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What Google Wants You To Know, And What It Means to Marketers

ads_analyticsDoesn’t matter if you’re a Front Street merchant in Philipsburg, or Target’s regional manager wondering how best to get commuting drivers in Brooklyn to come in for a breakfast deal.

You want to stay abreast of what Google is doing. If your competition is paying attention, and also taking action, and you’re not, then it’s likely he’s beating you to the punch on a regular basis.

So here’s a synopsis of what Google announced last week at their “Performance Summit.”

Mobile-driven sales

A huge and growing percentage of store visits are now preceded by tapping an ad on a mobile device. For many of your businesses, digital ads are now definitely more important than print and analog promotions. And yes, that has included brick and mortar businesses for some time now. If it’s still not the case where you’re located, then you have a huge opportunity to dominate your market in your neck of the woods. Speed wins.

 

Programmatic buying

Gathering detailed customer information in ways that scale has always been a problem for business of all types. When your customer does a Google search, it leaves a trail not only of the search itself, but on the YouTube video, vendor sites and so on that she clicks on.

All this data tells a lot about the detailed kind of information your customers spend time researching before walking into your store, dealership or practice. Its the same kind of information you only used to get in ways that don’t scale very well–the kind old-school marketers used to get from focus groups and long-winded interviews.

Today you have a two-step challenge. First you scoop this kind of information about your customers out of Google. Then you develop highly targeted ads to match all that data. You present them in creative ways that stand out, and are highly accessible–with just the correct amount of detail. Google wants marketers to learn how to use their data and tools to develop engaging content and ads. The idea is to provide a superior “Programmatic” buying experience.

DBM and GDN

Double click Bid Manager and Google Display Netowrk are the newest tools Google is promoting to assist you with Programmatic buying. DBM helps with targeted media buying and distribution. GDN empowers ad-words content creators with technology. Together they give you the same kind of granular control available to Facebook advertisers like re-marketing, power editor, and audience insights.

Rolling out later this year, GDN ads will only require creatives to supply Google with a headline, description, image and URL. They take care of the rest and make sure the ad appears equally fitting across all appliances and devices.

Text ads, based on tests they have been running, should do better with longer headlines. That says as well as anything else can in the ad world how dominant mobile has gotten. Taps, swipes and clicks! That’s what the 2016-2017 ads will best be optimized for.

Similar Audiences for Search

After discovering they were starting to get beaten to the punch in so many ways, Google is finally recovering from their feast slumber. They’ve even got similar audiences for search.   Marriott Hotels have been able to quadruple their ad-spend ROI using Google’s expanded inventory and tools.

Facebook’s biggest strength is the sheer number of people spending time on the platform every single day. But they got savvy fast enough and got sophisticated in serving marketers with ad tools. Google still lags a little behind when it comes to paying attention to their most important customer.

But they’re adjusting. Their direction is clearly in improving the workflow for digital ad campaigns. A lot of the big roll-outs are still in the pipeline. The audience present welcomed the announcement that their tools will become more integrated, allow for better collaboration, and are more intuitive to use.

Even keyword bids will become easier to control. Google will allow you to optimize your bidding and ad-spend for the type of device you want to target.

I especially liked the presentation by Babak Pahlavan. Onstage, he collaborated with two other guys to present dynamic reports on the fly in less than a minute. This is stuff that takes months without digital tools. Teams don’t even need spreadsheets, back-and-forth emailing, presentation of printed data or even static web content. With real-time customization and edits, highly sophisticated reports no longer need to be generated in time for the meeting. They’re set up and instantaneously generated on call during the meeting.

Time will tell

It’s going to be interesting to see how brands react. Personally, I’ve always thought that Google fell asleep at the wheel. To me they still have a natural edge in the digital world of inbound marketing. When people are ready to purchase, Google is still the preferred path to find information they need to make buying decisions. Besides, many industries lend themselves better to online search.  Facebook ads are outbound. They disrupt the customer experience in similar ways to old-school analog ads on radio, TV and print media.

If you’re thinking this has no relevance to you if you have a local grocery-store you’re right–for now. But I’ll guarantee you this. The first competitor who feeding the proper data to google and optimize their web pages for Programmatic buying will give you a huge headache if anyone can check their inventory by tapping on their handy tablet.  Who wants to waste time or take a chance with traffic if they can help it?

The keynotes from the conference is available here. What do YOU think?

 

 

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