At Google’s highly-anticipated annual conference, now called Google Marketing Next, Google announced several exciting new innovations for digital marketers. All of the announcements centered around the themes of digital marketers being smarter with data leveraging machine learning.
Successful digital marketers have always utilized data to drive decisions, of course, but Google’s new updates will allow for more effective ways to reach your target consumers and measure success in today’s multichannel, multi-device world.
Some of the most exciting announcements at the event included innovations to audience targeting and offline impact measurement.
- In-Market Audiences for Search and Shopping — In-Market Audiences has been available for the Display Network and YouTube campaigns since 2013. Google is essentially using intent signals such as website browsing activities and search queries to categorize users. These users may have been actively researching and comparing products by reading blogs, comparing prices or reading product reviews, so they’ll likely be more ready to purchase. By utilizing bid modifiers and targeting strategies, you will be better positioned to be visible to the right person at the right time.
- Consumer Patterns and Life Events —. Using intent-rich signals, Google created these new audience segments in order to target users who have demonstrated that they’re experiencing a milestone “life event” such as graduating, getting married or moving. These new audience segments will be available on YouTube and Gmail. As with In-Market Audiences, advertisers will be able to utilize these audience segments to ensure the most relevant message reaches the right person at the right time.
- In-Store Visit Updates and Store Sales Measurement — Measuring the impact that digital marketing has on in-store purchases has been a challenge for retailers. Store Visits was introduced in 2014, but Google recently announced that they’re now able to track more store visits thanks to upgrades to the program. Google admits that using Store Visits limited the ability to fully measure your program’s impact to offline traffic, so they announced that they’re rolling out the ability to measure actual in-store revenue. Many larger retailers have been participating in Google’s In-Store Transactions beta for a while by working with third-party companies.But this change is important in that all retailers will soon have the ability to work directly with Google — rather than having to go through a third-party provider. Google claims that the third-party partners capture data from 70% of all US credit card transactions, so this move is an important step in getting a holistic view of your digital marketing campaigns at work. Retailers will also be able to import their transaction data from their email and loyalty programs.
- Google Attribution and Google Attribution 360 — Google’s product managers also talked a lot about today’s complex customer journey, which can have dozens of interactions across multiple devices and channels for a single person. In an effort to improve measurement of each touch point’s value, Google announced that it’s rolling out Google Attribution and Google Attribution 360 for enterprise sellers This is an integration of AdWords, Google Analytics and DoubleClick Search using data-driven attribution. Through the use of machine learning, advertisers will now be able to assign credit across each step of the customer journey.
- Location Extensions to YouTube TrueView Ads — This is yet another way for Google’s to provide retailers more ways to measure the impact that their ads are having on brick and mortar stores. The new location extensions for YouTube TrueView Ads will have the same functionality that location extensions have now — such as address and map information, photos and click-to-call buttons — so users can have easy access to their local store information.
- Google Assistant Integration with Local Inventory Data — Voice search is quickly becoming more common in people’s daily lives with the rise of technology like Amazon Echo, Google Home and the increased use of voice search on mobile devices. Google Assistant is an intelligent personal assistant powered by AI technology. It’s currently available on Google Home and Android devices and is now available on iPhones through the Google Assistant app in the App Store. Consumers have been able to shop with Google Assistant on Google Home since late last year, but Google announced an important change for retailers with brick-and-mortar stores: the ability to integrate with retailers’ local inventory information.
With this update, consumers will be able to ask questions like, “Where can I find youth size 11 soccer cleats?” They then get relevant information, including which local stores have the item in stock and how far away the location is. Advertisers that are currently running Google’s Local Inventory Ads will be able to use their local inventory feed to take advantage of this update to the Google Assistant. As of now, Google says that there is no charge to advertisers for the inventory search functionality.
One change that’s not surprising to many — but will affect all retailers — is the announcement that the new AdWords experience will be rolling out to all advertisers by the end of the year. This is essentially an overhaul of the current AdWords interface in an attempt to streamline management of your campaigns. Included in the new features is a new landing page report where customers can easily see if their landing pages are mobile-friendly.
A related development was the announcement of the Google Optimize integration. With the Optimize and AdWords integration, users can quickly create new versions of landing pages and launch tests on any combination of campaigns, ad groups and keywords. Our digital marketing team always recommends continuous testing and analysis of data in order to achieve the most optimum performance of campaigns. This Google development can help to launch landing pages quicker as no coding or webmaster is required.
We will be following Google’s updates closely. Make sure to subscribe to the blog to stay in-the-know on these important announcements and how they can impact your business strategies.