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'Moving beyond keywords' – VCCP Media, iProspect, Telefónica and Google on what the future holds for search

By Rebecca Stewart | Trends Editor

Starcom MediaVest Group


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April 8, 2015 | 4 min read

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The dawn of wearable tech, increasingly sophisticated uses of data and mobile innovation all have implications for search. We caught up with some of The Drum Search Awards judges to find out what excites them most about the future of the industry.

Paul Mead, founder and managing director, VCCP Media

What excites me most about the future of search is how we are moving beyond keywords as an input and evolving an advertising platform that is built around context.

Understanding your device, your location, your connections, your recent online behaviour – even the speed that you’re currently travelling at – all builds up a rich profile that we can act on before a search is even entered.

Google has stated its ambitions to understand what you want before you search for it and the challenge will be how products like Adwords develop alongside this while giving consumers confidence that they are in control of what they share and most importantly making the case that there is value in sharing it.

Matt Bush, director of performance, Google

I’m most excited about Google’s innovations in mobile, especially the Now cards in the Google app. Anticipatory search – providing answers to users before they ask, moving search from demand to suggest as a digital assistant – is incredibly powerful.

The Google app gives me suggestions for films to watch with my kids, traffic conditions for my route home, and media articles to read – essentially it surfaces key bits of information I need at exactly the right moments.

I’m also excited about voice search and how it will shape our browsing habits.

People are starting to talk to their mobile devices more regularly – in fact, mobile voice searches have more than doubled in the past year alone. Saying ‘OK Google’ and chatting to your mobile assistant is changing the way we search.

It’s also very clear that smartphone users are using both search and apps to meet their information needs. And the lines between these categories are blurring too.

Chris Whitelaw, chief executive, iProspect UK

There are two very exciting trends in search – the first is how automation changes the role of a search marketer from buyer to strategist.

We’re automating more as complexity increases, so now less time is spent on enacting changes and more on managing the increasingly sophisticated interactions between keywords, audiences and contexts.

Search managers have to be smarter than ever and the opportunity is greater than ever. The second trend concerns the increase in how much data search can be shared with other channels.

Using DMPs, pixels and RLSA we can get information into and out of search to improve targeting in other channels and drive performance in search.

Oscar Romero, head of biddable international, Starcom MediaVest Group

The pace of change within the search space is certainly exciting. Current vendors are in constant evolution, with new platforms and solutions continually emerging and reshaping the search landscape.

The most interesting unknown is the impact of connected devices. These are all about data and, similar to search, will use entirely datadriven marketing – eventually closing the loop between offline and search advertising.

The information gathered about users interacting with wearables will significantly enhance our audience-targeting capabilities through search.

Voice interactions with wearables will result in search becoming even more ingrained in our daily lives.

Advertisers have only just begun to scratch the surface of these new opportunities and the potential is boundless.

Stuart Bryce, senior digital marketing manager, Telefónica

The increasingly sophisticated use of search data to influence business decisions through identification of trends in what the public is interested in is an exciting, untapped opportunity for many businesses.

A single nugget of insight can be extremely valuable.

There will be an increased expectations from businesses of data and search specialists to work much closer to bring these opportunities to the fore.

You can find out more about The Drum Search Awards at

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