As I sat in the auditorium and listened to the Google Marketing Live keynote speakers explain the steps they’d taken to improve their offerings, I was inspired. Google was truly flexing their muscles to reassert itself as a worldwide leader for marketing and connecting with audiences.
Google is merging custom affinity audiences and custom intent audiences to create, you guessed it, Custom Audiences. The previous difference between the two was that custom intent audiences allowed for targeting people who had shown buying behavior versus simply showing interest in a product or service. This distinction is being done away with, which shouldn’t adversely affect campaign strategy because Google’s massive data access will keep ads being properly targeted. I expect no drop off in efficiency here.
The Big Development: Display Prospecting
With the advent of the new format Display Prospecting, marketing managers have now added a powerful tool to their collection. Our CEO Udayan Bose said on his webinar that “prospecting is a revolutionary concept.” He’s right, and here’s why:
We’ve previously thought of retargeting or remarketing as a way to try and win the customer back. It’s by nature a reactive strategy–the shopper has left your site, you advertise to win them back. Display Prospecting uses the vast signals Google has at its fingertips to help you proactively seek out likely high-value customers. Brands can utilize behavioral and touchpoint insights about converted shoppers to predict who are the prospective audiences looking for exactly what your business offers. With Google’s powerful machine learning capabilities, this process continuously improves upon itself, delivering more accurate results.
You know the phrase “taking a shot in the dark?” Google will take that shot and direct it right to where you might not have even been thinking of aiming. With this ad serving functionality, you’re going to hit a lot more bullseyes.
By improving the ability to identify likely shoppers, Google’s AI also drastically expands a marketer’s audience pool. Deploying these campaigns on the Display Network naturally opens up more possibilities for campaign types and strategies. With more options to unify ad strategies across Google’s suite of platforms (Gmail, Shopping, YouTube, etc.), there’s a variety of opportunities to learn where each ad unit carries the most value for your strategies. With more ways to identify which ads drive the greatest impact and more people to serve those ads to, the onus is now on marketers to deliver outstanding strategy.
A Marketer’s Shifting Skill Set
As Udayan mentioned in his webinar, the key for marketers is to develop a better understanding of two things: who high-value customers are and what unifies their behavior. Google’s powerful AI is going to grow, but if it’s not pointed in the right directions or, and perhaps worse, if you’re not learning anything from the insights, you’re going to be left behind. To be a more effective marketers, study the results of these campaigns closely and note the differences, however subtle. Test, test, and test some more.
We’ve outlined some of our best practices in our Modern Search Best Practices papers. These guides are a perfect place for brands to learn more and for marketers to gain an edge on their competition. I hope reading those gives you a small sense of the excitement I felt at Google Marketing Live, and the powerful new avenues we have to show our customers exactly what they’re looking for.
Read more from NetElixir’s other experts and their analysis of Google’s new developments in Ad Formats, Shopping, Audience, Smart Bidding, and Mobile/Local.