Five Minutes With: Udayan Bose on Cracking Mobile Search

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Five Minutes With: Udayan Bose on Cracking Mobile Search
Five Minutes With: Udayan Bose on Cracking Mobile Search

What are your biggest opportunities & challenges in search marketing for next 12-24 months?

The main opportunities for search marketing over the next one to two years are cracking the mobile search advertising code by gaining deeper understanding of mobile search behavior and applying insights from customers' paths to purchase to develop stronger integrated strategies.

We have seen a big uptick in mobile buying behavior this year and this trend will continue as buying on mobile devices becomes easier and more commonplace. With the many mobile-focused changes Google introduced earlier this year like the AMP program, Google Maps ads and eliminating right-hand search ads, mobile search is just beginning to take advantage of this new ecommerce mobile phenomenon. Over the next two years, marketers will be hyper focused on understanding customer mobile search behavior to better target ads to users as well as mingling this information with their overall marketing strategy.

The challenges with this mobile search trend will revolve around cross device tracking of customer journeys and stronger attribution techniques to accurately measure various channels.

Cross device capabilities currently exist, but there are still many limitations for marketers to be able to target the same user continuously over his many devices. Attribution is another area that is still in its infancy. For example, the ability to conduct offline attribution just recently went mainstream. This and other new attribution techniques are still being tested and it is yet to be seen how effective these methods will be.

What keeps your clients up at night?

Profitable customer acquisition is a big focus. Search marketers are spending much of their budget on acquiring new customers, of which search is a big driver. Being able to demonstrate high ROI for such campaigns is critical to search marketers.

Other concerns include keeping up with the changes in the industry and identifying untapped opportunities. This year, we saw a huge shift for search from desktop to mobile. You simply can't do search the way you did it before. Marketers are aware of these changes and want to make sure that they're staying ahead of the curve.

What's the hardest thing to educate clients about?

Many marketers believe that search is mainly about direct marketing and sales. While important, search is also a vital branding tool. Just think about a customer's path to purchase. A runner is looking for a new pair of sneakers. She talks to her fellow runners about their favorite shoes, speaks to experts at a sporting goods store, searches online to research brands and for the best deals. Branding ads may be present as display and video ads on the running magazines she reads to learn more about the best shoes, but branding via search ads are just as important in the search environment. Especially with limited attention spans and fractured media consumption, branding is now about frequency. By ignoring search completely, marketers are missing an opportunity to remind customers about their brands.

Quantifying the value of social media is also hard to relay to clients as metrics don't always paint an accurate picture.

What are some unmet needs in the search marketing landscape?

With consumer behavior shifting to mobile, an entirely new search environment is emerging. There are thus many unmet needs at the moment. For example, running and measuring campaigns on YouTube, cross device attribution and search marketing for apps. The latter is something Apple is hinting at introducing. Once they do, it will likely have a huge impact on search and consumer buying behavior.

What additional changes do you see for search marketing in the next year?

The continued monetization of local search ads is going to be huge in the next year. With new functionality like ads within Google Maps, local businesses will simply be invisible if they don't advertise on this platform. Local marketers understand this and are jumping on the opportunity to showcase their products and businesses.

Another change that's coming soon is better tools to conduct and measure search marketing for apps. As I mentioned, Apple is already hinting that it will be introducing search functionality within its apps soon. By being able to search within the apps, an entirely new search environment will emerge.

It's an exciting time for search with many new functionalities being introduced almost daily and an entirely new way to search within apps on the horizon.

--Udayan Bose is CEO of NetElixir


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