11 Dec

Starbase Metaverse Most office meetings will take place in the metaverse within 3 years, Bill Gates says

Most office meetings will take place in the metaverse within 3 years, Bill Gates says

December 11, 2021 2:51 AM GMT+7

You will be going to office meetings in the metaverse within three years. Or at least that’s what Bill Gates thinks.

The billionaire Microsoft founder made a major metaverse prediction in his famous “Year in Review,” an annual collection of reflections and guesses about what will happen in the year to come.

“Within the next two or three years, I predict most virtual meetings will move from 2D camera image grids—which I call the Hollywood Squares model, although I know that probably dates me—to the metaverse, a 3D space with digital avatars,” Gates wrote.

Gates believes that instead of physically meeting in an office space, we will soon be using avatars to interact in a similar way, ideally using motion capture and spatial audio technology to make the metaverse feel like real life. It should be noted that Microsoft announced last month that it was launching Mesh, a platform for virtual teams to collaborate in a 3D space using customized avatars.

The metaverse is part of the internet and made up of multiple platforms dedicated to virtual world-building, which major companies have already begun to invest in. Meta (formerly known as Facebook) opened its metaverse platform Horizon Worlds to the public on Thursday, CNBC reported.

Gates wrote in his predictions that there have been some astounding recent developments when it comes to our digital activity, all spurred on by the pandemic, and there will be more to come.

“People shouldn’t assume that the quality of the software that lets you have virtual experiences will stay the same. The acceleration of innovation is just starting,” he wrote.

One of the most exciting technological innovations already in development, according to Gates, is enhanced audio to supplement 3D virtual communication.

“One of the biggest improvements over what we use now is the use of spatial audio, where speech sounds like it’s actually coming from the direction of the person talking. You don’t realize how unusual it is to have meeting audio only coming from your computer’s speaker until you try something else,” he wrote.

Goggles and motion capture gloves are still necessary for advanced 3D interaction.

Gates’ predictions come in the wake of both Google and Meta pushing back their 2022 return-to-work dates because of the unpredictable Omicron variant. Spotify announced a permanent “work from anywhere” program last February, allowing employees flexibility to choose where and how they work. And companies like Upwork and Pinterest are now completely “remote first,” permanently closing down one office each.

“Although most companies will likely opt for the hybrid approach, there’s a good deal of flexibility around what exactly that approach might look like,” Gates wrote.

Gates added that we’re at the very beginning of what is possible in a virtual working world, because the pandemic challenged how we define what is “essential” to a working space.

“The pandemic has revolutionized how companies think about productivity and presence in the workplace,” he noted.

30 Nov

Six Retail Banking Technology Trends for 2022

1. Intelligent Decisioning and Communication

There has never been a time when the use of data, AI and applied analytics has been more important. As opposed to simply producing reports, data, intelligence and analytics must be used to identify opportunities, facilitate innovation, refine decisions and support contextual communications. This will not be done devoid of humans, but will be enhanced by humans and will enhance humans.

AI and advanced analytic algorithms can illustrate what’s happening across the organization, why it happened and what will happen next. This enables employees to take actions that can improve back-office operations, reduce costs, save time, improve customer service, loyalty and profits. This can be done faster than ever before, providing flexibility and agility during times of uncertainty.

The High Road:

“Responsible AI helps achieve fairness, even though biases are baked into the data; gain trust, although transparency and explainability methods are evolving; and ensure regulatory compliance, while grappling with AI’s probabilistic nature.”
— Svetlana Sicular, Research VP at Gartner

With data, AI and applied analytics, financial institutions will be able offer the most value-added features in terms of customers’ needs and preferences. Personalized and contextual communication will convey how products and services meet customers’ needs in close to real-time, positively impacting both cost of engagement and financial results. Proactive and dynamic recommendations can also be delivered, at scale and in real-time.

Beyond outbound communications, the use of data, AI and applied analytics can facilitate customer access to financial tools, advice, and embedded solutions that can improve trust and differentiate a brand by empowering the customer to partner on their financial wellness journey. This level of sharing also can assist in protecting the customers’ privacy and security.

2. Expansion of Open Banking APIs

Open banking has become one of the major drivers of digital banking transformation, impacting technology and infrastructure investments, data modernization and decentralization strategies, fintech partnerships, and even reskilling programs. The primary beneficiary of these efforts will be the consumer, according to research done by the Digital Banking Report.

