The changing face of marketing and advertising
With billions of searches a month, a global advertising network, the world's most used smartphone software, one of the most popular free email systems, and a video platform that is the second largest search engine in the world, it is almost impossible not to interact with Google on a daily basis.
Since the registration of google.com by founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin in 1997, Google has gone from a simple search engine into one of – if not the – world's leading tech innovators. Now with more than 50,000 employees worldwide, the Silicon Valley based venture is one of the best-known companies in the world.
A major part of Google's meteoric rise from conception to a global giant in less than 20 years has been its ability to help advertisers understand the needs of their customers. From the world's biggest names, right down to the local family store, Google's advertising network has changed the way we think about advertising and marketing.
At this cutting edge of digital marketing is UC alum Oliver Vidinovski, who, after helping to revolutionise the digital properties for one of Australia's leading media companies, was snapped up by the tech giant to work in their Partner Growth and Acceleration Program in New York.
The changing face of marketing and advertising
Google's growth has mirrored a seismic shift in not only the way we consume content, but also a reconsideration of the effectiveness of traditional forms of marketing.
The ability to deliver highly targeted marketing messages around the clock, and with data to measure its effectiveness, has seen advertisers move in droves to building their brand awareness online.
"It doesn't take much for advertisers to quickly shift to digital," explained Oliver. "Technology paves the way for brands to connect with their customers, providing a unique and customised experience."
Technology paves the way for brands to connect with their customers, providing a unique and customised experience
As the former Head of Digital and Operations at Fairfax Marketing Services, Oliver played a crucial role in the newspaper giant's adaptation to the digital world, and move away from only offering print and radio media. In addition to their newspapers such as the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, Oliver also worked across Fairfax properties such as domain.com.au and rsvp.com.au, and started their Digital Marketing Services Division.
"I thoroughly enjoyed building out Fairfax Media's digital properties over my 10-year tenure with them, knowing that it helped Australians achieve their dreams, be it buying a car, finding a job or their first home."
It was at Fairfax where Oliver would first work closely with Google for the first time when implementing a number of Google platforms and products within Fairfax's digital properties. The connections made during this time would be instrumental in Oliver's hiring at Google.
The rise of mobile
For Oliver, and Google, the past five years has seen a fundamental change in our consumption of content, and therefore advertising.
Now accounting for half of the digital advertising spend in the top 10 markets around the world, mobile advertising is projected to reach $42B in the United States alone in 2016.
"Mobile has been the greatest propagator of change that has forced many companies to rethink their digital strategy. If you're not mobile, you're not in the ball game so to speak."
At the forefront of this change, Google currently focuses on providing users with information when they want it, wherever they are in the world. These real-time, in-the-moment, intent-driven searches have been dubbed "micro-moments" by Google, and provide brands with the opportunity to shape consumer purchase decisions and brand preferences.
From using a smartphone when in store to evaluate a purchase, to searching for solutions to life's little problems as they arise, Google's ability to deliver relevant and targeted marketing messages is extremely useful to advertisers.
"When consumers hear about a product today, their first reaction is 'Let me search online for it', ie Google it! And so they go on a journey of discovery- about a product, a service, an issue, an opportunity."
They go on a journey of discovery- about a product, a service, an issue, an opportunity
And according to Google, smartphone users are undertaking this journey in staggering numbers.
Since 2011, "near me" searches on mobile devices have increased 34 times, more than 35 million hours of movie trailers were watched on YouTube in 2015 alone, while 91% of smartphone users used their devices for ideas while completing a task, and 82% used their device to help make a product purchase decision.
For small and medium sized businesses the growth in "micro-moments" is particularly exciting, especially for location and review based searches. And it is in this area where Oliver is making his mark with Google.
As part of the Partner Growth and Acceleration Program for North America, Oliver works with a number of hand-picked companies who market, sell, and service Google's digital advertising products to small and medium-sized businesses.
In only a short period of time Oliver and his team have made a significant impact. Since its inception in early 2014, the team has won the "Biggest Impact Award" for the fastest year-on-year growth within Google's Channel Sales business, and Oliver hopes to roll out the program globally over the next two years.
Inside Google's New York office, image courtesy of Google
Living and working in America
While Oliver loved working in Australia, the opportunity to work with global heavyweights in one of the biggest markets was too big an opportunity to turn down.
"The sheer market size and ongoing opportunities are what drew me to the U.S. I wanted to work for a world leader and be constantly challenged in a fast-paced industry.
"It was hard leaving friends and family but the move has been well worth the effort."
And if moving to a whole new country wasn't enough, New York City provided its own unique challenges and learning curves.
"NYC is a very exciting and eclectic city" explained Oliver, "when I first moved, everything was so different to me I didn't know what to do. But people here are friendly and helpful and I quickly found a great place to live and integrated into NYC life."
So is the Google office really as interesting and exciting as we all imagine?
"Yes absolutely!" laughed Oliver, "You are given the freedom to imagine and develop ideas that best serve the world and its people. I couldn't imagine working anywhere else."
Oliver's advice for building a successful career
- Build a vision board each year: Write out your top goals and passions in life both personally and professionally. Look to achieve these each year. If you don't set goals, you'll never achieve them.
- Build your skill set but don't forget to build out your professional network! Use the tools that are available to you such as LinkedIn, professional forums, Google+, Facebook etc
- Sign up for a mentorship program: Immerse yourself in it and learn as much as you can from as many people as you can. It's a great way to get a foot in the door.
- Always be proactive: Join professional groups and offer support to those around you. You'll learn far more from people than any textbook.
- Be selective about the job you want: Once you have it, create a job that you love doing! That is, follow your passion, be creative and imaginative, but be yourself.
- Question everything: There is always more than one solution to any problem.
- Try anything once: Twice if you really really like it!
- Above all, don't forget to have fun!
Words by Daniel Murphy, feature image courtesy opopododo, via Flickr
Bachelor of Information Technology (1999), University of Canberra
Oliver Vidinovski a member of Google's Partner Growth & Acceleration - Channel Sales North America program based in New York. He completed a Bachelor of Information Technology at the University of Canberra in 1999.
Prior to working for Google, Oliver worked for AdCorp Australia and Fairfax Media/Fairfax Marketing Services where he completed a number of roles including Director of the Programme Management Office, Director of Digital Strategy & Product Development, and Head of Digital & Operations - Australia & New Zealand.