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 AdWeek Europe: Experts Discuss Future of Search 

Will voice search disrupt the traditional search ways and become the norm or will it just end up being one more tech trend?

As we face a consumer behaviour transformation, as well as outstanding technological advances, the world of search has also seen a significant development in the last 15 years. This is particularly the case with new and emerging methods such as image and voice search. What exactly does this mean for the future of traditional search?

Last month, my colleague, Ian Miguel Romero, and I went to Advertising Week Europe in London. It was a week full of exciting presentations, interesting panels, amazing technologies, loads of fun activities and impressive personalities. Ian and I attended the very last session on the Future of Search. 

Before the panel started, the company Sharethrough gave a brief presentation on headlines from a neuroscience perspective. They explained how people today, particularly Millennials, base their opinions solely on headlines without actually taking the time to read the content. This confirms not only the impact these headlines have on perceptions of everything published or posted online, but also how crucial headlines have become in terms of standing out and breaking through the editorial and advertising clutter.

The Future of Search panel consisted of three key tech personalities:

  • Eric Edge, Head of Global Marketing Communications at Pinterest
  • Kevin Mathers, Country Sales Director at Google
  • Axel Steinman, VP for EMEA Bing Ads Sales at Microsoft 

Emily Tan, Global Technology Editor at Campaign, was the moderator and asked the three panelists questions regarding voice search and the impact they believe it will have on the traditional methods, corresponding platforms and on branding in general.

The panelists shared fascinating insights and explained how voice search is, or would, potentially be applicable on their platforms. Edge from Pinterest, for instance, stated that while there are plans to eventually incorporate it, they will continue to focus on image search. This is mainly due to their main objective to take a preferred search method to another level through the usage of machine learning and image recognition.


Steinman from Bing explained that given the popularity assistant devices have gained, it will focus on making sure that its traditional search strategy will embrace this method, yet with an emphasis on their core business. Furthermore, Steinman stated that he does not see great potential on voice search in terms of branding and advertising, as he believes that search will, in the future, be targeted towards the actual assistant devices and not to the consumers directly. Mathers from Google talked around how traditional search will continue to grow in the future and the challenges it will face. 

Even though they had different views on the topic, they all agreed that despite the level of uncertainty it conveys, the future in regards to the world of search will be heading towards a multi-operational approach. Search will therefore combine all three methods to ultimately provide customers with what they truly want, at the right time and in the best, easiest and most accurate way possible.