To prepare for this shift in the way banking will be done moving forward, banks and credit unions must determine the most appropriate business model that will meet their future business objectives. Then institutions must assess the capabilities required to deploy against the model selected and build partnerships with third party providers to make the strategy successful.

Need for Speed:

85% of financial institutions believe the greatest impact of open banking will occur in the next 5 years.

For some institutions, the decision may be to build a banking-as-a-platform (BaaP) model or a banking-as-a-service (BaaS) model to open doors for selling products and services to an expanded prospect universe. Open banking also provides the opportunity to streamline and automate back-office processes, build a stronger innovation culture and improve customer retention.

Consumers are increasingly demanding relevant, timely and personalized experiences that can save them time and money. The pandemic illustrated how well organizations in every industry could respond to the opportunity to bring technology and digital delivery together to meet consumer needs. In banking, traditional and non-traditional financial services providers can play an important role in creating open banking opportunities that can serve the institutions while also providing valuable customer experiences.

3. The Move to the Cloud

The majority of banking and financial services organizations have yet to deploy core systems to the cloud due to significant complexity and concerns over security, risk, governance and control. In fact, according to a 2020 IBM banking on open hybrid multicloud survey, “While 91% of financial institutions are actively using cloud services today (or plan to in the next nine months), only 9% of mission-critical regulated banking workloads have shifted to a public cloud environment.” This presents a significant opportunity gap.

To address the need for capacity and speed, banks and credit unions must look to cloud computing solutions to store data and support applied analytics. The result is increased customer insights, improved efficiency, enhanced innovation, greater agility, and a reduced risk of security or business continuity breaches. As an overarching organizational advantage, cloud solutions can augment human productivity, providing insights that can positively impact both front-office and back-office transformation.

Cloud Computing = Flexibility + Agility + Scalability:

Cloud-based infrastructure can help banking organizations react to marketplace changes in an instant.

It is imperative for financial institutions to replace outdated on-premise infrastructure that has become harder and harder to update and increasingly costly to maintain. More than ever, successful organizations must look for flexible, scalable solutions that are both responsive and efficient. The technology is now available to help smaller banks compete. Waiting to leverage these new solutions is not a winning strategy.

According to IBM, “Organizations have an enormous opportunity to leverage cloud computing to drive innovation and improve their competitive position. Cloud computing – whether private, hybrid or public – enables organizations to be far more agile while reducing IT costs and operational expenses. In addition, cloud models enable organizations to embrace the digital transformation necessary to remain competitive in the future.”

4. Intelligent Process Automation

According to McKinsey, roughly half of all existing work activities could be automated in the next few decades, as next-level process automation and virtualization become more commonplace. “By 2025, more than 50 billion devices will be connected to the Internet of Things (IoT),” McKinsey predicts. Robots, automation, 3D-printing, and more will generate around 79.4 zettabytes of data per year. This equates to opportunities for greater efficiencies and enhanced data for improved decisioning.

Process automation tools such as robotic process automation (RPA) and digital process automation (DPA) will continue to enjoy healthy growth in 2022 as financial institutions realize the benefits beyond improved efficiency.

More than ever, banks and credit unions realize that an excellent digital customer experience can’t be delivered without a digital-first back-office. This includes more efficient new account opening, customer onboarding and digital loan application management. For RPA to help with these deployments, financial institutions will need to support RPA with intelligent automation.

5. From Embedded Banking to Embedded Finance

The appeal of embedded banking is to provide an easy and seamless way to deposit, save, pay or borrow without leaving a non-financial company’s app. The result is the ability for non-financial firms to retain customers and increase the overall value of the relationship. According to McKinsey, “Companies of all types and levels of maturity – including retailers, telcos, big techs and software companies, car manufacturers, insurance providers, and logistics firms – are considering and preparing to launch embedded financial services to serve business and consumer segments.”

In response to the desire to embed finance within apps outside banking, leading financial institutions are working with fintech firms and non-financial companies to provide banking-as-a-service (BaaS) offerings. While some institutions see embedded finance as potentially threatening traditional banking models and control of current customer relationships, there is also the potential to participate in an estimated $230 billion market opportunity.

Consumers Want Simplicity:

“Consumers want to stay within an app to research, engage, buy and share experiences.”

The future of embedded finance can have positive implications. According to a research report from Plaid and Accenture, “Embedded finance can not only provide access to new markets, it can also reduce customer acquisition and servicing costs. In addition, an underlying benefit of embedded finance is that it offers ways to monetize without charging customers more, and therefore enables companies to eliminate barriers to adoption of their core offerings.”

