Google introduces App + Web for unified reporting in Google Analytics

The new capabilities let marketers look at customer data in more complete and flexible ways.

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The customer journey has become increasingly complex over time, with users often switching back and forth between desktop and mobile and various channels before buying. It is thus fairly challenging for marketers to gain an accurate and complete view of their customers’ paths to purchase.

Two great tastes. Google has historically had two separate tools for web and app analytics: Google Analytics and Google Analytics for Firebase, for mobile apps. Now the company is combining their capabilities in a new property that seeks to provide a more unified view of customer data: App + Web for Google Analytics.

Director of Product Management for Google Analytics, Jesse Savage, said that he hopes the new offering will help marketers and brands improve the customer experience by giving them “a single, consistent set of metrics for more integrated reporting and a more comprehensive view of the customer journey” (on Google properties). Starting today, App + Web will begin rolling out to all Google Analytics and Analytics 360 users for free.

Flexible reporting. Out of the box, it will offer a set of common events or actions that marketers can measure (e.g., clicks, video views, downloads, opens, etc.). But Savage said the tool is very flexible and can be customized according to the needs and specific requirements of the marketer.

Google points out the types of questions publishers and brands can now more easily answer with App + Web, including:

  • How many total users do we have regardless of the platform?
  • Where are the majority of conversions happening (web or app)?
  • Which marketing or advertising channel is most effect at driving new user acquisition?

Analysis module offers new ways to look at the data. A new Analysis module also enables users to look at customer data in various and flexible ways, outside of standardized reports. These include “Exploration,” which allows drag and drop data visualization, “Funnel” analysis to determine where customers are entering and leaving your properties and “Path Analysis,” which helps marketers better understand the steps along the customer journey and why users did or did not convert.

Google says that if customers are currently using Google Tag Manager or the global site tag, you don’t have to do any re-tagging to take advantage of App + Web analytics. But you’ll need to implement the Firebase SDK for your app if that’s not already the case.

Why we should care. It’s critical for brands and marketers to gain as complete an understanding of their customers’ behavior as possible. Of course, Google isn’t the only platform consumers use in making buying decisions. For marketers entirely focused on their apps, or for those who don’t have an app, the new capabilities won’t be particularly meaningful. But for those focused on both mobile apps and the web, the new App + Web capability offers much greater visibility and insight than Google Analytics and Google Analytics for Firebase each could on their own.

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Key takeaways for brands after Google Marketing Live 2019

Digital giant bets big on shoppable ads, cross-app campaigns and real-time intelligence.

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There were a couple of telling stats from this week’s Google Marketing Live event, which included many digital ad product announcements and was attended by around 5,000 industry players in San Francisco. In a Google-led study, the tech giant sussed out one particular shopper who wanted to buy a single pair of jeans—the person spent 73 days looking and interacted with more than 250 digital touchpoints (searches, video views and page views) before making a purchase. The modern customer journey can be long and complicated, indeed.

This reality underscores the need for a wide range of customer intelligence—from social media listening and email insights to call data—so brands can act with as much relevance and real-time empathy as possible. Google, as much as any martech or adtech player, understands this need all too well and wants to make it easier for marketers to meet customers where they are at in the shopping cycle.

Now that Google Marketing Live is coming to a close, let’s take a look at the new ad products, stats and takeaways that marketing practitioners need to know.

Ads get more visual across apps

Google Discover, which has been the search engine’s news feed since September, now offers brands ad placements that are swipeable, carousel-style images that Instagram initially popularized a few years ago. Marketers can place the ads on not only Google Discover but also the YouTube home feed and the Gmail promotions tab.

Google also promises that these ads will get smarter and smarter due to machine learning. All told, these developments should be attractive if you’re a brand marketer who wants to run cross-app initiatives that strategically use the Alphabet-owned platforms’ wealth of data.

