Search has evolved, but has your digital marketing strategy?

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Found has announced a new positioning: ‘the Everysearch Agency’. Here, managing director Natalie Patel dives…

Found has announced a new positioning: ‘the Everysearch Agency’. Here, managing director Natalie Patel dives into the agency’s £1m investment in audience insights from every searchable platform.

For the last 25 years, retail and online shopping experts have studied buying behaviors and patterns, boiling the experience down into a marketing funnel that most of us could recite in our sleep. But what happens when that funnel is thrown into a blender?

Gone are the days where customers type a search term into a search engine, see ads matching those terms, and click on the first option with their credit card in their hand.

Audiences have quickly pivoted and adapted to content and inspiration being delivered to them on every platform. Search now spans social platforms, marketplaces, travel portals, video sharing, and entertainment platforms. Search is everywhere. And the audience data required for marketing activity must change and adapt to reflect this change in audience behavior.

And if search is everywhere, your customers are everywhere too. To reach them, brands need to radically adjust their outreach strategies.

Where are gen Z searching?

With nearly 40% of gen Z relying on social media platforms including TikTok and Instagram for their searches, a brand’s search visibility has never been more paramount on every relevant searchable platform.

For the first time since the inception of the internet, the dominance of the search engine is fading.

Meanwhile, search is becoming more inspiration-led. It’s no longer just a case of search engine optimization (SEO). Instead, we’ve evolved into a new paradigm of search experience where capturing visibility, commanding attention, and maximizing performance across the board is key. Brands that are solely relying on click-through rates from 2022 to determine their digital marketing strategies in 2024 will be left behind.

Google handles over 3.5bn searches per day (some estimates are as high as 8.5bn). But with Facebook averaging over 2bn daily searches and Instagram saying back in 2019 that 83% of its users said the platform helps them discover new products and services, it’s time to embrace the search revolution and recognize that search is everywhere. The audience-first approach is the only way forward.

To rise up to this challenge, my agency, Found, has spent the last two years developing the Everysearch framework. Created by an in-house team of engineers and AI experts, it provides cutting-edge audience insight data from multiple networks, platforms and marketplaces. It provides detailed insights into audience habits, helping to establish market positions and determine how best to spend marketing budget wherever the customer is, whatever platform they are on, and whoever drives their motivation.

Always searching

Here was the goal: I tasked my team to achieve unparalleled performance across every searchable platform. The trickiest part of creating the framework is that it isn’t a tool that can be built and then updated in 6 months or a year’s time. Search is constantly growing, changing, and adapting, so Everysearch has to as well. There is a huge amount of work to educate brands to step away from their comfort zone of market share, click-through rates and last-click ROAS to target audiences. We can’t allow them to rely on media schedules and buying patterns of five years ago and survive in this competitive landscape.

By investing over £1m in this proprietary technology, we’are betting on the future being entirely led by audiences, and on putting ourselves in the best position to advise our clients as experts in audience behavior. Experts, that is, not just in search, but in where audiences are spending their time, their money, and their loyalty. Where audiences are finding inspiration, love, and joy. In what trends and platforms are blowing up – in Japan one week and in LA the next. We’re not just walking away from the funnel; we’re fully embracing the blender and bringing calm to what seems chaotic at first glance.

We have built the tools to maximize budget to target the clicks that matter and motivations to create the right searches to drive sound ROI.

We must use audience expertise to advise CMOs of brands to be nimble, to define their audiences, and use generative AI advances to their advantage to create efficiencies and be reactive to content that their clientele engage with. It is a challenge to recognize the evolution of search and to advise customers on how to capitalize on audience behavior and trends. We’re going one step further: we want Everysearch to set the industry standard.

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