“If an organization has the primary bank account for somebody, and that bank account is being connected to a lot of the financial and non-financial apps that exist across the ecosystem, the consumer is much more likely to continue using that organization as their primary bank account than if that’s not the case, stated Eric Sager, COO of Plaid in an exclusive interview on the Banking Transformed podcast.

In fact, the Accenture research found that for those already implementing embedded finance solutions, 70% said they are using partners, buying, or licensing technology as part of their embedded finance strategy. This illustrates the desire by non-financial firms to partner with legacy banking organizations.

6. Increased Focus on Cybersecurity

Cyber ​​threats have dire immediate financial consequences and threaten both the reputation and future business prospects for financial institutions. Security breaches can come from anywhere inside or outside the organization, with the use of mobile technologies and online data transmission creating increased threats of hacker attacks.

While cyber attacks increased significantly during the early days of the pandemic, the real damage occurred as financial institutions hurried to implement remote working and doubled down on digital banking transformation initiatives. Once-in-a-decade breaches (SolarWinds, Colonial Pipeline, Verkada, JBS foods, Kaseya) hit almost every news cycle. The importance of protecting customer information and critical infrastructure from cyber threats is only getting more urgent, while also becoming more difficult to counter.

One major trend that may gain traction will be the elimination of passwords. Humans are not prepared to generate and remember dozens (or hundreds) of unique combinations of characters that don’t resemble any spoken language.

Authenticator apps, Windows Hello, and SSO solutions are all reducing the need for passwords. Recently, Microsoft has allowed users to go passwordless by using their Authenticator app. While this won’t stop cyber criminals, it will certainly provide an added layer or protection as biomentrics are increasingly used.


26 Nov

Metaverse with $9 billions valuation

Valued at $9B, Pokemon Go creator to build metaverse with fresh funding.

Prominent crypto investor Coatue, known for backing Chainalysis, invested $300 million in Niantic’s metaverse project.

Niantic, the developer of the popular augmented reality (AR) mobile game Pokemon Go, is planning to build a “real-world” metaverse with newly raised funding.

The company officially announced Monday the completion of a $300-million raise from the technology-focused investment manager Coatue, bringing the company’s valuation to $9 billion.

Coatue is known as a major investor in the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry, backing companies such as blockchain intelligence firm Chainalysis, cryptocurrency startup Fireblocks, blockchain security firm CertiK and others. The firm has also recently participated in a $555-million funding round for cryptocurrency fintech startup MoonPay.

“Niantic is building a platform for AR based on a 3D map of the world that we believe will play a critical role in the next transition in computing,” Coatue general partner Matt Mazzeo said. “We are excited to partner with Niantic because we see this infrastructure supporting a metaverse for the real world and helping to power the next evolution of the internet,” he added.

Niantic did not explicitly say that its metaverse would implement any aspects of blockchain technology, nonfungible tokens (NFT) or cryptocurrencies.

“We’re building a future where the real world is overlaid with digital creations, entertainment and information, making it more magical, fun and informative,” Niantic founder and CEO John Hanke said.

Unlike Facebook, which rebranded to Meta in October to signal its commitment to virtual reality development, Niantic reportedly wants to develop technology that brings people closer to the outside world. “At Niantic, we believe humans are the happiest when their virtual world leads them to a physical one. Unlike a sci-fi metaverse, a real-world metaverse will use technology to improve our experience of the world as we’ve known it for thousands of years,” Hanke said.

Coatue declined to comment on the investment to Cointelegraph. Niantic did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Related: Why are major global brands experimenting with NFTs in the Metaverse?

Launched in 2016, Niantic’s Pokemon Go is one of the most successful mobile games of all time, reportedly crossing the $5-billion revenue mark earlier this year. Some players in the blockchain industry got inspired by Pokemon Go, with the firm IoTeX introducing its “Pebble Go” project, aiming to incorporate real-world data to NFTs using verifiable GPS information.

