SES London 2012 – Avinash Kaushik Keynote: Why We All Suck!
Day one of the SES conference kicked off with a high-energy talk from Avinash Kaushik who bounced around the stage with supreme confidence and a booming voice. It was incredibly exciting to hear ideas from someone who so clearly lives and breathes his trade and shares our passion for the industry. The buzz in the air was infectious and SES was off to a great start. Opening with an old Kenyan farmer’s quote which said “information is powerful but it’s how we use it that will define us” – Avinash simplifies things and constantly has your mind in a state of curiosity and intrigue. I can’t imagine ever being able to disagree with him or his ideas aw his energy is matched equally by his persuasiveness.
Why We All Suck!
Avinash’s main concern, which seems to border on obsession, is the way in which we use search data to maximise our efforts. More to the point, he’s concerned with how badly we are using it (and he’s not afraid to tell us how much WE SUCK!) He says measuring “garbage” like page views, clicks, likes and video views are all a waste of time and if we are to ever truly “care about people” and “create amazing experiences for these people”, we need to add real value to what we do and focus on stimulating genuine conversations. The problem, however, is that according to Avinash, we only pay attention to the 2% of our traffic that converts and miss out on all the value that we can obtain from the other traffic. What about delayed conversions? What about referrals? For long term success we need to build long term relationships, and that doesn’t come from focusing entirely on the quick-to-convert 2%.
“HITS = How Idiots Track Success”
What is Search all About?
Avinash has a way of reminding us of what search and digital media is all about – people. At the same time he talks about spreadsheets, graphs, figures and advanced analytics as though they are these beautiful, sexy things that we should all get more involved in and he makes the whole “analysis” process seem a little less intimidating. We’re not trying to understand numbers, we’re trying to understand people. Somehow, he can break it down in such a way that you don’t get information overload. As he preaches – Segment! Segment! Segment! It’s sexy and will make you happy!
We need more people like Avinash in our industry. We need people who have his sense of duty to do the right thing and make people happy. He is an asset to the search industry and makes me proud to be involved in it.