Thoughts on a Keynote Session With Susan Wojcicki, SVP of Advertising at Google
This week, I have been attending the SMX West 2012 conference in San Jose, CA. It's been a great opportunity to learn a lot of new information, network with other Web marketing professionals, and even catch up with a few old friends.
I just attended a keynote session with Susan Wojcicki, SVP of Advertising at Google. The moderator asked a wide range of questions, from her roots to her future vision for the company, yet there was one common theme continued to emerge. In fact, of all the Google people in attendance at SMX West, I’ve heard the same theme emerge in their panel discussions: transparency, transparency, transparency.
Obviously this has become a repeated response to the scrutiny over Google's changes to their privacy policies, but Wojcicki gave a larger context to this discussion. She stated (I’m paraphrasing), that in this industry, we need to maintain balance between the user and advertisers, and transparency is key to a good user experience. The best possible user experience is the ultimate goal for Google. And in pursuit of this goal, Google wants users to be able to make informed choices.
When asked “How do you balance the perceptions of that Google is evil vs. Google is transparent?” Wojcicki responded: We are at a point where there is a lot of change and people want to understand that change. As you introduce any new technology there are going to be questions and there are going to be concerns. Google wants to notify and be clear about what changes are happening. As for the controversy surrounding the new privacy concerns, Wojcicki replied that people need time to digest this but will come around to understanding Google is trying to be as transparent as possible, for the user’s benefit.
As for the user? Another important take away from this discussion is the passion that Google puts into developing products for the people. If people are looking for commercial information, Google wants to make the result as useful as possible - marketers need to think of end context and what is the right experience for the user, and how advertising plays a part in that. Ads are information. And the key to effective advertising is figuring out how to show the right information at the right time. Ultimately, all of our goals are focused on giving the user what they want or need. While we may not all agree on privacy policies, at least we can agree to the shared vision of understanding the consumer and creating a positive experience and connection.
More updates to come!