Overnight (Australian-time) Google held a special keynote announcing the latest innovations for Google Ads, Google Analytics and DoubleClick.
You can watch a recording of the livestream below, or read my summary notes beneath the video.
3 new important realities for business
The Google Marketing Next Keynote was opened by Sridhar Ramaswamy, Senior Vice President, Ads & Commerce.
He spoke about the evolution that has occurred with increased use of mobile, voice search, and consumer expectations.
Google have recognised this and focused on combining Intent, Data and Machine Learning to improve consumer searches.
Now, technology is the enabler, not the challenge.
Sridhar stressed the importance of putting customers at the heart of the business strategy, and shared three new important realities for business:
1. All consumer interactions must be smarter with data
We have access to considerable data, and need to use this to drive all marketing with insights about people, and their journey.
Google Ads work by using millions of real-time actions to show the most relevant ad for the search query intent.
We now have more opportunities to incorporate data into ad campaigns, and should make use of this.
2. Help in one step, or one second
Speed + Simplicity = Revenue
Critical to this is getting the fundamentals right with mobile: accessibility, usability, speed.
He also spoke of the increased speed of AMP ads loading on Google Display Network: 5 seconds faster than regular ads.
3. Need to offer non-line assistance
I LOVE this term: non-line.
Sridhar shared an important reality that consumers don’t distinguish between online/offline.
There is no line between channels.
The customer is the channel, moving seamlessly and unconsciously between touchpoints.
Later this year, Google will be rolling out two new tools to assist with measuring in-store sales.
“Put the customer at the heart of your marketing strategy.
This should influence how you organise your teams, how you use data, how you measure the impact.”
– Shridar Ramaswamy
Know your customers, and understand what matters to them
Next up we heard from Bhanu Narasimhan, Director, Audience Products.
Bhanu shared that now people expect relevant and useful ad experiences. And when they are delivered, people respond.
It is essential to know your customers, and understand what matters to them: intent, interests, activities.
However she also stressed that user privacy, transparency and security remains first and foremost for Google, and people will always know when they are seeing an ad, and why.
There are now – and soon will be – more opportunities to connect data across Google products, in real-time, to improve targeting.
For example, targeting ads to people who have watched your YouTube videos.
Google is focused on improving their audience segments based on two key intent rich signals:
- Consumer patterns and
- Life events such as buying a home and getting married
Is my marketing working?
Following on from Bhanu we heard from Bill Kee, Group Product Manager, Attribution.
His team’s focus has been on helping to answer the question: “Is my marketing working?”
And I was incredibly excited to hear him say “this year we’re solving the attribution problem.” *crowd cheers!*
Google is soon launching Google Attribution.
Google Attribution is a single view of path to purchase, unifying attribution features across Google Adwords, Google Analytics and DoubleClick.
This will allow data-driven attribution, automatically calculating how much credit each touchpoint deserves, and can be done at scale due to Google’s investments in machine learning.
This will draw together, and help us understand how each moment matters; across multiple devices, and multiple channels, including ads (text/display), organic, search, social, direct visits, affiliates.
30% of people use 5 or more devices
Not only will Google Attribution develop and share this data, but the data can then be shared back into Adwords and DoubleClick. By sharing conversion numbers based on Google Attribution, and combining with automated bidding, to improve campaign settings and results.
Google Attribution is in beta today, and will roll out to more customers in coming months.
Bill also spoke about the new Unique Reach reporting, available in Adwords today and in DoubleClick in the coming months.
“Stop wasting budget. Stop annoying people.”
– Bill Kee
Work smarter, not harder
Following on was Karen Yao, Group Product Manager, Advertiser Platforms.
Karen shared that the new Adwords Manager layout is already saving some teams 30% more time (I only got it yesterday, so will see how it helps me).
She focused on two new tools to work smarter with Landing Pages.
Firstly, the new Landing Page report, which will summarise:
- bounce rate
- mobile friendliness
- conversion rate
to help understand Landing Page performance, and which may require attention.
This can then be coupled with the Google Optimize and Adwords integration, which will allow non-developers to easily create and test new versions of landing pages in minutes.
What is really exciting is that these landing page variations can be individually attached to different Adwords campaigns, ad groups and even keywords!
Connect with the people who saw your ads
Roshan Khan, Senior Product Manager, DoubleClick, shared two new innovations:
The new Planning section in DoubleClick Bid Manager, and Surveys 360.
Surveys 360 will allow you to survey just the people who saw your ads, by connecting Surveys with Adwords.
Based on the “360” in the title, I’m assuming it’s not a free product.
Reaching the right customer, at the right time
Finally we heard from Jennifer Liu, Director of Google Shopping, who introduced Google Assistant.
Google Assistant, integrates with Google Home and other devices, and uses machine learning and conversational technology to find best products and actions relevant to the situation, and combines them seamlessly.
Essentially it is a “conversation with Google to help people get things done” and according to Jennifer, it is “the easiest way to accomplish tasks” such as:
- calendar appointments
- traffic reports
From a marketing perspective, it is an opportunity to talk to customers at scale, using natural language, and back and forth communication, asking questions to clarify.
Google Assistant will remember preferred brands, products purchased, and the current context.
Even Jennifer admitted that in all her time at Google, it has been about queries, clicks and conversions.
Now, particularly with Google Assistant, Google are focused on understanding who we are, to reach the right consumer, at the right time.
Learn more about Google Assistant here: https://developers.google.com/actions/
My two cents
All of these updates share two common threads:
Firstly, while all of these data-driven innovations sound amazing and easy, they rely on good, clean data in CRMs etc, processes for gathering detailed and accurate data, and ensuring tools and tracking are set up appropriately to make use of these innovations.
So getting your data and systems strategy right first, is paramount.
And Google are set on putting consumers first (as they should) to ensure they deliver them what they are looking for. So we need to make sure our target audiences are at the heart of our strategies as well.
- Who are they?
- What do they want?
- And how can we best deliver it to them? Right time, right place, right message.
Going back to basics with your marketing strategy is essential, and understanding the people you want to reach and engage with should be a key focus, before jumping in to these new tools.
What do you think about these updates? Let me know in the comments.