On Tuesday the 4th of August 2015 I and one of my fellow performance marketers, Ben Farrar, had the pleasure of attending the Google Partners ‘Ready to Rock’ event, amongst the hustle and bustle of the London Google offices.
This was a great opportunity for us to meet other agencies and also gain some exclusive information on what Google’s plans are for the marketing future and how to make the best of our opportunities. Read on for some snippets of what we learnt and our day at Google HQ…
After a 7 o’clock train journey and a slightly challenging tube experience we were face to face with the glorious London rush hour. With help from the ever successful ‘Google Maps’ which we learnt was “The most used smart-phone app in the world”, we arrived at Google HQ. We were escorted to what I’d describe as very cool lifts and taken into a room where we were greeted with tea, coffee, croissants, fruit and lots of other breakfast delights. Taking to our seats we came across a bag of Google based treats which were waiting for us to delve into.
Make Every Moment Count
The first speaker of the day was Sarah Bryne Head of Agency Sales. Her talk was around ‘making every moment count’ here she outlined how technologies are advancing and highlighted how ‘everything is connected to everything’ giving various examples such as the new Nike trainers which tie the shoe laces themselves thorough identity recognition. In addition to this she also described how customization is becoming a huge retail trend, people enjoy creating unique and personal products rather than having the same as everyone else, using an example of Ray Ban allowing people to now customize their sunglasses online. Overall, she concluded that consumers are ‘now’ shoppers suggesting that they want a product when they want it and where they want it otherwise this might affect whether they actually purchase it or not. Advances in technology and the use of online marketing are both tools which are helping consumers to fulfil this and as retailers we need to ensure we are offering this to our consumers, otherwise they will more than likely go to another brand which can.
Importance of Mobile
Up next was Product Specialist, Shane Cahill who explained how to succeed on mobile. Important as mobile sales have seen an increase of ‘115% year on year’. Shane gave us some interesting insights into how to create the best mobile site for our consumers, suggesting we tweak creatives on site and link extensions to be more mobile friendly. He explained how adding more specific information to a mobile Ad will link to the number of people who chose to purchase on their phones. We were also presented with some interesting statistics that ‘85% of users expect a mobile site to load the same time as a desktop’, this highlights how consumers are unaware of how difficult that is to achieve and how demanding/time conscious they are when wanting to use their phone to complete a sale.
Overall he hammered down how important it is to have a mobile friendly site for your client in order to get the most of their products due to the major increase in mobile users whether that’s for purchasing or researching a product.
Is The Future Borderless?
After a short break and a couple too many cupcakes the next speaker took to the stage, Anthony Jones, Agency Development Manager. His talk was named ‘Is the future borderless?’ at first this seemed very philosophical, however he soon highlighted that this was more about trying to break though marketers using the same techniques they use on a campaign in the UK and copying it for use in other countries. He presented us with the stat ‘In 2020 there will be 8 billion people online’ magnifying how the online phenomenon is worldwide and therefore campaigns should be too. Google offer a few different platforms for marketers to make their campaigns more appealing to people in different countries, for example the ‘Translate tool kit’ makes changes to an Ad which they think would be appropriate for a particular country. In addition to this there’s also a ‘global market finder’ where you can search for a product and it will tell you in which counties it will have the most opportunity for sales.
He encouraged marketers to become more product savvy when making campaigns for other countries in order to increase their trust and interest in a product especially if it’s being bought from a UK brand which they might not be aware of, keeping incentives such as shipping time and cost low were key for most countries.
Next on the agenda was Philip Shearer another Product Specialist, this time discussing Google Shopping. He proceeded to outline how Google Shopping has ‘A 37% higher conversion rate than non-brand search ads’ and is becoming a popular way of purchasing for consumers. It’s easier to find the exact product you are looking for, compare prices, brands and now even easier to see as Google have increased the size of its shopping ads.
One of the most frequently asked questions Philip shared was ‘whether shopping ads are ranked by quality score?’ Shopping ads are ranked in relation to the CTR on your text ads for that product. In addition to this ensuring the Shopping ads have a clear picture of the product and contain the most important information for a consumer such as any offers and also the ‘Trusted stores badge’ which Goggle offer for certification of a product, can give consumers that trust they sometimes need to complete a sale. He highlighted the importance of having shopping ads which run alongside your text ads, however ensure that they complement each other and aren’t taking from the other ads but actually working together to make the sale.
Following a lovely light lunch of assorted sandwiches, which in typical English style you had to queue for miles for, it was Sarah McGuinness’s time to shine, another Product Specialist.
The Power of Audience
Some of this information did at first seem like common knowledge, for example steering away from traditional stereotypes of how similar consumers might have the same shopping behaviours was becoming less likely. According to Sarah, creating a dynamic and personalised experience as well as making consumers feel valuable is what consumers now need from their online shopping experience.
When wanting to re-market products make sure you look at the frequency, duration and how recently they visited the site in order to catch the consumer’s attention whilst they are still going through the research stages of purchasing a product. An interesting tool which we learnt about was the ‘Traffic Sources’ tool, which allows you to input a research platform and then re-market to the people who were recently looking/sharing your products through that platform. For example someone who was pinning wedding dresses on ‘Pinterest’ being a good way for marketers to break through the stereotypes of people and concentrate on a more personal purchasing experience. In order to make your way up the marketing funnel and ensure that consumers are purchasing rather than just researching your products, to manage your bids, start at 40% and steadily increase, so you can monitor how well your re-marketing is working for different products.
The final speaker of the day Alana Zamora talked about the season to be jolly, or in the marketing world the season to be ultra-prepared. She began highlighting how ‘2014’s Black Friday was the biggest day for sales all year’ although this may not have shocked some people, this was also a day that most marketers and retailers were not prepared for. Big named brands such as Curry’s and Tesco had their sites struggling to keep up with the number of people wanting to visit their site and purchase from them. Alana suggested setting up ‘Ad-customizers’ which is basically a spread sheet of information that you want your text ad to change to on a daily basis this might outline a countdown to a particular offer for example. She concluded we should all begin discussing KPI’s and budgets for Black Friday and the rest of the Christmas period with clients ‘NOW!’ in order to ensure that this year they are prepared.
Our time at Google was short lived but not short of useful information to take away and reflect about on the train journey back. That’s partly what inspired me to write this blog to share some of the main points we took away. As part of the Performance Marketing team ensuring we have a strong digital presence for our clients is extremely important. After our day at Google we’ve got lots of fresh ideas to incorporate into our campaign strategies!