Data is a driver of business success, and no business can expect to earn revenue without smart marketing. The two, therefore, go hand-in-hand, though there had been no platform to unify them in the online marketing front. That is, until recently. Google saw this lack and acted on it. Last June 27, the world’s largest search engine launched Google Marketing Platform.
Alkries LLC welcomes this development as it promises to improve our Pay-Per-Click services. It simplifies our work by streamlining data gathering and analysis, and this, in turn, enables us to design more cost-effective campaigns.
Whether you’re a client already profiting from PPC or a prospective advertiser, you gain an advantage if you know how Google Marketing Platform works. Read on to learn more.
Google Marketing Platform (GMP)
In the last couple of years, business owners (advertisers) who knew the value of digital marketing — specifically, paid advertisements — leveraged paid ads to drive more visitors to their sites. Their population steadily grew as the Internet became more prominent in consumers’ lives. As a result, advertisers started competing for the best ad placements and drove bidding prices for competitive keywords through the roof.
As an advertiser, you’ll want to ensure your investment for paid ads is spent wisely. Paid campaigns are not as simple as buying an ad placement and watching the leads and sales roll in, in fact. For it to work, advertisers have to evaluate data to:
- Refine their target audience
- Identify cost-effective ad placements
- Find the sweet spot between ad reach and frequency
To do all these, most advertisers and marketers gather data from the DoubleClick platforms plus insights from Google Analytics.
The Power of Data: Leveraging the Top Two Sources of Paid Ads Insights
With the launch of GMP, advertisers who use DoubleClick and Google Analytics simultaneously can now breathe a sigh of relief. They no longer have to extract information from separate platforms and figure out how to connect and interpret the independent datasets. With GMP, they can do it quickly and easily on one platform.
GMP is one-third of the marketing products Google is rebranding (the other two being Google Ads and Google Ad Manager). The company’s goals for GMP are the following:
- To help marketers plan and create paid ad campaigns. GMP’s new features enable creative and strategic teams to collaborate and run campaigns from start to finish. They can do all these on a single platform.
- To provide marketers with insights that help them understand customers better. Insight into consumer behavior is the key to a successful marketing campaign, after all. With insights from DoubleClick and Analytics, marketers can deliver relevant ads to targeted audiences at the perfect moment — that is, the time when audiences are ready and responsive to their message.
- To enable marketers to maximize ad campaign budgets. Advertisers can’t be flexible with their budgets indefinitely. Although trial ad runs are important, many advertisers find them costly. This attitude highlights the importance of being able to gather valuable insights and real-time data. It maximizes trial runs and optimizes the overall digital marketing spend.
- To simplify data gathering and reporting. This aligns with Google’s three-year plan to have a unified, programmatic platform that enables collaboration and boosts advertising success.
Google assures advertisers and publishers that the DoubleClick products are still accessible and usable. The transition to GMP will be gradual; users will have time to acclimate and become used to the changes in the DoubleClick and Analytics products.
Before we delve into these changes and updates, let’s review these two product suites that we’ve known so long and so well.
Pre-GMP: DoubleClick Digital Marketing and Google Analytics 360
DoubleClick and Google Analytics are well-known in the industry as valuable tools of the trade. The majority of today’s Internet marketers use these two suites jointly to begin, so Google’s merger of the two is a welcome development.
DoubleClick Digital Marketing
Google acquired the online advertising company in 2007 for $3.1 billion in 2007. It was the leader in ad management technology even before the acquisition. Google made a smart call in keeping it independent from Google Display Network (or GDN, the network of websites where AdSense ads go on display), and preserving its functions and features.
DoubleClick has five Digital Marketing products:
- DoubleClick Ad Exchange – The largest marketplace for display, video, mobile, Search (ads that appear on search results pages), and Facebook ads. It also doubles as a Revenue Management tool for advertisers.
- DoubleClick Bid Manager – The bidding platform for ad marketplaces, which also includes Google Display Network.
- DoubleClick Campaign Manager – A tool for advertisers that delivers online ads across screens and channels, including Google Adsense, Yahoo! Gemini, and Bing Ads.
- DoubleClick Creative Solutions – A platform for designing various kinds of ads, including video, banner, and text.
- DoubleClick Search – A more powerful version of Google Adwords Search Network, as it displays ads across all major search engine results pages.
DoubleClick Ad Exchange also doubles as a Revenue Management tool for advertisers. Users can integrate it with DoubleClick for Publishers (DFP), a free ad server that enables publishers to sell ad space on their websites.
Note: With further research, you might come across DoubleClick for Advertisers (DFA). DFA is an old feature. To avoid confusion, keep in mind that Google has upgraded DFA to DoubleClick Campaign Manager since 2013.
Besides serving their respective functions, these tools provide insights that guide advertisers and publishers on their marketing campaigns. Despite giving thorough and real-time information, however, DoubleClick insights may not be enough.
As advertisers, you might want to know if the data in the advertising platform is consistent with your website’s insights. More importantly, you’ll want to see if your ad spend is converting to sales.
This is where the data from Google Analytics come in.
Google Analytics 360 Suite
As marketers, we need to see how advertising performance matches up to our clients’ business results. Increasing traffic to your website and generating leads for your sales team are the goals we want to achieve. They are, however, the means to a much bigger goal: Generating more sales means decent returns for your investment.
