It’s the most wonderful time of year for marketers. That magical time when Google unveils its product updates and sets its vision for the upcoming year. This year, The Johnson Group was one of only 1,000 global partners invited to join in person. Here are the key insights you need to know.
From the first ten minutes of the conference, it was clear that Google is highly-focused on three key areas:
Nearly every presentation, session, and future-focused conversation revolved around these three things.
Google dedicated a large chunk of its opening keynote to privacy. It’s clear that consumer privacy is a major initiative for the company, stating that over two-thirds of internet users will fall under GDPR-like rules in the next few years.
Google alluded to a solution (they were soft on details) where data privacy and advertising performance do not live at odds. The good news is that Google seems to be taking consumer privacy seriously and is fast-tracking a solution to keep some targetable advertising in place. The bad news is they do not have it fully figured out yet.
“Measurement must change in a privacy-safe future.”
– Jerry Dischler, VP/GM Ads at Google
Google all but buried the notion that accurate, multi-touch attribution (accurate MTA) tracking will be a thing in the future. We’ve all known this for some time, but this event has confirmed it for us. Accurate MTA is a far gone dream. Like your high school flame that left you years ago. Forget about it. It’s not going to happen. Move on to bigger and better things,. We’ll all be much happier.
Speaking of bigger and better, there was talk of a new lift modeling feature within ads. And, in the YouTube breakout, there was talk about a new Marketing Mix Model (MMM) coming to beta soon. This came with some acknowledgment that MMM advancement had stalled for most of the last decade. A Google-hosted MMM product that pulls in more media data, and delivers preliminary results in months (not years) sounds exciting and doable. Google has the data and the people to figure it out–it seems that it just needs the focus.
We heard three different case studies of marketers “fully automating” using Performance Max and seeing 10-20% improvement in conversions. In Google’s perfect world, marketers load the creative into their hub, set a goal, and let the algos figure out the rest. Could this work? Yes, technically. But, it is a bit reminiscent of the MTA presentations five years ago, hearing promises of full funnel, and 1:1 user tracking. That sounds exciting, but it’s not real — at least not for now.
Google also indicated that the biggest issue marketers have with Performance Max is transparency. Currently, it is difficult to understand what works or doesn’t work with campaigns. As a result, Google has indicated they’re working on a solution to be more transparent with Performance Max campaign tracking.
Our four key takeaways from Google Marketing Live:
- Google believes privacy doesn’t have to be the enemy of performance.
- MTA is dead. The future of measurement for Google is Lift Models and MMM.
- Google is pushing (shoving) automation via Performance Max. Many advertisers are hesitant to give up this control.
- Google Ads tracking will soon match Google Analytics (shocking and jaw-dropping).
Make no mistake, Google wants to be the singular place where all media is purchased. Using Google Ads to place ads in Bing and on OTT is additional evidence of this. Perhaps, with the exception of Meta, we can actually foresee a future where most ad placements could be purchased via Google Ads. This would significantly improve modeling ability, tracking, effort to launch a campaign, and potentially privacy. We just all have to trust Google for that to happen.
Want to learn more?
Here’s a link to Googles main keynote presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tayMq0eRtpI
With more than a decade in marketing and advertising leadership, Spenser leads the strategy and analytics divisions of the Johnson Group. His data-driven approach drives successful campaign results for everything from Fortune 500 giants to new product launches.