#ABNAsia #metaverse




08 Nov

The Netflix Data Story | ABN Asia

The Netflix Data Story | ABN Asia
A Netflix user will browse the app for 90 seconds and leave if they find nothing. Thumbnail artwork is actually NFLX’s most effective lever to influence a viewer’s choice. A user will look at one for only 1.8 seconds, so NFLX spends huge to optimize them. Here’s a breakdown.
1/ Spoiler alert: humans are visual animals. Our eyes move 3-4x per second to process information and we can analyze an image in as little as 13 milliseconds.
2/ In 2014, Netflix consumer research showed that thumbnail artwork:
is “the biggest influencer…to watch content”
is the focus of 82% of browsing time A user looks at one for only 1.8 seconds. If they can’t find Netflix content in 90 seconds, they’ll leave the app.
3/ Consequently, Netflix uses an elaborate thumbnail selection process for each of its 200m+ users. The process is called aestethic visual analysis (AVA), which starts by pulling all the frames from a video. For reference: a 1hr episode of “Stranger Things” has 86k frames.

4/ In a process known as “Frame Annotation”, each frame is tagged with metadata identifying key variables:

  • Saliency
  • Frame #
  • Brightness / Contrast
  • Nudity probability
  • Face / skin tone


5/ The frames are then graded on these variables.  

  • Visual (brightness, contrast, color, motion blur)  
  • Contextual (face detection / shot angle)  
  • Composition (photography principles like “rule of thirds”, symmetry, depth of field)



6/ The next step is “Image Ranking”, which chooses the best thumbnails (most likely to be clicked). Winning traits include:
  • Expressive faces
  • Main characters
  • Brightness
For “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”, Netflix research showed the bottom right frame as the “winner”.
7/ Another winning trait is good localization. The best thumbnails (green arrow) for each country for the show “Sense8” had attributes most attractive to that specific region.
8/ Also: thumbnails with villainous characters outperform. Netflix says these bad guy thumbnails (green arrow) for “Dragons: Race to the Edge” are the most clicked.
9/ One last finding: Netflix discovered that thumbnails with more than 3 people vastly underperform. Netflix applied this knowledge for the rollout of “Orange Is The New Black”. Season 2 has only one character in the thumbnail (vs. an ensemble for Season 1)
10/ One reason Netflix started creating its own thumbnails is that the artwork provided by studios weren’t optimized for the streaming app. The creative work Netflix received was meant for other mediums like billboards or DVD covers.
11/ At the most basic level, Netflix applies ML to select a thumbnail for you based on recent watch history. Take “Good Will Hunting” as an example:  
  • Rom-com watchers get the top thumbnail (“a date”)  
  • Comedy fans get the bottom thumbnail (with Robin Williams)
Here are different Netflix thumbnail selections for “Pulp Fiction”:  
  • Uma Thurman fans get the top thumbnail  
  • John Travolta fans get the bottom thumbnail
12/ Unsurprisingly, Netflix also A/B tests the thumbnails it shows users. The artwork is constantly changing. Here is a sample of thumbnails for the film “The Short Game” and how each performed:
13/ As with any ML algorithm, results can be curious. In 2018, Netflix was accused of creating artwork based on race. For a majority caucasian film “Like Father”, one Black user was served the right image. Netflix said it makes artwork only on viewing history (not demographics).
14/ A less harmless example of thumbnail optimization is showcasing trending actors / actresses for content they played a smaller role in:
Gotta love the Netflix thumbnail algorithm. Turns out putting the star of Queen’s Gambit on the cover of Peaky Binders (she is in 6 of 30 episodes and is a minor character) drives clicks!
15/ Back to the Squid Game thumbnails from the 1st tweet. They don’t really follow any of the artwork “rules”. Then again, those are only 3 that I saw out of 1000s of other options. And Squid Game is about to be NFLX’s most popular original series ever, so something’s working.
How is your data strategy? Can your company survive the new competition? Talk to ABN Asia.
Credit: Trung Phan
06 Nov

The psychology of consumer behavior: Habits that are set to stick post-pandemic | Abn Asia Ltd.

The psychology of consumer behavior: Habits that are set to stick post-pandemic


If there’s one thing we can be certain about in these times, it’s that our behaviors have changed significantly because of COVID-19. The pandemic created an inflection point that led people to reassess their priorities and needs, and buy goods and consume information and entertainment in new ways.

Pivoting without due consideration, however, carries a risk that’s substantial for businesses. And it can be difficult for marketers to determine which of these new consumer behaviors will stick for the long term, or even as things become less uncertain.

Asking people what new habits they’re likely to keep might not lead to accurate answers. Research has shown that there is a gap between our intentions and what we actually do. We’re inept at forecasting our own behaviors, especially in an event as novel as a pandemic.

