Yesterday, Google unveiled their latest innovations at their Marketing Next 2017 event. And there are all sorts of cool advancements, developing opportunities, and cutting-edge capabilities unfolding!
With Carnegie’s sole focus on higher education marketing, we consider all of these developments through the important lens of how they can be best applied for colleges and universities in particular. With that in mind, we wanted to share some highlights for higher ed.
Today, the individual is now the channel, and how we market to them in a digital environment needs to have the ability to respond to that. There is no limit to the number of moments people seek information, assistance, or experiences across any device. And there are more opportunities than ever before to be there, provide the answer, or engage them in each of those moments.
Here are the key points colleges and universities should consider from Google Marketing Next 2017:
1. Keep thinking mobile
Google reemphasized the integral role mobile plays in all of our daily lives. And with mobile in mind, it’s critical to consider the quality of the experience that audiences are expecting to get back. People expect relevant and frictionless experiences with their searches and information delivery.
Google talks about the concept of “one step or one second.” Mobile users will only tolerate interactions that happen in a step or a second. Consider this: for every one-second delay in page load time, conversions fall 20%. With that in mind, Google is focusing a lot of attention on their AMP technology, integrating it more with search ads and the display network, which will result in faster page loads and display ads loading just about as fast as content.
2. Non-line assistance
We have gotten to a point in our lives where we no longer distinguish between online and offline. For example, 70% of users who bought something in a store first turned to their phone to learn more. That can be relevant for colleges too.
The combination of online behaviors and location-based opportunities can impact the offline actions audiences take. As part of this, Google announced Location Extensions for YouTube TrueView ads. With over 50% of audiences looking for videos on a product or service before visiting a location, this can have an impact on your campus visitors.
3. Organize, apply data, and measure
People expect relevant and useful ad experiences, and you can use their intent, interests, and activities to help accomplish that. When you get it right, your messages speak to students and stakeholders exactly when it matters, and they will respond. Google is putting a lot of focus on understanding intent to deliver better audiences, brand-new audience segments, and broader reach across channels and devices.
To improve the quality of audiences and reach, Google is connecting data across Google.com, devices, and in real time. This helps reach the right people and tell a single seamless story across all properties, and it offers powerful new ways to reach users who already have demonstrated interest. For example, someone who watches particular videos on YouTube can be reached while they’re searching Google.com on a different device afterwards.
For reaching new audiences, Google is expanding beyond the demographics and affinity audiences that have been available for a while, and offering audience reach capabilities based on consumer patterns and life events. Think of creating student audiences based on some of life’s biggest milestones, including the fact that they are a recent or soon-to-be graduate.
Getting in front of audiences wherever they are will now be easier with “Inmarket Audiences for Search Ads,” which reach individuals more likely to convert. This is an even more powerful way to engage students who are searching, watching videos, and consuming content before ever stepping foot on campus or telling you who they are.
4. Is my marketing working?
Understanding the impact of a campaign is just as important as reaching the right audiences. How do you know which interactions across search, display, video, your website, or apps really matter? And how do you measure an ad someone sees on one device when they convert on another?
Historically, so much of digital marketing has relied on last-click attribution, which doesn’t paint the real picture. This year, Google says they’re solving that with “Google Attribution.” This is a new tool to help measure (and optimize towards) the impact of each touch point across channels and devices for better results.
5. How many people you’re reaching and how often
To date, this has been tough to measure, particularly with the increase in the number of screens people use—and 30% of people today use five or more devices. As a result, Google has created “Unique reach reporting,” which will help measure how many people were shown ads (unique users and average impressions per user), with information that is deduped across devices, campaigns, and formats.
6. Always be thinking landing pages
Did you know that last year mobile landing pages experienced a 40% higher bounce rate than desktop? Experience and speed are key, especially on mobile. Google has now developed a landing page solution, integrated with Google Optimize, that serves as its own testing and personalization tool. Specific landing pages for campaigns and audiences can be created with ease, tied to keywords, measured, analyzed, and optimized to significantly improve performance and conversions on the fly.
Stay tuned for the developing role that Google Home and Google Assistant could possibly play for marketers (in higher education and beyond). That technology is a growing space that is working its way into peoples’ lives. Where it has the potential to go, well, you can bet Google knows!
If you have any questions about Google Marketing Next 2017 and how the technology shared might impact your campus marketing, we’d love to hear them. Leave a comment or get in touch with us directly.