Google Manchester Event

Google Manchester Event

The Space and Time Manchester PPC team were some of the lucky ones (well deservedly so, of course) to be invited to the Google event that took place in Manchester on 30th September – the fifth of its kind being held in the North West. Our team and hundreds of other like-minded digital marketers and enthusiasts found their way to the Old Trafford Cricket Ground where the event was hosted, looking forward to an agenda that sounded very promising. The Space & Time Manchester PPC team enjoying Google Glass! And what a great afternoon it was with a fantastic selection of speakers and some truly inspirational sessions and stories to be told. Right from the start the crowd was engaged by   Andy Barke (Google Head of Northern Agencies) who transported us back ten years by showing us memorabilia of his round-the-world trip in 2004: a hand written travel diary, a briefcase full of mini discs and an album with printed photos. That was only a decade ago and yet it seems like a lifetime with technology having changed our lives to such a degree that we struggle to remember life before smart phones, tablets, online music streaming and cloud computing. Eileen Naughton, Managing Director of Google UK and Ireland, went on to enlighten us with some insights on Google’s current projects, proving her point that her enterprise is no longer a mere tech company but is more of an innovation company these days. From highly advanced robots that mimic human movements and reactions, to self-driving cars without steering wheel, to the new Google Talk App that makes your smartphone a chatty companion that answers all your questions and the Google Glass, a clever versatile device that you can wear on your nose, the sky seems to be the limit. Literally that is, when we look at one of Google’s latest research and development projects, Project Loon. For this high-altitude balloons are placed in the stratosphere with the mission of providing Internet access to rural and remote areas. We also learned some other interesting facts that one way or another affect us all. For example did you know that today Britons spend 1 in every 12 waking minutes online? Or that people check their mobile phone on average 150 times a day? Other Speakers Other speakers included Steph McGovern, a BBC journalist and award winning business presenter who gave a very interesting and insightful talk on where the British economy is at in 2014. Two of the key findings were that things are moving in the right direction but still businesses need to invest a lot more. Further to that, British average wages need to go up because much of the economic growth of the past few years has happened on the back of employees who are generally not better off, with the cost of living constantly going up at the same time. Steph McGovern then went on to moderate a panel discussion on the topic “Technological disruption – will fast businesses always beat big”, out of which particularly John Roberts, founder and CEO of AO.com, stood out with his down-to-earth, refreshing views. He pointed out that businesses need to be paranoid and aware of what their competitors are doing and also urged people to be brave and “have a go” as “opportunities always look bigger going away from you than coming towards you”. Dentsu Aegis’ Elliot Muscant stressed that being brave outweighs size in terms of how successfully your business evolves. In his view big companies can disrupt but they need to embrace the culture of change. Richard Eyre, Chairman of the IAB UK, got a lot of affirmative nods from the audience with this punchy but nevertheless true quote “Marketing is no longer a brand’s clothing it has to be its skin”. Next on the stage Dominic Field, Partner and Managing Director of the Boston Consulting Group presented a BCG research study of five large digital display advertisers. The results of the study showed that digital advertisers can achieve much better performance by making use of advanced behavioural targeting techniques such as Video Search Remarketing, Look-alike Lists and Behavioural Analytics. The impressive outcome of BCG’s AB testing was a 32% decrease in Cost per Action, a 10% decrease in Cost per Click and a Cost per View that was 28% lower when using the advanced data driven approach. If you’re interested in learning about the research study in more detail, it can be downloaded from the Google Think Insights portal: google.co.uk/think. One of the biggest inspirations of the day was Simon Wheatcroft, an ultramarathon runner who told the audience his personal story of how technology changed his life for the better after he lost his eye-sight at the age of 17. Through the aid of the smartphone app Runkeeper and the feeling underfoot Simon learnt to run solo outdoors – from first running on the football pitch near his house to running the open roads to finally running his first ultra-marathon. Simon’s next adventures include a 300 mile road race and a 100 mile Sahara desert crossing. Yes, you read that right. Really inspiring stuff and fantastic to see how modern technology can positively and powerfully change people’s lives for the better. Then we were taken behind the scenes of what is going on in one of the world’s most successful enterprises by Google’s Site Reliability Engineer John Looney. Did you know that true innovation actually lies in failure? “If half of our projects aren’t failing then we’re not trying hard enough” John said which we found quite a surprising statement although it makes sense if you think about it. At Google engineers are urged to think big, to try and do the impossible and to embrace the challenge, another important stipulation being that “scale is not required for innovation”. Larry, John’s boss, who he quoted a few times, is all for it. Next on the Agenda Next on the agenda was Derek Scobie, Head of You Tube Brand Propositions, who told us all about the well-working balance between users, creators and brands that made his company so successful. Now already in its tenth year, YouTube attracts an astonishing 9 billion unique users every month, satisfying mainstream as well as niche passions. In the course of its existence YouTube actually underwent quite a development from being a video platform to more of a channel platform where users upload regular video content and by doing so gather huge fan bases. With Lily Pebbles, Anna Gardner and Simon Wear we were then shown some real life examples of people who run very successful YouTube Channels and who actually earn a living with it. While listening to their stories, half of the audience must have secretly planned their next step to set up their own YouTube channel to conquer the video community. The last speaker of the day, Rasmus Ankersen successfully managed to grip the attention of the audience at the end of an eventful day. The Danish former professional footballer, coach, business advisor and author shared with us his thoughts on why some businesses are and remain successful while other businesses fail. According to him
success leads to complacency which in his view puts you at risk of failing. Businesses need to keep asking themselves questions, to not rest on their laurels and learn from the losers in the market as there are valuable lessons to be learnt. He underpinned his theory with some interesting case studies on how things took a turn for the worse for Nokia and football club Newcastle United and on how LEGO managed to turn things around just in time. Another interesting point Rasmus made, was to “kill the illusion of perfect conditions” and that constraints make creativity thrive. Apparently it is not a coincidence at all that the best sprinters in the world all come from the same small town in Jamaica! A big thanks to Google for organising this fantastic event – we feel like we learnt a lot and felt very inspired to try something brave too. Written Nikola ParadiesPPC Specialist at Space & Time Manchester

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