SMX East: Google Announces AdWords Audience Insights, 100% Viewability For Google Display Network & More
Google's Brad Bender shares new announcements for display and search advertisers during SMX East keynote conversation.
Good morning, and welcome to day two of our SMX East conference! We’re about to begin with a keynote conversation where Brad Bender, Vice President of Product Management for the Google Display Network, will be speaking with our Danny Sullivan and Ginny Marvin. On the agenda is a discussion of display advertising, new developments within the Google Display Network and I’m betting the hot topic of ad blocking is bound to come up, too.
Everything is due to begin at 9:00 am ET, so please come back then and refresh the page as often as you need as we live blog today’s opening keynote.
Update, 8:59 am: Word on the street is that two busloads of attendees are just arriving after fighting NYC traffic, so we’re going to give them a chance to get inside and sit down before we get going. Sit tight and we’ll start soon.
Okay, we’re getting started now. I’ll be using “BB” to indicate what Brad Bender is saying, and also using initials for both Ginny and Danny, too.
BB: When I joined Google in 2008, it was mainly known as a search company. But today, 93% of our top AdWords advertisers are using display. He mentions a study where eHealth used display ads to drive a 45% increase in search queries.
Today, mobile is changing the game. Globally — and this isn’t just a Google stat — but mobile display ad revenue is ahead of search. He talks about how consumer attention is shorter, and says that’s where programmatic advertising comes in. He has a couple announcements to share on this front later in the morning.
GM: Can you give an overview on DoubleClick and the Google Display Network (GDN).
BB: DoubleClick is a full ad stack. It allows you to manage your campaigns holistically. The GDN is a turnkey solution that can access Google’s own properties and can also connect to the DoubleClick Ad Exchange.
GM: How should advertisers be thinking about these different options?
BB: Programmatic helps you reach your perfect audience. The data comes in two flavors: advertiser proprietary data and AdWords intent-rich data.
Advertiser proprietary data is incredibly valuable. We announced Customer Match earlier this week. If you have a relationship with a customer and have their email address, you can upload that to Google and we’ll help you connect with them in really relevant moments in a privacy-sensitive way. (Shares a travel-related example.)
On YouTube, we’re also enabling a thing called Similar Audiences. It lets you find new customers that are similar to your existing customers.
GM: (sorry, I missed her question here)
BB: Talks about affinity audiences, in-market audiences and similar audiences.
Affinity audiences — this is people that have a broad interest in a category. Someone with a NASCAR app is broadly interested in autos. They’re interested in cars, but may not be interested in buying.
In-Marketing audiences are more interested in buying. We can glean a lot of data from the websites people visit, they may be looking at dealer websites.
Similar audiences is looking at your remarketing list — people that have already purchased — and finding the underlying insights to help you identify people that “look like” them.
DS: Asks about custom audiences and privacy.
BB: We want to make sure messages are incredibly relevant, but you don’t want to go too far.
DS: What about people who have multiple email addresses?
BB: Most Google users have a Gmail addresses as their primary address. It runs off of that.
GM: Native ads in Gmail just launched. Can you talk about how advertisers should be using those, any success stories?
BB: Gmail is another great example of the power of programmatic. Users are spending a lot of time. It passes Larry Page’s “toothbrush test” — people use it at least twice a day. We have 900 million active Gmail users.
We’ve removed the ads on the right, and now the only ads are native ads. We did that after testing and found it would be more engaging for users. You can run these native Gmail ads from within AdWords.
Marriott International wanted to give users a sense of what it’s like to stay at their Renaissance Hotels. They say this product as an opportunity to run full-screen, immersive ads and they saw a 25% increase in visits, 18% increase in pages per user — and now they’re rolling this out more fully.
GM: Can you explain what automatic ad sizing means and how it changes the conversations we have with designers?
BB: This is where programmatic technology can help. Let technology do the work to change the ad size so they work in different screen environments.
We rolled out auto-optimizing text ads. This automatically decides if a standard text ad, or a richer ad with colors, or even a native ad that uses colors from the site it’s on, for example, will drive the most success.
The auto-sizing you mentioned was rolled out earlier this year. You only have to upload three sizes to AdWords to reach 95% of our inventory.
Today, we’re announcing Dynamic Remarketing Ads that take advantage of this resizing. They’ll resize to fit any screen size. We’re seeing three times the conversion on these, so they’re incredibly powerful.
DS: You’ve got all this rich search data. When do we get to the point where we can use that in the Google Display Network?
BB: We’ve heard this request from advertisers. Our philosophy is to always put the user first, to be thoughtful about user privacy. We think we already have a lot of really rich user data that we can leverage. Talks about Ford New Zealand using a combination of different ad products to reach more specific audiences. Says Google will share more when ready.
GM: On the measurement side, estimated cross-device conversions. You can count conversions from people who migrate between apps and the web. What are you seeing holistically about consumer behavior?
BB: This is one of the impacts of all of us living online. Ninety percent of us use multiple devices to achieve tasks. The customer journey is no longer linear. Our goal is to give advertisers a full picture of what’s happening across devices. Things like last-click attribution give you an incomplete picture of what’s going on.
You mentioned web-to-app and app-to-web. This is where the click and conversion are happening in different places. We’ve recently made it possible to do remarketing across web and app, and we’re seeing some great results there. Talks about example of an Italian retailer.
DS: Ad blocking has been big news in the past couple weeks. What’s this mean for Google and the industry?
BB: Ads are an important part of the ecosystem. They’re funding most of the free content we consume — the blogs we visit, the media we use. I think the ad blocking phenomenon is driven by people having bad experiences with ads. Think of pop-up ads, for example.
The problem with ad blockers is that they’re blocking the good ads and the bad ads. We think it’s important that publishers continue to be funded. It’s why we invest in things like Google Contributor.
We’re focused on making the ads as useful and relevant as possible and giving users more choice about how those ads behave.
DS: Can you talk about Adblock Plus, and the white list. It came up in 2013 and again recently.
BB: I can’t speak for Adblock Plus, but more generally it’s been interesting — there’s this one app called Peace and I think the developer decided that it was bad for the ecosystem because it was removing the good ads as well as the bad ads. He realized that it was affecting the ability for good content to be created.
I think some ad blockers are beginning to understand that. I think Google text ads are relatively unobtrusive.
DS: (missed his question)
BB: We have conversations with these players — the browser makers, too. We think we hold a very high bar for our text ads and our display ads. I think, in general, people benefit from that – when it’s relevant and useful and the user has control.
I’d love to see it so that good ads are able to get through, and we go after the bad players — especially fraud and malware.
GM: Let’s talk about viewability and transparency.
BB: Some of the stats are daunting. 56 percent of display ads don’t have a chance to be seen. 46 percent of video ads, and 65% on mobile.
We’ve made a commitment in this area. Last year, 70 billion impressions weren’t charged to advertisers.
I’m pleased to announce that GDN is moving to 100% viewable. We’re going to migrate all of the CPMs in the system to viewable CPMs. All advertisers will be able to see viewable metrics so they can make better decisions.
I have one more announcement: We’re announcing AdWords Audience Insights. This’ll let advertisers look at people who’ve bought from them, and really understand the person better. Better choices on who to target. Better choices for creative.
This is rolling out now and should be fully available in the next few weeks. Same goes for 100% viewability.
GM: What does this look like?
BB: Says there’s a screenshot in Google’s just-published blog post, which you can find here: Enhancing the Google Display Network with new innovations.
After this, the session went to audience Q&A.
Thanks for following along. We’ll have more coverage of today’s announcements in separate breakout stories later on Marketing Land.