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The Future of Digital Marketing: Q&A with Google's Ryan Gibson

Published: September 16, 2014

Author: Hillary Read

Ryan Gibson Google3Q Digital and Google are co-presenting The Future of Digital Marketing, a day-long summit in Google’s PartnerPlex, tomorrow. In advance of the event, we sat down with Google 10-year veteran Ryan Gibson, who has spent the majority of his career working directly with brand and performance agencies. Currently, Ryan manages the West Coast Performance Media Agency Team team, whose charter is to partner with agencies to help diversify, evolve, and grow their business models through a performance lens. 

Q: What’s your role at Google?
Ryan: I manage our Performance Agency team on the West Coast as well as oversee our Tools Developer relationship in the U.S.
Q: What’s the one constant you keep hearing from agencies?
Ryan: Agencies know that mobile holds a growing share of overall query volume; however, businesses have not adopted this trend as quickly as the consumer. Agencies are trying to position themselves to take advantage of this trend and focus less on device and more on how to engage the consumer across screens and in store.
Q: In your estimation, what are some of the successful agency campaigns you’ve seen?
Ryan: The most successful agency campaigns I’ve seen are the ones that change the conversation and bring strategic insights to their clients. Performance agencies sit on immense amounts of data, and the ones that are able to mine it for insights that can influence a brand or marketing message are the ones that thrive. Agencies that are able to package these insights and build a campaign on top of first-party data are the ones that are building not only successful campaigns, but bringing true value to their clients.
Q: ROI is a constant in the agency world. Which metrics are the ones to focus on?
Ryan: Agencies and clients historically have been focused on the last-click and CPA-type metrics. The customer journey has changed, and it’s important to adopt the set of metrics that best align with that journey. While ROAS and CPA metrics are extremely important, agencies and clients need to begin to measure assist metrics like store locator, cross device conversions, etc., to fully understand the value paid media has on their business. In addition, it’s time to re-evaluate CPA/ROAS goals and think about how much profit/revenue our paid media campaigns are driving. It’s critical to get the right measurement in place across all points of the customer journey and have the right technology stack in place to get a single view of the user.
Q: What’s your take on the future of digital marketing?
Ryan: The future of digital marketing will continue to evolve with more of a focus on audience and a seamless user experience. Consumers expect a frictionless experience across devices, and digital marketing needs to adapt to have a consistent marketing message. Agencies/marketers will continue to get more thoughtful about how they structure their own data and will learn how to best leverage that data to find the right audience- regardless of the device they are using. We all should be focusing less on digital marketing and more on how do we market in a digital world.

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