The Biggest, Most Important Takeaways from Google’s 2018 Marketing Keynote
This past Tuesday, July 10, 2018, Google held a keynote in San Jose to announce sweeping changes to their ads platform, analytic suite and indeed their entire programmatic and paid search marketing ecosystem. We’ve got a long list of notes from the event, which was live streamed on YouTube, and we’re going to take that list and condense it down to the key points of emphasis from Google and we what we as a digital marketing agency think will impact online businesses the most.
Why is Google the Best Marketing Tool?
To put it simply it’s the data. We’ve talked numerous times throughout our blogs about how Google has an unmatched ability to use data to deliver personalized internet browsing experiences that benefit consumers and marketers alike. However, what Google does this data is also a big part of their success. The three core themes of the Google keynote were value, trust and transparency and Google made sure to highlight how each new product, platform or service they announced ultimately served to reinforce these principles.
They started off by detailing the user’s ability to opt out of ad personalization in the My Account settings. It’s not a new feature by any stretch, but by taking the time to explain opting out in detail they made it clear that they feel it’s important to establishing trust with the public. This was a keynote primarily for marketers, but it was live streamed too, meaning that little bit of information will make its rounds through the internet very soon for those who didn’t already know about it. So yes, there will be more people choosing to opt out, at least for a little bit. But with all the bad press that has surrounded data driven and paid search marketing this year, it’s ultimately a good thing that Google wants to reaffirm their position as industry as thought leaders and being a cut above the rest.
What Are the New Updates in Google AdWords?
Well, one of the bigger takeaways from this presentation is that AdWords is going away, sort of. Don’t panic, no one is going to lose ad accounts or get locked out of campaigns. Google is simply migrating AdWords in to an all-inclusive suite of advertising solutions, the new Google Ads. Google Ads will house and help you manage your campaigns across search, display, video, in-app, maps and all other Google advertising spaces. The idea is to make ad implementation easier and more streamlined, so marketers can spend more time on strategy and planning, rather than on execution.
Other Big Changes Coming to the Google Marketing Platform
Like we said, there were A LOT of changes announced during the keynote. Things are being renamed, multiple platforms are merging with other platforms. This is the biggest change that online marketers have seen in years so to get through it all, we’re going to quickly list all the most exciting changes coming to Google that we saw on Tuesday. Most marketers can expect to see the following changes take effect before the end of 2018:
- Google Marketing Platform – by combining all the various parts of Google Analytics 360 and DoubleClick, the Google Marketing platform will make managing and optimizing programmatic campaigns a more straight-forward process for enterprises and agencies alike. Combining these tools will help online marketers increase conversion rates by giving them a complete set of easy to access tools. From planning and buying, to measurement and optimization, Google Marketing Platform will streamline the ad development process.
- YouTube – is where some the most exciting changes announced during the Google keynote are landing. Did you know that more than 1 billion hours of video are watched on YouTube every single day? According to Google this staggering figure accompanies the fact that 91% of smartphone users enter the buying process after seeing a video ad. There are so many amazing changes coming video landscape on Google that will list each of them out individually.
- TrueView for Reach – allows CPM bidding for video ads. This allows advertisers to reach more unique prospects through video marketing
- TrueView for Action – helps you show your video ads to people who have searched for your products on Google. It combines the value of search data with the creative appeal of video ads.
- Maximize Lift – automatically adjusts bids at auction to maximize brand reach and increase recognition. No more waiting until money is already out the door to capitalize on recall lift.
- Lead Ads – yeeeessssss! Google gave little more detail than the announcement itself, but any marketer who’s seen the awesome returns that Facebook lead ads can achieve, has been clamoring for this feature through Google ads as much as we have. Soon, potential customers will be able to fill out your lead form without ever leaving the YouTube platform. Convenience for them and valuable, high-intent leads for you, we can’t wait.
- New Google Ad Formats and New Campaign Types – we didn’t talk about these earlier because we wanted to do each of these amazing announcements justice and go into just a bit of detail about each one.
- Responsive Search Ads – the folks over at Wordstream put out a great, 20-page article about the importance of A/B testing that you should really check out after you’re done here. We mention it because this new Responsive Search Ads essentially uses machine learning to do a massive, automated A/B test for all search ads that is going to SERIUOSLY cut down on the amount of time you spend writing ads. You input up to 15 headlines and 4 descriptions and Google Ads tests every possible combination of your copy. After filtering through the literally tens of thousands of different combinations, Google Ads will dynamically combine up to 3 headlines and 2 descriptions for each ad auction. If this doesn’t seem like a big improvement, find the nearest data scientist and ask them to calculate the number of different permutations Google Ads is sorting through in this scenario. Yeah, that’s what we thought. There’s no way you’re typing that much ad copy for one Ad Group by hand.
- Smart Campaigns – are where that whole value part of the keynote address really comes into play. Along with the making it easier for the Google Ads initiated to use and collaborate with all their existing ad tools, Google is also making this simpler for first timers. By introducing a heavy dose of automation, Smart Campaigns allow busy independent, small business owners and startups to get campaigns going in minutes. Smart Campaign users will be able to optimize for phone calls, store visits or specific actions on their websites. They’ll even be able automatically create optimized landing pages for ad campaigns within Smart Campaigns. Overtime, we think people will probably find they need to have more control over how their advertising money is being spent and move away from Smart Campaigns, but it may be good jumping off point for some.
- Smart Shopping/Automated Feeds – earlier last month Google announced a series of new machine learning features coming to shopping campaigns designed to make them easier to manage and optimize. These features include: expanding locations extensions, local ads on Display, competitor pricing information and more. Soon they will also ad what may be the most revolutionary feature of them all, automated feeds. This means Google will be able to pull the feed directly from your website with the touch of a button, eliminating the hassle of constantly tweaking and managing the shopping feed manually. Smart Shopping is already integrated into leading ecommerce platforms like Shopify.
- Cross-Device Reporting – Google Analytics will now allow you to track your customers’ journey through the sales funnel no matter what type of device the begin or end with. Cross-device conversion tracking is already available in AdWords and DoubleClick, but this new feature will bring it to Google Analytics for the first time and promises to conversion attribution clearer than ever. So now you’ll be able to see cross-device attribution right in Google Analytics, you know, the same place that houses all the other analytic data you need to run a successful campaign, about time Google.
Everything announced has us really excited for the second half of 2018 as online marketers. We know that Google Ads and Google Marketing Platform are going to be huge changes that, while they take some getting used to, will ultimately improve everyone’s online experience and reinforce the value, trust and transparency of the Google suite. If you want to see every single announcement that was made in full detail, the entire keynote is available on the Google AdWords YouTube page. We also want to know what you think. Did we miss anything that you think is going to be a ground-breaking change to Google? Leave your comments below and keep an eye on our blog as we’ll give you our take on how each of these changes shape up as they’re released in the coming months.
The author, Bob Ottaway, is President and Founder of Ottaway Digital. Established in 1999, it has been a pioneer in SEO, digital advertising & social media since 2006.