SMX East 2016 – Google Feature Updates: ETAs, Enhanced Campaign modifiers, Data Studio, Optimize, Session Quality Score, Tag Manager

September 28, 2016 Andrew Park

From Day 2 of SMX East comes an in-depth overview of the new and upcoming search features from Google.

(pictured: @gsterling@GinnyMarvin@babakph, @jdischler) 

In the first session of day 2, Google’s VP of Product Management Jerry Dischler (@jdischler) and Senior Director of Measurement & Analytics Babak Pahlavan (@babakph) shared updates on the company’s new and upcoming product features in the keynote session: “What’s New and Cool at Google.” Here are the quick hits:

  • Expanded Text Ads (ETAs):
    • Jerry Dischler of Google: “ETAs are, overall, doing well.”
    • Dischler suggests that the advertisers seeing the most success with ETAs are those who have fully embraced the program, expending as much effort to optimize their ETAs as they have with their Standard Text Ads (STAs).
    • Dischler suggests that advertisers who are “having trouble with ETAs” are those who a “dipping their toes in the water,” perhaps trying a single creative element with no dynamic elements or keywords. When not targeted or optimized, ETAs don’t work as well. Dischler is “hoping people will jump in with both feet.”
    • ETA best practices include continuous testing and learning – non-branded generic ads have seen, in some cases, big performance changes with shorter headlines
  • Enhanced Campaign modifiers – separate bidding for tablet vs. mobile vs. desktop
    • According to Dischler, separate device-based bidding was brought back for those advertisers whose mobile/tablet use cases were “very different from desktop,” citing the example of New York hotel searches from a searcher in New York either on a desktop or a mobile device – it’s safe to assume a mobile searcher has much higher intent and advertisers would presumably wish to increase bids for such a prospect.
    • Suggested best practices: Dischler suggests that mobile/tablet/desktop advertisers are most successful when they pursue a “blended ROI” normalized across different platforms, while “worst-case” strategies will focus only on tablets or mobile while ignoring other platforms, putting them at a disadvantage against competitors using “blended ROI.”
    • Dischler states that another impetus for separating tablet from mobile and desktop bidding was to assist multi-channel advertisers, particularly with offline conversions who will benefit from offline call tracking, citing that more than 90% of retail and automotive business takes place offline.
    • To help drive offline/storefront conversions, Google has hundreds of millions of customers who have opted into sharing location data, aggregated anonymously with signals from Google Maps, including 3D models of buildings across the world, and vetted by about 5 million human reviewers to provide gut-check verification.
    • Dischler also revealed new announcements for its Audience Center suite of tools, including updates to remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA) and Customer Match.
    • Customer Match is designed for customers who have shared their email addresses, which now lets advertisers target them in search using their email criteria via persistent customer IDs via an advertiser’s first-party data.
    • RLSA updates campaign-level management (rather than only at individual ad groups), which is “coming in the next few weeks,” and cross-device RLSA.
  • Updates on Google Data Studio, Optimize 360, Session Quality Score, Tag Manager
    • Babak Pahlavan of Google: “Data Studio is a dashboard and reporting tool…which users can get up and running to do reporting quickly just by connecting to data sources,” combining info from Google Analytics, AdWords, and Sheets directly, as well as to enable collaborative sharing.
    • Pahlavan: “We launched [Data Studio] 360, the enterprise version of Data Studio earlier this year, and the free version is now available in 20 more countries as of today. It’s out now.”
    • Pahlavan also announced a free version of Optimize 360 “in the next few weeks. Google has released a signup list for those interested.
    • Google is also continuing to update Smart Goals, its machine learning-powered service, which is used by “tens of thousands of advertisers of all sizes” to predict audience sizes and optimize campaigns, and is, in the words of Pahlavan, most useful for businesses with “not a lot of or no” commerce data already compiled; those businesses with a strong archive of first-party data are better off using their proprietary info.
    • Pahlavan: “Google has a series of investments…and a new one being announced today is Google Session Quality Score,” which is currently and beta and takes every user session it captures and assigns a rating score that predicts likelihood of conversion. “Only machines can do this at scale,” explains Pahlavan. Both versions of Google Analytics will have access to Session Quality Score.
    • For more-advanced customers, Pahlavan recommends using Google Tag Manager, for which about 20 new tags have been added.

For more SMX East 2016 updates, be sure to visit our Day 1 session wrap-up as well as our Day 2 session wrap-up and Day 3 session wrap-up.

About the Author

Andrew Park

Andrew Park is a content marketing manager at QuanticMind. A UC Berkeley graduate and lifelong Bay Area resident, Andrew has done tours of duty in editorial, PR and marketing, and now works with the QuanticMind team to communicate the importance of data science and machine learning in digital advertising.

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