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Engage the right audiences at scale using your first-party data
Once you’ve established a privacy-safe measurement foundation, you can begin activating your first-party data to deliver relevant ad experiences in a privacy-preserving way.
For instance, you can use first-party data to engage with your best customers. When people share their contact information with your business, you can use Customer Match to reach them as they move across Google properties, including Search, Shopping, Gmail, and YouTube. When implemented correctly, these data connections can create significant value for both your brand and your customers. Remember, 66% of consumers in surveyed countries consider it important to have a personalized experience with a brand.1
In this section, we’ll share specific guidance on how to increase audience engagement using your first-party data.
MandM Direct, one of the U.K.’s largest online-only fashion and sports retailers, ran an experiment on a Discovery campaign with a target return on ad spend (ROAS) bidding strategy. Target ROAS optimizes for increased campaign efficiency and conversion value. MandM Direct focused on lower funnel audiences and activated its first-party data using Customer Match to reengage with past customers who were either value shoppers or travel and outdoor enthusiasts. After an initial learning period, MandM Direct gradually increased its bidding goals during the last two quarters.
MandM Direct’s strategy led to a 120% improvement in ROAS and a 48% increase in revenue growth in the first quarter of 2022 across all of its Discovery campaigns compared to its fourth-quarter 2021 performance. The brand also saw a 20.7% decrease in cost per acquisition (CPA) and a 4.4% decrease in cost per click for its Discovery campaigns.
You can also use Smart Bidding to take action on this data. Smart Bidding strategies automatically leverage signals from your first-party data and use machine learning to optimize for conversions or conversion value in every auction.
And, because some conversions are worth more than others for many businesses, a value-based bidding strategy can help you optimize for total value, rather than volume. This means strategies such as Maximize conversion value with an optional target ROAS will automatically adjust your bids to reach your highest-value customers.
Optimizing toward value when using Smart Bidding can drive reliable ROI and unlock the next wave of growth. If you are already bidding toward value, consider deploying your first-party data in service of even more advanced strategies, such as bidding toward profit or expected lifetime value. Google AI will work with the inputs you set to get you closer to meeting your business objectives.
On average, advertisers who switch their bid strategy from a CPA target to a ROAS target see 14% more conversion value at a similar return on ad spend.2
Learn more in our technical paper, Setting Smarter Search Bids.
Optimize app campaigns
Optimize for advanced bidding solutions on Android, such as target CPA or target ROAS, to acquire high-quality customers likely to complete your predetermined in-app actions.
Consolidate iOS App campaigns and use only target cost per install or target CPA bidding with eight or fewer app install campaigns for each of your iOS apps to maintain optimal performance due to SKAdNetwork’s campaign limitations.
Nectar Sleep, a brand that sells bedding products, found success with automated bidding, relying extensively on bidding to a target CPA. However, it wanted to see if bidding to a target ROAS might deliver more revenue in a cost-efficient way. To test this solution, Nectar Sleep conducted a wide-scale Smart Bidding experiment covering a significant amount of its most important search terms.
The target ROAS experiment outperformed its target CPA counterpart in almost every way, delivering a 17% increase in revenue, a 19% increase in conversions, a 5% increase in ROAS, and a 7% increase in conversion rate. Following this success, Nectar Sleep decided to migrate a large portion of its Search campaigns to target ROAS.
Engage your first-party audience in Display & Video 360
In Display & Video 360, we’ve created a new way for advertisers to power their advertising using first-party data through Publisher Advertiser Identity Reconciliation (PAIR). PAIR gives publishers and advertisers the option to securely and privately reconcile their first-party data for the audiences who have visited both of their sites. This data can be connected through clean rooms, ensuring that any data shared by advertisers and publishers stays secure, and only their encrypted data gets shared with Display & Video 360 for reconciliation. PAIR gives advertisers the ability to more closely connect with their known audiences and show relevant ads, without tracking individuals across the web or relying on third-party cookies.
Use the power of AI to discover new audiences
One of the most exciting benefits of AI is its potential to help marketers reach qualified audiences, even when some signals are limited.
Google can blend a wide range of signals with the help of AI to reach interested users and optimize the ads they see.
These signals include user attributes, such as:
- Who they are (their demographics)
- Interest-based information indicated by the websites and apps they use
- Contextual information available at the time of the auction, such as the content of the web page they’re browsing
Here’s how it works
When cookies are available from a third-party website, Google will combine those user signals with contextual ones like page content to determine someone’s interests and preferences. When cookies are restricted by browser rules or a user’s consent choices, Google Audiences will rely on other available signals, such as the context of the ad placement, to determine relevance.
Two additional options for reaching audiences likely to convert without relying on third-party cookies are optimized targeting and audience expansion. These features are available for your Discovery, Display, and Video action campaigns in Google Ads and Display & Video 360.
Advertisers who use optimized targeting in Display & Video 360 can see, on average, a 55% improvement when using first-party audiences. Similarly, audience expansion uses AI to help advertisers running video reach or consideration campaigns grow their reach incrementally. Audience expansion is available in Google Ads and will be available in Display & Video 360 later this year.
Learn more about how AI can help you reach new audiences
Be ready for what’s next in privacy
The Privacy Sandbox aims to develop new technologies that can be used to support many use cases, including interest-based and remarketing ads.
The Topics API supports interest-based ads
A person’s browser could provide topics that may reflect their interests based on recent browsing activity. This information could be used in combination with other information to present relevant ads without the need to track the specific sites they visited.
Learn more about Topics API
The Protected Audience API supports remarketing
When someone visits a company’s website and takes a valuable action, such as viewing a product, the website (or its ad tech vendor) can request to add the user to an interest group stored on the user’s own device. This limits the amount of data shared externally. Then, when that person visits other participating websites, ads associated with the interest group may be served using an on-device process.
Experimenting with new privacy-preserving technologies, alongside first-party data and AI-powered solutions, will help you grow your business. However, as an advertiser, you don’t need to implement these new technologies directly. Instead, you can continue using the privacy-safe solutions available today in Google Ads and Display & Video 360, such as Google Audiences, to benefit from the signals generated by the Privacy Sandbox technologies.
Learn more about Protected Audience API
A multifaceted approach to privacy
In this guide, we have articulated some important considerations, strategies and technologies that can help advertisers sustain relevant campaigns during a time of rising expectations for consumer privacy. More than ever, our industry must come together and adopt durable marketing strategies that raise the bar on user privacy. We welcome your collaboration as we seek to ensure the future of effective, privacy-first advertising.