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Integration and Evolution – Stefan Tornquist

Stefan Tornquist, VP of Research at Econsultancy, joins us to discuss his report, The Next Revolution of Search, which explores the shifts of automation, buying data intelligence and insights from over 2500 consumers of search technology. We also talk about search advertising and intent, the complicated relationships with have with our digital assistants and the usefulness of automatic buying. The application of what is now vs. what is in the future is an interesting motive to both Stefan and me for how we integrate data and insights to plan for the key evolutionary changes about to come.


[1:12] Stefan is the VP of Research at Econsultancy. During his time as a consultant, he was tasked with writing a report on e-mail marketing and found he enjoyed diving into the research side of it. Eight years ago he joined Econsultancy and appreciates the versatile nature of his career and the ebb and flow of his focus.

[6:25] Stefan addresses the two things that jump out at me: the Microsoft logo on the front of the research, and what the partnered content means for data and conclusions.

[10:09] Search advertising was the form of digital marketing during the big crash that rescued the business from certain death.

[11:32] The Next Revolution of Search report looks out several years to a moment where some of the underlying technologies are better woven together and more integrated into the way we consume media. The challenge will be where display advertising exists in the digital ecosystem. It’s an open-ended question that Stefan feels will be answered in the coming years.

[26:46] Digital assistants and voice recognition still have a long way to go, but Stefan feels it is a question of time and execution over technology and is optimistic about how things will develop in the next 24 months. Understanding both the intent and what the person really needs is crucial.

[38:24] Stefan thinks we will feel more and more connected and invested with our digital assistants, but we may interact with them as the machines that they are, rather than a human being with a multifaceted personality. This may be better for everyone, as we seem to treat the machines better than each other as humans. With a machine, there is nothing to manipulate.

[53:06] One of the challenges in the future is finding a technology that interacts with people better. Stefan is a believer that voice is effective, but may not be the answer to everything as much as other research believes it to be. There are a lot of scenarios where people may prefer to get the results on a screen rather than a voice response.

[61:37] Digital assistants that are proxies for the commercial world won’t be as necessary as assistants that are proxies for affluent users.

Mentioned in This Episode:


The Next Revolution of Search 




“I’m a generalist. I’m studying something for 2-3 months and then I’ll move on to something else.”

“The next person that comes to me and tells me they have an awesome AI technology is going to get taken out back and lashed with a wet noodle.”

“The demands of the user on the assistant will put pressure on many of the standard marketing models that we have today.”

“We’re basically at novelty just nudging up against utility.”

It’s almost like we interact with the machines better than how we treat other human beings.”