The Update: Measurement that helps every marketing dollar count
In this episode of our series The Update, Google’s Global VP of Ads Marketing Marie Gulin-Merle talks to VP of Measurement and Analytics at Google Vidhya Srinivasan about the importance of measurement in the current moment. Metrics are shifting on a weekly and sometimes daily basis. Listen as they discuss finding and acting on insights during times of upheaval.
Consumers’ wants and needs have been changing rapidly
—even daily in some cases—
and consistency in reporting is really out the door.
It’s impossible considering the rate at which things are changing.
gauging results has become more complicated
and this problem is exacerbated because
resources are also more constrained given that this is also an economic crisis.
With people feeling eager and ready to rebuild,
marketers will have plenty of opportunities to make a difference.
In this episode of The Update,
I sat down with Vidhya Srinivasan,
who leads measurement and analytics for Google's advertising products,
to talk about the importance of measurement in the current moment.
Things seem to be shifting on a weekly or even daily basis right now.
What are your thoughts about ad measurement during times of upheaval?
Marketers really need to listen like never before,
especially because the situation is really fast evolving.
And it really boils down to having a finger on the pulse.
Now, this is a situation that none of us have really encountered before,
and things are fairly confusing all around.
All the traditional baseline metrics that we used to rely on
don't even matter anymore.
What we are seeing is entire campaigns being suspended or drastically altered,
and it really boils down to
Because with those insights comes a plan.
So Vidhya, as you said,
understanding this current moment comes down to insights or metrics
for so many leaders, including marketers.
How has the current moment challenged marketers when it comes to measurement?
So measurement is complex in the best of times,
and for marketers especially during these difficult times,
the stakes are very real.
Now this is true of our big customers, but it is especially true for smaller businesses.
This is because they're trying to identify where to invest
perhaps limited resources
and trying to get the most out of their dollar.
So the main challenges for marketers really are around
how to collect and assess data as close to real time as possible, as things are changing,
how to sort through the data for insights,
how to use those insights to make the right changes,
and how we do all of this
while also fully protecting user privacy.
How are you thinking of your priorities,
and how did you and your team
build the right tools to enable marketers right now?
So overall Marie,
I would say our priorities have not really changed.
We have three main priorities:
number one, really is to help marketers understand the impact of their marketing spend—that remains.
The second one is, how do we help marketers understand their user sentiment?
Number three is to help marketers to really understand
how their users are interacting with their ads,
as well as with the digital world, be it on the website or mobile apps.
So Vidhya, you know, I'm a former client,
and I remember it was always quite difficult
to find the right balance between
precise, accurate measurement, and at the same time
getting the job done.
So for you, is there a compromise, what's the compromise and how do you solve this?
So I'm a big believer in
So when you talk about accuracy,
I think it's really all about the marketer’s context and use case.
Now, simple fast reads of a situation can miss the nuance.
At the same time, over analysis,
or the pursuit of unattainable precision
can also really hold teams back from taking action.
So the ideal balance really has to do with
getting the precision needed for actionability.
I love that actionability is the lens
you want to use to define the metrics you're going to look at.
Can you use examples
that you've seen where it works and that can be inspiring for our clients?
So for example with brand lift,
we now started reporting on the brand lift soon after the campaign starts—
we used to wait until the end—
again, that's a trade-off on precision.
Similarly with reach measurement.
And in both these cases,
we believe this trade-off between timeliness and precision is the right one for the use case.
we see so many different situations in terms of consumer behaviours right now.
On the one hand, we can see people looking for openings of hotels or car dealerships,
but on the other hand, we also see people planning
for a life based on staying at home.
To make sense of all the signals,
which tools would you recommend to marketers right now?
Google Analytics continues to be one of the best ways
to understand how your customers are interacting with your key business touchpoints,
be it website or mobile app.
And with our recent changes, it really brings together
a comprehensive view of the user journey across app as well as web.
Furthermore, Google Analytics also has machine learning capabilities
to surface key insights that might otherwise go unnoticed,
as well as look into the future with Predictive Analytics.
Beyond that, Google Analytics comes integrated across Google Ads
and Google Marketing Platform,
which makes analytics directly actionable.
One of the other tools I was using as a client is Data Studio.
Can you talk about
how you would be using it, as a marketer?
Data Studio is a really awesome productivity tool to drive insights.
It comes with built-in connectors to marketing products
like Google Ads and Google Analytics,
and you can see
your data update in real-time
which allows you to make faster decisions.
Furthermore, it also comes with marketing templates
so that you can get to your favourite reports
with the most relevant metrics already pre set up,
and you can even use features such as scheduled emails to get daily trend reporting in your inbox.
you talked a lot about going fast,
and one aspect of agility is about being nimble,
both in understanding what's happening, but also communicating what's happening.
So can you talk about
the changes you've made to Google Optimize to keep customers in the loop?
So with Optimize,
now you can quickly post an informational banner on your site for changed hours,
services, et cetera.
You can pick which pages of the site
this banner should be displayed on,
and display different banners in different locations as well.
So as you said many times,
there's never been a more important time to invest in a wise way.
One way to do this
is through attribution in Google Ads.
So what are you and your team have been doing on this front,
and what can you share with us?
Attribution in Google Ads
really helps you understand your investment as it relates to
the various paths to conversion on your site.
And it essentially awards credits to the different ads,
clicks and other factors along the way.
Now, we recently launched a brand new experience in Google Ads for attribution,
and this helps you see and understand reports very quickly.
So basically we've highlighted metrics and paths
that you should really pay attention to so that you can optimize your spend.
And it's not only just how the reports are designed, right?
It's also the insights you added for advertisers about YouTube for instance.
So recently we added support for YouTube engaged views, as well as clicks.
This has been a priority for us for a while now,
however with the recent explosion in YouTube watch time,
this is especially timely for our marketers.
So with these new features,
attribution in Google Ads can now help you understand
how your customers interact with your ads across YouTube, Search and Shopping,
and you can then adjust your marketing spend accordingly.
Thanks so much Vidhya for the inspirational examples,
and the power of the insights behind measurement.
Would you have any final thoughts to share with us?
So my brother actually leads marketing for a regional grocery chain,
and they've been moving to e-commerce at breakneck speed.
I feel like I'm on the phone with him all the time,
where he's giving me new requirements for tools and features that could help them.
Now I really want to hear from all our marketers, not just the ones that I know personally.
I would love to
hear your feedback on how we can help more.
This is really what drives me and my team,
and the more that we can do to help you and your businesses,
the better we can serve our end users.
Now above all,
I’m wishing all of you safety and good health.
Thank you for your time and take care.