Thoughts

So Long AdWords, Hello Google Ads! What’s New??

You’ve probably seen the email from Google by now. The AdWords name is no more, time to welcome Google Ads. It looks like myself, along with a number of others in the industry are going to need to update website service offering pages pretty soon.

Google will be hanging up two of it’s most recognized brand names in its recent rebrand. AdWords will now simply be called Google Ads, DoubleClick for advertisers & Google Analytics 360 will now be under the Google Marketing Platform brand. Finally, DoubleClick for publishers & DoubleClick Ad Exchange will now be called Google Ad Manager.

Along with the changes to AdWords & Analytics 360, Google will also be rolling out Display & Video 360 within the Google Marketing Platform. This’ll consolidate DoubleClick Bid Manager, Campaign Manager, Studio, and Google Audience Center 360. The solution will help provide a hub for agency, creative, and media teams to work on campaigns together.

Ok, so you read most of this in the email from Google. While many of these changes are superficial, Google’s rolling out one pretty cool change you should know about.

Smart Campaigns

I advise a number of businesses on AdWords. Whether sharing tips and tricks or completely managing campaigns, I’m in AdWords pretty often. Usually, when I’m doing research for an industry I like to take a look at ads running for keywords I’m looking to bid on. As of late, I’ve noticed a number of ads for companies with no website. The AdWords ad simply goes to a landing page.

It seems Google’s noticed this too, hence the creation of Smart Campaigns. The new default campaign for Google Ads is now created with small businesses in mind. Google’s really made this process simpler by allowing users to focus on specific goals. This is seemingly a step up from AdWords Express, automating the entire process from creative to targeting. Google has also hinted at tools to assist companies with little to no web presence.

What’s Next

As the month goes on you’ll begin to see the rollout of these new changes, as well as additional campaign types & updates. Expect to learn a few new things during the Google Marketing Live event on July 10.

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Zuck Beat Congress! Now What?

Mark Zuckerberg was able to outmaneuver Congress last week. He gave a decent performance and I think we all need to admit why. Mark’s a robot. If you watched any of his testimony you know it’s true. Zuck’s a machine capable of carrying out a complex series of actions automatically, and while we may try, humans can’t match a robot in discipline, speed, and endurance. The Facebook team (the army of $1,500 an hour communications consultants) observed these flaws and effectively beat Congress.

There were a few heated exchanges, and poignant points on power & privacy made by senators Lindsey Graham, and Dick Durbin to name a few, however, no one could really maintain any meaningful dialogue for the allotted 5 minutes. Zuck always knew how to burn out the clock. He’s a robot remember. Each response was perfectly measured out to take up just enough time.

What Happens Now?

So Mark left capitol hill largely unscathed, saw an uptick in stock price, and while public opinion of Facebook continues to suffer, it wasn’t as bad as many, (including myself) thought it would be. But while the Facebook team was able to take a quick breath this is far from over. There’re a few more things Facebook will need to look out for.

I can’t help but think that the UK was watching the hearing last week and thought to themselves, “We’ll show you how a hearing is supposed to go.” While many of the headlines about Margrethe Vestager are regarding her threats of breaking up Google, she and the rest of the EU aren’t the fondest of Zuck. The UK’s already threatened Facebook with regulation if they don’t do better protecting users privacy, and I have a feeling the EU might just skip the hearing and give our robot more trouble.

Regulation may also come from another place at home. It’s been a suspicion by many that the source of regulation would come from the attorney general of a red state after realizing Facebook’s been a vessel of huge wealth transfer from the US to the rest of the world. Looks like someone’s stepped up to the challenge, as Missouri’s attorney general has launched an investigation into Facebook with other ag’s looking to pile on as well.

What Does this Mean for Advertisers?

As I watched the hearings last week I noticed I was watching from two very different perspectives. The first was from a Facebook user since 2006, who’d genuinely forgotten just how much information I’d handed over to Facebook. The second was as an advertiser wondering what happens next.

