Industry News, Paid Advertising
Last night Google ran their annual event, Marketing Live where they showcase recent and soon-to-be-released ad solutions, and more importantly give you an idea of their strategic direction of travel. This year was no different and again we saw automation, simplification and the integration of products to the fore. Google’s move away from keyword-centric advertising became the most explicit we’ve seen with all new solutions presented being keyword-less and coming days after AdWords rebranded to Google Ads.
After their opening remarks Google led with YouTube developments, highlighting what a key growth area this still is for them. Improved buying mechanisms to maximise reach and lift will help lure more TV budget to the platform for awareness activity, and improved action focused formats are designed to close the loop and help justify investment as a direct response channel.
As an advertiser or agency, the most important trend to take away from the event is the move to automated cross-channel campaign generation. This simply requires the advertiser to supply a goal, a budget and a handful of creative parameters; bids, ads, audience and channel are all defined by machine learning. The new campaign types follow Universal App Campaigns (2015) and give the best indication of the future of Google Ads.
The pitfalls of such products tend to be very limited reporting (especially at launch), a lack of control on brand messaging and potential brand safety issues, though typically only ultra-safe placements are included. However, while advertisers may be cautious to cede so much control to a black box, finding controlled ways of testing these formats should be a priority given their potential.
One surprise was the conspicuous absence of Voice Search given how prominently it has featured in Google conversations in the last 12-18 months. Don’t expect this to go away though, it simply shows that volume and commercial intent aren’t yet at the volume needed to separate ad products which capture them exclusively.
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Google Marketing Platform
Google shared a little more around the thinking behind bringing the 360 suite and Doubleclick for Advertisers under one roof. While many of the integrations demonstrated were already available, the new system aims to reduce friction between what were previously two separate tools. This is especially evident in the reporting and creative authoring sections. The reporting mirrors that of the “new” AdWords interface (now Google Ads) which is very rapid and highly flexible. The improvements to the workflow of what was Doubleclick studio are also very promising.