It’s been a dizzying month of releases for Google’s team, and an exciting one for marketers. Google is doubling down on their vision for the future: cross-channel strategy, measurement and attribution in a post-cookie world.
The broad strokes reveal continued heavy integration of machine learning, and in some ways, a diminishment of advertiser control in the traditional sense. As automation continues to drive placement and bid strategies, advertisers are focusing on integrating channels and uncovering the most accurate user journey possible. More on that in another forthcoming blog post.
Google Marketing Live was far from a monolithic sea change, though. Google rolled out plenty of near-term products and features that are set to change how we fundraise and generate leads. I’ve gathered a few of the most practical releases for nonprofit marketers:
Google’s Feed product serves relevant content to users even when they’re not searching. As an avid Pixel user myself, I’ve grown to rely on my feed for interesting content, news, weather and more. In fact, it’s almost a competitor for Reddit in that regard. The Feed is a quality technology that’s seeing rapid adoption among users and as such, it’s an incredible tool that nonprofits can use to help users get to know them. I see Discovery Ads as a powerful option for Lead Generation and Direct-to-Donor Prospecting campaigns. The opportunity to serve users a variety of content in various formats in a place that they already trust is just too good not to test!
According to Google, Gallery ads are “a new search ads format that brings more of your content to the Search results page. By combining search intent with a more interactive visual format, gallery ads make it easier for you to communicate what your brand has to offer.” The potential to captivate users with an image gallery focused on the core elements of your mission, various premiums (sustainer acquisition, anyone?) and more are all enticing. From an advertising perspective, dynamic and engagingcontent that takes up good screen real estate is usually ripe ground for a test. Gallery ads will sit at the top of search results and be swipeable. Ad Elements will include
- 4 – 8 Images
- 70-character Headline with each image
- Up to 3 headlines
The Bumper Machine
The number of excuses not to test video has officially fallen again. YouTube has created an editing tool that makes creating six second unskippable bumper ads a breeze. If you’ve got video assets, it’s worth a look. If you don’t developing video assets is worth a look.
Smart Bidding Improvements
Nerd Alert. If you’ve been building and optimizing Google Ad campaigns recently, you’ll be aware of the magnitude of these new features (or fixes, depending on how charitable you are to Google).
- Campaign-Level Conversions: Use smart bidding to optimize for different conversions at the campaign level. This way, running lead generation and fundraising campaigns in tandem becomes much easier.
- Conversion Sets: It’s now possible to set up a set of desired actions to optimize for across specific campaigns.
- Seasonality Adjustments: Currently, it looks like this functionality was designed to help machine learning interpret the radical changes in user behavior/conversion rates that mark things like sales or END OF YEAR. Depending on what this functionality actually looks like, it could help advertisers leverage machine learning in a much more effective way during the last few weeks of the year.
So in closing, I’d like to talk about Bing. I’ll allow a brief moment for you to collect yourself.
Don’t forget about Google’s underrated twin: Bing (now Microsoft Ads) has quietly announced a few game changers under the radar (comparatively speaking). First, don’t forget that Bing follows Google - we can likely anticipate some similar changes coming to that platform. I think it’s likely that Microsoft will work on continuing to develop their automated bidding options, and if you like the idea of Gallery ads, make sure to look into the long-extant image extensions. If you’re a fundraiser and you haven’t tested Bing, do so. The average age of Bing users might align with your donor profiles in a lucrative way.