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BIA/Kelsey analyst: Search’s evolution towards push, app-based discovery evident with Google Now

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January 16, 2015

IMG_1216[1]_optNEW YORK – An analyst at Mobile Marketer’s Mobile FirstLook: Strategy 2015 conference said he expects Google Now to step up its use of targeted push notifications as search becomes more mobile application- and discovery-based to meet consumer demand for faster, more personal service.

The session, “Search: How Mobile is Redefining Search Across Smartphones and Tablets,” focused on how Google, rethinking its business model in the mobile context, as consumers searching via maps and voice commands, expect results to be instantaneous, local and clickable to a mobile site or phone number.

“Like Google does with a lot of things, I’m convinced Google Now will be more personalizing and pushing, really targeting messaging to users,” said Michael Boland, senior analyst and vice president of content with BIA/Kelsey.

“Google actually does the market a favor by experimenting on the scale it can do,” he said. “But it’s really worth watching for anyone interested in this kind of world of push-based notifications and more mobile signals to really get in front of users in more intuitive ways.”

Preferred channels
Push notifications emerged to meet consumers’ demand for a more personal experience, with timely, relevant messages delivered to them through their preferred channels, placing the power in their hands.

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Google Now reminder feature.

Amid growing smartphone penetration and mobile transactions, opportunities have opened for marketers to leverage push notifications to drive engagement and sales, pointing to the need for delivering truly personalized messages.

“Google Now is the most under-recognized effort coming out of Mountain View,” Mr. Boland said. “It’s under-recognized because the fate of Google Now is going to have massive implications for Google’s ability to play in this new world I’m characterizing, more app-based and more based on discovery.

“This is Google’s play at pushing you things,” he said. “Not requiring you to make an active search in the traditional sense, but algorithmcly pushing you things based in a very targeted fashion.”

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Michael Boland at Mobile FirstLook.

Growing smartphone use and an expected boom in wearables that can gather data, deliver information and receive feedback within seconds have paved the way for push notifications to become a primary source of information for mobile consumers.

Consumers who used to learn about a brand through a store or Web site will increasingly reach for a smartphone or glance at a smartwatch to get needed information.

Lest they fall behind, brand marketers will need to become experts at inspiring consumers through great push notifications, integrating messages in these emerging channels.

Bad weather

Google Now would be able to send an alert to a traveler about impending bad weather or traffic problems en route to the airport by going into his or her Inbox or weather.

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Weather via Google Now.

“If I have a flight tomorrow I can get an alert because Google can see the email confirmation in my Inbox that I have a flight,” Mr. Boland said. “It will tell me that it’s going to rain tomorrow. And there’s construction on the road to the airport. So it’ll recommend that I leave 15 minutes early. And take an alternative route to the airport.”

Final Take

Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York

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