Reconnect with site visitors using beautiful, customized dynamic ads

As we continue to expand our advertising solutions, our goal is to provide a great user experience for both advertisers and consumers. We know that advertisers are always looking for new ways to reach their customers with compelling ads that drive engagement and conversions. Today, we are excited to announce the launch of dynamic remarketing to all clients with a Google Merchant Center account. We are also currently piloting this new feature in the travel and education sectors and plan to expand availability to more sectors later this year.

Beautiful, tailored ads to reconnect with customers
Dynamic remarketing lets you automatically create beautiful, customized ads that connect with shoppers across the web, by reminding them of items they've seen on your site. You can build ads quickly with dozens of templates to choose from that you can customize to reflect the design elements of your brand. We have also made it easy to get started by automatically creating dynamic text and display ads for you.

Sample dynamic ads (see more here):

Advertisers have seen great results compared to their traditional remarketing campaigns:
  • Sierra Trading Post, a U.S. retailer of outdoor gear and clothing, saw a 2x higher clickthrough rate and a 5x higher conversion rate
  • As Europe’s premiere “heavy metal online shop,” EMP Merchandising grew conversion rates by 230% and decreased their cost of sale by 30%.
You can read more about other client successes on Think Insights.

Optimizing dynamic ads to drive performance
Dynamic remarketing delivers tailored ads across the web that combine the layouts, products, messages and offers that your customers are most likely interested in, based on what they viewed on your website. You can benefit from our:
  • Auto-optimized layouts which predicts the best performing layout for each impression
  • Product recommendation engine which optimizes the combination of related and popular products that show in your ads [Learn more]
  • Real-time bidding algorithm which helps boost performance by calculating the optimal bid for each impression
For help on getting started reference this Help Center article.

Making it easy for advertisers
Managing campaigns more efficiently is just one of the many benefits of remarketing with Google. Last year, we introduced a site-wide remarketing tag and remarketing with Google Analytics that both made it easy to get started with your campaigns. You can also use the tag to discover new customers similar to your site visitors with Similar Audiences, which has been recently made available to all clients in AdWords.

Remarketing drives great ROI for advertisers, it can also bring publishers significant revenue lift, as studies have shown, and compelling ads for consumers. We’ve also given consumers options to exercise control over their ad experience with features like the Ads Settings and Mute this Ad.

To learn more about what remarketing with Google can do for your business, register for our upcoming Learn with Google Webinar: Reaching the Right Audience with Remarketing on Wednesday, June 26, 2013 at 1pm ET.

Posted by Aitan Weinberg, Group Product Manager

The new Display Benchmarks Tool: put context around your display campaigns

Imagine: you’ve built a beautiful digital marketing campaign and it’s finally live. You get your reports back with a list of data points and while the numbers seem good, it’s pretty hard to understand them without any reference points. That’s the crutch: data doesn’t take on meaning when it’s just floating around in the ether; you need to build context around your data and anchor it to other relevant data points to better understand what your own numbers mean.

Industry benchmarks -- reference points aggregated from ad campaigns across the industry -- give you these comparisons. And today, for the first time, we’re launching the Display Benchmarks Tool, an easy-to-use webpage that lets you pull benchmarks to help you make better decisions about your campaigns.

Whether you're after comparisons by country, industry vertical, ad size or ad format, our tool offers up-to-date benchmarks across 10 key display metrics, such as interaction rate and time, expansion rate and video completions. Here’s a quick demo of how to pull the benchmarks.

We've been playing around with the tool and identified some interesting trends around user engagement in our industry. Here's a bit of what we've seen:

Trend #1 User choice leads to more engagement: People want to choose how and when they consume content online. We’re starting to see new ad formats, such as the TrueView and Engagement formats, that let people choose whether to watch or skip an ad. Our benchmark data shows that people are increasingly choosing to interact with these ads. Video completion rates are the highest we’ve ever seen, with people completing 60% of the videos that they watch.

Trend #2: Richer ads lead to more engagement: Longer interaction also stems from more beautiful and compelling ads, which advertisers are increasingly incorporating in their campaigns. Interactive video ads, such as this one from Cadillac, allow advertisers to layer information about their brands on top of their video commercials. Dual-channel ads, such as this Skyfall ad, let viewers turn their mobile phones and tablets into controllers that dictate what happens within the content on their desktop. These ads represent the new creative formats that are closing the gap between advertising and awesome content. And we’re seeing the results: since last summer, people are interacting with rich media ads ~50-60% more frequently and spending ~20% more time interacting.

Trend #3: Optimize your campaigns for engagement: Advertisers used to rely solely on click-through rates and reach/frequency reports to measure their campaigns. Now, these new rich media formats provide a better set of metrics, which help advertisers understand what’s best for users and optimize their campaigns. For example, from the benchmarks tool we’ve learned that interaction rates correlate strongly with larger ad area - the bigger the ad, the more frequently people will interact with it. Similarly, we’ve learned that rich media expanding formats are better for getting people to interact frequently, while in-page formats are better for getting people to interact for longer amounts of time. These types of insights are instrumental in making improvements to an advertiser’s campaign.

