Google product round-up for Q1 2018: Top new products to keep an eye on this year

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Melanie Hyde

With the first quarter of the year recently ending, it’s worth reflecting on three months of some exciting developments in the world of paid search from Google’s product update from Q1 2018. Below is a quick round-up of some of the features we have tested at Branded3, and some of the others we have our eye on for the near future that we think will be the most beneficial for advertisers and agencies alike to use.

New audience targeting and smarter bidding

Key highlights for me is, yet again, we can see more product launches that centre around audiences, how to use them with more intelligence, and automation through smarter bidding and AI (artificial intelligence).

There have also been several improvements made to DoubleClick’s bid and budget management tool, to be able to use a combination of budget and ROI (return on investment) targets. This will enable advertisers to manage their budget spend and maximise a specific outcome to business targets.

For those advertisers utilising YouTube products, we have seen launches in TrueView for reach, new formats like vertical video ads, outstream videos, video mastheads, video ad sequencing, and target frequency options. All of which are helping advertisers reach those potential customers in more enticing ways.

One of my favourite areas Google has clearly spent a lot of time developing is audience targeting. A few new features have come out this quarter, such as, detailed demographics, new ways to reach people based on their interests through new affinities, new life events, new in-market segments, and custom intent, to name a few.

A couple of our other highlights

  • Custom intent audiences in the Google Display Network

This AdWords feature has come out of beta this quarter and we are using on a few clients with good success. Used at the moment just on the Google Display Network (GDN), we are now able to target really specific audience segments as well as specific URLs that people may have visited, all to understand deeper intent and interest.

We currently use it to target competitor URLs and to change the way we bid and how we talk to people through our creative.

  • Store visits using Smart Bidding in Search and Target ROAS

Alongside being able to now add store visits as part of a conversion column, we can now apply Target ROAS (return on ad spend) and use store visits metrics as part of Smart Bidding.

This is particularly useful if advertisers have multiple stores and potentially a lot of footfall traffic that would normally be hard to attribute back to paid search. If there is the ability to, advertisers can now track email addresses or collect them at point of sale and then track those in-store visitors back to a paid search keyword and spend.

  • Seasonality controls for Smart Bidding

This allows us to pre-plan and block out periods of the year where we may see performance anomalies that would affect historical data being pulled through Smart Bidding or ECPCs (enhanced cost-per-click). This then allows the account to work from the most consistent data to make more reliable decisions about how to push bids and keywords for performance.

This will be valuable for retail advertisers who may have sale periods, like Black Friday or Boxing Day sales, and don’t want these numbers to impact normal optimization.

Overall a busy quarter for the dev team at Google – and keep the updates coming! Excited to see what happens Q2.

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