Mobile Search Is The Future: A Summary Of Google’s Think Mobile UK Event, part.1

At dotSearch, we’ve been buzzing about the incredible opportunity for search on mobile for a long time now – it has been on the radar for years, but as important parts of the puzzle fall into place, it’s really exciting to see the possibilities it’s enabling for businesses today.

It’s partly for this reason that we decided to embrace the opportunity to speak at the Online Marketing Show, held last week, and explain why companies should get on board as well as giving some practical advice for how to get involved today – before your competitors.

We were in good company. The day before, Brad Fehler and I attended Google’s Think Mobile UK event. It was a great showing – with all the frills you’d expect from Google – but most importantly, some awesome insight.

Across the next two posts, we’ll summarise the most useful bits, including some great stats and findings from each speaker.

Rory Sutherland: on “the science of human understanding”

First up at the Google event was legendary ad man, Rory Sutherland of Ogilvy, who talked about human understanding needing to catch up with technological understanding. In his eyes, tech has been growing so fast that it has outgrown our knowledge. In years to come, considering how we want to use it will be the focus.

In the man’s own words:

“Over the next ten to 15 years we will see a slowdown in [the growth of] technological progress,

“I don’t think it’s true that all things technological progress at an exponential rate – instead there are bursts of change punctuated by periods of relative stability, with perhaps a small level of incremental improvement.”


Comparative merits

He also talked about the comparative merits of television and mobile for advertising: “TV is still better for emotional engagement, but mobile is a different kettle of fish”. They must work together, each focusing on their strengths, to complement one another.

Rory did a great job of highlighting why mobile marketing is working so well – It’s allows you to reach the right target:

  1. audience
  2. content
  3. moment
  4. context

We already know that context in marketing is incredibly valuable – and with search, we know the target audience are in the right place in the buying cycle, because they are searching.

It’s that level of context that is key and with search on mobiles, context is amplified by location, device, search behaviour, and more.

Rory used the example of impulse buying – why is it that you can impulse buy on your mobile but not impulse save? He told us that Ogilvy designed an app for a banking client that allowed you to ‘impulse save’ via your mobile.

When you felt a bit richer, you could quickly transfer a small amount, say $20, to your saving account. It was a perfect example of right audience, right content, right moment, right context.

Subjective values

He also touched on value being subjective, and related to context – which makes mobile marketing more valuable to the target audience – resulting in more successful campaigns.

To Rory, the next movement in online marketing will be about a really granular understanding applied to driven marketing activity – deep layers of personalisation for your audiences. Making content feel ‘theirs’, and giving them power…

Making changes


Key in the success of mobile commerce is changing consumers’ behaviour. If we want more people to behave differently, to engage with our brands on mobiles more, or more deeply, then we have to make it very easy. Only that will trigger an attitudinal change, which will have resulting impact on behaviour.

It’s like making recycling, for example, easy – once it passes a threshold of convenience, people want to participate rather than just feeling they should. This “avoidance of cognitive dissonance” is essential – people are looking for excuses to engage with you on mobiles, so give them a logical one: make it easy. Subscribe to the blog for the next in the series…

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