Our digital marketing team dives into their biggest takeaways from the search giant’s annual product launch
Every year, Google unveils a new suite of tools, features and processes at Google Marketing Live — a hotly anticipated keynote delivered in San Jose, California. As most digital marketing agencies will tell you, it’s a big deal for them — and many certainly nerd out about it — but it’s also a big deal for businesses who rely on paid and organic search marketing to drive interest in their products and services.
It’s a big deal for us, too.
At A&D, we’re constantly refining our methods to stay on the cutting edge of search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimization (SEO) while driving the best results for our clients. And as a Google Premier Partner, we were fortunate enough to spend a week learning about new Google innovations on their California campus, gleaning the latest insights and familiarizing ourselves with their newest innovations firsthand.
“The evolution of digital marketing continues to grow exponentially. As a Google Premier Partner, we’re able to stay on the forefront of that growth and lead in that arena.”
– Cory Kampschroer, A&D Senior Integrated Marketing Specialist
To help you understand these new Google innovations and how those changes could impact your business and drive growth, we’ve put together five highlights from our visit to California.
Smarter, more dynamic paid search ads
One of the more notable changes this year, responsive search ads — powered by Google technology — will significantly impact how a business’s ads show up in search results.
Responsive search ads, in short, allow advertisers to create a variety of creative headlines and descriptions and then leverage Google technology and machine learning to find the most effective combination. This innovation eliminates the need for manual A/B testing, and frees our Digital Marketing Team up to grow more successful campaigns.
In addition, the responsive ads have increased character limits, meaning businesses using these new ads will be even more visible in search results.
“This not only increases efficiency, but it also leads to better data, insights and results,” said Michelle Gross, A&D’s director of digital marketing. “It’s a win-win for both our ability and effectiveness.”
Giving consumers what they want, before they want it
One of the key themes at Google Marketing Live this year was “assistance” — constantly finding new ways to help consumers when they have more choices than ever before. A big part of assisting consumers is helping lead them to products and services before they’re even looking for them.
Enter: predictive intent.
Thanks to smarter, faster and more powerful machine learning alongside an ever-increasing pool of data, advertisers can show consumers products and services they’re not even searching for yet.
For example: imagine a man is looking for wedding rings online. Based on the data available, we can predict that the next thing he’ll be shopping around for includes wedding venues, tailors and invitations.
“We’re predicting [a consumer’s] next intent, we’re predicting their next search. Predictive intent is an opportunity for us as marketers to get ahead and get in their consideration set before they even realize they’re considering something.”
Connecting web visits to store traffic — finally
Since the dawn of internet marketing, advertisers have dreamed of directly connecting online traffic and website visits to brick-and-mortar locations. That dream is now a reality.
Another new Google innovation this year, the Local Campaigns feature allows advertisers to see if consumers actually enter store locations after viewing or interacting with an ad thanks to innovations in geolocation.
“We all know that online ads and online visits are going to impact store visits, but now we can actually quantify that impact,” Gross said.
Better visibility for local, independent hotels
For smaller clients in the hospitality industry, Google is making it easier for prospective guests to book. With Google Hotel Ads the search giant has now reduced the barrier to entry for small, independent hotels to share their room availability directly with Google. This means consumers can more easily find listings and available rooms directly within search result pages.
For hotels trying to attract time-strapped consumers — who are more impatient and demanding than ever — this is good news.
“This is very exciting for the multitude of independent hotels across the country who have struggled to maintain visibility,” Gross said. “This allows them to continue to be competitive against the big OTAs.”
A holistic, integrated view of your campaigns
This one’s for the search nerds. When Anthony Chavez, product management director for Google Ads, announced at Google Marketing Live, there was literally applause for this new release: cross-device reporting. A primarily behind-the-scenes process, cross-device reporting has advertisers and ad buyers giddy with excitement.
Historically, advertisers could very selectively look at how individual campaigns performed across platforms. It was effective, but limiting (and time-consuming). Now, with cross-device reporting, we can look at campaigns holistically, understanding how people search online across devices.
“It allows people to see the full value of their efforts, across channels and across devices, maximizing the efficiency of their marketing spend,” Kampschroer said.
The five items we’ve outlined above are just the highlights. Ackmann & Dickenson’s Digital Marketing Team would love to talk more about how Google technology can be leveraged to improve search performance and drive results for your business.
To learn more about our digital marketing services, contact us.