30 May 2016
At their recent Performance Summit, Google announced some key updates. Most notably:
Overall, the updates are good news for advertisers, allowing more control, visibility and ultimately efficiencies in their campaigns within Google.
It’s a well-worn cliché at this point to say a company is shifting its focus to mobile, though with Google’s recent announcements, it’s clear that their wide-ranging bets in the mobile space are starting to come together into a cohesive vision. At their recent I/O conference, we heard Google emphasise their artificial intelligence (AI) assistant and the Google Home product (a competitor to Amazon’s Echo), a messaging app called Allo, a mobile virtual reality (VR) platform called Daydream and so on – all with a heavy emphasis on machine learning/AI and mobile applications. In all, we’re getting closer to the reality of an “I’m Feeling Lucky” single search result – with Google Now serving answers to a user’s question before they even ask it. This becomes even more impactful in the realm of voice search on mobile and Google Home-type devices.
With more than half of Google searches now on mobile or tablet, and 30% of those mobile searches having a local context, Google is making a concerted effort within search to provide a more mobile-centric experience for both users and advertisers.
Advertisers have frequently heard Google speaking on micro moments, mobile-first approaches, “intent + context” and online-to-offline connections – all concepts that advertisers have explored over the past few years with varying levels of success. On top of all of these concepts, however, have been advertisers’ needs to better make sense of an increasingly complex digital ad space through more effective measurement of mobile ads, and to increase control over targeting so that messages provide the most utility.
Google announced several sweeping changes aimed at addressing these issues. We’ll break some of them down one-by-one:
For Google to “win” in the connected environment that we live in – but have really only seen the start of – they’re right to devote their energy toward a myriad of mobile-centric offerings. That means a devotion to VR and Cardboard, Google Now/assistant, Allo, as well as the shift toward making the advertising that funds all of these more mobile-friendly. At its core, Google is still about “intent + context,” as they say, and it’s encouraging to see them make moves in this direction.
Resolution and its advertisers have advocated for many of the changes that Google formally announced, and in many cases, have been testing these features in their earliest stages. Similar Audiences, for example, has the opportunity to provide much-needed scale to audience targeting in search, and we’re excited to take full advantage. In all, advertising dollars spent with Google can be spent more effectively and with more precision, aligning AdWords with some of the more effective targeting techniques commonly applied in social advertising. Expanded Search Ads will be a rather significant change in terms of how ads are displayed as well as managed – including the process of converting to longer ad formats – though the expanded text affords advertisers more opportunities to provide a relevant experience in the SERPs. Finally, the shift towards individual bid modifiers by device brings advertisers much more flexibility in terms of targeting as well as performance optimisation.
Overall, we’re encouraged by the balance that Google is striking between increased control – which can often mean increased complexity – and the simplification of data analysis and insight in AdWords and their 360 Suite. These shifts should enable advertisers to both provide more utility to people in those crucial “moments” while also delivering additional insights and extracting more meaning from their AdWords campaigns.
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