Gmail in Google search results: Marketers will have a data gap to plug
Adam Bunn, SEO Director, Greenlight
Gmail in search results will make site visit data tricky to track - Marketers will need to seek out marketing technology solutions that will help plug the data void
"In terms of the impact of Gmail integration on search as we know it, there will start to be cases where Google searches will surface relevant emails the searcher has forgotten about that end up winning the click at the expense of advertisers and sites that rank in the ordinary search results," says Bunn.
"For example, if a friend of mine has sent me an email recommending a particular restaurant to try, and that email appears on the right hand side of the search results the next time I type "restaurants in London", then it seems likely I'll at least consider re-reading that recommendation rather than clicking on one of the normal search results."
According to Bunn, this will also encourage people who currently go digging around in their Gmail accounts for information, to perform a Google search instead, as in the "my flights" example that is being discussed currently.
"Over time, this should increase the share of Google users who stay logged in when searching; this will make personalised search a bigger deal, and swell the number of visits to sites that can't be tracked to the keyword level due to logged in users appearing as "not provided" or similar in Google analytics."
However, this can be plugged by utilising marketing technology solutions, such as Hydra's One Platform, which can transform real-time unstructured 'big data' into actionable intelligence; uncovering opportunities to achieve optimal performance.
With 'personalisation' in search growing, it is key for marketers and brands to focus on how well they engage with customers
According to Bunn, whilst Gmail in Google search results may be perceived as an opportunity for email marketing, it would be heavily dependent on people retaining the message.
"It's pretty obvious that email marketing can jump on this as an opportunity. But how likely is it that your email will stay in someone's inbox to appear later in their search results if they don't know and like your brand, something that needs to be created and supported offline and online with digital PR, social media engagement, natural and paid search presence? Equally as unlikely that someone will have recommended your restaurant, I'd bet."
Either way, with personalisation of one sort or another growing on all fronts, the reaction of marketers should be - how well am I engaging with my customers and potential customers across all channels?
The expansion and roll out of the Knowledge Graph bodes well for marketers
In Bunn's view, the expansion and roll out of the Knowledge Graph is also important.
Boiled down, the "Knowledge Graph" is a glorified version of "related searches", except Google has a smarter way of interpreting what is related to your original query such that the related results are broader and more intelligent. Furthermore, says Bunn, they are (or will be) displayed even more prominently than they have been to date in the new carousel format.
"What matters about this development is that the things Google puts in the carousels are links to further search results; this move is actually reasonably good for marketers, since before the introduction of the carousel, the related results were below a mini wikipedia-esque listing (see below). Now it seems likely they will be somewhat more prominent. This is useful because it, in theory, broadens the search patterns of users giving marketers who focus on targeting a broad array of related keywords more opportunities to gain traffic from Google.
Adam Bunn is SEO Director at Greenlight and is responsible for the strategic direction of the agency's SEO consultancy and link building products and services. Adam has trained, strategised and provided consultancy for clients including Vodafone UK, American Express, Monarch, Santander and Sky.
Greenlight is a leading independent digital marketing agency, providing Search and Social Media services. With over 100 blue-chip clients including Santander, New Look, Sky and ghd, Greenlight is a leader in the digital marketing space, and is recognized worldwide for its commitment to delivering record ROI for its clients and investing in the future.
Greenlight is considered the premier thought leader in the sector publishing widely read industry reports, original research and speaking at trade events. Founded in 2001, Greenlight is headquartered in London, with offices in New York. www.greenlightdigital.com