Everything I Know about Marketing I learned from Google

Google Gets Clever

January 4, 2012 by Aaron Goldman



Three weeks ago Google bought Clever Sense, maker of the app-ssistant, Alfred.

Last week, I shared my take in MediaPost’s Search Insider: Will Clever Sense Help Google Become The Perfect Search Engine?

Sometime, we’ll get our answer.


Google’s Next Acquisition? Got My Antenna Up!

September 27, 2011 by Aaron Goldman



Q: Who Will Google Buy Next?
A: Tune in to my Search Insider column to find out.


Bringing the Heat in Chi-town

July 26, 2011 by Aaron Goldman

Below is the presentation I gave today at the Online Marketing Sumit (OMS) in Chicago.

In it, I use my patent-pending “Heat-o-Meter” to describe the hotness of various companies, channels, and trends in digital marketing, including:

Companies: Facebook, Groupon, Apple, Google, LinkedIn,  Twitter, Microsoft, Yahoo

Channels: Social, Mobile, Local, Video, Search, Display

Trends: Automation, Integration, Attribution

The deck has 70 slides packed with stats and the last section has some Kenshoo case studies for context on how advertisers are capitalizing on these hot trends. So warm up your fingers are start clicking!

As is becoming habit, I rapped the Q&A portion but only had time for one topic. No video has surfaced (yet) so here’s an audio clip from Brent Payne aka the Bald SEO.


Google’s Future: Risky, Frisky, or Briskly?

February 12, 2011 by Aaron Goldman

Today’s Montreal Gazette has a great piece exploring the “Risky Business of Google.” I shared a wide range of opinions and sound bytes with Jason Magder as he prepared this column. Here are some of the ones he used:

“Many of the new initiatives that Google launches can still somehow be tied backed to monetization from search advertising.”

“With the social network movement, people are now finding new ways to get information online that doesn’t require Googling it.”

“Goldman said he believes there is no limit to Google’s growth. He believes the company will figure out how to bring a social context to searches, and can have success in virtually every product it develops. He sees the company as becoming an all-encompassing life tool, that will power everything from televisions to computers, phones and cars.”

“Google has the advantage of having 5 million advertisers behind it, so it can go into pretty much any market it wants and find a way to monetize it with its slew of advertisers.”

To balance my seemingly eternal optimism, Magder includes some points-of-view that are a little more skeptical about Google’s future.

“If they lose relevancy, they’ll lose everything.” — Christian Russell, Dangerous Tactics.

“The company has spread itself too thin.”  – Ian Lurie, Portent Interactive.

“Google’s biggest problem is that it has consistently failed to produce any new lines of business apart from keyword-related advertising, which still produces over 90 per cent of its income.” — Matthew Ingram, GigaOm

“Maybe they can’t innovate anymore. It takes them meetings and processes to make decisions. Things don’t get launched as quickly.” — Fred Wilson, venture capitalist.

“They also tried to get into social networking and failed, so they’re not impregnable,” Ken Auletta, Googled.

There’s definitely no question that Google will face increasingly bigger challenges in the coming years — from Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, and itself as it grows bigger still. For what it’s worth I think Google’s future will bring new ventures that are at times risky (as in the imminent launch of a new social network), at times frisky (as in the frivolous pursuit of self-driving cars), and at times briskly (as in the pace of innovation and new product releases).

Let’s just hope we never see Larry or Sergey emulating Risky Business too closely…

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If I Ruled The World…

February 10, 2011 by Aaron Goldman

In August of 2008, I wrote a column titled, “If I Were Running Google.

Two weeks ago, I revisited that column to see what came of my ideas.

Yesterday, I wrote a new column offering 5 things I’d do If I Were Google CEO.

We’ll see if Larry Page takes me up on any of these. My guess is he’s too busy running Google right now to do much reading.

If you can spare a few minutes, though, I suggest queuing up this track as background music. And this song would work too if you added a few zeros.

Image Source


Search and Social 2011: Kaboom!

December 16, 2010 by Aaron Goldman

McGraw-Hill Professional Holiday eBook

Yesterday, McGraw-Hill released an eBook compilation of short essays from its authors on “What’s Next” for 2011. The topics range from innovation to investment to sales to leadership to, of course, search. It’s a great, quick read from some of the “leading minds in business” so be sure to download your copy.

Here’s my take on what’s in store for search next year…

2011: The Year That Search Got Social
by Aaron Goldman

Search marketing and social media are on a collision course. And 2011 will be the big bang. The implications for marketers, search engines, and social networks alike will be profound. Here’s what you need to know.

To date, search has been the primary way people have found things on the Internet. Looking for a place to eat? Google it! Want to know what camera to buy? Google it!

That’s changing though. As more and more people join Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks, the answer to these questions is no longer, “Google it!” It’s now, “Ask your friends.” Or, “Ask your followers.”

As it turns out, your friends, families and others in your social circle (read: people) are better indicators of what you might like than webpages stuffed with keywords and links (read: webmasters).

Who’d have thunk it?!? That Zuckerberg guy, that’s who.

Indeed, Facebook stands positioned to lead the next wave of innovation in search marketing. And this will likely benefit Microsoft, of all companies. In early October, Facebook and Microsoft announced that “likes” (all those little “thumbs up” buttons that get pushed on Facebook and other sites across the web) will be integrated into the Bing search algorithm.