The good news for marketers is that the psychological factors which underpin long-term behavioral change are predictable, even if the external forces people face can’t be predicted. Understanding why and how people form habits can help us better predict how people may react in, and after, novel situations.

A recent Kadence International survey of 3,400 participants across APAC revealed what mattered most to people when deciding whether to adopt new behaviors. In total, five factors stood out: convenience, time-saving, cost-effectiveness, enjoyment, and personal reward. These factors were used to create a habit-forming index that tracks the importance of an activity to people and how likely they are to continue that activity in the future.

To help brands assess which behaviors they should pay attention to, the matrix marries what people say they are likely to continue doing with a realistic assessment of whether these behaviors will stick.


Here, we look at some key behaviors people have been engaging in since the pandemic and the opportunities for brands to motivate people to turn these behaviors into habits.

Key behaviors that will last beyond the pandemic

Instead of convincing people to form new habits, brands can score quick wins by responding to behaviors that people are already demonstrating, especially behaviors that rate highly on many of the habit-forming attributes because they are sticky:

Key behaviors that will last beyond the pandemic

Shopping online

More people are shopping online than ever before. In Southeast Asia, 34% of users who bought apparel online did so for the first time in 2020, and 94% of new digital service users intend to continue with the service post-pandemic. Survey participants indicated that shopping online is convenient, time-saving, and cost-effective, and they show high intent to continue doing so.

At the same time, 41% of brand website shoppers said brand websites give them an immersive experience, and they are motivated to use sites that are easy to navigate and have clear product specs that also come in the form of photos or videos.

These behavioral intents can pose a challenge to brands without a good online customer experience. Respondents in our recent study on online shopping preferences cited “time-saving” (76%) and “best prices” (65%) as the two biggest advantages of online shopping, and “long delivery times” (55%) and “shipping fees” (57%) as the top two disadvantages.

To enhance the online customer experience, brands should build a closer relationship with their customers. A case in point is Alibaba’s livestream channel, Taobao Live, which gives brick-and-mortar retailers the opportunity to connect directly with customers. It lets consumers shop while watching hosts review and recommend products; the experience mimics the types of social interactions people have in physical malls and stores.

Shoppers want to discover, research, evaluate their options, and make their purchases seamlessly, so it’s important for brands to fully invest in a balanced digital presence that elevates the online experience for shoppers.

Learning new skills online

Over the past two years, there has been a surge in people looking to learn new skills online. After the pandemic started, there was a 10% worldwide rise in searches for “how to” as people turned to Search to find ways to improve their skills while spending more time at home.

Survey participants indicated that online learning is enjoyable and personally rewarding, so they are interested to continue after the pandemic is over. Looking ahead, over 32% of e-learning market growth is set to originate from APAC.

Gen Zers will play a big part in this growth. As digital natives, their perception of education extends beyond the classroom. They’re turning to digestible inspiration from TikTok and Instagram, and getting in-depth tutorials from YouTube videos to help them learn new things, be more resourceful, and make a difference in the world.

So how can brands create a deeper connection with people, increase brand awareness, and reach new markets through education? Airbnb, whose business was significantly affected by COVID-19, offered new online experiences for users such as cooking classes with local chefs, history lessons with tour guides, and drawing lessons with artists.

Cooking at home

Meal planning and learning new skills in the kitchen, like baking bread or preparing viral pasta dishes at home, have been gaining momentum due to the strong social, emotional, and cultural connections people have with food. In addition to being enjoyable and personally rewarding, survey participants also acknowledged it is cost-effective. In 2020, 47% of Southeast Asia purchased groceries online for the first time.

A packaging designer from Thailand shared, “Since the pandemic, my lifestyle has changed. I go to [the] supermarket every week and start to make dinner and lunch for myself because it’s cheaper.”

To keep the cooking trend bubbling, restaurants can find exciting ways to support people’s desire to cook at home. Assemble-at-home meal kits, for example, are a great way for restaurants to stay connected with customers and help scratch their home-cooking itch.

Opportunities for innovation

People are often motivated to continue with new habits, but they can have a hard time adopting them. Sometimes, it’s because the activity is not easy or convenient to do. Other times, it’s not rewarding enough on its own. Brands can help lower these barriers for people in four areas:

Opportunities for innovation

Eating healthy food

Although people find it rewarding to cook healthy foods at home, eating healthily can be challenging, time-consuming, and costly when opting for healthier ingredients. Meal kits that take the guesswork out of healthy eating and food portioning and reduce prep time can help strengthen this new habit.

