'It’s the end of search as we know it,' says Google’s head of performance

Multi-device penetration and the rise of voice search are changing the face of search, according to Google’s head of performance Matt Bush.

Speaking at the Internet Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) Search event this morning, Bush said: “It’s the end of search as we know it”, adding that marketers must keep ahead of how technological advances are evolving people’s search behaviours.

“The way of doing things yesterday is gone. We need to be looking constantly at data, analytics and other things to ensure we stay ahead of constantly connected consumers,” he said.

Mobile remains an untapped opportunity for marketers with nearly half of brands still not having launched a mobile-ready site, according to Bush.

“Mobile is an enormous opportunity that loads of brands aren’t taking advantage of – that 43 per cent of brands that don’t have a mobile site for users to be directed to are essentially saying they are closed,” he said.

He added that there is a “massive” push in online shopping at night, with 20 per cent of purchases happening between 8pm and midnight.

Meanwhile marketers must explore beyond the keyword to prepare for a future in which voice search is more prominent, according to Bush.

“Voice search could change education. My five-year-old daughter for example can now have more access to information and education via voice search,” he said.

Bush referred to Google’s work on products including Knowledge Graph, Google Now which is seeing the search giant develop its engine to anticipate people’s searches and queries.

“We now have 570m entities in Knowledge Graph. We are now taking it to the next level – into the area of anticipation,” he said.

Much of the development around products like Google Now is being driven by voice search, according to Bush.

As people become more familiar with voice search marketers must be thinking of how to adapt their marketing techniques to adjust for the change from typed keywords to voice searches, he added.

This week Google released its multi-screen global report, which showed the UK has seen tablet usage triple year on year, taking the total to 30 per cent, while smartphone usage doubled to 62 per cent.

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