Multiple times during the hearing Zuck reiterated to lawmakers that Facebook would be applying the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to the business globally beginning May 25th. GDPR basically strives to protect user data every step of the way while the user has ultimate control.

So what does this mean for us, the advertisers? User complaints, even threaten, must be taken seriously when it applies to personal data. You have to have a report any suggestion of a complaint or challenge to Facebook. Additionally, campaign analytics and reports have to stay internal. You cannot use that information in presentations or case studies without consent from Facebook.

Also, pixel sharing is out. This has been a not so secret marketing tactic lately, however, Facebook’s putting an end to it. You can not place tracking pixels on sites that you have access to but don’t belong to you or your client.

Facebook’s facing some hard questions at the moment. They’ve even titled their latest blog post Hard Questions. This debate on user privacy is just beginning and I’m sure we’ll hear of additional developments in the next few months.

Know Your Audience! Make Sure Your Buyer Personas Are Accurate.

If you’ve researched or heard someone online talk about inbound marketing, or really digital marketing in general lately, you’ve likely heard how important buyer personas are. Personas are a bit of a buzzword in the industry at the moment, everyone seems to be talking about them. While I think it’s great that more people are becoming aware of the importance of buyer personas, the term is becoming so commonplace now that it’s close to becoming useless jargon.

It seems for some teams, personas are a quick task to take off the checklist before launching a campaign. Teams classify them without conducting enough research into if they’re correct or make sense. This is dangerous!

Before launching a marketing campaign you have to know the audience you’re trying to reach. If you’re basing your campaign on unreliable data you’ll waste time and money. So let’s break down what buyer personas are.

A buyer persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers (1). Personas typically include demographics, buyer motivation, goals, and behavior patterns. At face value it can seem easy to put a persona together, however, there are key things to keep in mind to create accurate personas.

Your Audience & Persona usually aren’t the same. 

First things first, you’re going to need to have specific buyer personas. If you’re selling custom-made basketball shoes to Lebron James and the starting five for the Cavaliers congratulations, you’ve struck marketing gold, your persona and audience are one. The only problem is that this very rarely happens. Take the multifamily housing industry. You may be targeting an apartment manager and c-suite executive, but if you use the same messaging for both you’ll miss key pain points. You need to have personas that reflect the different segments of your audience.

So start with building out the different segments of your audience. Think through what they’ll look like and realize that while they’ll both be looking at your endpoint solution or product, the way you’ll market to them will be different.

Take a few stabs in the dark

At this point, it’s ok to start taking a few guesses. If you’re the owner of the business, or you’ve worked in the business for a while you should have an idea of who your buyers are, so start there. Ask your sales team who they’re interacting with the most. See if there’s any particular group they’re having to most success with. Talk to your marketing team and see who they’re building marketing campaigns around, and what type of content seems to bring in traffic. Take a look at your website data as well. Google Analytics can give you a ton of information on who’s visiting your site.

Take all of this information and start putting together groupings. Age groups, job titles, industry, you should document any information that can be grouped together.

Time to vet your information

This is where the persona process usually stops. Teams think they’ve uncovered enough information and they’re ready to start using the personas. While you may get lucky, this is the time to test the personas you’ve created to see if they’re accurate. If you were to work with me, (Grant H. Williams by the way), my process begins with taking the information from the previous step and creating a survey.

Depending on the project I may deploy the survey to your customers or a larger audience. This allows me to see how your product or service fits into purchasing patterns. Once the survey’s deployed it’s time to take the findings and put them into a market research database. Using this will really allow you to pinpoint demographics, attitudes, and household makeup.

After distilling this information, it’s time to put the personas together. For certain products and services, it’s also necessary to create focus groups, or interviews to get additional feedback from people in your personas.

Take it seriously

Creating accurate personas takes a lot of work. It’s easy to come up with a few general notions about your buyers and launch a campaign, but that’ll cause you to miss out on key opportunities. Correctly putting together personas and creating a strategy around them is imperative in increasing sales and strengthening your brand.

If you’re interested in beginning the persona process get in touch!