just isn’t going to cut it anymore. Traditionally, brands push out content that is developed by their Marketing Communications team promoting their products and services. Someone types in a branded search term, say “Nike Dri-FIT running shorts”, and gets results directly relevant to that particular product. But what if the user doesn’t know about the particular product, and types in “What to wear when running?” Even if the Nike Dri-FIT line is perfect for the user, Google would not rank that highly because content around that product line does not necessarily meet the intent of the search. The outcome? A lost opportunity. And we really don’t want that. Now marketers need to think about what their target customers are actually searching for, and how those queries can be best answered. It’s the melding of Search and Content, using the former to identify the user’s needs and then the latter to meet those needs. Product promotion can come in later, further down the page or later in the customer life cycle. Hummingbird is pushing brands to take searchers through an engaging and meaningful experience that spans the entire customer journey – from awareness and engagement to brand loyalty and advocacy – not just covering the browse and purchase model. So looping back to the example above – if Nike pushes out content that may not necessarily promote the Dri-FIT line but addresses some of the common questions around running gear, Google will rank it higher up based on queries and users will be able to find information directly relevant to their searches – tips on buying running gear, running gear wear and tear, etc. Drop in a couple of product promotions on the page and voila! An end-to-end natural shopping experience is created, engaging the user with useful information, encouraging him to browse relevant Dri-FIT products and then head to checkout. Simple and au naturel. The point is: create and publish useful, informative content that answers the questions your target users are asking. Build your content around intent, not keywords. So if you’re a Content Writer, time to celebrate. Google’s Hummingbird just secured your job for another few years. Google’s New Era of Search & Content