Insights from Analytics 360 give us a clear picture of how our paid ad campaigns translate to sales. As the premium and paid version of Google Analytics, it offers the following features:
- Data gathering and reporting capabilities for multiple properties
- Data recording continues beyond 10 million hits per month
- Up to 200 Custom Dimensions and 200 Custom Metrics
- Custom dashboards
- Google BigQuery, AdWords, and AdSense integration
- More information about your site visitors’ origins
- Data gathering for custom sales funnels, including data retrieval (you can test a new custom funnel using data from earlier months)
- Access to data as recent as the last four hours (24 hours for the free version)
- Access to professional services, like audits, implementation assistance, on-site training, and customer support.
The Analytics 360 Suite is ideal for enterprises that manage multiple websites and marketing campaigns at once. The tool enables marketers like us to see all our customers’ marketing and website data in one platform.
The Challenge for Data-Driven Marketers
There’s very little elbow room for assumptions in online marketing, especially if a client is investing a lot in paid ads. Mistakes are often expensive, and clients could lose a lot from their investment in the process.
We can avoid this by using data to improve your marketing strategy. When we know where your visitors are from, the times they are online, and which market segment or stage of the conversion funnel they are in, it will be easier to plan the next step.
Data is the key to creating effective marketing campaigns, and it’s why publishers use both DoubleClick and Google Analytics 360 suites. There’s just one problem: Discrepancies between the two sets of data are common.
Here’s the assumption: If you host ads on your website, the number of impressions or views for on-page ads should be the same as your page views. That makes sense, right? That’s not always the case. In fact, Google advises publishers not to compare Analytics and DFP insights. Here are some reasons for this:
- Different sets of insights - DFP counts the impressions on ads, while Analytics counts the impressions on the advertiser’s website.
- Different stages of the customer journey - DFP documents the first stages of the customer journey (seeing the ad for the first or nth time) while the latter documents the midpoint (when they click on the ad and get transferred to the website).
- Independent Java codes – DFP and Analytics codes may both be on the same page, but they could be on different locations in the HTML page.
- Varying browser settings – Internet users have different browser settings, and this can affect both sets of data. For example, DFP can’t count impressions on ads published on iframes if the audience’s browser doesn’t support iframe tags. It results in high page views but low ad impressions.
- Ad blocking software – About 30 percent of Internet users use ad blockers and firewall software. These installations bring down ad impressions but leave page views unaffected.
With the GMP merging the functions of Double Click and Analytics 360, advertisers and marketers are hopeful for seamless data sharing and more precise insights. What we do know is that GMP will bring data from DoubleClick Campaign Manager into Analytics reports. The next couple of months will see how GMP lives up to expectations.
New and Updated Features
While we’re still unsure about GMP insights, here are the features that we can confirm based on Google’s announcement:
- Search Ads 360 – Preserved functions of DoubleClick Search
- Display & Video 360 – The collective product name for DoubleClick Bid Manager, DoubleClick Studio, DoubleClick Campaign Manager, and Google Audience Center 360.
- Analytics 360 – Preserved functions of Google Analytics 360
- Attribution 360 – Preserved functions of Google Attribution 360
- Data Studio – Preserved functions of Google Data Studio
- Integration Center – A one-stop section where marketers can customize and integrate data from any of the above.
Google Analytics 360 Suite will eventually become a retired brand, moreover. Its products will all fall under the GMP umbrella.
There’s no word yet if there will be increases in the prices of the rebranded products, and if it’s possible to buy a la carte services instead of paying for the entire Google Marketing Platform Suite.
Further Updates: Google Ads and Google Ad Manager
As previously mentioned, GMP is part of Google’s rebranded marketing products. The other two are Google Ads and Google Ad Manager, and they’ve undergone some changes, as well.
- Google Ads – Rebranded Google Adwords. The service is no longer limited to keywords and search advertising. This pay-per-click program has been supporting other ad formats as well (e.g., video, display of banners, and app install), and Google felt its naming convention should reflect the fact.
- Google Ad Manager – A merger of DFP and DoubleClick Ad Exchange, it is a programmatic platform for managing multiple ad campaigns and budgets. With it, marketers can understand user experience better and design campaigns according to their insights. Ads can be more effective, and publishers will be able to offer higher returns to advertisers.
What Does GMP’s Launch Mean for Your Business?
GMP is a promising development for advertisers and publishers. For Alkries LLC, it is a promising suite that we plan to take full advantage of to help us give you better results.
GMP’s complete and unified programmatic platform will make it easier for our PPC managers to design effective AdWords campaigns, understand audiences, fine-tune target demographics, and map customer journey more accurately. We’ll be able to quickly see which parts of your campaigns are working and which ones need further testing. Furthermore, with Display & Video 360, we can produce quality ads that elicit responses from audiences at different stages of the conversion funnel.
At the heart of these improvements is the desire to help marketers make the most of advertising budgets, whether they are advertisers or publishers. It’s a goal we share at Alkries LLC.
If you want to learn more about Google Marketing Platform and how your pay-per-click campaign can benefit from it, talk to our PPC consultants. Contact Alkries LLC.