Advertisers should also pay attention to Gallery ads. Also similar to Instagram’s carousel ads, they are designed to be visually stimulating promos and will render at the top of mobile search results. They entail a scrollable gallery that will include four to eight images and up to 70 characters available for every photo. (Search Engine Land first reported on the emergence of these ads in February.)

Advertisers gain control over KPIs

Notably, Google has made moves on the data front to help ad buyers feel more in control over their campaigns. You can now choose what kinds of conversions (sales, lead-gen, email signups, webinar registrations, etc.) you want as your key performance indicator (KPI) at the campaign level.

Additionally, you can adjust conversion values based on the audiences you want to target. This ability will let you better tweak your ad bidding, which should improve ROI.

Ad tools improve efficiency for marketers on the go

The entire digital advertising ecosystem has gradually moved toward the smartphone mindset, letting you manage your campaigns from almost anywhere. In a growing number of instances, all you need to build and buy ads is a wireless signal. These mobile features help busy, often-traveling campaign managers get their work done in an efficient way.

With all of that in mind, Google now lets you build responsive search ads directly from its Google Ads mobile app. En route to a client meeting across town in a taxi cab but need to launch a last-minute holiday campaign? Google’s Android and iOS app now lets you write the search copy, optimize the headline, place bids and set budget constraints from your smartphone.

Timely data and alerts boost performance

Once again, Google recognizes that marketers aren’t always going to be in front of their laptop or at work. The Google Ads mobile app will now send notifications that alert you of a campaign’s performance as well as when better ad opportunities may be afoot.

Google clearly wants ad buyers to make use of their real-time intelligence. For instance, when certain keywords are performing poorly, you will be able to pause part or all of a campaign. And the app will offer you recommendations that can help drive sales. As one possible example, if you are a sneakers retailer and inventory for the white-hot shoe “Nike Air Presto” is unusually abundant—and therefore lower in cost on the bidding platform—the app will ping you to let you know of the opportunity. Google ad buyers of all sizes should appreciate such information, and the feature underscores how data is transforming all of marketing.

Local ads prove successful

While more and more sales happen online, 88% of all retail still happens offline. Therefore, retailers want their digital ads to not just drive ecommerce but also foot traffic to stores.

In recent years, Google, Facebook, Snapchat and other digital platforms have been working to prove that their ads help drive bricks-and-mortar sales. So, it was intriguing to see Google trot out brand-based statistics ahead of Google Marketing Live and during the show. The most impressive data point offered: Quick-serve giant Dunkin’ increased monthly store visits in some locations by 400% with Google’s location-based advertising.

 

Such revelations signal that hyperlocal marketing has gone multichannel, and advertisers of all sizes are now using digital to not only drive store visits but also sales in other offline channels like inbound phone calls.

Retail ads expanded

It’s clear Google wants a bigger chunk of retail advertising budgets as it competes with Amazon’s growing ad business.

Google revealed that its Showcase Shopping Ads, first debuted in 2017, have gone from being available for regular search results to the image search results, the discover search results and YouTube.

Showcase Shopping ads are similar to Galley Ads in that they offer the ability to include multiple product images that are scrollable from left to right. The ads also offer an easy way for consumers to click through to a product page and then commence to check out.

Marketers: stay ahead of the digital game

Google Marketing Live 2019 shows the brand marketing community continuing to march toward shoppable ads, tools for the mobile-minded practitioner, and improved targeting that leverages location data and granular performance metrics. For Google’s part, the ad products shown off represent the search engine giant’s desire to become a bigger player in retail.

It’s clear that Google is trying to advance how competitive it will be with Facebook, Amazon, and others for brand marketers’ ad dollars in the coming months—especially the holiday season. For all nearly all marketers, it’s imperative to keep pace as the available tools and best practices change at lightning speed.

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Google is focused on Ether and Ozone rather than on Amazon

Google journeys into uncharted territory with offline TV efforts and disruptive purchasing habits – countering competition from Amazon.

