Recently, Google slipped its biggest announcement in the last 20 years into a deceptively simple blog post.A bit of context - We marketers (and Wall Street) mostly look at Google as that advertising money printing machine. But most of the world knows the company for its consumer facing products like Google search, Android, YouTube and Chrome browser.
So when Google made the announcement to rename its obscure advertising products under a new name, most media and marketers mentally marked the news as a simple rebranding exercise. After all, there was no change to its biggest consumer products. There was no big announcement about it's exciting self driving car, balloon internet or smart glasses products. Just boring corporate talk coming out of Silicon Valley.
But the world's fourth most valuable company has just signaled a crucial direction change. It's now indicated who its real competition is (hint - Forget Zuckerberg and Think Bezos, Nadella, Benioff, Ellison). And reading between the lines gives small businesses, large brands, publishers and enterprises a lot to think about.
What will happen to the products I know?
You've probably already received emails from Google with a summary of the changes, but let's recap some of the key changes:
- The Google AdWords product that practically every advertiser uses will now be called Google Ads. It has new campaign type that uses AI to automate and launch campaigns faster.
- The Analytics 360 and DoubleClick products are now unified under the banner of "Google Marketing Platform". Most of the products have now borrowed the "360" title. That comes from Google's uber successful Analytics product that most enterprises now pay for.
- The DoubleClick products that larger advertisers and publishers used is now retiring this name and splitting the products in interesting ways.
- The new "Display & Video 360" product combines the erstwhile DoubleClick Bid Manager, Campaign Manager, Studio & Audience Center products.
- The new "Search Ads 360" product is essentially a reskinned version of the older DoubleClick Search.
- And a new "Google Ad Manager" suite combines DoubleClick for Publishers and Ad Exchange products.
Why is Google making this change?
- Well it's not GDPR. This change has been in the works for years. But hot topics like Brand Safety, Ad Fraud, Privacy did force Google to take a hard look at its products.
- With a desire to become the most valuable company in the world, Google now needs to focus on predictable technology license revenue and reduce it's reliance on potentially fluctuating media revenue.
- Having seen the trouble Facebook has gotten into with it's use of data, it makes sense for Google to step into a tech enabler role and move farther away from being a private data selling media owner.
- By removing the "Words" from the AdWords product names, you'll now see a down playing of Search Ads and a nudge for more Video & Mobile Ads.
- By forcing the DoubleClick suite to sit in the same family as it's Analytics products, it's a strong cue to Advertisers to start making Measurable, Data Driven Media the #1 priority.
What does this mean for Marketers?
- For Smaller Advertisers, you'll notice Google encouraging more mobile and video ads to complement Search Ads. Expect to see a lot more Android and YouTube inventory in the campaign suggestions.
- For Larger Brands, make Analytics 360 the center piece of your programmatic campaigns. With the ability to measure the multi channel impact of each ad impression, and create AI driven audiences on the fly, the value proposition of this suite just skyrocketed.
- For publishers, expect significant chunks of advertisers to start caring about viewability, on target performance and privacy policies.
What does this mean for Non Marketers?
- You've always known that Google, the holy grail of tech startups, always had ambitions beyond text ads. From self driving cars, Internet through balloons, wearable glasses, walking robots and space launches.
- But now it's official, Google has shrunk it's most mature, most money making set of products into one neat seat of "Marketing Platform" suite.
- You know what else has the same standing? The "Google Cloud Platform" suite. The same set of products that Google spent $30 BILLION on to take the fight for AI dominance to Amazon & Microsoft.
- Google is really embracing its "tech company" tag, we all need to start paying attention to the innovative new AI & Productivity features in the Google Cloud Platform. This 1 year old Suite is now being declared an equal to Google's 20 year old, incredibly successful marketing products.
How can you prepare for these changes?
With any large change like this coming in, there are warning signs for the complacent and opportunities for the nimble.
Protect your valuable pieces in the board. DoubleCheck (see what I did there) your Google spends, agency processes and ensure all your great campaigns will continue running well over the rest of the year.
Start mining the opportunities by assigning and empowering your internal Google champion. Encourage that one person to get into the details of the new Google products.
And if you are that person, spread the word - Google is no longer the company of the classified text ads. It's now the most compelling technology stack for Product & Marketing teams to get stuff done.