Bit by bit, piece by piece, Google has doled out new products and services for online marketers over the last several days.
There was the Brand Lift to TV campaign offering, billed as showing marketers how TV ads increase Google and YouTube searches compared to YouTube campaigns.
There was the addition of location extensions and store visits measurement for the Google Display Network to give marketers a better sense of the relationship between online ads and offline sales.
There was the introduction of cross-device remarketing for Google Display Network and DoubleClick Bid Manager. This, as the name suggests, allows marketers to roll out a single campaign to a user across multiple devices, apps, and sites. The company also announced it would be introducing a number of new features and product tests for both the free and paid versions of Google's analytics suite in the coming months.
Google Embraces Marketers
Basically what we are seeing is the outline of a giant feedback loop Google is building for online marketers, Greg Sterling, VP of Strategy and Insights at the Troy, Mich.-based Local Search Association tells CMSWire.
"It is a given that there is a lot of offline activity that drives online sales," he says. What Google is trying to do is stitch together its various products and offerings, both newly introduced and long-standing, to fill in the blanks for marketers.
For instance, he said, being able to remarket to multiple devices means more data about a person and his or her tastes; likewise the television and YouTube campaigns, which generate their own set of data about users. In a way it is akin to a machine learning function, as more data makes Google’s targeting ever more precise, especially with new analytics layered on top.
"Google is bringing coherence to the whole picture," Sterling said.
Google's Expanded Marketing Toolset
Google paints a similar picture about its mission.
As Brad Bender, vice president of Display and Video Advertising explained in his blog post: "Mobile phones have created new ways for consumers to engage with brands, often blurring the physical and digital worlds. People research products online and go into a store to buy. They see a brand on TV and then go online to learn more. Or they watch mobile videos on their commutes that inspire them to book a trip when they’re back home on their laptops."
All of the tools that are being rolled out over the next several months are designed to help marketers close the loop between television and digital, online and offline, and mobile and desktop, he added.
A Look at the Google Tools
Leaving the big, connected picture aside, there is much to be said about the details and functionality these new offerings will provide on the campaign-level. Following is a brief primer about Google's forthcoming offerings of most interest to marketers.
- What is it: Google's free version of its flagship customer analytics product and measurement suite that analyzes customer data from all touchpoints including mobile, with the most recent example being the launch of automated insight streamin the Google Analytics mobile app
- What is new: A new metric is being added called Session Quality Score
- What it does: Session Quality Score incorporates machine learning to predict the likelihood of a visitor conducting a transaction or making purchase on a site or app. Businesses can use session quality score to provide better customer experiences and / or remarket to website visitors
- What is it: A tool that measures the direct impact YouTube ads are having on behaviors throughout the consumer journey
- What is new: Google is extending the capabilities of Brand Lift to TV campaigns to show marketers how TV ads increase Google and YouTube searches for brands compared to YouTube campaigns
- What it does: Google claims that from early tests, YouTube generates almost two times as many searches per impression than TV generates
- What is it: Google's free reporting and data visualization product that launched earlier this year. It enables businesses to spot and share insights, and collaborate to drive better decisions
- What is new: In October Google Data Studio plans to launch a library of report templates that businesses can use to get started. They will come with tools for creating and editing
- What is it: Another core Google product that marketers use to place ads on news sites, blogs and niche sites across the internet
- What is new: Google is introducing a new store visits measurement. Google describes it as a "high-impact, immediate way to increase foot traffic to your store" but its ultimate goal is to close the loop between online ads and offline sales
- What it does: 'Store visits for display' measures the impact of Display Network ads on actual visits to a store, hotel, auto dealership or restaurant using Google Maps technology, which provides access to 200 million stores globally to deliver what it says is 99% accuracy in reported visits
- What is it: A landing page testing and optimization tool that integrates with Google Analytics. It tests and personalizes web and mobile pages so businesses can help improve their customer experiences and business metrics. Because it is built on top of Google Analytics, businesses can use their existing information to experiment and personalize site experiences. Google Optimize is built on top of Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager, which means users can either add a single line of code to their existing Google Analytics implementation, or serve the Google Optimize tag directly using Google Tag Manager.
- What is new: This is a free version of Google's enterprise-class testing and personalization product, which was first introduced earlier this year.
- What it does: Google Optimize uses Bayesian statistical methods to model the real-world performance of testing and optimization experiments, showing how much more effective one variant is over the others. It has a WYSIWYG (What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get) editor that can change just about anything on the site including text, images and layouts — meaning, there is no need to recode the site. There are also high-end targeting tools. The difference between Google Optimize and the paid version is that Google Optimize 360 is able to deliver custom experiences to Google Analytics audiences and users can run more experiments across the site at the same time as well as add additional experiment objectives even after an experiment has started.
- What is it: Like all tag managers, it gives marketers a way to gather and organize site information. Google, which has both a free version and a paid version of Tag Manager, has been steadily adding features to this product including, last month, workspaces to improve collaboration and enterprise workflows within the tag manager
- What is new: Google is integrating an additional 20 tags from Quantcast, Twitter, Microsoft Bing, Nielsen, and many more.The full list of supported tags can be found here. The new tags will be available in Tag Manager 360, part of the Google Analytics 360 Suite, as well.
Title image by Priscilla Westra