Google Marketing Live Recap: What’s Next for Google

Google Marketing Live Recap: What's Next for Google

Our Google Marketing Live recap details our team’s key takeaways from this year’s conference. From new automation features for digital marketing to advanced measurement capabilities, our Digital Marketing and Analytics experts share what’s next in the Google ecosystem.

What's Next for Google: Google’s Visions for Advertisers and Customers, Clarified

Last week’s Google Marketing Live conference was chock-full of case studies and KPIs that helped contextualize Google’s updates and vision. The keynote touched on changes that impact advertisers—Google has created new ways to reach their customers and measure ad effectiveness—and changes that will help consumers take more control of their advertising preferences.

Ultimately, Google’s vision is to help advertisers create more impactful experiences for their customers when it matters most and to create an ecosystem that enables consumers to have a meaningful and congruent experience with brands across channels.

Google is well-positioned to achieve these goals for a few reasons. First, YouTube viewership is growing, and this proprietary ad placement platform helps Google stand out against other DSPs. Second, Google is leveraging the consumer insights they get from search behavior to help predict trends and create “insights-driven” approaches to advertising. Finally, because of the nature of Google’s browser ecosystem, they have a better understanding of signed-in users and their behavior across the web, which means that their topic-based targeting should be an effective solution for advertisers in the wake of privacy changes.

What follows are some insights and ideas that stood out to our team of Digital Marketing and Analytics experts at Google Marketing Live this year.

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Key Theme #1: Automation

Lachlan Brown, Digital Marketing Director on our Google go-to-market team

What I’m most excited about are new features and innovations being rolled out now and later this year for Performance Max campaigns. These campaigns, which rolled out of beta late last year, are basically the ultimate toolbox in terms of using all of Google Ads automation capabilities in a single campaign.  Not only do they allow advertisers to scale across YouTube, Display, Search, Discover, Gmail, and Maps from a single campaign, but they also leverage automation technologies across bidding, budget optimization, audiences, creatives, attribution, and more. And now there are new features! 

  • A/B testing (in beta testing to be rolled out worldwide later this year) is a great way to dip a toe in the water if  you’re unsure of the value of Performance Max Campaigns
  • Campaign management support (currently available in Search Ads 360 and the Google Ads mobile app) will expand (soon!) with Floodlight conversion bidding in SA360. 
  • Upgrades! Soon you’ll be able to support in-store sales goals by upgrading your Smart shopping and local campaigns to Performance Max. 

In addition to these features, valuable additions will provide greater insights and recommendations for optimization and measurement. These include automated optimization recommendations, such as how to improve asset strength & optimization scores, and new insights, such as attribution/channel path data and audience insights that show which of your first-party audiences are performing best and being used most often. 

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Key Theme #2: Privacy & Measurement

Lisa Altshul, Digital Marketing Manager 

Privacy and measurement was a session I was really excited about attending, as this has been a massive focus for Search Discovery over the last year. It was great hearing Google affirm some of the best practices we have already been rolling out for our clients, including clean and organized Google Analytics implementations and tagging infrastructure like server-side tracking.

Enhanced conversions are getting more support, features, and roll-out. For example, enhanced conversions for leads will better integrate offline data and have more comprehensive measurement across campaigns. This is a big opportunity for our clients that rely on an understanding of the consumer’s omnichannel experiences in our optimizations.

Consent is a big topic (see Cory’s comments below). While Google’s expanded partnerships with consent management platforms should help assure clients they are complying with regulations, Google is hedging on modeling to recover conversions that do not consent. This modeling is important particularly in the B2B space, where every conversion makes a big difference, but also more broadly as we feel the impact of consent management on attributable data that can impact thresholds for effective machine learning. 

Now, what I’m most excited about—self-service incrementality testing! Geo experiments, conversion lift, and search lift studies are going to be available in Google Ads and Display and Video 360! This is a huge win for measurement as a whole! While we have been running Geo Controlled and Randomized Controlled Experiments for our clients, we are excited to be able to quickly launch these across the platforms and at scale.

At Google Marketing Live, we learned that self-service incrementatlity testing (Geo experiments, conversion lift, and search lift studies) will be available in Google Ads, Display and Video 360 (DV 360)!

Devin Defago

Key Theme #3: Shopping

Devin DeFago, Digital Marketing Director 

At Google Marketing Live, whether a session was reviewing advancements in functionality to an existing product or launching something completely new, everyone cohesively (impressively!) emphasized shopping across their ecosystem. Look, “omnichannel” has become a popular term on everyone’s marketing-jargon bingo card, but for it to be a thematic thread through sessions discussing channel mix, user experience, and measurement was energizing. 

Standard Product Shopping ads have become a staple for many businesses. These ads use the product data from Merchant Center to match the right ad to the query intent. But the second type of Shopping Ad, the Local Inventory Ad (LIA), combines your product data with your inventory data. This type of information is vital, as 72% of consumers said they are more likely to shop in-store when they can check in-store availability.

But Google took the concept of shopping beyond Shopping Campaigns (friendly reminder: Smart Shopping campaigns will be upgraded to Performance Max campaigns in July, see Lachlan’s comments above) because not all customers shop the same way. If your organization has an app, you know first-hand what the data support: 47% of customers switch to apps to save time at checkout, and app users demonstrate an average order value two times that of a website conversion.

