Navigating the road ahead: The benefits of real-time marketing

Changes in consumer behavior have always resulted in adjustments
to marketing strategies. COVID-19 has shown how quickly
consumers’ interests, expectations, and purchasing behavior can
shift—and with it, an ebb and flow in demand for products and
services. Despite these changes, consumer expectations for
businesses and brands remain high. In fact, 78 percent of people
surveyed say brands should show how they can be helpful in the new
everyday life.1

Adjusting your media buying and the way your business shows up
in these dynamic conditions is difficult, especially when some
businesses are having to manage twice the complexity with half the
capacity. Today, we’ll explore the unique role automation can
play in helping you respond to the impact of COVID-19 in real
time.

Get the most out of your budget

As conditions change, so do auction dynamics. Communities are in
various stages of response to COVID-19 and the things people care
about are rapidly shifting. This influences things like location,
mobile browsing habits, conversions, and other variables that
impact ad performance. It’s in this constant sea of change where
Smart
Bidding
can help.

Smart Bidding (also available as Google Ads auction-time
bidding in Search Ads 360
) uses machine learning to
automatically calculate bids for each and every auction. Utilizing
signals like location, search query, and conversion data, Smart
Bidding can optimize bids in real time to hit your performance goal
even as query and conversion volume fluctuates.

It’s important to note that unpredictable changes in
conversion rates, for example: shifts in conversion
cycles
, cancellation or return rates, are challenging for any
bid automation tool. Under these conditions, consider adjusting
your cost per acquisition or return on ad spend targets to ensure
the best allocation of your budget. For additional flexibility,
consider shared
budgets
and portfolio
bid strategies
which are effective ways to automatically adjust
bids and move spend across campaigns based on performance.

Reach new and existing customers

From flour to at-home workouts to studying at home, the things
people are searching for and how they’re searching for them is
evolving. It can be difficult to identify where consumers’
attention and demand is shifting while ensuring you have the right
query coverage. Dynamic
Search Ads
are an easy way to reach customers who are searching
for exactly what you have to offer. Using the content on your
website, Dynamic Search Ads automatically delivers relevant ads
with headlines and landing pages that are specific to the user’s
query. So as consumer behavior shifts, you can ensure your Search
ads are adjusting in real time to meet that demand, all while
saving time.

Another way to find keyword opportunities is through the
Recommendations
page
. “Keywords & Targeting” recommendations help you
identify new trends that are relevant to your business. In fact,
more than 16 million keyword recommendations in Google Ads are
based on market trends alone, with new ones added every day.
Consider adding keywords that are projected to drive additional
traffic beyond your existing ones, or pausing keywords that are
performing poorly.

Once you’ve applied the recommendations that make the most
sense for your business, keep an eye on your optimization
score
. Each recommendation comes with a score uplift, and
historically we’ve seen that advertisers who have increased their
score by 10 points saw a 10 percent increase in conversions on
average. You can quickly check for new recommendations using the
Google Ads mobile
app
.

Optimization.gif

Google Ads mobile app

Show up with the right message

COVID-19 has not only disrupted business operations, like
inventory and shipping, but has also impacted the way businesses
communicate with customers. As conditions change week to week and
community to community, it’s critical to adjust how you’re
communicating and interacting with your customers at scale.

Responsive
search ads
and responsive
display ads
enable you to make updates to your Search and
Display ads at scale, respectively. Using multiple creative assets,
like headlines and descriptions, responsive search ads and
responsive display ads automatically identify the best combination
of assets in order to deliver an ad that’s likely to perform
best. For responsive search ads, you can also pin critical
information like modified support options or updated business hours
to ensure it shows with your ads. If you’re seeing an increase in
call volume, or your business is operating on limited hours or
staffing, call ads
(formally known as call-only ads) now also include an optional
“Visit website†link. This gives your customers more
flexibility in how they connect with your business.

When it comes to adjusting the messages in your video ads, time
and resources are limiting factors right now. Rather than starting
from scratch, consider using Video
Builder
. It’s a free beta tool that animates static
assets—images, text and logos—with music from YouTube’s audio
library. You can choose from a variety of layouts based on your
message and goals, customize colors and font, and quickly generate
a short YouTube video.

Know what’s working

As the world moves from responding to recovering from this
crisis, it’s important you have the right tools available to
understand the impact of COVID-19 on your business. Over the past
few weeks, we’ve introduced improvements to attribution in Google
Ads to help you understand your Google media better.

A new look
for attribution reports helps you quickly see how customers are
engaging with your ads so you can select the right attribution
model
for your business. One model, data-driven
attribution
, uses machine learning to determine how much credit
to assign to each click along the customer journey. This ensures
your media strategy is accounting for changes in consumer behavior
during times of crisis. And with more people turning to YouTube
during this pandemic, you can use cross-network
reports
 (currently in beta) to understand how customers
interact with your Search, Shopping, and YouTube ads—including
clicks and video engagements—before converting.

Helpful resources for managing your campaigns

We’ve created a single destination for product guidance and
business considerations when managing your campaigns through
COVID-19. You can find the full list of guides and checklists
here.
We’ll continue updating and adding more through the rest of the
year.

In early June, we’ll also be launching The Update on Think
with Google: a new video series to share the latest insights, news,
best practices, and products. Enjoy
this sneak peek
, and stay tuned.

1.  Kantar, COVID-19 Barometer Global Report, Wave2, 50
countries, n=9,815, fielded 27th-30th March

Source: FS – Social Media Blogs 2
Navigating the road ahead: The benefits of real-time
marketing