Key Takeaways from Google's AdWeek Product Announcements

The wonderful world of Media is one which becomes ever more complex by the day. Advertising Week focuses on best-in-class tech and innovative ideas and as its 2020 event comes to a close, Google announced the release of three innovative tools to help advertisers achieve their goals:

  1. Performance Max campaigns

  2. Insight page

  3. Video action campaign

Performance Max campaigns

 For some products, consumers have over 500 digital touchpoints before they make a purchase. Performance Max campaigns is Google's latest offering to use machine learning to maximize performance and business goals across multiple touchpoints. It is a new way for advertisers to buy Google Ads that maximizes performance across all Google inventory using machine learning. Note that “All Google Inventory” initially includes the Display Network, YouTube, Gmail, Discover, Search etc. with App, and a handful of Shopping formats, arriving at a later date.

The best part of this new campaign type is that the performance KPIs are explicitly defined by us, the advertisers, through the setting of applicable goals. And yes, that is not a typo, goals are plural – through Campaign-level Conversion Settings and targeted Value Rules, this new campaign type can optimize toward multiple goals to better meet our needs and nuances. Google will also be providing new reporting features for Performance Max to provide deeper insights into the AI’s decision-making process which will allow marketers to be more informed when driving Google Ads strategy. At iProspect, we are especially excited that we will have the ability to upload new data sources to help inform the AI. This added level of influence will allow us to better steer the AI and drive incremental performance improvements.

Despite the welcome ability to set multiple goals for optimization, some advertisers may still struggle to integrate Performance Max campaigns into their strategies. It is never as simple as pointing budget toward a target and letting the machine do the rest. Advertisers have both primary and secondary goals to ensure their profitability is sustained in the long term - lead generation, awareness, new customer acquisition, current customer retention - are all vital considerations within Paid Search beyond a static KPI. Performance Max is unquestionably a big step in the right direction and an exciting proposition, but we must remember Paid Search has multiple roles throughout the consumer journey and needs to be viewed in differing ways within a larger media mix. Any “set it and forget it” tool tends to lack visibility across non-Google products, lack the multi-role appreciation of Paid Search, and lack media mix budget fluidity, to truly meet client needs.

However, Performance Max campaigns are unlikely to be fully rolled out until mid-late 2021 and we hope there will be further developments by then to help make this a much more viable solution for larger, yet nuanced, accounts. Something coming in the much more immediate future is Google’s new Insights Page.

Insights page

A brand new Insights page will be rolling out within the Google Ads to help inform advertisers’ business and media strategies. The Insights page will surface current and emerging search trends tailored to your business. Use the integration with recommendations, so you can take action in just a few steps. With this integration, you'll be able to easily activate keywords and optimize budgets.

We believe that the combination of Insights, Optiscore, and Recommendations will only lead to a beneficial output in terms of knowledge. It will then be on the paid search specialist to utilize this knowledge in the most beneficial way to drive performance for our clients. The tool is of course limited to just Google Ads data which can be a challenge for clients who use a different source of truth, such as Floodlight tags, and similar tools in the past have illustrated some bias towards increased Google spend. Rest assured that iProspect will factor these limitations into their analysis and future strategic recommendations.  

Video action campaigns

People are twice as likely to purchase a product they saw on YouTube v.s. the competitive average, and 70% of YouTube viewers say they bought a brand as a result of seeing it on YouTube.

Video action campaigns are Google’s next offer to entice advertisers with a simple yet effective method of reaching this huge audience base. Similar to Smart Shopping Campaigns, they utilize the provided creative, combine it with a set budget and goal, and allow the machine learning algorithm to take over. The ad will be displayed across the YouTube Home Feed, Watch Page, and other Google Video Partners, driving performance through the machine learning algorithm.

Google has rolled out extensive safeguards, policy updates and human review processes to combat past Brand Safety concerns so there is little to deter advertisers from using Video action campaigns to start testing YouTube ad formats and driving performance growth. Whatsmore, all new inventory will be added to Video Action Campaigns with no extra setup required providing incremental scale.

In summary, Google continues to lean into machine learning powered products and we are excited to create new testing strategies to really put Performance Max and Video actions through their paces as BETA opportunities arise in the upcoming weeks. Google is also hearing our never ending cries for greater insights so the Insights Page will quickly become another weapon in our arsenal. The Insights Page will be coming to the U.S. and UK this quarter however we will have to wait a little longer for the much anticipated audience and forecasting data.