Can search ever be sexy?

24 May 2017

Is search sexy? That was the big topic at our recent Propel Together Search breakfast which was attended by representatives of some the most progressive companies in the space. Joining Melina were Mike Teasdale from Harvest, Caroline Reynolds from iProspect, Guy Thornton from Found, Mark Williams from iCrossing, Sue Francis from ScribbleLive, Milka Kramer from Microsoft, Gareth Owen of Roast, Grieg Holbrook from Oban International and Dan Cave from ScribbleLive.

The phrase ‘ Making Search Sexy’ has been bandied around the market for a couple of years now but we asked, what does this really mean? After all, as Mike Teasdale put it ‘Search is a mature channel now. It is what it is.”

However, there are some exciting developments taking place both in terms of tech and the place of search in the modern digital marketplace. As Dan Cave said, ‘Search used to be done by the nerd tapping away in the corner. Now things have started to get interesting.’

One of those developments, identified by Mark Williams of iCrossing is the advent of voice search through the growth of bots and home assistants such as Amazon echo. Of course voice input search has been around for a while but its now really coming into its own.  For a start, it’s much more accurate. Just four years ago, Google’s platform had a word recognition accuracy rate of below 80 % Today, that rate is more than 90%. Baidu, the Chinese giant has even developed speech recognition software that now exceeds a 95% accuracy rate according to Grieg Holbrook.

Of course, home and personal assistants are also interesting as both Siri and Amazon Echo have Bing as their default search engine. Bing is becoming a lot more interesting as an engine and can provide some great results. Our guests also noted how easy it is to deal with Microsoft and Bing teams as opposed to the other major players.

Dan Cave also spoke of the interesting role of search in ideation and how you can now automatically generate keywords which could lead ultimately to automated content generation.

As ever, it’s clear that your agency is only as good as its staff. Caroline Reynolds of iProspect spoke of how they needed to find different types of employees to fill their teams. She spoke of the need to find developers, statisticians, and data scientists. She said ‘ It’s easier for us to hire a developer and teach them PPC rather than the other way round.’

All the guests spoke of the need to ensure that their agency had the right culture and encouraged innovation and best practice. At Propel, that’s music to our ears as we strongly believe that you must always recruit staff who align with your cultures and values.

Propel hold events on a monthly basis for digital leaders. Lets us know if you would like to take part.

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