In South Korea, F&B manufacturers have launched businesses in the meal kit delivery space. CJ CheilJedang, which manufactures products ranging from rice to tofu and seafood, launched its Cookit service in 2019. Yakult, best known for its probiotic drinks, has sought to break into the market with its EatsOn brand. As meal kit deliveries grow in popularity, we expect brands in other countries to capitalize on the opportunity and launch direct-to-consumer offerings.

Supporting mental health

Mental health has increasingly become a priority in APAC markets alongside awareness of the sense of languishing and revenge bedtime procrastination. People who are able to support those with mental health issues find it rewarding, and they are motivated to continue doing so. However, it can be time-consuming and not always cost-effective or convenient. The opportunity for brands here is to create easy ways for people to support mental wellness.

A consultant from India said, “Even though mental health services can be provided online, the sense of human interaction is an essential part of this service and that’s always going to be important.”

Singapore-based fragrance house Scent by Six, for example, recently redefined itself as a mental wellness champion that advocates the use of fragrance to “heal, soothe, and delight.” It has partnered the Singapore Association for Mental Health to raise awareness for the cause and rally like-minded supporters.

Supporting local

Around half of consumers in Singapore say they prefer to patronize local businesses and support their financial recovery from the pandemic. Yet although people want to support local businesses and services, and find it convenient and cost-effective to do so, they don’t necessarily regard it as enjoyable or personally rewarding.

How can businesses help consumers get past these hurdles? By highlighting their sense of community spirit, or providing shopping incentives. In 2020, Shopee ran a successful Shop Malaysia Online campaign that netted RM540 million revenue for 80,000 Malaysian sellers. The campaign returned in 2021 with even more discount vouchers, free shipping, and cashback incentives. In Australia, 48% of consumers said they would like to use local businesses’ loyalty programs, highlighting opportunities for local brands to invest in such initiatives.

Watching and streaming online content

With so many people stuck at home, it’s no wonder they’ve gone online for entertainment. Across APAC, more than 400 million people are using over-the-top (OTT) video streaming services. It’s enjoyable and convenient, so understandably, people are more than ready to continue watching and streaming online content. But it isn’t considered cost-effective, nor is it necessarily time-saving.

To help people continue enjoying online content, brands can try diversifying their content offering or providing exclusive experiences.

When pandemic restrictions prevented live performances, South Korean boy band BTS held an online performance that broke the world record for largest audience for a live-streamed concert. A whopping 756,000 fans from over 100 countries tuned in to watch the show. JD.com, on the other hand, has successfully hosted live-streamed DJ sets featuring drinks promotions throughout their online events. This helped one brand partner increase liquor sales by 70% .

There might be a lot of uncertainty about the future, but psychological patterns of human behavior remain largely consistent. By understanding the fundamental ways in which people behave, brands can lean into this predictability in an unpredictable world and confidently engage people, help them realize their motivations, and in turn pivot businesses in the right direction.

Philip Steggals

Global Head of Research at Kadence International


05 Nov

How 4 well-known brands drove results by advancing their search strategies | ABN Asia Ltd.

How 4 well-known brands drove results by advancing their search strategies


Every day, people turn to the search bar with billions of queries. It is the top touchpoint for consumers looking for relevant information.1 They’re researching and re-researching for products and services that matter to them. They’re on the lookout for the best deals and turning to Search to feel confident and empowered about their purchase decisions.

How can brands tap into the power of Search to connect with people? Four well-known brands from different industries, Kiehl’s, Enfagrow A+, Hyundai Marine & Fire Insurance, and Realme, share how they leveled up their search strategy to increase website traffic and drive business growth.

Be present to connect with consumers early on

Simply being present during a consumer’s search and exploration phase can help brands drive consumer preference. By broadening your keyword strategy to include both branded and non-branded keywords, you can reach and engage undecided consumers early in their research.

Beauty brand Kiehl’s learned that people in Malaysia were turning to Search to discover new ways to care for their skin, after the pandemic disrupted people’s daily routines. Year-over-year search interests for “skin care” and “skincare for” had grown by 20% and 50% respectively. Non-branded search terms were also getting 5X more interest compared with search interest for “Kiehl’s.”2Based on these search findings, Kiehl’s strengthened its Google Search strategy.

