[JANUARY 2017] The Latest from Google: YouTube to Improve Campaign Insights, New Message Extensions and Demographic Targeting Features for Paid Search

It’s no secret Google is always looking to deliver the most relevant experience. Since last year, the common thread throughout their search announcements has been a “mobile-first” focus. This trend will remain as consumers continue to reach for their mobile devices when a search need arises.

Last week, Google announced changes coming to YouTube to improve campaign measurement, audience reach across screens and relevancy. According to Google, “With over 50 percent of YouTube views now on mobile, we’re focused on building scalable solutions that will work across screens.” Let’s dive into what these changes entail.

Targeting – Google may use activity data from users’ Google accounts to influence the ads they see on YouTube. Data can include demographics and past searches. Google is also working on linking Customer Match with YouTube so advertisers can reach targeted customers that have engaged with their brand.

Reporting – This year, Google will be working on a cloud-based solution that will deliver more insights about YouTube campaigns across devices, helping advertisers understand the influence they have on the path to purchase. Google will continue to work with Media Rating Council (MRC) accredited vendors including comScore, DoubleVerify, IAS, MOAT and Nielsen so advertisers can continue to measure the performance of their own campaigns.

User control – Google made sure to point out that with these changes, users will still have control over the ads they want to see through their account. In the near future, they plan to release an option that allows users to set their preferences across screens, which means any ad that is turned off on Google Search will also be off on YouTube.

Tracking – Google is planning on “limiting the use of cookies and pixels on YouTube starting this year.” Google says cookies and pixels no longer align with YouTube usage. They explained that this type of tracking was created with one screen in mind and it doesn’t take into account multiple screens. As a result, it can skew ad performance and affect ad relevancy.

In case you missed it

New message extensions on mobile

Mobile searchers can now click to text a message to businesses all within mobile search ads. To set it up, advertisers need to use a phone number that can accept texts, create a call to action message (limit of 35 characters) and create a pre-populated text message for users to easily connect after they click the extension. It is critical to implement a schedule for extensions so teams are available to respond and deliver a good experience.

Advertisers may also need to create different extensions for their products and services to ensure relevancy. One thing to note is that Google is not able to track texts as conversions in AdWords, which means advertisers have to independently track the number of texts they receive to measure the effectiveness of their message extensions.

*Source: Google

Demo targeting for search campaigns

Advertisers can now target using age and gender for search campaigns. With this new feature, advertisers can exclude specific demographics from seeing ads and also customize bids for certain demographics. Age targeting options include: “18-24,” “25-34,” “35-44,” “45-54,” “55-64,” “65 or more” and “Unknown,” and gender options include: “Female,” “Male” and “Unknown”. The “Unknown” refers to any user Google can’t identify.

Advertisers need to think about intent and how to serve the right ads at the right times. Remember to strategically use this type of targeting to reach the desired audience and not exclude a significant segment. Look at performance data to see how different demographics are converting, and don’t forget about exploring Google Trends. According to Google, “marketers who rely only on demographics to reach consumers risk missing more than 70 percent of potential mobile shoppers.”

*Source: Think with Google

Promoted places beta in Google Maps

Select brands are currently beta testing Promoted Places on the Android app. This is an awareness solution that allows retail brands to add a logo to their location icon on Google Maps. When a searcher clicks on the icon, more information appears including promotions, in-store sales and new products and services. Users can also view the business’s place page for directions, store hours and live updates to popular times, all leading the user to connect or purchase.

*Source: Google

We will continue to bring you updates as we learn more about these announcements. Reach out to us if you have any questions. As a certified Google partner, we can help you navigate through these new features so you can continue to drive qualified traffic through your paid search campaigns.