[SMK] Social Media Knowledge


Google Ads expands targeting, insights and automation

New features announced at Google Marketing Live 

Google is back with another raft of features designed to help brands fight their way out of COVID-19.

One of these changes is within Customer Match, which allows advertisers to use first-party data to target and retarget customers across Google’s range of services.


“Customer Match lets you use your online and offline data to reach and re-engage with your customers across Search, the Shopping tab, Gmail, YouTube, and Display. Using information that your customers have shared with you, Customer Match will target ads to those customers and other customers like them.”

Customer Match is akin to Facebook’s Customer List ad targeting, which lives within Custom Audiences. Although the Facebook equivalent is well known and used, the Google variant probably slipped under the radar for most when it launched a few years back.

Before the updates, you had to have a lifetime spend of $50,000 on Google Ads to be eligible for the service. Now it’s been made generally available to all advertisers all over the globe.

Customer Match can help increase brand awareness and improve conversions. A few examples of uses are:

  • On Search and Shopping you can adjust bids based on knowledge of customers’ activities.
  • On YouTube new audiences can be reached by targeted people similar to your most valuable customers.
  • On Gmail you can use personalised ads in the inbox tabs to reach customers or similar audiences.

Positive news for marketers, especially those working for SMBs with tighter budgets to juggle. Cookies are becoming less relevant while first-party data will grow in use and application – the removal of a lifetime spend limit from Customer Match will help democratise the use of first-party data for all organisations.

Google Insights: revamped

Google has also updated its Google Ads Insights page, which US, UK, Canadian and Australian users could find in beta from late 2020.

It shows advertisers interest predictions, auction insights and trending searches relevant to their account.

On top of that, Google has developed a predictive tool called Demand Forecasts, which shows users predicted search behaviour for the next 90 days. Brands and marketers can use this information to stay on top of trends, future-proof planning and make the most of any predicted opportunities.

Performance Max – available worldwide

The ramped-up insights go hand-in-hand with Performance Max campaigns. They were announced in October 2020 and provide automated campaigns across the whole Google inventory.

Performance Max works like this:

  • You provide the media for your advert (copy, images, video)
  • Google powers up its machine learning to serve responsive ads across its inventory.
  • Smart Bidding is used to fund the ads, these can be adjusted based on a marketers goal.

Back in October, Performance Max was in its early stages. Now it’s been expanded across the globe to thousands of advertisers. A full launch will come later in 2021.

Additionally, support for Performance Max will be housed in the Insights Page. Meaning marketers will be able to see data covering which audiences convert, best-performing assets and auction insights.

Automation is here to stay

Google’s automation has also been jazzed up.

Jerry Dischler, Vice President, General Manager, Ads, Google

“Since automation is delivering strong results for advertisers, we want to help you use it in more places.

Today more than 80% of advertisers use automated bidding to take the guesswork out of setting bids and to achieve their performance goals.”

Advertisers can use Target Return on Ad Spend Smart Bidding (Target ROAS) to optimise their bids and increase revenue. Now is being expanded into Discovery ads and Video action campaigns. The former is in open beta, while the latter is now available for everyone, globally.

Google’s latest Ads feature bonanza had to end somewhere, and last but not least, you can now add product feeds to your Video Action campaigns. Google did its research and found that Video Action campaigns with added product feeds brought home the bacon.

Jerry Dischler, Vice President, General Manager, Ads, Google

“Just like with automation, you get more efficiency and better results when our advertising tools work together. So we’ve made it easy for retailers to connect your Google Merchant Center feed to Discovery ads and Video action campaigns. This will help you use images and video to drive product discovery and purchases for your full product catalogue.

“In March, when we compared more than 900 Video action campaigns, we found advertisers that added product feeds drove 60% more conversions at a lower cost, compared to advertisers that didn’t add product feeds.”

Google Marketing Live has seen a wealth of smart new features being announced, with some going live now and others set to begin rolling out over the year ahead.

Generally speaking, Google tends to try and get many of these into market to capitalise on the annual Q4 ad splurge, so keep your eyes peeled for updates within Google Ads Manager over the next month or so.

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