Google Cloud Next London 2018

I, Johan, went to Google Cloud Next in London to represent Outfox, and I made this interview with myself! 

O: Why did you go to Google Next in London, Johan?

J: Because you can’t sleep when Google is up to things in the cloud. Me being an analyst, I was extra interested in the products that relate to me and my job. Topics like BigQuery, BigQuery Machine Learning, TensorFlow (an open-source software library that can be used for building your own machine learning applications such as neural networks), and how you can use Google’s cloud products to deploy machine learning.

Johan, this sounds soooo nerdy, can you break it down?

J: I can try! For me, in the last couple of years, machine learning has improved what I do in ways that were hard to imagine before. It makes things that were impossible possible. Look at the Vision API for example. No more manual tagging of images. Just let the API do the job for you! This can save crazy amounts of time if you are working with tagging images. Read more: 

: Cool, but what about marketing?!

Aha, then the new possibility to use machine learning in BigQuery is just awesome. You can use it to find the users who are most likely to convert based on what they have done on the website. Sounds great, but the cool thing is that you don’t need to be a data scientist to make this happen. You just need some SQL skills, or a friend with some SQL skills. Say you are a B2B company and you want to target only the users who have a higher probability to convert. Then you ca, based on what they did on your site, use BigQuery and the machine learning capabilities to find them.

Any other cool things?

Yes, two more things that will stick with me going back home are: 1.) How King uses Google Cloud to create artificial intelligence for game testing. This means that King has improved the workflow for designing and testing levels. Instead of having people testing the levels and having them write a report and send it back, the AI will test the levels and give the feedback to you in minutes or hours instead of weeks.

2.) How universities use computing power from the Google Cloud Platform to solve the most amazing research problems.

Things like building models to understand and predict the spread of the zika virus. The zika virus is apparently very hard to predict, but it also requires a ridiculous amount of data to build meaningful models. Thanks to moving the workload to the cloud they are now able to perform these calculations in hours instead of weeks! 

Or how Researchers at the Neurosim lab use the cloud to understand the human brain! The amount of data that they have to processes is just amazing, and makes every marketing DMP look like a floppy disk. They were able to cut the compute time from five days to one hour! This means that the work they are doing can move much faster and help us understand the way our brains work much faster.

O: OMG Johan! Got more high-level stuff?!

Maybe just that the ones who have an infrastructure that makes the impossible possible, are the ones how will move faster than the others. 

O: Sorry, I do not understand. What you mean?

I think that Spotify is a great example of this. They have, with the help of Google Cloud Platform, made it a lot easier for their entire organization to understand their users, and to make smarter decisions based on their data. This would not be possible if they did not have a great digital infrastructure. It looks like leaders in this field have sat down and thought long and hard about how to make it easy to use the data we have about our users.

Any last things takeaways?

Google Sheets rules. Just check the 30 tips in the video. One of my favourites is to connect to Google Sheets to automate reporting. That function just saves a crazy amount of time, especially if you also consider that you can get data straight into Google Sheets from, for example, Google Analytics.

How mature is the web analytics market in Japan now?

In 2007 Lars published some posts about web analytics around the globe on WebAnalysts.Info, and now it’s time for me to do a follow-up on Japan.

I packed my bags and went to Tokyo, where I met with Sumio Ebisawa from e-Agency as well as Satoshi Kono, Ryouhei Mitsuhashi, Satoshi Saeki and Masaru Yokoyama from Dentsu.
Google Analytics in Japan

Market maturity

When I asked how mature is the market for web analytics in Japan in 2014, Masaru Yokoyama replied, “A lot more mature now than back in 2007, but it still depends on the client.” Sumio Ebisawa told me that some of the companies in Japan don’t want to hire specialists, but rather use partners and consultants.

As a report from Dentsu states, a lot of companies now are spending more money in the digital space and that increases interest in analytics and performance-based marketing. Sumio also said that many clients want to learn more about web analytics, so they now have more courses than they used to have in web analytics.

Satoshi Saeki from Dentsu also told me that the biggest challenges right now are getting all the data in one place and implementing data management platforms. Agencies, publishers and marketers want to access their data quickly and easily, and they want all data in one place to make better decisions about media spend.
Google Analytics in Japan

Web analytics vendors in Japan

Google Analytics still seems to be the most common free solution in Japan. Back when we published the blog post in 2007, there was a solution called Visionalist that was made by Digital Forest, which was the number one vendor for premium customers. Digital Forest was acquired by NTT Communications (one of the world’s biggest telecommunication companies) and has now lost some ground compared to other vendors.

Now Google Analytics Premium is gaining ground, and Adobe holds a good position. For example, back in 2008, Yahoo! Japan implemented Adobe Analytics for its huge Yahoo! Shopping site, which was a major Japanese e-commerce destination.

So the development for Japan now looks a bit more like the rest of the world when it comes to vendors.
GA in Japan gajapan2

What has happened to the web behavior in Japan since 2007?

Yokoyama laughed and told me, “In 2007, there was no iPhone and there was no Facebook.” And that’s true.

Smartphone usage and social media are two of the biggest changes, not just in Japan. But there are some differences. The first one is the social network Line. Not many Swedes know about it, but if you are in Japan, you will see that almost everyone is using it. It’s a bit like Facebook Messenger, but with more smilies and emoticons and over 50 million users in Japan and 400 million worldwide. Because Line is a bit like a closed room where you can chat with your friends, it’s a challenge for marketers to take advantage of the platform.

And then there is mobile. Japan has always been known for its mobile use. Back in 2008 it was estimated that 31% of elementary school students and 58% of middle school students owned a mobile phone (or as they are known there, keitai), and many of them was accessing internet. Now there is a shift in the mobile phone market and smartphones are gaining compared to the old feature phones. In MM Research Institute’s “Trend and forecast of the smart phone market,” it is estimated that 45% of all mobile device subscribers have a smartphone subscription. But one should remember that the feature phone also is used to access internet.

So the land of the rising sun is in some ways different from us, but they are struggling with the same things as we are in Sweden and the rest of the world – making sense of data and taking action on it.

And one last thing, Google is not the most common search engine there: Japanese users loves Yahoo.