Brighton SEO 2017

AI and machine learning:

  • 15 million UK jobs could be automated
  • But our fear of ‘robots’ isn’t likely to materialise in the way we imagine, it’s happening around us e.g. McDonald’s food ordering module
  • Machine learning architecture is multi-layered, the challenge is replicating the output that our eyes perceive by passing layered representations onto each stage
  • Humans are able to take learning from one process and apply it to another
  • Narrow AI we have made a lot of progress on, e.g. Siri
  • Strong AI, e.g. Ex Machina, we’re not there yet
  • The gap is being bridged at the moment by deep learning – the process of getting from narrow, task based AI, to the idea of consciousness and independent ‘thought’
  • E.g. Google DeepMind
  • There’s actually potential for strong AI to become better than humans, because it would have an infinite capacity to process and manipulate data
  • Machines wouldn’t make the same mistake twice, or be influenced by irrelevant external factors, in the way that humans are vulnerable to
  • The mapping between input and output can therefore become ‘perfect’
  • This can solve all kinds of world problems; science, information, manufacturing, etc
  • This can then become proactive, e.g. in content creation, because it now understands the ‘rules’
  • Bees are extremely intelligent – their learning isn’t deep, they don’t need a lot of layers between seeing and processing in order to understand what they need to do to survive
  • They can also adapt, taking learning from one task and applying it to another, pattern recognition etc
  • Support Vector Machine Processing can help us understand input/output  ‘rules’
  • Understanding how to speed up this process, e.g. taking examples from bees, would catalyse our progress in the AI field
  • Brains sort input in amazing ways, e.g. the cocktail party problem – being able to tonally categorise sounds to differentiate the conversation you want to hear from the ones you don’t
  • Smell is the same – we can separate the difference between the smell of coffee and the smell of bread, even though they we would perceive that in a bakery we are smelling both at the same time
  • If we can make a computational simulation of a bee’s brain, we can use it to steer a drone, for example
  • Simple brains like this are a good way to start as we progress towards strong AI
  • As people interested in AI and its development, we have a role to play in making AI smarter – we need to understand intent, user patterns, the makeup and delivery of quality content

Insights:

  •  There’s no correct way to build an analytics dashboard – decide what you need by what you want to achieve
  • Have them updating in real time and be ready to respond as things change
  • Create a universal analytics dashboard that includes data from all elements of the business, that way you can see how they all interact and make the most of opportunities
  • Have someone in charge of all of it, who is empowered to make decisions and advocate for changes in direction when needed
  • Use them in a gamified way to encourage improvements and optimisation internally – who can top the charts, which team can produce the best results
  • Encourage a shared learning culture around this
  • It’s worth paying for a dashboarding tool that does everything you need, because it enables this culture and saves money in the long-term
  • Be prepared to fail a few times before you get it right
  • Make your customer dashboard an internal product that everyone in the organisation can learn from
  • Build it up iteratively, get a few things right and go from there
  • There’s an element of increasing internal understanding of analytics, to drive the internal demand for acting on what’s possible
  • Google Data Studio
  • Data will move this way, because it’s more flexible than GA
  • Make your data sharable in a way that makes sense to people who need it
  • BigQuery
  • “Data Studio will become the default digital marketing tool”
  • Customers are complex – paths to conversion don’t go in a straight line
  • 85bn calls are made to businesses every year
  • Calls convert 20% better than clicks
  • 1.7 trillion dollars per year is phone call influenced
  • We need to be able to credit digital with these calls, that is often the end of a digital journey (e.g. calling an estate agent, you can’t add a house to your basket)
  • A single customer view should include offline methods as well
  • Can we get to a stage where we know what the customer is calling about before they call, because we know what they were looking at and what they’re likely to want to buy
  • Speech analytics helps us to make marketing decisions on how products are described by customers
  • Google predicts voice search will overtake text search by 2019

Agile and big brand strategy:

