Inside Google Marketing: Using data + storytelling to create timely, relevant ads for Google apps

Ernesto Soriano / August 2017

The key to effective, attention-grabbing advertising? Make it personal. Here, product marketer Ernesto Soriano explains how his team used personalised, highly relevant ads featuring Google apps to increase purchase intent for Android devices.

There’s a big reason that creatives embrace data: It has the potential to help them make smarter, more personal, and more impactful campaigns. Marketers are updating brand marketing’s old formula—media + creative—and bringing data into the mix right from the beginning: data + media + creative.

The Google marketing team in Australia was eager to adopt this new brand marketing formula and use data as a driver for our creative. Before diving into the new programmatic bells and whistles, however, we started with a human insight (based on data, of course): People who use Google apps on their phones are more likely to stay loyal to Android.

The idea: Use data signals to deliver highly relevant messages that show how specific Google apps can add enjoyment and utility when millennials are planning or enjoying their favourite activities. Together with our digital agency, we developed a variety of dynamic mobile display ads and used Google Marketing Platform1 tools to serve the ads in truly impactful moments.

Using data signals to create more personal and more relevant mobile ads

Our first step was to identify key audience segments related to activities that Aussie millennials love, such as surfing, road-tripping, and staying fit. Using third-party tools that show interests based on the apps people installed alongside Google’s affinity audiences, we built distinct groups that included “beach-bound travellers,” “road-trippers,” and “fitness buffs.”

With these key segments mapped out, our creative team could develop a series of dynamic mobile display ads with Studio.

“When human insights are married to the right data, today’s brands can unlock significant potential. Ad campaigns can be more efficient, more agile, and more relevant to consumers.”

The ad creative was customised and served dynamically by Google Marketing Platform to align with powerful data signals, including user interests, time of day, and location. Here are a few examples showing how our data-driven creative helped tell a relevant story to Android users in key moments:

Users in the “fitness buffs” audience were served an ad showing how to use one of the following: Google Search to find fresh fare nearby, Google Maps to plan a new running route, or Google Play Music to curate the perfect workout playlist. The kicker? The routes and search results displayed on the ads were based on the user’s location in that moment.


For the “beach-bound travellers” audience, users received ads with location-specific search results for nearby beaches and Google Maps directions to local surf spots. Depending on the time of day, the ad’s background animation changed to a beautiful view of the beach at sunrise or sunset—golden hours for surfers.


Another set of ads highlighted how Google Play Music and Google Maps could make the most of road-trippers’ next adventures based on their current location.


All these different data cues and levers enabled our team to design dynamically custom creative that would truly resonate with and delight Australians. With the Google Marketing Platform stack monitoring how many times ads were shown to each person, we could also set up frequency capping and show people the optimal number of ads.

Data-driven creative helped boost Google app usage and Android loyalty

To gauge the creative’s impact, our digital agency used a proprietary tool within Display & Video 360 to survey users after they saw the ads. The results were impressive: The data-driven creative helped drive a +5.5% absolute lift in Android purchase intent and boosted usage of Google Maps by +10%.


As our team discovered, creating truly engaging ads starts with genuine insights about an audience. When human insights are married to the right data, today’s brands can unlock significant potential. Ad campaigns can be more efficient, more agile, and more relevant to consumers.

Inside Google Marketing: Using data to drive successful digital brand campaigns in Australia