Google Marketing Next − the yearly big event for the Mountain View giant, dedicated to its advertising products for measurement and activation – took place in San Francisco from 22 to 24 May. 55 was there, and took note of three trends and major announcements from Google.
Google Attribution: a newcomer that could change the attribution game
Discussions over the weekend were focused on the launch of Google Attribution. Attribution tools are usually intended to reconstruct client journeys that resulted in a sale, in order to acknowledge the merit of the communication channels that made the difference – truly essential to optimise advertising efficiency!
Except that the question is usually hastily dealt with using an empirical rule: generally going by the last click, or else the first click, linear, or time decay models.
The alternative is the “scientific” or “data-driven” approach, which means analysing clickstreams to understand statistically what really made the difference. But Google is not the only one that offers a data-driven attribution tool. So what could set it apart? Here are a few possible answers to this question:
More reliable data – and directly accessible!
This is the hidden part of the attribution study iceberg, this work is done in the shadows yet is completely essential: if you don’t gather solid data, attribution tools will only lead to false conclusions! Thanks to native integration with its Google Analytics and DoubleClick tools, and thanks to tools that supervise data quality, Google Attribution promises to set itself apart by the reliability of data collected, and ultimately the performance of advertising optimisation in fine.
Another major benefit: Google will be able to analyse historical data from both Google Analytics and DoubleClick. So as soon as Google Attribution is activated, the first results will be available in a matter of minutes. Goodbye to long months of waiting for data to be collected to have a sufficient observation period!
Cross-device tracking via Google data
Too often, attribution tools are unable to retrace customer journeys that are fragmented across multiple devices. For example, let’s say I see an ad on my mobile device and then visit an e-commerce website from my computer at work to get more information. Then, let’s say I make the purchase on my personal computer. Most attribution tools will “see” three distinct users for each of these touchpoints – and, incidentally, most tools generally underestimate the importance of mobile.
This is likely to be less the case with Google Attribution, which is part of Google’s device graph, fed by all log-ins across different Google tools.
What’s more, Google’s tool takes TV advertising campaigns into account in order to measure their influence on online sales.
It’s too early to say, but it could make a major difference!
An action-oriented tool
As is often the case with Google, the tool interface has been designed to be intuitive and give easy access to figures and reports that make decision making easier for marketers.
Lastly, the continuity between Google Attribution and other Google tools like DoubleClick Search/Bid Manager, as well as other third-party tools, will make it easier to leverage data gathered by the model to optimise ad campaign bidding strategies.
A free version
Currently available in a limited beta version, the tool should be launched next year in the USA. Ultimately, Google will implicate the same strategy as they did for Google Analytics: Google Attribution will be available for free, but advertisers will also have access to a paid version (Attribution 360). The paid version will offer a greater range of tools, including measuring TV-generated conversions.
Increasing integration of various Google stack tools
The Google strategy seems to be “better together,” as teams from AdWords, Analytics 360, and DoubleClick were brought together at the same event for the first time.
These three tool galaxies are communicating more and more, and seem to suggest a potential for effective user-centric campaigns. A few examples notably illustrate this approach:
Integration of Google Optimize and AdWords
Adapting the use of a website to what its users are searching. In our experience, this approach is often successful! Optimize is Google’s webtesting and personalisation tool. Its integration with AdWords should mean that campaigns can be launched in just a few clicks while optimising the user experience – particularly landing pages – for any campaign, ad, or keyword.
Integration of Google Surveys 360 and AdWords
Google Surveys is Google’s surveying tool, and gathers both quantitative and qualitative feedback from users. When companies link Surveys to AdWords, they can create a survey for all people on the advertising platform’s remarketing list. Adding surveys to AdWords will be really useful, as it will allow above all else to understand the clickstream qualitatively. To take one example, advertisers could understand why certain visitors leave a site after having added a product to their shopping cart.
Online and offline: growing closer
Consumers interact with brands online and offline in equal measure, which means that the gap is narrowing more and more, and that brands must reconcile both worlds. Google has made new tools available to help brands tackle this challenge:
AdWords is already able to measure the impact of sponsored links on in-store visits. This functionality will expand to YouTube and display campaigns, as brands will be able to link post-view online exposure to in-store visits.
The Holy Grail of ROPO analyses (Research Online / Purchase Offline) is being able to measure the impact of digital campaigns on in-store purchases – a huge announcement from Google! This is now possible in two ways: for those that gather transaction data linked to an e-mail address (via loyalty cards in particular), Google can reconcile this data using its own database of e-mails. For others that are unable to associate in-store transaction details with an e-mail address, Google also has a solution, thanks to its partnership with financial associations that cover 70% of in-store transactions. This option, however, will only be available in the US (at least initially).
Looking forward to seeing what’s next in 2018!