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What Are The Implications of Google’s New Personalised Feed?

July 28, 2017

What Are The Implications of Google’s New Personalised Feed?

Google have announced that they’ll be providing users with the option to add personalised content and topics to an auto-updated feed. In a similar fashion to Android’s Google Now, the search engine is hoping to custom-curate content for individual users based on their interests.

“organisations should be prepared for a more personalised search presence”

This seems to have started a wave of changes in Google’s quest to improve user experience. This includes an announcement that Google Instant is to be killed off, and whilst users will still see suggestions as they type in the search bar, they will no longer be able to click on these suggested results.

So with these changes, will companies and marketers need to modify their strategy for reaching customers. And could the new personalised feed approach soon remove or downplay organic SERPs? It seems unlikely, though organisations should be prepared for a more personalised search presence.

“Push notifications in particular are helping brands to be more engaged with their users”

New Ways to Discover Content

In 2017, smartphones have become the default way to search for information. Discovering new products, services and content is a different process now than it was even three years ago.

Voice search is booming, and the average person uses 10 apps daily on their phone. Push notifications in particular are helping brands to be more engaged with their users than ever before.

Influencer Recommendations

Content curation is fast becoming one of the most-trusted ways for users to consume content. Studies show that If an influencer recommends a product, article, or book in their field or area that a user is interested in, they are 11x more likely to purchase it themselves. And with stars of YouTube, Vine and other social media platforms going on their own tours, writing books and appearing in movies, brands need to think about how they can go about implementing a unique influencer strategy offering for themselves.

“marketing experts advocate for trading email lists with related, non-competing organisations”

Even those not operating in the B2C sector can work with influencers, or other trusted partners, to trade audiences or cross-promote each other’s services. In fact, many online marketing experts advocate for trading email lists with related, non-competing organisations that have the same target audience.

Apps

A 2013 study found that 85 percent of users prefer apps to mobile websites. However, they need to be built well and offer a great experience, otherwise they’ll typically lead to abandonment or uninstalls.

“Apps can be the digital equivalent of a company’s top salesperson”

Apps are worth building for a couple of reasons: 1) they can make the user’s life easier, or 2) they can make the user’s life more fun. A product such as custom jewellery can be “unnecessary”, but if the shopping experience is fun, users will be more likely to make a purchase. Conversely, if the product is a necessary part of life, like car insurance for example, an app selling this type of product should make the experience of purchasing it as easy and manageable as possible.

Apps can be the digital equivalent of a company’s top salesperson: if they are hard to work with or don’t give the user what they are looking for, the user will often leave and never come back. If your company does need an app, work tirelessly to make it perfect and don’t launch it without multiple rounds of testing.

Search Behavior Has Shifted

With the mobile-first index scheduled to launch next year, companies now need to build their websites and overall online presence for people that are on the go, or looking at a smaller screen, as a priority.

Think about the experience you provide to someone who is standing in line at a coffee shop, or waiting for their pasta water to boil. People often search the internet while they are distracted with something else – the days of creating personas around users who are calmly sitting in an office with all the time in the world have long gone.

Voice search is also changing the way we use the internet. People are now “asking” their phones and home assistants (such as Google Home and Amazon Echo) for help when navigating the web. This means that your content needs to be easily readable by AI, as well as human users.

People Like Personalisation

The concept behind enhancing the search results based on past behavior is not a new one, and is something Google have been focusing on more and more. As an example, if a user searched for “Purple Rain” and then did a separate search for “Prince”, Google would usually be able to deduce they meant Prince the singer based on their previous search, and provide them with a set of results personalised to them.

“It’s almost an oxymoron: internet users want access to all the information available, but also want to be told about what they are already interested in.”

Yet with Google’s personalised search feed, users should find the process of accessing the information they are looking for becoming even easier and quicker.

It’s almost an oxymoron: internet users want access to all the information available, but also want to be told about what they are already interested in.

It therefore seems like it’s time for brands to harness the power behind AI and human recommendations. They need to focus their content, apps and SEO strategy behind what is the best suggestion to someone’s search, rather than what tells the user the most about a product or service.

“It’s almost an oxymoron: internet users want access to all the information available, but also want to be told about what they are already interested in.”
Yet with Google’s personalised search feed, users should find the process of accessing the information they are looking for becoming even easier and quicker.

It’s almost an oxymoron: internet users want access to all the information available, but also want to be told about what they are already interested in.

It therefore seems like it’s time for brands to harness the power behind AI and human recommendations. They need to focus their content, apps and SEO strategy behind what is the best suggestion to someone’s search, rather than what tells the user the most about a product or service.

Kelsey Jones is the founder and chief marketing strategist of MoxieDot, a Kansas City-based digital marketing consultancy, and StoryShout, the first and only news content marketing agency. Kelsey is also the former Executive Editor of Search Engine Journal, one of the top search marketing publications, with about 1M pageviews per month.

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