There was a lot to digest after THINK2016 where top Google leaders offered their take on the future of AI, SEO, brand awareness, social media, and the mobile responsive web. All the excitement happened this past Tuesday, when the annual Think with Google Conference took place in New York during Advertising Week.
Google offered up a slew of exclusive marketing data and insights, tips on current and future best practices, and a Q&A session with the top brass, including Margo Georgiadis, Google President of the Americas, Brad Bender, Google VP of Product Management, and Lars Bastholm, Global Chief Creative Officer of The ZOO (Google’s “Agency for Agencies”).
Here are our key takeaways from the event.
Google reports that more users than ever are making purchases online. When they do, they’re not just using their phone and they’re not just using their desktop, says Bender. Six in 10 US online consumers start the shopping trip on one device and continue or finish their purchase on another device.
On Mobile, Time is Traffic
Time is often money, but on mobile, time is traffic. And by time, we mean page load time. Every second counts. Michael Foroobar, who works on analytics at Google, points this out:
Over half of users [53%] bounce if [a] mobile site takes longer than 3 seconds to load yet [the average] mobile site takes 19 seconds
AMP Becomes a Must
As more and more effort, energy, users, and ad dollars shift from desktop to mobile, Google’s mobile “best practices,” such as Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), become a must. As David Rodnitzky, CEO of 3QDigital, tweeted:
Kinda sorta haveta run AMP (accelerated mobile pages) if you want to win on mobile.
Fans Love Their YouTube Subscriptions
With push notifications, many devices now inform users when their favorite creators at YouTube (owned by Google) upload new content. That’s not the exciting part. What is exciting, is that 15% of YouTube fans watch a creator’s new video within one minute of the content being uploaded! A full 70% of users will have viewed the video within 24 hours. Dalton Dorné, CMO at Merkle Digital, best summed up everyone’s thoughts on that stat:
We concur. Holy cow, indeed.
Video in the Palm of Your Hand
Mobile users appear to be particularly smitten with their devices when it comes to viewing video content on YouTube. In fact, more than 90% of respondents in an Google internal survey from July, told the search giant that they watch YouTube videos on their mobile device at home.
Search Isn’t Static
Ben Gomes, Google VP of Engineering in Search, reaffirms that search is, by necessity, dynamic.
We are constantly changing search with one goal in mind — to get from the question in your mind to the information you were looking for.
In other words, the Google team looks at their search product as something which requires constant evolution in order to meet the needs of users.
The Search Product Improvements Are Insane
Google is approaching search improvements as only it can. AI (artificial intelligence) and machine learning technologies figure prominently. No surprise that the logistics are fairly complex. Said Michael Flores, conference attendee and author of one of the most important PPC SEM books to date:
Wish I could convey in 140 characters how cool search improvements are; but I’m not as intuitive as Google’s voice context #wow
Impressions or Impressive?
Far too many marketers are concerned with “vanity” metrics — you know, those numbers that may look good but don’t necessarily correlate with sales or conversions or other business goals. Google offered advice on this more analytic aspect at THINK2016 and Jenn Venero Chase, a marketer at SAS Software, captured the perfect quote:
It’s not about counting impressions, it’s about creating them
Innovative Metrics Driving Growth
Google noted that a new survey of Google Analytics users showed a strong connection between innovative measurement and business growth from mobile traffic. They concluded:
Marketers who significantly exceeded business goals are 44% more likely than the mainstream to have evolved their measurement approach in the last two years.