Google Marketing Platform can be used by any business that runs digital media campaigns. It is necessary because it improves top-of-funnel and bottom-of-funnel conversion rates. More so, forces to optimize on an actual KPI and not click-through rate.
Google Marketing Platform (GMP) isn't a new tool for the marketer's toolbox. It's a new shed with all new tools. Although it’s tailored and built for enterprises, it has equal benefits for small- to medium-size businesses (SMBs).
Having used these technologies for single yoga studios that spend hundreds a month as well as international sports manufactures that spend hundreds of thousands per month, I can testify that its success and application isn’t tied to the number of zeros in a contract.
There are 11 components to GMP, each used for different purposes. I’ll be going over the 3 most valuable and important: DV360, SA360, and Floodlights.
3 Key Marketing Tools of Google Marketing Platform
- DV360 optimizes programmatic ads
- SA360 manages PPC campaigns across all search engines
- Floodlights helps track ad campaigns in greater detail
1. DV360 Optimizes Programmatic Ads
Display & Video 360 (DV360) is an immensely powerful demand-side platform for both video and display programmatic ads.
Why is DV360 Better Than Your Current Ad Exchange?
Why is DV360 better than your current ad exchange, programmatic vendor, or direct relationship? It all comes down to the quantity and quality of audience data and comparative end results.
We know programmatic is meant for filling the top-of-conversion funnel and for brand awareness. If you can perfect and refine that top of funnel, then you’re going to have more conversions at the bottom.
The reason DV360 can create this amazing top of funnel is due to access to audience data from third parties.
Essentially, a third-party audience is a data set coming from another company like Adobe, BlueKai, or LiveRamp. The provider names are somewhat meaningless, but the data provided is not:
- Advanced cookies
- Browsing behavior
- Credit card purchase data
- Travel information
- Personal and socio-economic data
- Data on people who are actively in-market for "X" product
All of that data is useful to generating top-of-funnel demand-side ads.
How Can You Benefit From DV360?
You can leverage all of the third-party data available on DV360 to push ads according to a very specific set of criteria. With DV360’s dashboard, you can visualize information on your users and set the parameters for your ads.
Let's say you market for a golf-relevant brand or know golfers are a persona you’re trying to reach. With DV360, you can target people who have recently bought golf equipment over $200.
Maybe you're launching a low-cost eco-friendly breakfast. You could target outdoor enthusiasts who have Folgers as their favorite coffee.
Or, maybe, just maybe, you work in consumer packaged goods (CPG) and are highly particular. Target people who have a purchase history at Whole Foods, filter to only men over 35, and geographically filter to the regions of your bottom five performing stores.
Anecdotally speaking, DV360 results have absolutely crushed any other programmatic channel (or even social channel) when running platform A/B.
2. SA360 Manages PPC Campaigns Across All Search Engines
While Display Video 360 is for programmatic, Search Ads 360 is for pay-per-click (PPC). SA360 is built on the same foundation as Google Ads but has evolved capabilities.
Who Needs a Premium Version of Google Ads?
Anyone, really, but especially those who:
- Are running a campaign across multiple search engines
- Have a longer buy cycle
- Want to spend less time personally optimizing
- Have multiple brands under one big umbrella
Search is a conversion tool. It’s your safety net when someone looks for you, it’s your conquest tool when they look for your competitors, and it’s your light in the sky when someone looks for your product/service without knowing who you are.
How Can You Benefit from SA360?
SA360 allows you to manage all search engine campaigns from one single platform (and yes, people use Bing). You can view your campaign’s performance in a consolidated performance dashboard, looking at visibility, engagement, and sales.
More so, it allows automated bid strategies to be set at keyword level across engine accounts. This will help save time, dollars, and provide more clarity. Beyond the basics, you’re able to create custom audiences based on keyword clicks and, from that, serve retargeted DV360 ads.
Ultimately, you’re creating highly niche and qualified internal audiences for additional conversion tactics.
3. Floodlights Helps Track Ad Campaigns in Greater Detail
Now for my personal favorite component in the GMP toolshed: Floodlights.
We could split hairs and say that Floodlights is technically part of Campaign Manager, but let's not.
Why Use Floodlights?
Floodlights allows you to track and optimize for conversions on all media channels whether that’s display, social, or search.
Optimizing a campaign for click-through rate or average view completion is good, but optimizing from an ad impression to a website action or purchase is better.
A Floodlight is basically just an advanced pixel that can be used in a variety of ways (a pixel is a line of code on your website that aims to serve a specific marketing goal like analytics, media serving, SEO optimizing, live chat, etc.).
How Can You Benefit From Floodlights?
Floodlights can be used 2 ways: it can be used as a conversion tracker or as a “bucket” for creating retargeting audiences.
There are 3 use cases when tracking conversions:
1. Web Page
Optimize your web page, from a user seeing an ad to hitting a specific page that isn't your landing page.
For example, let's say you run several yoga studios and you want to increase class registrations. However, the CRM and web platform are third-party. You're going to lose sight of your conversion funnel. But, as long as that user ends up back to your site on a re-direct page, it can be tracked.
2. HTML Action
GMP and Floodlights can leverage your HTML code for a specific action or change in status.
Who does this benefit? A good example could be anyone with a site that has form fill (lead generator), a restaurant chain with an internal booking button, or a lawyer who has a click-to-call button.
Again, this impacts a campaign as you no longer optimize for a click but for that desired action or KPI.
3. Return On Ad Spend
This is the Holy Grail. Track and optimize for an exact return on ad spend (ROAS) or cost per acquisition. Set the parameters for Display, Search and Social, and only hit those.
The best example of utilizing this would be for someone who has multiple locations, each with individual store locations. Track the ROAS from each individual store, learn the ones that have high return, and maximize until you plateau. You can also understand why some stores underperform.
Where conversion tracking really takes off is negating last-click attribution. You no longer have multiple overlapping conversions for the same sale nor have multiple people or platforms taking credit for the conversion.
GMP & Floodlights will have one conversion and the ad story behind it. For example, you could see that it took 2 display ads, 2 Facebook ads, and a Google click to convert.
I haven't forgot about the people in e-commerce. For you, Floodlights is your best friend.
Put one of these “buckets” on each individual product, and you can do SKU-based retargeting instead of retargeting with random products and offers.
Just choose the product, configure the tag, and pick which pages your ads will appear on.
If you put a Floodlight in your cart, anyone who doesn't purchase should receive an ad with that exact product and a promotion to incentivize a purchase.
Google Marketing Platform Can Boost Your Marketing Tech Stack
DV360, SA360, and Floodlights are powerful tools to thanks to their data analytics capabilities and specific filtering. However, not every SMB and Enterprise is going to leverage GMP, which is fine.
What needs to be applied, if not the technology, is the thought process.
Build and optimize campaigns with a key performance indicator (KPI) in mind and don’t pigeonhole yourself on “clicks" alone. This might mean extra leg work and making inferences after a deep Google Analytics dive.
Whatever you do, just don’t make assumptions without data. And be sure to allocate your budget based on the best click performance or you'll find all your dollars are spent on branded keyword pay per click.