These findings confirm what we've heard from our partners -- as ads become more engaging and relevant to users, their performance improves. If you’re still hungry for more data, don’t worry --  next Tuesday, we’ll be kicking off a “Data Insights Blog Series,” where we’ll deep-dive into one trend a week and explain how the insights apply to your campaigns.

As you check out the tool for yourself, let us know if you find any nuggets you think we’ve missed. We just might feature your insight in one of our blog posts.

Posted by Becky Chappell, Product Marketing, DoubleClick

The Importance of Being Seen: Viewability and Brands

Brand marketers since the “Mad Men” era have often sought insight to a simple question: ‘Was my ad seen?’ The answer was that your ad was published, your commercial ran, your online impression served on a web page, but it was impossible to say with certainty whether an ad was viewed or not. Thanks to leaps forward in digital technology and the hard work of many in the industry, it's now possible to measure whether an ad is viewable onscreen. Given this progress, it's not a matter of if this becomes the standard, but when.

We support a viewable impressions standard and have been partnering with the industry to push this forward. Today we've reached an important milestone on this journey - Media Rating Council (MRC) accreditation for our viewability measurement solution, Active View, which we introduced last year.

"We are very pleased that Google has achieved accreditation for its Active View product" said George Ivie, CEO and Executive Director of the Media Rating Council.  "Viewable impressions are an important foundational improvement in digital measurement and an important step toward comparability with other electronic media."

Active View complements our other investments in making digital an effective medium for brand marketers and their awareness-building campaigns, like Lightbox ads and TrueView in AdMob and games. These efforts appear to be paying off for brand advertisers: we saw a 65 percent increase last quarter alone in the number of brand advertisers using our brand formats and buying tools.

The Active View Roadmap

Viewability has the power to transform the industry: improving the value of marketers’ spend, and of publishers’ sites. We’ve also designed this metric to be actionable, not just for after-the-fact reporting. Based on Active View, advertisers can buy reservable inventory on the Google Display Network (GDN), paying only for impressions that meet the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s proposed viewability standard - at least 50% on screen for one second or longer.

Effective metrics also serve as a universal currency, building an understanding between marketers and content creators about the best way to reach an audience, and the value of an ad on a page. This is why we’ll be building Active View into our products both for advertisers and publishers. In addition to its use on the GDN, Active View reporting will be available in DoubleClick for Advertisers and DoubleClick for Publishers in 2013. Long term, we see this becoming the new standard for how impressions are bought, sold and measured, replacing the “served impressions” metric we have today.

While many intuitively suspected that increased viewability would directly translate into better campaign performance, we now have data to back that up. On our network, we compared ads by the number of seconds they appeared on screen and found:
  • Users are more likely to click on viewable ads -- up to 21 times more.
  • Viewability can help publishers discover “gold below the fold,” with CTR doubling, on average, for below-the-fold inventory. On average, we’ve found that CTR is comparable for viewable above-the-fold and viewable below-the-fold inventory.
  • The longer users view an ad, the bigger the boost for click-through rates (we saw up to a 125% increase when an ad was viewed for more than 20 seconds).

Figure 1.  Comparison of CTR for viewable v. non-viewable ads, shown for all ads (left panel) and BTF inventory only (right panel) (100% = the average CTR of the specified dataset).

Figure 2.  CTR by viewable time, detail.
*Data source for all figures:  Google Display Network 2% sample from February 2013; display ads only; viewable = 50% onscreen.  In all figures, 100% on the y-axis denotes the average CTR across all ad queries in the specified dataset.

Google’s MRC accreditation, which currently applies to the Google Display Network and DoubleClick for Advertisers, was based on a thorough assessment of a number of factors, including the detection process, quality control and delivery standards.

With this accreditation, we are one step closer to making a viewable standard a reality for our partners. With better measurement, we think it's possible to unlock a new golden age of creation across the web, where users can enjoy great content, brands can connect with their customers and content creators can accelerate their growth.

Posted by Neal Mohan, Vice President, Display Advertising

Easier planning, better reporting: New tools for display ads

Great ad campaigns have always required two things: knowing your audience, and using that knowledge to reach them in smart ways.

Today we're thrilled to announce new innovations that will help display advertisers with both parts of that equation. They are the Google Display Planner and two new reports: Demographic Performance and Placement Performance.

First, meet the Google Display Planner, a free research and planning tool that delivers targeting ideas and estimates to help you build better display campaigns. Based on data you enter, the tool suggests places to run your ads on the Google Display Network along with key related details: impression and cookie ranges for our inventory, age and gender breakdowns, and historical cost-per-click (CPC) information.  These features can help you: 
  • Find new inventory.  Display Planner finds and suggests thousands of websites, mobile applications and video channels for your ads across the online world. 
  • Generate targeting ideas. Are you trying to reach golfers, or new parents? Just describe their interests, websites you know they visit and products they buy. Display Planner will use that data to suggest good keywords and other targeting ideas.
  • Turn data into insights.  What is the total opportunity for your Google Display Network campaign and what can you expect in return? Display Planner tells you, with estimates and historical data to back it up.
Display Planner
Display Planner is part of AdWords, so with one click you can add your plan directly to your account, or download to share it. Display Planner will be available in the Tools & Analysis menu, and will be rolling out to the US over the course of this week, and globally in the next few weeks.  You can learn more in our Help Center.