This is where Web to App Connect will become a game-changer for organizations who are navigating this digital duality. Web to App Connect is a toolkit that focuses on three main functions: identifying deep links, estimating the revenue impact of deep linking, and measuring app conversion lift. The identification function will serve as a bridge between marketing and development teams, so all parties understand the job to be done. The opportunity forecasting will help your organization prioritize resources for this valuable project.

To build on a user’s experience beyond Web to App Connect, App Campaigns are another ad unit focused on getting more people to use your app. These campaigns leverage inventory across Search, YouTube, Play Store, Google Display Network, and AdMob.

Within App Campaigns, driving app downloads becomes even easier when bidding with Google Analytics for Firebase conversions, as this connection will provide you with faster ramp-up time, auto-generated similar audiences, audience exclusions, and target ROAS bidding. Google data showed that the median account using this bidding saw a 13% increase in app installs, with no negative impact to in-app conversion rates.

While leveraging your app for increased conversion rates and value is fantastic, we must also acknowledge the reality of our cookieless future. With that horizon quickly approaching, apps will be a vital tool in helping you build a foundation of durable first-party data.

From an increasing amount of interconnected ad types to the value exchange between a user and an organization’s app, to privacy and safe and predictive measurement solutions, there has never been a more exciting time to be in this space!

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Key Theme #4: Insights-driven marketing

Lisa Altshul, Digital Marketing Manager 

As a long-time search advertiser, I appreciate Google’s focus on insights-driven marketing. For a long time, I have been passionate about helping my clients see and use Search as the first line of sight when it comes to identifying changing consumer trends. Typically, we heavily rely on Google Trends and the Keyword Planner tools to help understand consumer demand. Now, it looks like Google is rolling out even more capabilities in the platforms to take advantage of consumer insights. 

The new suite of insights capabilities will include improved search trends and demand forecasts in the platforms. This reminds me of what we get from Google trends, plus the ability to predict some level of demand. I love this for my clients that have seasonality or clients who prioritize certain products and budgets at different times. Instead of waiting until a trend happens, we should be able to better predict when to make creative optimizations, change our product advertising mix, and push budgets. Including historical trends here, too, will help contextualize and understand where the market is against prior performance. 

Other updates to the Insights capabilities in the search ad platforms include attribution insights. I’m excited to get my hands on this! While many of our clients are already on data-driven attribution, for accounts with historical settings and limitations or for new accounts, it will be exciting to have this tool at hand to help ensure we are getting the most value out of our analytics implementations.

Improved auction insights and visibility in the platform is another nice update. It should help teams and clients get a quick understanding of how competitive factors are changing and may be impacting performance. This is something we look at a lot, but has never been something so visible on the platform and at a high level. 

The improved insights capabilities should help enterprises and agencies make better decisions and make sure the decisions are made in time to make strategic changes to the accounts. 

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Key Theme #5: GA4

Mandy Johnston, Analytics Engineer

As someone that is helping our clients navigate the transition from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4, I was very interested in the “Turn insights into ROI with GA4” sessions. The Google team stressed the value of some of my favorite features—data modeling and machine learning features within GA4, including the insights feature within the homepage of the user interface, as well as predictive audiences to optimize at the highest level within your Google Ads or GMP tool. I love that they’re focusing on the machine learning piece because it’s going to provide us with the tools we need as we head into a cookieless reality. 

They also introduced a new Explore template called “Predicted Top Spenders,” which will allow those of us with e-commerce functionality to easily dig deep into data about our most valuable customers.

Integration with other products was also a point of focus, including Google Ads, Merchant Center, and all the GMP suite of products (all available for integration EVEN if you’re not utilizing 360!). The easy integration that GA4 offers will really allow us to put insights from GA4 into action to produce revenue, which is ultimately what we all want!

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Key Theme #6: Consent Management

Cory Underwood, Analytics Engineer

Pushed by customer expectations and regulation, consent management is quickly becoming non-optional for a business.  Brands should use this expectation/obligation as a way to engage with customers and promote trust through a value exchange. 

Why is it important to be careful when it comes to planning a consent management strategy? Because when it comes to consent management, many things need to happen at once and errors can cause brand damage that takes years to repair.

First, you need to ensure that you’re meeting all regulatory requirements. This avoids potential investigations and disruptions to business. Also, you need to ensure that your messaging is on brand and that you’re offering a value exchange when promoting consent opt-in. This exchange varies by industry and region, but its purpose is to promote trust and avoid brand damage.

We recommend not only obtaining consent prior to collection, but logging that consent receipt to share later with regulators in the event they need to see proof of consent.  This is in line with Google’s recently published EU User Consent Policy and acts as a good framework to consider for application to other regions. 

Lastly, brands that operate in the USA should prepare for the five state laws presently slated for enforcement in 2023 (California, Colorado, Connecticut, Utah, and Virginia), establish what their consent requirements are for those regions, and adjust their marketing strategy accordingly. Search Discovery, a Google Premier Partner, can help with all of this.

Search Discovery is a trusted Google Partner that can connect and mature your Google ecosystem and help you thrive. Get cutting edge digital marketing and analytics tools and consulting. Contact us today to get started.

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