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We were marveled at Google Marketing Live. Fascinating demos and ground-breaking announcements like the Discovery Ads and the Bumper machine. The keynote also emphasized that Google is taking privacy seriously, which I was particularly pleased to hear. And in the ad innovations keynote, there was an overwhelming feeling that Google takes competition from Amazon more than seriously without ever mentioning it.

“Did they just say that?” was one of my common reactions during the keynote. I like the format of their presentations and the fact that you can go back and review presentations via the online portal almost immediately after they are finished. “Yes, they did!”, they said they were going to allow advertisers to book campaigns on national broadcast networks and local TV stations programmatically later this year. Google is reaching into the Ether. They also said they wanted to enable purchasing from a whole host of places within the Google properties; via voice commands, in images, in videos, in cars, in search results.

Wait, in search results? Did they just say that?

Buying functionalities will be available everywhere you use Google, a bit like the ozone gas which is distributed in the air around us in the atmosphere. Ozone is present in different doses but everywhere to be found. And it is, of course, the ozone layer that protects us from strong radiation from the sun. Fun fact, ozone which is composed of oxygen, is also lethal to humans if the concentration is too high.

Not only is Google working on Shopping Actions, which you can read more about here [https://searchengineland.com/new-personalized-shopping-actions-enabled-google-shopping-debuts-in-france-314458/], a functionality whereby you can compare products and buy from shops either within Google, by going to an online store or by going to a physical store. Initially, I found this surprising – and even a bit of a fuzzy positioning: buy either here or there or offline in a shop – buy wherever you see fit. It makes a little more sense when you consider that they are also activating the shopping experiences within all their properties and in future projects like in cars which were mentioned several times during the day. Will they be changing their mantra from Mobile First to Shopping First, I wonder? This impressive host of shopping-related initiatives is clearly aimed to defend Google from the rise of Amazon. Put up an ozone layer to protect them from Amazon radiation.

Why is Amazon such a danger to Google?

We currently observe a user behaviour by which an increasing number of people end their user journey on Amazon, whether they start it on Google, Facebook or somewhere else. 

If this user behavior expands further, then Google risks being excluded from the strong monetization related to e-commerce and limited to generating advertising revenues which can’t be connected directly to sales. Due to the way the digital marketing ecosystem works, this is increasingly important.

What originally made Google advertising so compelling was exactly the fact, that an advertising campaign could be directly connected to a conversion. This was what made Google Ads become such a dominating part of the marketing mix, and in turn, this, is what made Google rich.

Today, the user journey is not as linear as it was back then, and it has many more touch-points as the Ads innovation presentation on Google Marketing Live further illustrated: a purchase decision can take a user through 50 to 250 touchpoints and run over long periods of time. In parallel, organisations are increasingly measuring and monitoring the performance of their campaigns based on the impact they have on sales.

Facebook is generating powerful influence on buying decisions but it is a challenge to connect that influence to sales. The same goes for display and video advertising which is the reason why improved integration and measurement between channels is so important. If a sale takes place in a different Walled garden (Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, …) than the one which generated the decision to buy, connecting influence to action is difficult. As we saw in the presentations yesterday, Google aim to make it easier to track and monitor behaviour among their own properties and more difficult to track from other properties – in the name of privacy.

We found in our research at Innovell, that search & shopping strategies involving both Google and Amazon are already a winning approach for leading paid search teams around the world. Approximately 80% of these teams include shopping services in their offering, and 32% of them have already started working with Amazon Ads despite limited availability around the world.

With growth in searches slowing down and market share projected to recede in 2019, Google has chosen to take up the challenge. Growth is to be found in shopping and Google is going all in.

Google today master the entire user journey except for the final sales transaction. They are reaching into the ether to connect with one of the last offline media outlets, TV broadcast. And at the other end of the user journey, rather than trying to do what Amazon does, they have chosen to do like the ozone gas, dilute their shopping capabilities everywhere around us when we are in touch with products or services via a Google service. Everywhere to be found, and aiming at disrupting the user journey to their advantage.

2019 is Ether and Ozone.

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