My week at Google by
Ed Kopkas

December 8, 2016
Culture

I was fortunate in early November to attend the invite-only, 2016 Google Partner Summit in San Francisco.  The impetus of the Summit is to bring together top performing agencies of their premiere partner network (900+ from 51 countries, and who control 8% of global media budgets) to meet, learn and share their digital marketing knowledge.  The 3 day event featured presentations from Google’s top brass, sharing exclusive product updates, insights from recent case studies, intensive training sessions and the opportunity to feedback within small focus groups at the Googleplex in Mountain View.  It was also the week of the US elections, which had very different ending from what was predicted; but that’s a story for another day.

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The theme of this year’s Summit was “Now is Our Moment”, Google’s initiative for empowering their partner network with the very best resources to help agencies like Metropolis to drive innovation and guide their clients’ success.  And while a lot of the content provided at the Summit was confidential, I have summarized what we are allowed to share.   Below were the 5 key takeaways:

 

MOBILE FIRST:
Identifying clear moments of intent that are happening on mobile. In order to reach users in the moment, advertisers need not only to be present on mobile devices but also provide exceptional browsing experiences.  Google’s mobile research has shown that the average load time for mobile sites is 19 seconds, while 53% of mobile site visits are abandoned after three seconds of loading. Fast loading time is a must and projects such as Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs) aim to address this issue. With AMPs, the load time of mobile pages is reduced to under a second. Brands need to follow updates regarding AMPs and see how these changes can be applied to their mobile experiences.

 

MEASUREMENT:
Strategies to be cross-device and platform agnostic.  Measurement being key, there was discussion around multi-device, multi-channel and offline measurement since many people who search online, also visit the a retail store (and by extension display suite).  While store visits as a conversion metric is already live in Adwords, there are many more exciting developments that we can watch out for in the online to offline measurement.

 

VIDEO: 
Leveraging Video for Brand Building & Sales.  Traditionally, video has been viewed as an awareness and engagement driver; however, recent studies by Google have shown online video advertising does drive conversion metrics such as purchase intent and sales.  To help support these lower funnel conversions, YouTube has been updating their products and rolling out new options. This includes the Action ads: tailored  call-to-action ads that run alongside TrueView videos which can include unique CTAs such as “enquire now”, “download a brochure”, or “buy now” to help drive performance.

 

VIRTUAL REALITY: 
Exciting space for providing immersive experiences.  Global interest on Google Search for virtual reality grew by almost four times last year. Products such as Google Cardboard are providing users with simple and affordable ways to experience virtual reality through mobile apps.  This more than anything got me excited about the future of property advertising as it will reduce the cost and barriers of trial and adoption.

 

AI/MACHINE LEARNING: 
We are already living in a mobile-first world and the next step is a transition to artificial intelligence. Real-time automated learning has been present through programmatic media buying for a few years, but every day new Ad-tech emerges allowing Advertisers to delivering precise, efficient and relevant ads for our clients.  Google’s answer to this are responsive and “Smart” display ads with multiple variations (headline, body copy, image, URL, etc.) which automatically adjusts to fit almost any ad space, including native formats.

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It was an awesome conference, with interesting people and content around every corner and I am super grateful to my hosts at Google for inviting me along.  With emerging technologies and digital trends unfolding daily, it is crucial for companies to step away from the traditional consumer journey model.  Consumer behavior is becoming increasingly complex to predict and to reach people effectively and efficiently, Marketers need to stay on the front foot, testing new communication tools and trialling different messages to stay ahead of the competition. And we all need to stay up-to-date with new products (such as dynamic creative and virtual reality) and find ways of connecting with our audience in a meaningful and engaging ways to earn their trust and build repeat business.

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