One of the most engaging talks at this years GML was given by Google America’s president Allan Thygesen on the importance of anticipation in our modern world. Both the human and AI element is so important for anticipation, and successful brands can pair both together to weave their way through new technologies and markets. Some of the statistics presented by Allan were astounding and highlight just how quickly the nature of our digital age can change. Did you know that 90% of YouTube viewers say they find new products or brands on the platform? Mobile searches for ‘best deals’ and ‘best places to buy’ have grown by 90% and 70% respectively in the past 2 years, and watch time for YouTube videos on ‘which product to buy’ have been doubling YOY. Users are searching for more personal and measurable experiences and brand need to jump on board. The rapid pace of change brings with it many near opportunities but it can also be daunting, it also highlights the importance of anticipation to make sure you don’t get left behind.

Thygesen spoke about the 3 great disrupters of the internet age, the developments that have shaken the foundations of traditional business, ones that will continue to drive our future as users, brands, and marketers. Mobile technology, the invasion of data and limitless consumer journeys have altered the user and customer experience forever. These innovations continue to grow in function and open up new avenues. Thygesen stressed that measuring data is great, but it goes beyond that. Brands that can really set themselves apart are able to measure and effectively interpret, understand and apply the deluge of data that we now have access to. Applying data throughout the customer journey, across various platforms and technology is crucial moving forward – take these disruptors and make them work for you.

‘Run fast to stand still’ is a classic metaphor that Thygesen applied to anticipating for success, brands can’t afford to be stagnant and should always be thinking forward – even if you’re doing well. Think back to those statistics, if that’s how much can change in 2 years, what could happen in the next 2, or 5? Understanding your consumer isn’t a new concept by any means, but it has become even more critical now that we have access to billions of connections and endless platforms of communication. Thygesen stresses that brands need to understand their consumers at every step of their journey and on every platform. We have seen how diverse end-to-end consumer journeys can exist anywhere, and we can take this wave of engagement and develop it into key insights. These insights can help you create better performing creative and media plans, and most importantly can begin to shape the consumer journey as it happens.

Making anticipation part of your business growth model is a step in the right direction, but it need not be a difficult one. Start by making marketing an integral role throughout the entire customer experience, we know consumers are thirsty for information and reassurance so give it to them. Now that Google has simplified and expanded their campaign offerings, it has never been easier to reach users on new platforms. Extend intent signals from your current Search campaigns to Google’s other properties, such as YouTube or Gmail. This lets you use intent that you know exists to then anticipate consumer needs and shape their journey’s end-to-end. Anticipating could be as simple as using customer preferences to offer a better mobile app or in-store experience, or using Search data to predict when a consumer might need a product or service.

Anticipating doesn’t necessarily mean adopting and mastering the latest developments or technology, Search campaigns are still one of the most effective tools in understanding your consumer and their needs. Anticipation is a way of thinking about our connected world and how you fit into it as both a user and a consumer. Try and develop natural curiosity within yourself and your peers and encourage a test-and-learn culture, this is how you anticipate to win.

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