On Tuesday afternoon, Google held a keynote showcasing their latest Ad and Analytics platform innovations. Their main aim is to make us as advertisers more assertive and more successful, whilst also offering value to consumers by delivering more relevant ads and a better user experience – by the way of new tools and platform updates.
The world is changing at speed. Consumers have become more demanding, no doubt due to advancements in technology and machine learning. If we think back to the inception of Google, its aim was just to answer a question. Now think about how you and other consumers use Google – users are expecting an experience that is more relevant than ever before.
We have become impatient, more demanding, more research focused and much more savvy. At the drop of a hat, users expect to get what they want. This in itself poses a challenge.
Google’s new announcements aim to cater to the needs of its users by delivering advertising that works for everyone – putting users first by being useful and relevant is what adds value.
It’s safe to say that Google have thrown all their eggs in one basket, that basket being Machine Learning (ML). There is a machine learning thread that runs through all their new products, these changes help us as marketers become more effective, build better experiences and drive better results.
So, without further ado…
Nearly 18 years after launching AdWords, today we're introducing Google Ads, our effort to help businesses of all sizes connect with relevant customers across all of our channels and partner sites → https://t.co/JEps2Ll1q2 pic.twitter.com/sevE5l9i3S
— Google (@Google) June 27, 2018
Google AdWords becomes Google Ads. A small change with the aim of better showcasing the full range of capabilities that ads have. This will be a more simple and comprehensive way of advertising across the range of Google platforms such as search, YouTube, Google Maps, Google Play and so on.
You can think of this as the replacement to Google AdWords Express. This campaign type is almost completely automated, making it easier for small businesses to focus on the parts of the business that matter to them.
Smart campaigns will continually improve the management of your campaigns – ad creative delivery methods are automated dependent on the advertiser’s goals. Smart campaigns also work very closely with Google My Business by helping to pull in images, telephone numbers and addresses – removing yet more grunt work from the equation.
Google is also in the process of taking out the development work behind creating effective mobile landing pages – this is very beneficial for small businesses who may not have websites. Google will create optimised landing pages with all the relevant content.
Google Marketing Platform
Rolling up the Google Enterprise Suite – please welcome Google Marketing Platform. With advertising and analytics in one platform, you can make smarter, faster decisions. This is now a one-stop shop for the planning and measurement of your digital media, as well as for understanding the customer experience. This unites DoubleClick and Google Analytics 360 under one roof with improved transparency, choice and measurement activity sitting at its core.
After 22 years, the Doubleclick brand is no more and has now been replaced by a new product called Search Ads 360 – which still allows you to plan, buy and measure search ads.
Display & Video 360 brings together features from Doubleclick Manager, Campaign Manager and Audience Centre to give you the capability to measure display video and other channels all in one place.
With the plethora of products available, it’s now easier to integrate all the platforms in one place thanks to the new Integration Centre. In practice, you will now be able to use the new integration centre to connect Analytics 360 and Display 360 for example – as well as use audiences across the platforms.
New Options Across Google Ads and Marketing Cloud Platform
Relevance is key to better results across the whole user journey – assisting users every step of the way is critical to capturing their attention.
Relevance drives results and to be relevant you need to understand consumer intent. Google is providing us with new options designed for better performance across YouTube and Search Ads by showing users more relevant ads and deeper insight, which in turn, aligns with your objectives and accountability.
- True View for Reach – this new option now allows you to optimise for efficient reach to help increase awareness.
- True View for Action – this option helps to drive conversion to your website. A primary CTA remains visible throughout the video on YouTube which is tailored to your goal. Forms Ads will also be added to True View for Action, which will make it easier for people to follow through on your CTA. This, mixed with a customer intent audience, can be very powerful.
For example, a retailer may want to connect with a user who is searching for “polo shirts for sale”. With True View for Action and a customer intent audience, you can reach this core group with a relevant and actionable message when they are ready to buy.
- Maximize Lift Bidding – helps to increase brand consideration by using Machine Learning to reach people who are more likely to consider your brand after being exposed to an ad.
Responsive Search Ads
Making ads that are relevant, useful and unique to a user’s needs every time they search can present a challenge. Machine Learning can do some of the heavy lifting to help deliver the best and most relevant ad to someone in the right moment – by providing Google with 15 headlines and 4 descriptions, Google will mix and match the multiple descriptions and headlines to find the best possible combinations.
Google will serve unique and tailored messages to customers in the right moment depending on what the user is searching for. These ads will be more flexible, which simplifies the ad creation and testing process whilst delivering results powered by Machine Learning.
It also comes with additional benefits, such as the ability to provide Google with 30 characters for the headlines and 90 characters for the description – these combined give you 90% more text, increasing the opportunity to portray your business benefits and features more effectively.
Landing page speed score
We all know how important site speed is to user experience. If a user has to wait for your page to load they are likely to leave. This is going to have a negative impact on marketing performance.
Optimising for speed has always presented a challenge. The new landing page speed score should now help with this and this will can found in Google Ad reports. In essence, you will now get a score on a 10-point scale in your reports, based on a number of factors.
With these new metrics, you will be able to spend your efforts more effectively and focus on the pages that require the most attention. This score is updated daily, allowing you to track how your efforts are influencing key business metrics and helping to drive results.
Cross-device reporting and remarketing in Google Analytics
As someone who spends plenty of of time in Google Analytics, this is one of the announcements that got me most excited. Measurement makes businesses smarter – one of the challenges now is that mobile phone usage has grown over time and users use multiple devices a day.
This presents a challenge to marketers, as we haven’t got concrete data telling us where to focus our efforts.
A new Cross-device report in Google Analytics aggregates user data – new data that we have never seen before, allowing you to link moments and trends. This is a big opportunity for us as marketers, as we will now be equipped to measure and take a comprehensive view of customers. You no longer have to overlook anyone with this increased functionality and understanding, allowing us to engage more successfully with more customers.
Automated feeds for shopping ads
Creating shopping feeds just got easier. Often a complex process, Google’s new automated feeds for shopping ads now crawls your website and builds a feed from your online inventory, pulling in and gathering the right details. No more complex uploading – they also promise that it’s a lot easier to maintain.
Smart Shopping campaigns
Similar to the new shopping feed functionality, Google aims to make it easier to build shopping campaigns that surface relevant products at the right time across all Google properties, including display and remarketing – reducing the complexity of managing shopping campaigns whilst helping you to achieve your goals.
They are also working on deeper integrations with third parties such Shopify, making it easier to manage feeds. These feeds will sync in real-time data from Shopify and you will be able to manage everything in one place thanks to new Shopify integrations – this will save businesses time and effort. For a business that has other goals aside from revenue, there are new options that help with driving store visits and new customer acquisition.
Machine Learning is the way forward
What we can draw from Google’s new announcement is that users are changing in what they want, how they want it and when they want it, posing challenges to marketers.
How do we show the right product to the right person at the right time? It feels like Machine Learning is the answer, or at least Google thinks it’s the answer to this question – which is evident in recent announcements.
Machine Learning is always one of those topics that people are scared to talk about, but with it integrated into so many of Google’s platforms and products, it’s become something that cannot be ignored. Embracing these changes are necessary in order to drive better marketing performance moving forwards.
I’m sure that with widespread adoption and Google’s efforts, this technology will improve over time and become something we can all benefit from – it’s time to utilise Machine Learning, sit back and enjoy the rewards!