The next time you forget the spelling of “diaorhea”, more than likely you will turn to a search engine for an answer. Our reliance on it has grown to a point that we now use the name of the world’s most popular search engine as a verb.
“Googling,” however, has some psychologists worried. Having practically all the information we could ever need at our fingertips may be empowering, but it is also quite addictive.
Technology analyst Bill Thompson summed it up nicely in a 2003 BBC story, saying that Google has become “The Coke of the web. Sweet, available everywhere, and the first choice of the consumer.”
But Chris Actis disagrees.
The regional director at Neo@Ogilvy believes that while the debate is still out there on search over-dependence, the technology has undeniably aided people on how to traverse the rapidly expanding digital landscape.
“We’ve incorporated Google into our lives in a way that helps us understand the world better. I think of it more as a life navigational resource than an addiction.”
As much as search engines revealed the world to us, Actis said that we have also exposed a piece of ourselves in the process.
The websites we visit and the queries we ask paint a revealing picture of who are, helping marketers better understand and craft campaigns that ultimately serves not just a company’s KPI, but more importantly the consumer’s needs.
“Search is a profound revelation of human behavior and state of mind,” he explains, calling search as a “barometer of online consumer behavior.”
“What if a brand could answer that one question? What if a brand can interact with consumers when they’re speaking to a search engine? Search is very important because it is very personal, it’s where journeys start, become explorations into products and services.”
So far, Actis observed that marketers consider search as core pillar of their media activation because of good, measurable returns on investment and proven means to connect with consumers that are now increasingly found online. He said that search spend by marketers has increased steadily over the last 5 years, with the Asia Pacific region seeing some of the largest growth.
The challenge for agencies to fully tap the trend is not a question of having the most updated software and analytics but having the right staff, Actis emphasized.
“It makes agencies a lot of money so there is a lot of competition here but you can actually win in this space with talent. You don’t really need a network. What you need is the best people.”