  • Aim for what’s currently impossible
  • Don’t take shortcuts, go for greatness
  • We have to make search content as good as the best piece of content we can imagine
  • We need to understand how to market our content better, without crossing the line into becoming a hack, or creating content for content’s sake
  • We’re contributing to a greater good, we all have a responsibility to provide things that are valuable, meaningful and will change the world or make it a better place
  • Will Google be able to measure value and contribution to the world in the future, as a quality metric, using ethics as a ranking signal
  • Create hero pieces that define your brand, promote your values and help you stand out from competitors
  • Google updates its algorithm 1.6 times a day
  • Organisational culture – legacy systems, huge signoff processes, lots of stakeholders, institutionalised co-workers
  • Only one third of businesses actually map their current position on any one issue before they start working to change things
  • Customers don’t care about your backend systems, loyalties and products
  • Tools are only ever as good as the talented people who are using it
  • Educating stakeholders and gaining trust
  • You need to be credible, reliable, understanding and motivating
  • When you strip everything away, there is only one goal, and that’s the boilerplate of your brand
  • The people you win over get you access to people beyond them
  • Create a ‘single point of truth’
  • Organic strategy ‘you can’t buy love’
  • Loreal have the challenge of tracking customers who convert on supplier sites like Boots
  • Transformation is a continual process
  • Know the talent you have around you
  • You can judge brand perception from search, e.g. ‘what have I done to break my Mac programme?’ Versus ‘My PC isn’t working’

Paid social:

  • Facebook has 1.4 billion active users a month, that’s 79% of all internet users
  • 500,000 new profiles created every day
  • Compared to Google, its ad platform is fairly new
  • It grew 50% from 2015 – 2016
  • Paid social is very different to organic, he recommends expertise from people who specialise in doing that on its own
  • Set things up as campaigns in their own right, don’t rely on boosting a post
  • Make the most of lead generation forms, retargeting the people who started and didn’t complete
  • Use Canvas and Collections
  • AdEspresso is a bank of ad examples
  • Think about advertising as a story, you can’t build a relationship by asking people to buy something before they know who you are
  • Sequential ads help with ad fatigue, there’s a higher conversion on the third ad
  • You earn the right to ask them to buy, you need to earn that within the paid social journey
  • Think about hooks, e.g. before a new campaign
  • Think about the whole package, the sequences should run at the same time as your email marketing, organic efforts, etc
  • Make the most of engagement audiences
  • According to Bing, the CPC on ‘lawyers’ is $109!
  • Don’t do the same work twice – use your AdWords data to plug into your Facebook ads
  • Information charities have the advantage of being able to produce thought leadership content

Keynote:

  • We don’t live in a world of perfect information and perfect trust
  • The quest for optimisation is difficult in that world
  • If you become exceptionally good at something, you’re probably sacrificing something else
  • You need disobedience and unpredictability to keep you adaptable to inevitable change
  • Nature never purely optimises along one dimension
  • Never stop doing the left field things, because every now and then you hit on something better
  • If you try to sell something in the wrong context, you fail, however ostensibly ‘perfect’ the formula
  • There is no objective reality
  • In marketing, you have the choice to solve either the reality, or the perception
  • E.g. TFL – they couldn’t change waiting times, so they changed the perception of waiting, by introducing arrival time updates. People don’t mind waiting if they know how long they’re waiting for
  • Get people to focus on something else, if you can’t change the reality
  • Wagamama introduce you to the idea of random food arrival by asking whether you’ve eaten there before. Everything still arrives in a funny order, but we’re ok with it because they’ve sold us on why
  • “The trouble with market research is that people don’t think how they feel, they don’t say what they think and they don’t do what they say”
  • Delayed prescriptions are post-dated so people don’t cash them in because they’re generally better before they need them (e.g. solving the antibiotic problem)
  • It’s easier to get fired for being illogical than unimaginative
  • Our brains are generating a plausible narrative from everything we perceive
  • McDonald’s is reliably ‘good enough’ which prevents us from wading into something that could be surprisingly bad and is therefore the biggest food company in the world
  • We’ll accept a lower average for the trade-off of a lower variable, it’s not optimal, but it’s not catastrophic
  • This is why we end up doing things ‘the same old way’
  • This is why big agencies can be uninspiring – they don’t fail, but neither are they likely to do anything amazing. They’re ‘safe’ and if they mess things up, it’s on them, not you
  • Test counter-intuitive things, because your competitors won’t
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