Now for the other half of the equation: knowing your audience. Our two new reports will help you understand how your ads perform across different customer segments and websites. 

Demographic Performance Reports show how different demographic segments, gender and age buckets, respond to your messages by showing the impression, click and conversion rates for each group - a marketer's dream!  Armed with these new insights you can quickly tailor your ads to be more relevant for your audience, and modify your targeting and bidding settings for better performing campaigns. 

New Age Reports in Display Network Tab
New Placement Performance Reports combine automatic and managed placements in one report, so you can see quickly how your ads perform on different websites and adjust your targeting and bidding accordingly and with ease. These new reports will be available globally in the next few weeks in the Display Network Tab.   

The beauty of digital is real-time information and real-time action. We hope these new features will give you more insights, better ways to act on them, and an easier and more efficient way for you to buy display ads.

Posted by Christian Oestlien, Director of Product Management, Google Display Network

Upgrade to enhanced campaigns more easily with the new AdWords upgrade center

Enhanced campaigns help you reach people with the right ads based on their context - including location, time of day and device - without having to set up and manage several separate campaigns. For most advertisers, upgrading is a simple 3-step process. Already, advertisers have upgraded more than 1.5 million campaigns and seen strong results.

New upgrade center

Today we're introducing the upgrade center to make upgrading easier for advertisers with lots of campaigns. With the upgrade center, you can upgrade several campaigns at a time and merge campaigns together with just a few clicks. As the upgrade center rolls out to all accounts over the next few weeks, you can access it from the left-hand nav bar on the Campaigns tab. Learn more.

Upgrade center entry point

There are two basic ways to use the upgrade center.

1. Bulk upgrade

This option provides a fast way to upgrade multiple campaigns that don’t need to be merged. Rather than upgrade campaigns one at a time, you can select several campaigns, choose a mobile bid adjustment, view traffic estimates, and upgrade with fewer clicks.

2. Merge and upgrade

If you have search-only or search+display campaigns that have similar keywords and location targets, the upgrade center automatically identifies them as candidates to merge. You’ll then be able to preview and adjust the proposed campaign settings, ad groups, and extensions for the merged campaign. By default, ad groups and budgets will be combined. Other campaign level settings and extensions in the Primary campaign will override those in the Secondary campaign.

Table view of merged campaign settings

After creating new enhanced campaigns, we recommend upgrading your extensions for more control, flexibility and relevance. You may also want to add back any important keywords, negatives, extensions, or location targets from your Secondary campaign which were left behind in the merge.

We recommend upgrading display-only campaigns rather than merging them together. The upgrade tool doesn't support the ability to merge image ads, audience targeting criteria, and other display-specific campaign elements.

There’s also an advanced mode in the upgrade center, which provides a view of all of the campaigns in your account, providing more flexibility and less guidance if you’ve already developed a strategy for how to merge and upgrade.

Starting on July 22, 2013, we will begin upgrading all campaigns to enhanced campaigns.  As you’re upgrading to enhanced campaigns, please continue to share your feedback using our feedback form.

To learn more about strategies for upgrading to enhanced campaigns and the upgrade center, please join us today at 10:00 a.m. PDT at our Learn with Google webinar.

Posted by Neil Inala, Product Manager, AdWords

Introducing The Google Display Network Playbook for Performance Marketers

We’re living in an always-connected culture -- in fact, the average American spends a full 2 months of their waking year online (emarketer, 2011). That’s time spent at work, on the go with mobile phones, and on the couch with tablets. With this wide array of screens, how do you reach your audience, and your performance goals -- at scale and with efficiency? The Google Display Network has the reach and technology to help get your message to the right customer, at the right time, all across the web -- no matter the device or channel. But putting together an optimized performance campaign to reach this fragmented audience can be a real challenge -- so we decided to bring you your very own toolkit --  The Google Display Network Playbook for Performance Marketers.

Over the next few months we’ll highlight specific sections of the playbook. You’ll get more familiar with all the different steps of display that make it excellent for performance -- including targeting, creative, bidding, measurement, and optimization.

We’ll turn our spotlight first on learning more about how display works with your performance goals, with topics such as:

How reach + precision = performance
With 93% reach to US Internet advertisers, and sophisticated technology to find your specific audience, you’re more likely to  reach performance goals at scale.

Performance across all devices and channels
In this always connected, yet fragmented, world, the Google Display Network spans across devices (desktop, mobile and tablet) and channels (social and video) to connect you to your potential customers, wherever they are.

Increasing the holistic value of your campaigns with display
Search and display campaigns complement and reinforce each other. What’s more, tools like remarketing help you re-engage with users that have already shown interest by visiting your site.

Download the playbook today, and stay tuned for even more ways that the Google Display Network can help you drive results in your performance campaigns.

Posted by Mary Shirley, Product Marketing Manager, Google Display Network