Google's Mobile Algorithm Opens The Door To IoT Campaigns

Marketers and media continue to focus on Google's mobile algorithm changes, effective Tuesday, on smartphones and tablets, but few consider how it will influence "mobile-friendly Web sites in search results" for the thousands of devices strung together to create what insiders call the Internet of Things.

Search marketers need to begin thinking about how mobile search, rankings and communication through automatic identification technologies such as near field communication (NFC) will influence campaigns. Many of these chips now sit in mobile devices from Apple, Google and other manufacturer's devices.

There are about 1 billion NFC-enabled phones worldwide, estimates Matthew Bright, Chair of the NFC Forum’s Retail working group, and director of technical marketing at Thin Film Electronics. "The tag will guide consumers to information without having the person type a query into a box," he said, explaining that it will mostly occur on mobile devices.

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"The point of using NFC and not typing something into the search box is the event triggers the capability to guide consumers to information mediated by the brand, rather than Google's search algorithm."  

While Google's mobile search algorithm will control the search results, the brand has the option of optimizing the content to receive better rankings. Today Google's algorithm focuses on making Web sites more visible, but tomorrow that strategy will move to Internet-connected objects like cars and thermostats, along with previously unconnected objects such as bottles, cans and clothing.

Bright recently spoke with Search Marketing Daily from RFID Journal's conference in San Diego. He described a recent Diageo Johnnie Walker Blue Label advertising campaign where NFC tags were placed on bottles during the manufacturing and bottling process.

Consumers purchase the bottles, NFC tags attached, turning it into an Internet-connected advertising platform that bridges the gap from physical to digital. The consumer touches the NFC-enabled phone to the bottle to get information on the product, but the bottle also tells the brand whether the bottle is still factory sealed or open. "It's an important distinction for brands because they want to change the marketing message once the bottle is open," Bright said.

When the individual opts in by tapping the NFC reader in the smartphone on the bottle's tag, she gives the brand permission to read and use the data triggered from her interaction with the bottle. The activity data is fed back to the brand.

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