An example of how Kiehl’s advanced its Google Search strategy with non-branded keywords in its Search campaign.

It incorporated more non-branded keywords such as “sunscreen” and “toner for oily skin,” in its search campaigns, and saw a 20% increase in website traffic, 80% of which were from new customers. The increase in traffic resulted in a significant jump of 27% in online sales. Non-branded search keywords enabled Kiehl’s to expand its reach, drive brand consideration early on in the consumer purchase journey, and gain new customers.

Kiehl’s saw a 20% increase in website traffic and a 27% rise in online sales after broadening its keyword strategy.

Be the most relevant to what people are searching for

People are searching for new things every day and 15% of daily search queries have never been looked up before. This poses a challenge for brands to consistently meet customers’ needs in their search journey. But with the right search strategy and tools, the challenge becomes a growth opportunity.

Enfagrow A+, a children’s nutrition brand under Mead Johnson, wanted to connect parents with useful information that would support them in their children’s development. The brand opted to use responsive search ads (RSAs), which automatically created ad messages that matched common search queries from parents such as “baby milk powder,” “milk formula,” and “Enfagrow.” This removed much of the manual guesswork that usually comes with creative optimization.

At the same time, by looking at optimization recommendations from Google’s Ad Strength tool, the brand increased its number of ad headlines from six to 12, and made sure top suggested keywords such as “Enfagrow,” “susu” (milk), and “milk formula” were included in the headlines. The brand also diversified the call-to-action in the headlines with a variety of actionable prompts such as “request sample,” “try now,” and “learn more.”

Nichandro Koh, Digital Performance Marketing Manager at Reckitt-Benckiser, shares how RSA helped them better engage audiences using machine-learning algorithms and be more flexible in adapting and matching users’ search queries.

With this Google Search ads format, Enfagrow A+ was able to generate some 30,000 ad variations and provide relevant answers to diverse consumer queries. It was also able to unlock a 50% higher click-through rate at 34% lower cost per click.

Embrace automation to boost scale and efficiency

People are also making more complex queries on Search every day, and brands have to anticipate that myriad queries will show up. But manually setting up anticipated search terms is inefficient and might not accurately capture customers’ intent. That’s where machine learning-based keyword features can help.

A leader in South Korea’s domestic insurance market, Hyundai Marine & Fire Insurance wanted to acquire high-intent customers for its insurance plans. To do so, the brand tweaked its search keyword strategy by expanding its keyword match type to broad match. This ensured its ads would appear on relevant search queries even if they didn’t contain the exact keywords.

Broad match analyzes audience signals, such as users’ recent search activities, advertisers’ landing pages, and other related keywords, to display ads on the most appropriate searches.

To complement its broad match strategy, the brand used Smart Bidding to automatically set up the right bids at the right time for every auction. This strategy of combining broad match keywords and Smart Bidding enabled the brand to drive 16% growth in insurance quote requests or policy sign-ups, all while retaining cost efficiency.

16% increase in quote requests and sign-ups at Hyundai Marine & Fire Insurance with broad match keywords with broad match keywords and Smart Bidding.

Collaborative marketing establishes your online store presence

Brands saw a wave of shoppers moving to online stores during the pandemic, propelling a 3X year-on-year growth of retail-related searches. The migration to online retail also pushed marketplace platforms to the forefront, and this presented brands, including smartphone brand Realme, with opportunities for marketplace collaborations.

Realme realized that people were less likely to visit brick-and-mortar stores in a pandemic to purchase new smartphones, so it pivoted to an online sales strategy that ensured the brand would show up for people searching for mobile devices online. It set up an official store with online marketplace Shopee in Malaysia and used Retail Partnerships with Google Ads to reach high-intent shoppers searching for smartphones on Google. The ads enabled shoppers to seamlessly complete their purchase with Shopee, and Realme was able to receive insights on its sales via the online marketplace.

This online sales strategy, coupled with the hype of a mega shopping moment, enabled Realme’s 11.11 sale campaigns on Google Search and Shopping to unlock incremental sales by driving 91,000 clicks to its official Shopee store.

It’s important for brands to adapt their search strategy as people’s online search habits evolve. With an optimized search strategy, brands can better cater to customers’ intents and their myriad searches at any moment, while also driving operational and performance efficiency with experimentation and automation tools.


Shabana Badami

Head of Search & Shopping Solutions, Google SEA


Doris Claesen

Search & Retail Marketing Lead, Google APAC

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