The digital marketing space is always dynamic, but recently we are seeing more updates than ever due to changing user behaviors, long-term impacts of the global pandemic on business, and increasing interest in updating internet regulations. Google, receptive to these changes, has responded with announcements that will shape search engine marketing tremendously in the coming years. Our team prioritizes learning and being at the forefront of all new technologies; in this post, I will deliver the big themes in search engine marketing, with the accessible information you need to make the most of your future search investment.
Rising concerns around user privacy are impacting the digital industry and advertisers. The most recent major update was Apple’s release of App Tracking Transparency (ATT), which prompts users to opt out of or into tracking across the internet. Meanwhile, Google is still exploring replacement options for the cookie, having just announced they will postpone the cookieless future until 2023. Search advertisers now have more time to prepare, but we still encourage brands to build a foundation of their first-party data now. Google did announce that custom audiences will be available to all advertisers as they drop some of the restrictions this year, meaning all advertisers will be able to leverage first-party data to build audiences in Google ads. Google also announced updates around conversion tracking, allowing advertisers to adjust Google tags behavior based on the consent status of users. With this Consent Mode, Google Tag Manager will adjust dynamically, responding to the user’s cookie preference.
A IS FOR… AUTOMATION AND AUGMENTED REALITY
Google continues to push for automation in search marketing, and it’s working: auto-bidding and the algorithm are improving with time and becoming more popular with advertisers. The ROAS bid strategy expansion to video action and discovery campaigns is Google’s attempt to make awareness-focused campaigns more accessible and profitable for small businesses.
New reporting is coming for Google’s most automated campaign, Performance Max, which uses AI to deliver the most relevant ads at the perfect time and place. With seamless setup, this campaign leaves optimizations to Google’s algorithm which could be often risky and expensive but now advertisers can expect more transparency in terms of the performance data.
Then there is Augmented Reality, which we see as the future of our shopping experience. Stella Rising was one of the first agencies to promote new AR functionality on YouTube, promoting try-on technology for one of our beauty clients. Our True-View In-Stream campaign drove a 73% stronger view-through rate versus non-AR True-View In-Stream ads, and at similar CPV efficiencies. Additionally, the AR True-View ad drove a 22% lift in brand awareness at a highly efficient, and above average, cost per lifted user. AR features will soon be available to clothing brands, enabling consumers to “try-on” clothes on a similar body type to theirs. Brands that embrace technology—and maximize their capabilities through search—will be well-positioned in the coming years.
BUILD MEASUREMENT FOR THE FUTURE
Between the aforementioned online privacy restrictions and deprecation of cookies, challenges are ahead for online advertisers. At Stella Rising, we employ conversion modeling to provide clients with an accurate view of reporting, filling in any gaps from pure performance reporting. Google announced that they will also begin rolling out modeling capabilities in Google Analytics, specifically behavioral reports that will shed light on the customer journey.
Google continues to encourage advertisers to incorporate a data-driven attribution model, which now will include YouTube and Display campaigns. This is a step toward understanding the holistic impact of multi-channel advertising for all advertisers but especially small and medium-sized businesses.
MORE OPPORTUNITIES FOR RETAILERS
Google teased out new ecommerce partnerships, allowing for a much more seamless integration for small businesses. Ecommerce retailers on WooCommerce, GoDaddy, and Square will be able to integrate their shopping campaigns for free. Other new features to watch out for, particularly because they benefit small and medium-sized businesses:
- Google is also introducing several intriguing features such as new attribute tags that identify both Black- and women-owned businesses.
- Many advertisers will be able to showcase special loyalty pricing and benefits and drive the adoption of loyalty program through shopping ads.
- Google launched a price competitiveness report in Google Merchant Center. This was announced in tandem with the “deals results page” which will make finding promotions easier for Google consumers.
MAKE THE MOST OF THE SEARCH FUTURE
As a Premier Google Partner, Stella Rising has first access to new market tools, features, and betas. We also have unique support from Google to elevate client performance—and even help brands expand internationally. This, paired with our unparalleled consumer insights and long history of helping brands shine—regardless of their category—makes Stella Rising the ideal partner to help you reach both paid search goals—and overall growth across all digital channels.