I recently shared highlights of online trends discussed at Google’s Marketing Innovations Live, the livestreamed keynote address of their annual Marketing Live conference held in San Diego. Now I’ll cover the top product innovations that the search giant shared, and the cliff-notes version of what they mean for business owners and non-technical marketers.
At the center of Google’s revenue generation is its advertising products, so the underlying purpose of sharing research and trends in online behavior is the chance to highlight their new ad products. And as I mentioned in last week’s trends highlights, machine learning plays a key role in the latest technical innovations Google is using to increase the functions, features, and value of their ad and measurement products.
Highlights of the new ad product updates include:
- Most notable is the change in the brand name AdWords to simply Google Ads, which was announced late last month. Along with the name change is the unification of multiple sub-branded ad products, including Double-Click, along with its shopping, video, Gmail, and display ad formats.
- YouTube ad conversions have increased over 150% in the last year, globally. Muy impresionante, mi amigos.
- TrueView, YouTube’s brand for advertising options, is introducing three new ad types this year:
- TrueView for Reach – for advertising goals of building brand awareness among a broad set of consumers
- TrueView for Action – to optimize conversions on your web site. A banner ad appears on the bottom of a video ad throughout the video and remains after the video completes. The banners include a button with a call to action. And late this year, options will include banners with form ads to help generate leads.
- Maximize Lift Bidding – for increasing brand consideration. “Lift” is marketing-speak for the incremental increase in a marketing result. “Consideration” is marketing-speak for the people in your potential audience who state they will consider using your brand or product (typically after being exposed to your marketing message). So, this tool’s purpose is to maximize an advertiser’s increase in brand consideration as a result of this type of YouTube advertising. Like with many of the other new and existing Google ad products, it uses machine learning to reach the right consumers and help the advertiser accomplish this goal.
- Responsive Search Ads, which simplify text-only search ad creation by mixing and matching multiple combinations of up to 15 headlines and up to 4 description lines, again using machine learning to determine which ones garner the best results according to the advertiser’s goal. No more worrying about being a professional ad copywriter in addition to running your business.
- For small businesses, new easy-to-manage advertising options break down to four main options:
- Smart campaigns (which I’ve detailed earlier) – to help small business owners easily get started with online advertising
- Smart Shopping campaigns – to optimize bids on individual products and grow online revenue, or to drive store visits
- Local campaigns – aimed at driving in-store traffic for brick-and-mortar businesses
- Hotel campaigns – to drive room bookings for hotels and travel booking sites
- According to Google’s research, more than half of all mobile phone users claim that they would not make a purchase from a web site that takes a long time to load. And driving better mobile ad results means assuring ad landing pages (the web pages that ads link to) load quickly.
Understanding that many small business don’t have a way of gauging load times, Google is introducing a Mobile Landing Page Speed feature within the Ads interface. This tool assigns a score from 1 to 10 based on a number of factors, including the expected conversion rate of a given landing page based on how long the page takes to load in a visitor’s browser.
New Cross-Device Reporting
With analytics being closest to my heart, of course, I was interested to hear one new reporting feature that wasn’t among Google’s previous announcements: Cross-device reporting and remarketing. This feature uses aggregated, anonymized data from visitors who visit your web site multiple times across different devices. It then gives a consolidated view of how users are behaving on your site no matter the device they’re using when they visit, giving you a better understanding of your visitors and what they do at each stage of the conversion process.
For example, a customer might spend $300 on your website on her phone any given day. She may later spend another $300 on her desktop computer. In analytics, this might look like two different customers, each spending $300.
And yet if another customer spends $600 one time on her desktop, she would be viewed as a customer with much higher spending value. Your GA reports can now show you that these two customer types have the same value, but with different purchasing habits, helping you make more informed marketing decisions.
What These New Ad Features Mean for Small Business Owners and Non-Technical Marketers
I’ve shared previously that Google products can be less user-friendly than they appear on the surface, especially when the company is continually adding new tools and with new ways to use them. While this may seem like chicanery on their part, it’s somewhat understandable given that they have to make products that serve the needs of a spectrum of users, especially if they want to remain competitive. Google’s continued advances in machine learning and its application in ad creation, optimization, and measurement hold a lot of promise toward truly making their products easier to use and more effective.
But ease-of-use aside, it’s often a better use of time an energy to bring in someone with experience and expertise using Google products, including Analytics, Tag Manager, Data Studio and others to measure marketing effectiveness. We’re still a long way off from computer programs being able to replace sound advice from a professional who can ask the right questions and properly advise you on how to use these products to grow your business.
If you’re looking for a human with deep experience in analytics and web metrics reporting, get in touch today.
And, feel free to leave questions about any of these product updates in the comments below. Do any of these product updates make you more likely to use them? If you’ve used Google’s ad products before, do you feel like machine learning has improved your conversion rates? Let me know!
Note: More detail on Google’s applications of machine learning in advertising can be found on the Google Ads blog.