Morning Keynote with Tim Mayer

November 11, 2010
By Lisa Barone in Internet Marketing Conferences

Gooood morning! It’s the last and final day here at PubCon Vegas.  If you’re wondering where your energy went, you may want to ask Tim Mayer. He’s our keynote speaker this morning and he’s been bouncing and running around like a little kid for the past 45 minutes.  It’s kind of infectious, actually. He says he was in bed by 10pm last night. Way to be, Tim, way to be. [Actually, Dawn and I were both in bed by 10pm, as well.  We’re getting old.]

This is Tim’s first presentation since he left Yahoo. He’s independent now but we’re not getting the expose of where he’s at it. Sorry.

He was at Yahoo for almost seven years. The search industry has consolidated – we have Bing and Google. Bing’s entered the marketplace with a new brand. They’ve spent a lot of money, have a differentiated product and good quality. Google is now starting to react. We’re seeing much larger changes to the search experience in the last twelve months than we have in months before. We’re seeing larger macro trends. We’re seeing the PC search market mature with just single digit growth. The mobile search marketing is exploding with double digit growth.  We’re seeing new ranking features that will become more and more important over time.  He thinks local is finally on its tipping point where it’s going to start to be huge.

He showed up at PubCon 2002 and there were no presentations or exhibitors. People didn’t have names, they had WebmasterWorld usernames.  We see how much that’s changed. And the search industry is changing the same way.

Future of Search

He sees it following two directions

  • Traditional Search: People put in a query and get back what they desire.
  • Suggestion: A more serendipitous type search.

What does the future look like? He asks his tablet PC what time a certain movie is playing on Saturday. The PC asks where he wants to see it.  He selects his city. It comes back and displays its show times and asks how many tickets he wants. He selects the time and the number of tickets. The search engine knows he has a relationship with Fandango. It goes to fandango and completes the transaction. [Basically, search is now your personal assistant. :) ] We’re seeing a lot of location based services. We’re seeing a lot of different types of input (voice).  Brands are becoming more important on the Web. Years ago, people came out from nowhere. Now the big brands are becoming more important. Consumers want to connect with them.

Moving on to the discovery side -once the transaction at Fandango is processing, the search engine understands maybe he wants to go to dinner after the movie ends. It looks at who he’s going with – he needs a child-friendly restaurant. It looks at his check-ins to figure out what are the hot restaurants, what do his friends like, does he like, etc. And then it goes out and sends a consideration set to Open Table. It sees which restaurants have a reservation time that works for him.  Then it sends him the list.  We’re using data to create very targeted information for the user. We can include lots of social data, deals, reviews, etc.

To get to his future vision, he’s going to go through five key trends that are transforming search.

1. Mobile Queries: Will be 20 percent search market by 2012

People are going to be inputted lots of different queries. The largest search queries are informational, local and product look up.  With mobile search growing, the categories are growing, as well. We’re also going to see different types of queries come in.

2. Growth in Apps, not Browser

If you look, the browser accounts for 13 percent of the face time on a mobile phone. It’s the most used application, but the majority of time people spend on the phone is in different things – it’s in apps. If you just focus on data applications, the browser accounts for 50 percent of the face time. Two or three years ago, the browser accumulated 70-80 percent. Apps are taking more and more of the time of users. HTML5 will also change the landscape.

3. Input Difficult

We need different ways to input information

4. More Context

Everyone is capturing very valuable information about you as a consumer and they’re going to be able to use that information to better target advertising or better Web results in the future.

5. Verticalizing SERP

The horizontal Web search is growing slowly. We’re seeing massive growth in the vertical best-of-breed search engines (ebay, YouTube, etc). We’re seeing more queries go to those search engines. People are associating the brand with a certain activity and they’re going directly to those places to search rather than go to Google or Bing. The search engines must create a more compelling vertical experience to compete and capture that growth. He thinks it’s important that people embrace the new opportunities to optimize and engage with the consumer through this new user experience.

Technology Opportunity

App discovery is the key to customer satisfaction in the smart phone era. Right now, it’s an unsolved problem to be able to find apps and understand are they good and is this the best one. It’s hard to solve that problem. A number of companies are looking at this now.

Matching Intent/Queries with Apps: Once you find the apps, you have to figure out what they’re looking for, what’s the intent, what’s the category, etc. Then they  have to find what the app is, what it does, etc. People don’t click on tabs.  People don’t think in verticals. They don’t use the Images tab, they just do a Web search and think the photos that show up are it.

“If the past is search, the future is predication and suggestion – Roger Ehrenberg. It’s a more pro-active type of search. You have location data, social data and personalization data.

Publisher Opportunities

Mobile Advertising: Supply > Demand. The demand for mobile advertising is not increasing so the prices are very low in this place. Most people haven’t figured out how they can profitable use mobile inventory. There’s an opportunity to take some budget and test for your brand to see how you can make it work for you. The cost is a lot cheaper than PC search.

First mover app in category on a new platform: We’ve seen this with epicurious. They became the default recipe application on the iPad. There’s still lots of open categories. Look for those white spaces and capitalize.

Commerce: Price comparison – offline to online.

Optimize vertical entity pages for search: There’s been a lot of discussion about this the past two days. People have said maybe you should stick to optimizing for the ten blue links and stay away from everything else. Or you can ride the wave and embrace the change that’s happening here and provide a lot more data to get more engagement.

There’s a lot of change ahead in the search industry with the consolidation that’s happened. He thinks we’ll see a lot more change in the new few years than we’ve seen in the past 6-8 years. Each company is going to be more willing to take risks. That’s going to be something you need to embrace and go with. The ten blue links are going to be less and less important.

At PubCon 2002, it was about optimizing algorithmic search, but things have changed.  “I can stand on my street corner and can more attention than SEO” – that’s a very small view of SEO. It looks as SEO as just optimizing for algorithmic search.

Tim stops speaking and looks like he’s about to open up Q&A…but someone in the audience jumps up and asks for Tim’s business card and confuses everyone. So people start leaving and there’s no Q&A.  Um, awkward ending but a great talk from Tim!


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