Google on How to Reach Consumers Across Devices at SES London 2014

Day 2 of SES London 2014 opened with a keynote from Ian Carrington, Google’s Director of Performance for Northern and Central Europe.

He started off with a slide of his son using an iPad and a startling statistic: 28 percent of 3- to 4-year-olds in the UK use a tablet. This is a mass penetration since the first iPad came out in early 2010. That pace of change is set to continue and not slow down. This concept was the cornerstone of his keynote.

As more people come online, Google is seeing an increase in the number of devices. Most people today have, on average, three connected devices. Refrigerators, cars and other devices are getting connected and creating an “Internet of things.” Getting all these devices connected becomes a challenge.

Google sees 7.9 zettabytes of data, which is enough to go to the moon and back 27 times. Every two days, as much information is created as there was altogether until 2013.

The Future of Search

When someone asks a question of Google, Google will be able to answer that question for you. Then Google wants to take it a step further to have a conversation back with you to help understand the context in which you are asking the questions. As time rolls on, Google wants to anticipate what you mean to ask before you actually ask it.

Ian Carrington at SES London 2013

Google’s trying to solve complex problems in everyday life for users using a three phase strategy.

Be There

The average person in the UK has a tablet, phone, and desktop computer. Google is making it so if a user starts a journey on one device, they can continue it on another.

To demonstrate, Carrington asked a question about a museum on his Nexus 7, and Google provided an answer. Conversationally following up with “when is it open,” Google answered Carrington back by telling him 10 a.m.

Carrington then switched to his iPhone and asked Google, “how do I get there?” and the iPhone Google app answered with full directions to the museum.

Google worked to answer his questions through natural conversation to allow him to carry on, regardless of the device.

Be Relevant

Google is trying to answer the right question to the right user at the right time. Similarly, they’re doing the same thing with advertisements. They want to show the right ads to the right users at the right time.

Having a mobile website will increase conversions, Carrington said. Eleven percent of consumers today are using a tablet as their main device.

Google’s remarketing lists for search ads will help increase conversions. Using Google’s remarketing solutions to be more relevant, Worldstores reduced CPA by 43 percent and had a 2.5x increase in conversion rate, Carrington said.

Be Optimized

Using data insights makes your website and your advertising more effective and efficient. You need to optimize for your customers, Carrington said.

Today, a customer’s journey is more complex. People convert as a result of many touch points. An average customer might convert in-store, even though that journey may have begun from a desktop search and continued on the mobile web.

Carrington’s point was that the cross-device experience is really important to understand. People are clearly starting the journey on one device and often finishing on another.


Carrington reminded us the pace of change is only accelerating. Make sure your message is on every device possible. Collect all the data you can so you make the right decisions at the right time so you can understand the customer behind the keywords.

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