What does the future hold for businesses advertising on Google? In the past couple of years, audience targeting, AI, and automation created a wave of ads that followed AI-selected customers from site to site as they browsed online. Today’s advertisers have to be smarter than these tools being offered because results are not always as they seem.
Here are a few things we predict for Google advertising in 2020:
Top Google Ad Trends to Try in 2020
Google AI & Smart Bidding
Smart Bidding is the term that Google uses to describe automated bid strategies. Basically, it removes all the guesswork and relies on AI to create bids for your ads based on your set advertising goals in Google. These bid strategies utilize machine learning to optimize for higher conversions with each and every auction towards the goal you select.
While Google presents Smart Bidding as one of the many benefits of advertising on Google ads within your budget, it’s best to only focus on strategies that have one of the following:
- Firm Target CPA: You know what you’ll pay per lead and you don’t want to pay a cent more. Smart Bidding will optimize for your cost per acquisition goal.
- ROAS: You know that you want to make back at least $5 for every advertising dollar, hence Smart Bidding will optimize for a ROAS of 5:1.
- Higher Conversions: You want the most conversions for your budget. Smart Bidding tailors your bids to achieve bigger conversions, but be careful. Google isn’t always optimizing for what you think it is.
Even though these may be your goals and you select them at the time of setting up your ads on Google, you still have to monitor your ads and watch out for over-spending without conversions. Google has been known to push for higher bids without actually converting. This is why it’s important to track your top-level ROI metrics that matter to your bottom line.
These new ad optimization features may be interesting to try, but first, you should read more about how to optimize ads with Google signals.
Google News Feed and Discovery Ads
In 2018, Google rolled out the newsfeed feature for Google mobile users. Users can control what they see in their feeds, allowing for personalized experiences. Now, Google is also offering a new advertising product called Discovery Ads.
These ads are just like Facebook or Instagram ads but within the Google news feed interface. Google allows machine learning to optimize ads in users’ news feeds based on their engagement and search history.
New Ways to Target Audience Segments
Targeting continues to be the best way for small businesses to reach new customers online. With that in mind, Google offered two new ways to target audiences recently:
- Affinity Audiences: If you already advertise on Facebook, then you may know how Affinity Audiences work, but essentially, audiences can be targeted based on interests and online shopping behaviors. For example, some affinity audiences may be beauty shoppers who frequent makeup and skincare stores online. Another audience may be car shoppers who are currently browsing for a new vehicle.
- In-Market Audiences: Google tracks user behavior and sees when users are comparing products, which is an indicator that they are getting ready to buy. You can now show your timely offer when these users are actively researching a new product.
You can use these new audience types to layer on top of your current targeting or start a new campaign.
Tailor Creatives to Your Audiences
Even though AI and automated strategies are quite beneficial, nothing beats an ad with eye-catching imagery and a smart message. Mark Irvine, a director at WordStream, also noted that partnering creative with automation is best:
Whether it’s software, scripts, dynamic search, automated bidding, ads written in AI/ML, or even various smart campaigns, the time saved on the minutia of managing fundamental elements of campaigns is better spent managing strategic elements, such as audience, targets, and creatives.
When targeting audiences and tracking their behaviors, you have to use language and imagery that inspires an instant action.
For example, you may want to partner a timely offer for in-market audiences with an urgency, time-limited incentive. Other ads will use a video to an affinity audience to show products being used in a new and exciting way.
It’s clear that despite the latest smart technology, people still respond to the best images and videos that seem to almost know exactly what they are looking for and use the right language to capture their attention.
Google advertisers need to look at new ways to reach customers, such as Google Lens. This new technology could potentially show an interactive, animated ad whenever a user’s phone camera points at a certain object. For example, with Google Lens, Stranger Things marketed an animated display ad whenever users pointed their camera at a print edition of the New York Times.
The Netflix ad in the newspaper transformed into an animated “Starcourt Mall” promotional video for the hit show:
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