Ian Harris, CEO & Founder, Search Laboratory
Ian is the founder and CEO of global search engine marketing agency Search Laboratory. For the last ten years his unique scientific and mathematical approach to search engine optimisation and pay-per-click advertising has seen him grow Search Laboratory from a two-man operation to today employing over 150 in-house search specialists and linguists, managing a world famous client list with offices in Leeds, London and New York.
Ian’s career began in programming, which led to him being appointed as CTO for one of the world’s largest web localisation companies. Here he helped companies such as British Airways, IBM and HSBC tap into new overseas markets online. During his time as CTO Ian witnessed many large organisations trying to build search marketing campaigns in multiple languages – either by translating keywords or by using a student intern. Ian wanted to fill the gap in the market for a dedicated multilingual search engine marketing service and subsequently created Search Laboratory in 2005.
What are the new eCommerce technologies or approaches that you think will have the biggest impact on consumer behaviour and sales in 2016?
“I think programmatic display advertising is definitely a big area for us. There are lots of people doing it badly or paying far too much so we see this as a huge growth area this year.”
Which regions or markets do you foresee huge growth in eCommerce in the coming year?
“We are not really predicting explosions in any specific markets, but consistent growth (or indeed catching up with the UK) in the main markets such as US, Germany, France, Spain, Italy. China is slowing but also UK companies struggle to get traction there as do Chinese companies over here.”
What still represent the biggest barriers to eCommerce success for a brand or retailer?
“Embracing digital at every level of the organisation. Making digital a part of everyone’s job, not just the digital team. All channels should be connected with the customer at the heart, rather than the siloed approach of many companies.”
What roles do you see becoming more important for eCommerce businesses this year?
“Customer Experience (not just digital, but all customers). How does a customer interact with a brand online, offline, social, phone etc.
Also attribution roles. I.e. analysing all touch points and determining the correctly weighted marketing mix.”