Ahead of the Curve – Hot Trends & Timely Topics

  • 21 March 2022
Ahead of the Curve

Each quarter we interview Conversion Logix’s Director of Operations, Mark Skalla, to learn about new marketing technologies the Conversion Logix team is working on to drive better ad performance. If you missed our last interview, read it here.

Mark, we’re about three months into 2022. What ad trends have stood out so far this year?

One trend that is top-of-mind for our team is the renewed emphasis Google is placing on AI and automation in the Google Ads platform. Another buzzworthy trend is the expansion of video advertising. As video consumption continues to rise across all platforms, we’re seeing advertisers expand into platforms they haven’t tried before.

Tell us more about Google’s focus on AI and automation.

We’ve seen Google go in this direction before. They’ve released solutions to help advertisers automate ad delivery and bids towards specific ad objectives, introduced responsive ads to optimize copy combinations, and included time-saving automation like de-duplicating keywords in your keyword list. Now Google is expanding its ability to automate the implementation of these AI features through automated workflows. This has the potential to provide a couple of benefits to advertisers: 

  • Eliminates the tasks getting in the way of high-value activities. Ad managers will be able to prioritize additional testing, and new campaign builds with the time-savings workflows provide. With more attention given to high-value activities, campaigns will see more significant performance gains.
  • Ad managers can apply optimizations faster, maximizing the length of time campaigns run on peak performance. Similar to getting an oil change in your car. The more regularly you maintain your car, the more efficiently it runs. Workflows enable us to instantly apply optimizations at scale, increasing the period of time campaigns run with the optimizations in place, ultimately maximizing ad investment.

While automation and AI can be powerful tools, most of Google’s optimizations are single-minded in the way they optimize a campaign. For example, one feature may deliver more ad clicks for your campaigns, but this may come at the expense of conversions and vice versa.

Think of it like this. You want a clean house. A Roomba is great at vacuuming your floor. But a Roomba isn’t going to clean your counters or put away your laundry for you. 

Google’s AI workflows automate the implementation of specific tasks in the platform (like a Roomba), but you still need to monitor the combination of workflows in place and how they work together to attain optimal end results.

What do you recommend to advertisers looking to increase their investment in video?

Most of our clients are already advertising on social networks like Facebook and Instagram, and more and more are leveraging video on these platforms. Outside of Facebook Ads, we recommend our clients leverage platforms like YouTube and Connected TV. 

Something many marketers don’t realize is that on a monthly basis, more people watched video on YouTube than used Facebook. Even with the rapid rise of Tik Tok, recent eMarketer reports show that YouTube is still the most-watched video platform. ⅔ of the U.S. population and ¾ of internet users visited YouTube monthly in 2021.

In addition to advertising on YouTube and Connected TV,  we’re running tests to determine the viability of Tik Tok’s ad platform. So far, we are seeing positive results from our initial tests and we will have more to say about it in the coming months.

What strategies would you recommend for clients getting started with YouTube Ads?

We’ve uncovered new findings from an internal study about the relationship between ad spend and ad performance. It turns out there is a threshold of ad spend that yields a greater increase in performance. It shows us that the relationship between spend and performance is not linear on YouTube and that if you spend past a certain amount, you can achieve a greater boost in results.

Outside of this finding, we are seeing a combination of audience build type, bidding strategy, and ad type that has consistently performed better on the platform. We’ve seen the best results from in-stream video ads targeting a custom audience with a max conversion bidding strategy. This takes advantage of the skippable ad format, the platform’s Google keyword targeting abilities, and the power of Google’s AI to optimize bids and ad delivery.

You mentioned Connected TV as a recommended video advertising channel. Why should advertisers consider adding this to their portfolio?

Video consumption on Connected TV devices has grown dramatically in recent years. Nielsen reported that video streaming accounted for 25% of total TV time in the U.S. in 2021, and eMarketer forecasts that US CTV ad spending will increase from $3B in 2019 to $19B in 2023.

TV viewers have changed how they purchase TV services from monthly cable packages to a customized mix of individual subscription services. 

Connected TV advertising offers the best of both worlds for advertisers. You get the reach and opportunity to expand your ad placements to TV viewers combined with the attribution of digital channels. Now we can answer questions like, “Did they watch the ad?” “How long did they watch it? Did the viewer click the ad or search for it later? Answering these kinds of questions is impossible with traditional TV. Connected TV gives us important data to optimize our clients’ messaging and campaigns.

How to Stay Ahead of the Curve

Ahead of the Curve is a series Conversion Logix started to keep marketers updated on trends and technology impacting the marketing industry today. Don’t miss your chance to learn from Conversion Logix’s digital marketing experts, subscribe to our newsletter for more hot trends and further updates on these topics!

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