Update from August 2023: Looking for more up to date trends? Learn the latest trends taking YouTube by storm, or read our expert-led report on the future of advertising. Alternatively, you can catch up on our digital trends for 2023.
As Performance Specialist Leader at Google Northern Europe, Kate Adams is responsible for ensuring Google's performance marketing solutions are rolled out successfully to advertisers and agencies in the Nordics and Benelux markets.
The value of digital transformation has never been more apparent than now. While facing the challenges of the last two years, digitally mature businesses were twice as likely to increase market share than their peers.1 This gap is only going to get bigger if companies don’t act now.
And with only nine percent of global brands currently classified as digitally mature,2 the opportunities for growth are endless. Here, I’m highlighting the key actions you can take today to respond to some of the biggest shifts in the industry.
1. Help consumers reduce choice complexity in a world of growing ecommerce
The ongoing shift to digital provides retailers with both opportunities and responsibilities. As shoppers move between search engines, social media, YouTube, and offline channels when conducting product research, the amount of information they come across can be overwhelming. For brands, this means that it’s never been more important to help their audience reduce choice complexity by providing the right product information in the right place.
One way to do that is by supercharging your Search ads to help shoppers easily find the products and services they need. Based on the key findings of our initial Decoding Decisions study published in late 2020, our updated research reveals the value of Search in helping brands compete in the “messy” and crowded mid-funnel of the purchase journey. How? By applying intelligent and responsibly-used behavioural science principles to your ad copy.
Our research found that in doing so, brands are better able to close the gap between trigger and purchase, even when they aren’t at the top of the search results page. For established brands, this confirms how important it is to protect brand investment in Search. You want to show up when consumers are looking for you — even if you’re already their favourite brand. This also means there’s more potential for new or lesser known brands to win over customer preference. And it’s clear that applying creativity and behavioural science principles to your Search ad copy is an effective way to achieve that.
2. Serve your customers better with privacy-friendly experiences
New privacy regulations and the deprecation of third-party cookies have put trust and transparency top of mind for consumers. Yet while 80% of consumers are cautious about sharing personal data, they still expect tailored experiences.3 To achieve that balance, brands need to be open and honest about the personal data they collect and the way they use it through clear communication. Once people understand the ethics of your company and know what they can expect in return, they will be more comfortable sharing the data that will help you create better experiences.
In addition to offering a strong value exchange, businesses need to have the right tracking and measurement solutions in place to compensate for any data gaps and efficiently activate their first-party data. To do this in a privacy-friendly way, you can measure activity across domains with One Google Tag, adjust your Google tags based on the consent status of your users with Consent Mode, and improve the accuracy of your conversion measurement with the enhanced conversions feature in Google Ads.
Lastly, it’s crucial that your data and measurement strategy is based on an agile foundation that allows you to test and learn on the go. Once you have these three elements under control, the opportunities for creating innovative experiences that will delight your customers are endless.
3. Crack automation by activating the right data across all channels
The emergence of new online channels and social platforms has shaken up the world of advertising. Everyone has access to the same tools, which means that more and more advertisers are adopting automation. To become fully automated, brands need to set the right metrics, provide the right data, and activate everywhere. This means being present on all platforms including those you wouldn’t typically tie to performance marketing.
For example, while Search and Shopping campaigns are effective tools for reaching consumers in the lower funnel of the shopping journey, consumers that aren’t in active “buying mode” may still be interested in learning about new products — and that’s where YouTube comes into play.
With our recently launched Performance Max, advertisers can run a single automated performance campaign across Google channels including YouTube, Search, and Display. Taking into account performance of each individual channel, the media plan automatically redistributes itself based on the best possible outcome. This enables you to tie campaigns to your objectives and find more converting customers across channels. With consumers constantly jumping between channels and platforms before making a purchase, implementing automation through cross-channel connections is becoming increasingly important.