On Tuesday morning, we huddled for the Google Marketing Next 2017 kickoff—an event that’s something like a mix of the Super Bowl and Fashion Week for metric-obsessed online marketers. The keynote address did not disappoint, announcing many welcome and long-awaited features, upgrades, and additions across all of Google’s platforms, including Google AdWords and Google Analytics.
Because we live and breathe metrics and measurement (yes, almost literally), we’ll focus on just those topics here.
The old, pesky challenge of sales funnel attribution
Since the dawn of human history (which for us is the beginning of the modern internet, of course) marketers have been asking the same question as they try to capture a user’s attention online: “Is my marketing working?”
And, up to this point, it’s been a very difficult question to fully answer.
That’s because no single method of attribution, which is the process for identifying the user actions that lead to a desired outcome, was complete. Even selecting different attribution models, while weighting certain portions of the sales funnel, left marketers with incomplete information and way too much guesswork. Worst of all, important touchpoint metrics were lost because you weren’t able to track the user across multiple devices or platforms.
This has left marketers frustrated as they’ve been forced to rely on the Simple or “Last Click” method of attribution, which only gives credit to the final click a user made before they achieved the desired outcome. And we all know how incomplete that picture is, because users today interact with your brand online in many different ways—from search, ads, and your company webpage to Facebook, Twitter, and more—all before they actually decide to become your customer.
How can this lack of information be fixed?
Google Attribution delivers conversion insights across your sales funnel
The announcement of Google Attribution was, judging by the audience’s rock show-type reaction, the biggest news at Google Marketing Next — especially if you’re at all interested in getting more for your online marketing dollar (and we happen to know that you are). Fortunately for all of us, it really looks like Attribution is the all-in-one tool we’ve been waiting for.
That’s because Attribution will be fully integrated with AdWords, Google Analytics, and DoubleClick Search to bring together all user data generated across all marketing channels. It then takes this complete, data-driven picture and applies machine learning—backed by Google’s vast store of consumer behavior data—to determine just how much weight to assign each interaction with the customer.
The end result of Attribution—knowing for the first time exactly which factors influenced a customer’s decision and by how much—is not only incredibly exciting, it’s an absolute game-changer.
Soon, you’ll know your customers like never before, understand how they interact with your brand across all channels and devices, and be able to constantly focus your marketing dollars for maximum impact, every time. (Yes, we’re kind of geeking-out just thinking about it.)
Google AdWords offers improved targeting and tracking
Some exciting updates to Google AdWords mean you’ll be better able to target and track your spend.
A source of headaches for advertisers with brick-and-mortar stores has been always been tracking in-store conversions from AdWords. Google’s made some real improvements to this process over the past year by integrating with call center software and also adding the ability to automate the import of in-store conversion data.
Google Marketing Next also revealed several new partnerships—with payment processors, for example—that will track about 70% of debit and credit card transactions in the US.
Store visits measurements
Greeted with raucous approval from the crowd, Google introduced new local extension features, like those used with AdWords, for YouTube ads. This means your video ads will now be able to immediately give the user the address, location, or distance to your business, while also allowing you to track how effectively the ads correlate to actual store visits.
Currently, lots of marketing dollars are wasted, and many users irritated, when the same ad is presented multiple times to the same person. (Seriously, who hasn’t been frustrated by this online?)
Google’s Unique Reach aims to finally end this “Cycle of Annoyance” by allowing you to see how many Unique Users saw a particular ad, and the average impressions per user. This information will, obviously, help you determine better, more effective marketing strategies instead of wastefully hitting the same demographic with the same message over and over again.
Unique Reach is available in AdWords today and is coming soon to DoubleClick.
Google Optimize with AdWords
Are you ready? Because we think this one’s going to be big.
You likely know that Google Optimize has been an incredibly helpful tool that allows A/B testing of visual content on existing websites—without ever needing to involve the site developers. (Aw, sorry devs.) But on Tuesday, audiences at Google Marketing Next learned that you can now create testing variations on AdWords landing pages and even segment the test audience by keyword.
What this means is that you can now have different campaigns send users to different landing pages—creating a more targeted, personal, and engaging experience for your customers—while also capturing all relevant conversion data to help you optimize both your ads and the related landing pages. And they’ve kept it all so simple that you still won’t need to bother your developers. (Aw, sorry again, devs.)
In-market audiences will now power Google Search campaigns
Last, but certainly not least, Google is also continuing to extend and improve its audience targeting capabilities in Google Search. Now, in-market audiences, which are currently only available for Display Network and YouTube campaigns, are coming soon to Search campaigns as well. Sweet.
At last, you’ll be able to increase your reach with users based on intent signals in Google Search—like recent queries and even website browsing activity. And, since 87% of smartphone owners turn to Google Search first in their moment of need, the addition of these new targeting options gets your message in front of the users who are most likely to engage at the best possible moment.
Google Marketing Next — your bottom line
Getting your message in front of the right audience, at the right time, in the right place has always been a challenge—and it likely always will be.
But with so many useful tools seamlessly bringing together a wide variety of metrics and measurements, Google is demystifying the question: Is my marketing working?