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Google’s Head Of Ads On Video And YouTube’s Rising Influence, Enhanced Campaigns, CPCs, More
This week, AdAge has an interview with the head of Google ads, Sridhar Ramaswamy, that is worth reading in its entirety. It’s the first interview Google’s senior VP of advertising and commerce has given since taking over the role he once shared with Susan Wojcicki, now YouTube’s CEO, in February.
An eleven year veteran of the company, Ramaswamy led Google Shopping’s transition to a paid platform in 2012 and AdWords Enhanced Campaigns last year. Among other efforts, he’s overseeing this month’s switch to Shopping Campaigns, a kind of Product Listing Ads 2.0 campaign structure designed to make it easier for retailers to manage their campaigns and merchandise promotions. And, as AdAge learned, he has a heavy hand in the effort to bring more brands onto YouTube.
Below are some highlights.
The importance of video and YouTube. Ramaswamy emphasizes that while the overall strategy hasn’t changed since Wojcicki went to YouTube, the YouTube ads team is now integrated in with the larger display ads team, which is his responsibility.
“So part of what I’ve been doing is crafting a very strong brand message making sure that our advertisers are focused on video and that all of our products work with that message. So our overall theme of get mobile right, get video advertising right and make sure that we have an ads experience and ecosystem is one that we jointly worked on together, and those are the priorities for the team.”
Moves to bring brands onboard. YouTube has forged large deals with the brand advertising world in the past year. Of last October’s agreement with Mediavest, Torrence Boone, Google’s managing director of agency business development said, “In many ways, the deal confirms the tremendous momentum that we have on YouTube and the importance of online video to brand marketers.”
Asked how Google is making a push for brand ad dollars, Not surprisingly, Ramaswamy answered, “The short answers are video and YouTube. YouTube is an amazing medium.” He adds, “The reach among male adults in the 18-to-34-[years-old] category is bigger than that of any cable channel. A lot of agencies and advertisers clearly relate to that.”
Google has partnered with comScore and Nielsen to bring the reach and frequency metrics of TV to display and digital video. Ramaswamy reaffirmed what the company has been saying since announcing those deals: that they are working on adding their own metrics for brands.
“we think there is a lot more that a one-on-one advertising medium like YouTube can provide to our advertisers. So we invest in things like brand lift, which is figuring out how many of the users who saw an ad for a particular brand — how much more likely that they’re going to remember the brand. We’re developing these additional metrics to go above and beyond the ratings that are provided by companies like Nielsen and comScore.”
YouTube ads as native ads. On the subject of native advertising, the belief that AdWords text ads are the original example of a native ad and whether Google is innovating in this area, Ramaswamy questioned the term itself and essentially says that all good advertising formats are inherently native.
“Native ads are a little bit of a misnomer. . . . I think of advertising that is in keeping with the spirit of the page that provides an enhancement to the experience that people get on the search results page. . . . Similarly I would call the TrueView format on YouTube to be a format that is in line with the spirit of what YouTube wants . . . . We will continue to innovate with formats on the display network as well.”
Enhanced Campaigns: CPC failure or mobile success? Finally, Ramaswamy answers the question about whether Google’s Enhanced Campaigns have failed because CPCs are still in decline.
I’ve written recently about why the global CPCs reported in Google’s quarterly earnings report aren’t a good signal of Enhanced Campaigns’ impact on mobile ad sales. In his answer, Ramaswamy asserted that reported CPC number is not a benchmark he looks at for mobile success: “The day-to-day mechanics of how we run these is we don’t manage to CPCs, even though that’s a reported metric.”
Rather, his benchmark for success (other than the click volume and revenue metrics that have continued to soar) is that Enhanced Campaigns brought mobile into the digital advertising fold.
“I’ll tell you the biggest impact that Enhanced Campaigns had on our advertisers is that being part of mobile was not a separate conversation between Google and these advertisers. . . . Also we are well on our way to a truly device agnostic world, and that was the outcome we were most aiming for when we did Enhanced Campaigns. We wanted to set a new baseline on how people thought about search and display.”
Google has been successful on this front. Advertisers have been forced to think about and participate in mobile in new ways as a result of Google’s Enhanced Campaigns.”Our mobile business is growing extremely well and, more to the point, they deliver a tremendous amount of value for our users and advertisers,” says Ramaswamy.
The full interview can be found here.