Merkle wants to build a platform to help marketers understand why people search. The technology will map out topical areas to put the focus on purpose, rather than transaction or intent.
The focus on purpose for the search ranges from research to opinions, and it matters whether the person searching wants more information on facts or if they are looking to confirm the side effects of a drug, for example, said Matthew Mierzejewski, SVP of search and performance marketing lab at Merkle.
“Too often search gets tagged as transactional, rather than purpose,” Mierzejewski said. “You can only understand the purpose if you know where the person comes from.”
How the brand can help curate and produce the content to serve up depends on whether the person searching is a healthcare professional or a patient.
For retail, the group is mapping out topics such as learn, buy, and go because this puts the focus on purpose for the market segment. The idea aims to help marketers understand the connotation of the search request.
The increase in consumer data privacy is making it a little more difficult to put the focus on purpose, he said. The fact that this type of platform doesn’t exist anywhere makes it more challenging.
“Back in the day, we had raw query-level data on individuals, so it made it a lot easier to know the actual sentence and the person who typed it,” Mierzejewski said. “Now Google masks that user query, which is fine, but consumers still have the same expectations to deliver the correct content.”
Something also to consider, he said, when Google favors YouTube videos for queries such as “how to install a car battery.” This query could just as easily match to an advertisement for a car battery or an organic battery shopping ad.
This is what Mierzejewski means by purpose. “The way to own this space would be to create a video and take the top spot on the page on YouTube that will answer the question,” he said. “It’s not about buying or going. It’s about learning.”