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Recap: Search Becomes the Display Operating System

"So yeah I sampled your voice, you was using it wrong/ You made it a hot line, I made it a hot song" – Jay Z, Takeover

It was with the swagger that comes from presenting at my 5th SES in San Jose that I created a new presentation below for the session I put together called “Search Becomes the Display Operating System.” Leading off the session my presentation focused on the high level issues hindering display and changes/impact of the more search like system taking hold.

Josh Jacobs, Vice President and GM, Advertising Technology, Yahoo! spoke next and his presentation primarily focused on attribution and using search and display together as the new way of doing business. While I get the need at the CMO level I’ve never been a big of attribution metrics. I think this misses the mark – the mark being that each channel needs performance metrics associated with them and said performance should be optimized and judged based on the in-channel results regardless of the overall picture. As a channel this conversation seems to me to be a red herring used to belittle the underlying value of search and the viability of performance branding in display in an effort to get more dumb money into display. That said, the rest of Josh's presentation was great especially when concentrating on Search retargeting with Yahoo and RMX. Josh had slide animations the likes of which only Yahoo’s marketing & PR team can deliver. Not to mention, Josh seems to be generating traction for my analogy of display as the Golden Shower. Thanks man!

Next was Rajas Moonka, Group Product Manger of Google Content Network. His take was about ease of use for the advertiser with both their enhanced display ad builder launching last week as well as their buying and planning tools. Google was also very upfront about their interest based advertising and the need for data collection transparency touting their already in place systems of targeting opt-out and ad preference manager. I like Google’s view of thinking about display ads as little landing pages (this was after all the reason I ventured into the wilds of display to begin with) and Rajas touched on two points that don’t get enough coverage. 1) Google is media format agnostic across all content including the SERP meaning as long as the creative is helpful or useful to the user performance rules whether it be graphical, video or text ads. 2) There are major data collection and profile creation problems inherent in people conducting so many different actions across channels and platforms – targeting based on these rules is only going to get harder in the coming years, not easier (and who says it works to begin with! :)

The venerable Scot Rafer batted clean-up for data collection & targeting expert Lookery. Scott’s quote about search becoming display’s operating principle served as my inspiration for starting this session at SES NY in the Spring. He is one of the few people in this business that does not bullshit you so it was refreshing to hear him echo Google’s issues around the pratfalls of the data collection business as well as the benefits that can be derived from it. I’ve always been a fan of Lookery approach and view them as the Occam’s Razor of data.

So some great content here and it looks like the Session will continue onthis December in Chicago and by the time we get back the NYC in 2010 the takeover will be in full force. Hopefully we will splinter into two sessions – one on technology and one on strategy.

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