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January 13, 2021
In this article, we will highlight a few of the key differences between Next Generation Behavioral Targeting (Next Gen BT) and Google’s digital display platform known as Google Ads.
Google ads by the very nature of their name, only appear within Google’s network and though this is an extremely large network with access to a vast number of sites, it still has limitations – it is only one network. Now Google has partnerships with other networks to enhance its delivery and you will see this option when building your campaign, but you don’t have any disclosure on who those partnerships are with or how much more access it gives you. Typically, advertisers have always felt that these partnerships are lowered tiered and most agencies running client campaigns on Google Ads will be quick to NOT click this option and keep all inventory within Google’s own display network.
Click HERE to hear directly from Google about their network within their FAQ.
With Next Gen BT, you have access to ALL premium networks, ensuring you have better access to your ideal customers as they move across the entire web landscape. This increases your visibility while lowering your costs by providing you access to more inventory and more customers.
Over the years Google has continued to take away a tremendous amount of control on targeting options within their platform. If you have been running ads with Google for the past few years, you have seen this firsthand, but even if you are new to Google Ads, it won’t take long for you to see. Google wants to limit your targeting and open up your campaign.
We believe there are two major reasons behind Google’s initiatives to limit your ad targeting options.
One: The more targeting access they give you, the more can potentially limit their ability to serve ads. Remember this is one network and even though its access is huge, it still is limited. The broader the campaign parameters the better it can serve ads and spend your daily budget.
Two: They feel their AI, machine learning system can be more effective than humans, regardless of your knowledge. From all outward appearances, Google wants to hand over full control to the system and severely limit how much control you have, even to the point of ad copy.
To share one example of this in action, when launching your campaign, you can see an option in the settings called Content Exclusions, allowing you to chose which types of content you do not want your ads to appear next to. There were two options that all digital marketers immediately checked, Games and G-mob Mobile App. Quick campaign analysis showed that Google would dump a tremendous amount of your ad’s impressions on both options, dramatically decreasing the effectiveness of your campaign. In some cases, we saw 90% or more of our ad inventory in the Google network appear on mobile games.
Fast forward to today and you will see the options to not have your ads appear in mobile games or G-Mob mobile apps are no longer available. When you click why you will get this message:
With Next Gen BT we still have this level of control and even more. Not only can we stop game targeting, if we so desire, but we can also remove specific websites, apps, behaviors, demos, and much more. Next Gen BT gives us back the control allowing us to use our knowledge and pair it with machine learning to increase our digital campaign effectiveness, lower costs, and produce higher ROIs.
It’s important to know that Google’s keyword targeting in its display ad platform is not a stand-alone product. The keywords you select to target are just a reference guide that Google will use, but it does not mean actual searchers for those keywords will actually see your ad. Google notes this themselves with the infamous word “can” in their keyword tool
Google takes your chosen keywords and matches them into context segmentation. Meaning, if I search for a used car Google puts me into Vehicle Shopping segments. Now if you want your keyword to be Used Honda Accord, you have a chance of reaching me. But you also will reach people that searched for New BMW X5, Car Loan Rates, What Is My Car Worth and more.
Even worse how those keywords are segmented is completely unknown to us as advertisers and how long you stay in the segment after a search. It’s very possible you searched for a used car two years ago and are still in that segment, long after you will engage any used car ad, because… well, you already bought the car.
There is a great way to see this in action for yourself and is probably the easiest way to answer, “why not to use Google Ads for display”.
Simply log in to your Google account (or just to your Google Chrome browser if you aren’t sure how-to login) and under settings, choose Data & Personalization.
From there you will see an option for Ad Personalization. Click this and you will now see a complete list of everything Google knows about you and what it believes you will be interested in seeing ads on.
Typically, this is a pretty long list. Here is an example of mine
So some of this Google got right. I’m 42 years old, I’m a male, I like advertising and marketing. I use Stitch Fix because I hate shopping for clothes (quick plug to Stitch Fix, love their stuff).
But a lot of this is wrong or outdated.
I don’t watch Anime & Manga (I actually don’t even know what Manga is).
I buy flowers for my mom once a year on Mother’s Day, showing me flower ads, any other time of the year will be a complete waste of money.
I haven’t shopped for a new Auto Insurance provider in over 8 years.
I have never once been responsible for purchasing the bedding and linens in our house (thank God).
I have no clue why Google thinks I like Architecture.
I don’t watch baseball; I do love Basketball and Football (two out of three on that one Google).
All in all, on my list I counted 78 misses. Categories I have no affiliation or desire to see any ads about. If you showed me ads about any of the 78 things, I wouldn’t engage them, I probably wouldn’t even notice them. Now, Google does let you remove these from your list with a simple click of a button, allowing you to choose which categories you see ads for. But not person I’ve ever shown this to does it, and 99% didn’t even know this existed.
And even if we find our customers are all over this list, removing bad categories hourly, it still doesn’t stop the segmentation problem. If you are a used car lot, you don’t want your display ad going to new luxury car shoppers. That’s not your ideal customer and with Google’s display keyword targeting there is very little you can do to stop that from happening.
Next Gen BT is 100% build around ACTUAL keyword searches. Either using a list you provide or working together to build one our team implements the exact keywords you want ensuring that only people looking for your product or service see your ad.
As we mentioned earlier there is little we know about how long Google will keep someone in the Purchase Funnel. We know that Google builds audiences off of historical searches, websites visited, articles read, and more. Which is great data, but historical and recency are two very different things. Recency is defined as “the property of having happened or appeared not long about”.
We all know is we don’t want to show our ads to people that have already made a purchasing decision. That’s historical data targeting and it’s a waste of our budget. Both the dollars spent on someone no longer interested and the dollars missed on someone who was but didn’t get to see our ad.
Next Gen BT uses searches happening in real-time on hundreds of thousands of Tier One websites. Our internal goal is to have 33% of your Next Gen BT ads delivered within one second of that search happening, making sure your ads are seen at the most relevant moment.
Next Gen BT gives us more control to make sure our ads are only showing up for the right keywords, to the right person, at the right time. To learn more about Next Gen BT click HERE or feel free to reach out to us at [email protected].
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