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Google Ads 2020 Product & Feature Announcements: Finding New Customers

Latest in a series of product announcements, Google revealed a slate of updates to Google Ads with a focus on lead generation, customer match and offline conversions. Broadly, the updates support Google’s push to help marketers improve the quality of new customers they acquire, as well as enabling better return and efficiency from marketing informed by first-party data.  

First in the set of announcements are lead form extensions, which are now available in several countries. Advertisers will have the option to select placements across Search, Display, Discovery and YouTube, with a choice of questions, standard and industry-specific, to include in their forms to qualify the leads they capture.

Second, Google announced a variety of new features on the Customer Match front. Among them, Google says match rates will be improved. To contextualize an advertiser’s match rates, Google will present average match rates for benchmarking.

Third, Google is updating requirements for offline conversion uploads, dropping the need to provide a GCLID to match conversions back to click events. Instead, Google will use other signals in the offline conversion data you provide to determine how credit is attributed back to your ads and targets.

Finally, Google is partnering with Zapier to make integrating all the above features into advertisers’ existing systems and processes vastly easier. For instance, Zapier can be set up to automatically extract any leads captured via the lead form extension and deliver them into several CRM and Marketing systems it integrates. Zapier may also be used to support regularly delivering offline conversions and Customer Match data into Google Ads.

The subtext across Google updates in this feature release is making it vastly easier for marketers to integrate them into their strategies. Take for instance offline conversion tracking within Google Ads. Historically, advertisers were required to capture and maintain Google click IDs through all parts of their internal conversion management systems, if their goal was to then associate long-term value-driving actions with their frontend marketing activities. Google would use the click IDs to give credit back for any of these actions to the original click event that delivered it.

In dropping this requirement, Google is instead relying on its technology to figure out how credit for the offline conversions are distributed. We look forward to the opportunity to test this new capability, in its accuracy with attributing credit to ads and targets, ease of implementation, and impact on automated bid optimization strategies as an incremental signal.

While Zapier can support the offline conversion delivery process, its likely greatest utility will be in how it supports lead capture and Customer Match list updates. In its previous form, lead form extensions only surfaced the captured lead details as a spreadsheet download or required the advertiser to set up a webhook on their end to receive the same automatically. With the Zapier integration, advertisers can now also pull this data into their CRM system in a matter of clicks.

In supporting Customer Match data management, the Zapier integration helps keep lists fresh not only by updating them with new contacts, but also removing contacts and sorting contacts within them. In turn, this enables quickly and easily automating complex manual workflows. Of the various updates Google has announced, this integration is likely to be one of the most impactful from an advertiser experience perspective—and will probably result in Google seeing higher adoption of these features.

The benefits of marketing that integrates audience signals have long been written about. In one among a sea of consumer insight stats, 58% of smartphone users feel more favorable toward companies whose sites or apps remember who they are and their past behavior. While requiring an implicit need to build trust, first party audience data can be leveraged to customize the consumer experience.

Overall, Google’s announcements around lead form extensions, Customer Match and offline conversions are welcome improvements to Google Ads. They address two fundamental needs perfectly poised for the current challenging business environment: supporting greater return through lead capture and first-party data integration, and enabling advertisers to do vastly more with less time, money and effort invested to support these processes.