In 2018, Google announced the new Google Marketing Platform – a unified advertising and analytics platform for smarter marketing and better results.
In other words, a one-stop shop filled with digital tools to help you identify, analyse, and meet customer needs.
Upon launch, Brad Bender, Vice President of Display and Video Advertising at Google explained that, “…the number one priority for marketers is to better understand their customers… Google Marketing Platform helps achieve this customer-first approach to marketing.”
In this piece, we’re going to explore the platform’s advertising capabilities, along with why and how it came to be, and its impact on the future of advertising.
A step back into the past
Google’s mission has always been simple.
As a result, while creating and developing the platform, the founders focused on providing a better user experience. This approach has given them a competitive advantage, which has led to a growing number of users.
Back in 2000, users were already conducting around 20 million searches per day, and Google’s traffic continued to increase by 3 million queries per day each month. This is when Google launched AdWords, an advertising platform solely focused on desktop search ads. Its aim was to offer a simple advertising solution for every business, in line with Google’s mission, to fulfil user needs, driven by search.
In 2018, with the continued advancements in mobile search capabilities and display advertising Google rebranded AdWords to Google Ads, which incorporated all ad varieties, from search to display.
At the same time, Google released the “Google Marketing Platform” to allow businesses to deliver powerful and personalised experiences based on insights gathered across multiple channels and sources.
Of course, there was a real need for a more powerful tool. It is now estimated that there are around 8.5 billion searches per day and approximately 2 trillion global searches per year, and many of those searches are transactional.
Here are some statistics, explaining the power of the online search:
- Consumers who use search are 2.4 times more likely to buy
- In 2021, over 2.14 billion people worldwide were expected to buy goods and services online, up from 1.66 billion global digital buyers in 2016.
- 53% of consumers say that they research products using a search engine before deciding whether or not to buy (Google)
- The number of people that will buy locally after searching is 78%
- People who click on ads are 50% more likely to make a purchase
- 35% of users purchase a product within 5 days of searching for it on Google
So, where are we going with this?
Google has been named the market leader in online advertising, taking a 29% share of digital ad spending globally in 2021. The reason for this title is their commitment to developing tools and services that help businesses meet customer needs, in line with their customer-centric strategy.
Google Marketing Platform is one of those tools.
Present: What is the Google Marketing Platform?
The Google Marketing Platform came to life after Google’s Analytics 360 Suite and DoubleClick merged. The platform contains a number of tools that sit under two main categories: Advertising & Analytics.
- Campaign Manager 360 – an ad management platform for digital campaign management across websites and mobile, including ad serving, targeting, verification, and reporting.
- Display & Video 360 – an advanced tool for the management of display and video campaigns, including creative development and audience creation tools.
- Search Ads 360 – a real-time search campaign management tool combined with data analytics and smart bidding strategies to increase conversions.
- Analytics 360 – advanced analytical tools with actionable and real-time options to optimise advertising campaigns.
- Optimise 360 – an A/B testing tool for running experiments with a view to personalising content and improving user experience.
- Surveys 360 – an easy-to-use customer survey tool.
- Tag Manager 360 – a tag management tool used to measure conversions, site analytics and more.
- Data Studio – a powerful and easy-to-understand tool to create visual reports, dashboards and data from spreadsheets, Analytics, Google Ads, and more.
What is the difference between Google Ads and the Google Marketing Platform?
Google Ads is an advertising platform allowing you to create and share ads on both mobile and desktop among your target audience. It’s used to drive traffic to a website and most businesses utilise the platform to drive awareness and generate leads.
- Free to use and you only cover your advertising spend. You can choose how much you spend per month, per day or per ad.
- Reporting capabilities, including cost per conversion or source of the lead etc
- Limited integration ability
Google Marketing Platform is a suite that combines a plethora of channels, collecting valuable insights to give you an ultimate 360˚ view of a customer.
- Custom reporting and in-depth analysis including proactive insights, data modelling backed by machine learning to help drive conversions, and predictive analysis.
- Supports hundreds of integrations, including Analytics, Tag Manager, Google Merchant Centre, as well as any internet-connected third-party system, from Amazon and Ahrefs to social advertising and email tools and CRM systems.
- There is a fee involved for the entire suite, or you can choose individual tools from within the platform. However, there are a plethora of free resources and tools available as well.
Future: Is the Google Marketing Platform the future of advertising?
Historically, many companies created products or services, and then decided how to reach the target market. Even back in 2019, 42% of companies admitted they didn’t take their customers’ feedback into consideration.
But, the marketing world moves at the speed of light.
Digital acceleration, sparked by the pandemic, has changed consumer behaviour and marketing approaches in particular. Customers now use a plethora of digital touchpoints along the buying journey, and are aware of how they’re being marketed to.
Marketing is no longer about promoting products by pushing them onto people. Latest research by Deloitte confirms that listening to customers with empathy, using real-time data to better understand their current situation and needs, is now paramount. It’s all about delivering the right message, to the right person, at the right time.
This new reality has forced businesses to adapt in order to survive.
And, thanks to the evolution of digital tools, channels and formats, we now have the access to the necessary insights into who these consumers are, allowing us to create marketing messages that are tailored to their unique needs.
We can be one step ahead, almost predicting customer needs regardless of where they are in the buyer journey.
That’s where the Google Marketing Platform excels, connecting hundreds of customer touchpoints in order for marketers to create relevant content and ads that perform. The future is about understanding user behaviour online and offline.
Bringing together multiple data sources will help organisations break down data silos, enabling them to monitor real-time trends and make decisions based on customer preferences and down to the last detail.
Too good to be true?
Deckers, a shoe retailer, was able to compare their ad creatives against performance signals, using a number of tools inside the platform. As a result, they discovered the optimal number of shoes to display in their ads and experienced a 36% lift in ad performance. It all boils down to details!
Similarly, using custom machine learning models, L’Oréal was able to predict which site visitors would go in-store to make a purchase, increasing their offline revenue by 2.5x.
It’s all about the right message, using the right channel, at the right time!
We’ve all been there, trying to make sense of the information from several sources to make an ultimate business decision, i.e. who to target, customer lifetime value, which creative performs better and why, and the list goes on.
Google Marketing Platform is the next chapter in meeting customers’ expectations and needs, allowing you to answer those questions, as well as calculate some important metrics like the return on investment of each of your campaigns. Ultimately, you can grow conversions, at the same time as reducing spend, by formulating highly targeted and strategic approaches, all backed by data.