Now, instead of search engines deciding what websites are most relevant to you based on the number of links they have, rankings will be based on the number of likes they have. And, more importantly, likes by people in your social graph.

So, how can you make sure your organization is prepared for this shift in search power?

For starters, make sure you’re “well-liked.” Put that button on your website and encourage people to click it. As an example, Walmart recently started running promotions that offer exclusive discounts to people who like its page.

And don’t forget Twitter. Set up an account and start tweeting. If the “like” trend is any indication, it won’t be long before Twitter followers and “retweets” are applied to search engine algorithms as well.

But don’t fire your search engine optimization team just yet. Google still controls over 70% of the global search market so it’s critical to make sure your website is well-optimized for keywords and links.

That said, it won’t be long before Google gets social. Whether it’s an acquisition of Twitter or a new social network called Google Me, you can be sure the Big G will be bringing the big guns.

So, as 2011 draws near, the best advice I can give comes from Chapter 8 of my book. Test everything.
Get more likes. Get more links. Get Googley. Get Facebooky. Get Bingy. Get Twittery.

As Google CEO Eric Schmidt himself put it, “The mistake we always make is we assume the success in the next 10 years will be the same as the success in the last 10 years. The dominant players always get it wrong.”

When it comes to search marketing, success in 2011 will not be the same as 2010. The future is social, whether you like it or not.

Aaron Goldman is Chief Marketing Officer at Kenshoo, a global leader in search marketing and online advertising technology for advertisers, agencies, and local marketing providers. He is also the author of Everything I Know about Marketing I Learned from Google.


Getting Googley at SES Chicago

October 21, 2010 by Aaron Goldman

Hit up SES Chicago today. Jolly good show.

Here’s the deck I presented in my session, “Get Googley: How to Apply Lessons from SEM to Other Marketing Channels.”

As you may have guessed from the last slide, Tha Lyrical G made an appearance. Will post the rap in its entirety in a separate post. (Waiting for YouTube to complete the upload.)

UPDATE: Here’s the Googley Lessons rap. Turn up your speakers, click the link, and then brace yourself.


What Will Search Look Like 5 Years From Now?

October 16, 2010 by Aaron Goldman

That’s what MediaPost’s Laurie Sullivan asked me in prepping her column, “Search Reaches Turning Point With Social Integration.”

This was my response.

In 5 years, search will be an incredibly personal experience.

When we want information, entertainment, or commerce, we’ll use apps that know our preferences and return not just the results we want but the actions we want to take.

To deliver on this promise, the search engines of the future will tap APIs from virtually every content publisher, brand manufacturer, and retailer to deliver immediately actionable opportunities.

And, to make the experience more relevant, “likes” will be weighted more heavily than “links” in the search engine algorithms. And location will be automatically factored in.

This thread is covered extensively in Chapter 21: Future-Proofing and Siri is profiled as the “search-and-act” engine or “app-sisstant” of the future.

As for Google’s role in this brave new world… as discussed in the book, the Big G can either become a search-and-act engine itself and/or the underlying platform upon which these engines are built. Think API-burner.

It’s interesting to see Bing taking steps towards this new expression of relevancy though its recent deal with Facebook to incorporate “likes” into its search algorithm. I explored the potential for a search engine that pivoted on the social graph in a blog post from 2008 titled, “The Perfect Search Engine.”

And, more recently, I looked at “Link vs. Like and the Future of Web Ranking.”

It’s hard to say whether 5 years is the right window for all this heady stuff to come to fruition but if we look at how far search has come in the past 5, I wouldn’t bet against it/us.


Google Requests Permission for Take-off with ITA

July 3, 2010 by Aaron Goldman

Google ITA

On Thursday, Google announced it would acquire ITA, a travel software firm, and immediately launched the requisite website pro-actively lobbying to get the deal approved by regulators.

I shared the following POV on the implications of the Google ITA acquisition with Laurie Sullivan of MediaPost for her article, “Google Buys ITA Travel Software Co. For $700 Million Cash, Dings Bing.”

Let’s start with advantages to users, which is always how Google thinks about things. The future of search utility is not in links but in actions. In my book [Chapter 21: Future Proofing, to be exact] I talk about how the future is search-and-act engines or “app-ssistants” like Siri (which Apple bought) that allow you to give instructions rather than submit queries and deliver actions not just links. So for example, if you’re planning a trip you can just tell your app-ssistant, “Chicago to New York for pleasure” and it will fetch you an itinerary with airlines, hotel, car rental, dinner reservations, theater tickets, etc. all based on your saved preferences. In this example, a product like ITA is critical to gathering and organizing much of the data needed to complete the action.

For advertisers, the advantages are a little less obvious. Long-term, search-and-act engines will provide tremendous opportunities to brands that have digitized and distributed their assets [as outlined in Chapter 17: Show Off Your Assets] so app-ssistants can find them and include them in the actions they deliver. Short-term, ITA likely means more traffic to Google and, importantly, more commercial queries that advertisers love because they represent someone ready to buy, read: strong ROI. [More on this in Chapter 4: Mindset Matters.]

For Google, more commercial queries mean more ad revenue. Also, Bing has been playing up its strengths in travel with Farecast integration. This deal should give Google the decided edge and help it retain share.

Image Source: Channel Fever.net

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