Tribal DDB London unveils contextual search, a next generation intelligent search functionality for their client Volkswagen. It makes information easier to find, increases the relevance of search results for consumers and ensures content is more readily reusable for Volkswagen.
Contextual search uses a unique tagging structure which creates relationships between information and puts contextual tags around data. This increases the reliability of search results because they are delivered according to relevancy and direct relation to comparable data rather than popularity. The established ‘key word’ search functionality used by most search engines seems almost archaic in comparison.
Photo: A screenshot from the www.volkswagen.co.uk website, click to enlarge
An additional benefit of contextual search is that new search facets can be easily added without costly and time consuming development. It further enables content to be repurposed across the website in different contexts in an ‘Elastic Search’. A developer no longer needs to write new publishing code every time Volkswagen wants to share information with a third party and system administrators don’t have to maintain multiple architectures or systems.
In order to create contextual search Tribal DDB had to create a highly detailed series of new search tags, known as onotologies, to describe cars online. These onotologies were devised in conjunction with Professor Martin Hepp, an expert, and true pioneer in the field of search who has previously worked with Google.
Tribal DDB and Volkswagen have created the onotological system in a way which will benefit the wider community of automotive manufacturers as the ontology code for contextual search will be freely available on the Volkswagen website for all to use and adapt on their own sites.
Marianne Bearton, Website Marketing Manager at Volkswagen, said: “This puts us at the forefront of search in the automotive sector and makes the Volkswagen online experience even better for our customers.”
Tom Roberts, managing director, Tribal DDB, added, “If competitors recognise the significance of this evolution of search and take advantage of the freely available ontology there are significant advantages for brands such as Audi, Skoda, Ford et al. Our contextual search project puts Volkswagen at the forefront of search technology in the automotive field.”
John Streit, head of technology at Tribal DDB, commented, “These ontologies allow search engines to understand the relationships between terms rather than relying on antiquated ‘key word’ searches. We’ve effectively built a spider’s web of references to relevant content which delivers an intelligent search. Contextual search gives Volkswagen a standardised interface of data and content: it separates the information and application, making it easy for our services and 3rd parties to use Volkswagen data to provide relevant information to our customers.”
Contextual search will be live on the Volkswagen UK website from December 15, 2011.