It is vital that businesses invest in digital skills if they are to compete for the most valuable advertising positions in Google search results.
A Google panel fielding questions at the latest Business Breakfast run by Travolution sister brand Travel Weekly was asked to address cost inflation that many small firms complain is pricing them out of the market.
Biren Kalaria, head of performance UK, said the Google AdWords auction determined costs, which have risen due to stagnating desktop volumes and firms investing in on-site optimisation.
“Brands have spent the past 10 or 15 years optimising conversion on-site,” he said. “The better they do, the more they can pay, and that changes the auction dynamics.”
Kalaria said more precise retargeting on Google was now available, which allowed brands to increase their bids.
Firms should constantly question if they are employing the right talent to take advantage of these opportunities, he added.
“Who are the people running your search campaigns? Do they have the skills around data management to help you take the value out of search?”
Phil Miles, director of Google’s DoubleClick ad technology, said firms needed to employ data scientists.
“People think technology is the key, but that’s not the case,” he said. “Technology is the enabler. It enables you to have a data strategy.
“If you have a single view of your customer across channels and devices, and the ability to interact with those people, that is a really exciting opportunity.”
Miles said it was not far-fetched to suggest that, in 10 years, all marketing would be digital.
“That creates a massive opportunity because billions and billions of digital signals are generated every day,” he said.
“Very few businesses are listening to those signals, collecting the data and engaging both with existing and prospective customers in real time.
“Those businesses recognising that data is a competitive advantage are the ones that are going to win.”
Miles added: “There is so much fragmentation companies are using 10 to 15 different technologies.
“But you can’t get to any insights because you have fragmented technology leading to fragmented data leading to a fragmentation of you insight.
“Our big bet is unifying around and single unified platform to really help you to get to insights more quickly.
“What Uber and Airbnb are our digital businesses. I think the next business that comes along that will be transformational will be a digital business.
“The reason why they are transformational is they have really harnessed data and technology, linked that to a consumer need to be able to create something that has genuinely taken the market forward.”