There’s a reason Google’s stock price has reached such lofty heights. It’s because they know what every business wishes they could…they know what people want.
And I’m not being glib here, they really do know what people want, and not just in the “we’ve done some market research” way. What else is a search query but a signal of a searchers need, or put another way a signal of intent. Google has become so valuable because they’ve figured out how to build an advertising market around that signal of intent. Everytime someone, anyone, does a search Google is auctioning of that signal of intent to the highest bidder. Of course it is a little more subtle than that (more on that soon), but Google is basically selling each search as a unique opportunity to market to someone who has flagged a specific intent based on a keyword query.
As a marketer that’s an exciting prospect, so the amazing thing from my perspective is why Asia Pacific businesses have collectively been quite slow to adopt paid search marketing. Some industries have jumped in both feet (travel for example), but most are missing a big opportunity to drive highly qualified traffic to their web site. At no other moment in time do consumers flag a more specific intent than when they do a keyword search, so if you can interpret that intent, and then deliver on it, then the rewards are there for the taking. That’s why I like to think of paid search marketing (aka PPC or Adwords advertising) as ‘intent driven marketing’.