September 26, 2016

Google Announces 3 Updates to Ad Tech, Undermines the Cookie

As a prelude to his talk at Advertising Week today, Google Vice President of Display and Video Advertising Brad Bender announced three major updates to Google’s ad tech products.

ALSO READ: Google Will Penalize Sites With Terrible Popups

Here’s a list:

1)  Google will expand its Brand Lift product to TV in order to better measure how TV spots influence Google and Youtube searches for an advertiser’s brand.

2) Location extensions and store visit measurements have been added to the Google Display Network.

3) Cross-device remarketing is now available for Google Display Network and DoubleClick Bid Manager.

All of these updates share one common theme: better attribution for digital advertising, or as Google puts it, “closing the loop.” These updates are noteworthy because they also signal a transition away from the cookie and an emphasis on “logged-in” data.

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Logged-in data will enable cross-device advertising.

That’s not to say the cookie has completely crumbled, but it’s gotten a bit stale. Logged-in data is much better suited for tracking user behavior because staying logged in to Google enables the company to collect all the activity that happens during that session — even if the user traverses across devices.

Real Multi-touch Attribution?

ALSO READ: How to Track Leads From Marketing to Sales

Of the three updates, the revamp of cross-device remarketing will be of greatest interest to demand generation marketers. In its current form, campaign attribution is a partially solved equation.

That’s because tracking the myriad of things people do when they make a purchase online is nigh impossible. Unless fastidiously conceived, attribution models are a glimpse into what happened, rather than a complete picture.

If Google truly does augment its remarketing capabilities to track users across devices, applications, and websites, then marketers will have a much better understanding of how, exactly, their campaigns influence people to purchase.

The example Bender gives in the announcement post involves a halloween campaign run by a retailer. The retailer could run an ad proclaiming “It’s almost Halloween” on mobile devices early in the morning. Later, as prospects takes a break from playing Clash of Clans on their tablet, the retailer could target the same audience with an ad for discounted decorations.

Brand Lift on TV and Tracking In-Store Visits

The other two updates also seek to fill gaps in advertising data, though they focus on the relationship between offline and online interactions.

For TV advertisers (a group that still makes up the majority of ad spending) Google’s Brand Lift product will correlate viewing TV ads with Youtube and web searches. This new part of the Brand Lift product should take very little setup. Bender says as long as you’re running Brand Lift on Youtube and TV, Google will be able to track the incremental searches for your brand.

Google will be able to track the number of people who visit a brick-and-mortar store after viewing an ad on their phone.

 

The final loop Bender promised to close is that of online ads and in store visits. By adding a store visits measurement to the Google Ad Display network, Google will be able to track the number of people who visit a brick-and-mortar store after viewing an ad for it on their phone . . . so long as those people bring their phone to the store.

Display ads will also deliver more information than before, like Google Maps data for easy directions.

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All three updates represent logical improvements to Google’s existing Ad Tech lineup, and each new augmentation seems to deliver a helping of new data that will help marketers justify their ad spend with Google. Assuming their campaigns are succeeding, of course.

Giving cookies the cold shoulder is a bold move from Google, but it’s one that could align with what their biggest competitor Facebook has already done.

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