Google recently kicked off their Marketing Next conference with a flurry of substantial changes. New products were announced, existing ones were enhanced, and we saw the official age of machine learning ushered in with a bang!
What are some of the biggest takeaways?
Big G is Ramping up AMP
Google launched Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) in early 2016 in response to Facebook’s Instant Articles. AMP was an instant hit, despite some controversy. It allows users to load the latest news articles in less than a second after clicking a search result.
Now, Google has expanded the scope of their technology to solve two additional issues: Display Ads and landing pages. The company promises that its AMP Display Ads will load up to 5 seconds faster than traditional ad networks, making them a natural fit in our mobile-first world.
For retailers, the introduction of AMP landing pages for search ads is arguably the most important iteration of the service. These pages will feature slimmed down markup, and provide a seamless experience from an ad click to a product listing on mobile devices.
The expansion of AMP means a few things for retailers.
- First, it’s showing Google’s commitment to mobile-first in all its endeavors. Mobile exists now and retailers should optimize their site experience for handheld experiences.
- Second, it proves site speed is becoming one of the most important experience (and possibly ranking) factors for Google. Brands that prioritize speed and experience will likely be the long-term winners in both organic and paid search moving forward.
Omnichannel is Getting Some Much Needed Love
In NetElixir’s Mobile Marketing Bootcamp earlier this year, our Google team hinted at their interest in tackling omni-channel marketing for retailers. Several announcements at the Marketing Next conference bolstered these statements. The search giant is incorporating new ways to integrate online and offline experiences, particularly with deeper local integrations into several products.
One glaring example is local ad extensions for YouTube ads. These extensions will allow brands that run video ads to show nearby stores, directions, reviews, and phone numbers directly below a YouTube ad.
Imagine the possibilities! A consumer looking up videos on how to change the gas in their grill can now see nearby home improvement stores with propane refills. It’ll allow them to turn their need into a store visit in one interaction. Remember those micro-moments?
Google AdWords is also getting in on the action, offering the ability to track in-store purchases at the device and campaign level. This will allow advertisers to measure store visits and purchases that came as a direct result of an ad click.
Connecting Customer Journeys
Earlier this year at ShopTalk, our team was able to confirm a hypothesis we’ve been testing for the past year: Retailers care deeply about customer journeys. Successful brands want to understand the complete path to purchase, see how individual customers start their research, complete their purchases, and re-engage across different devices and channels.
Apparently, we weren’t the only ones thinking this, as Google announced new ways to track customer journeys across various products like search ads, display networks, YouTube, Gmail, and more. This new integrated approach allows retailers to target shoppers across the Google platform. For example, showing targeted search ads to individuals that watched a YouTube video.
Understanding the complete customer journey will continue to play an extensive role in the future of search marketing, as ecommerce steadily grows and more consumers adopt a Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) mindset.
An Answer to Attribution
Retailers continue to demand better insights into how each dollar spent influences a purchase decision, and Google has responded with the introduction of Attribution. This new product pulls data from Google AdWords, Google Analytics, and DoubleClick to give you a complete picture of how your customers are shopping online.
This amazing free tool is also aiming to “kill last click conversions,” providing advanced machine learning models that precisely predict each channel’s influence on a sale.
Google Attribution is a massive step forward in showing how different touchpoints affect sales throughout the buying cycle.