Published December 2016
This article is part of a collection on data-driven creative. Explore the collection to see what's possible when data and creative come together to build more relevant and effective campaigns.
The goals of marketing, from growing awareness to driving sales, change with every campaign, but fundamentally, marketers everywhere share the same objectives. Marketing teams at Google are no different, says Meg Biron, Media Technologies Manager at Google’s Media Lab.
At Google, brands as diverse as Chromecast and Search aim to reach the right people with the right message, in the right moment. To do that, Google marketers work with our team, the Google Media Lab, which manages the media strategy for all of Google’s digital advertising campaigns.
We’re a nimble team, but we’re also one of DoubleClick’s heaviest users, innovating with DoubleClick solutions to deliver smarter and more effective campaigns. Our objective with every campaign is to develop ads relevant to every individual reached. This requires advanced technology — but also a better approach to digital advertising, a new model that centralizes and connects technology, insights and creative.
In the past, insights, technology, and creative were siloed and disconnected. We’ve learned that it’s critical to centralize and connect these functions. Today, we strive to build campaigns in an internal incubator. Insights aren’t reserved for the final step of targeting but influence every piece of creative, revealing who the audience is, how they behave, and the best time to reach them. And technology fuels more than media executions. It’s integral in the building of creative and gleaning of insights. This approach has led to a new and more effective model for digital marketing.
We strive to build campaigns in an internal incubator, centralizing and connecting technology, insights, and creative at the core.
Uncovering the right insights
Insights lay the foundation for everything marketers do, starting with the briefs they create. At Google we have to begin our campaigns with deep insights just like anyone else, but to move quickly we employ methods that are more efficient than traditional research.
In a recent campaign for Chromecast, for example, we studied public data from Google Trends to learn which shows our audience loved most. And we used that to inform our thinking around what they’d want to watch with Chromecast. We also employ other off-the-shelf Google products, like Consumer Surveys and YouTube, and we work with the same sales teams that serve external marketers. Using these sources and partner agencies, including Essence Digital, we gather the insights that inform every step of every campaign.
Building informed creative
The power of dynamic creative and programmatic fuels all of Google’s campaigns, allowing us to serve the right ad in the right moment, at scale. The Media Lab partners with Essence Digital in the creation and production of Google’s ads — and while crafting the original idea in some cases. Together we mine the data we’ve gathered to refine our audience, understand what they want, and decide how to build those insights into the ad experience.
To demonstrate the capabilities of Android Wear smartwatches, for example, we built interactive ads replicating the smartwatches' interface. Then, we delivered ads that showcased specific features we knew would appeal to users. But we didn’t stop there. Our team continually optimizes creative based on new data and how people respond to the ads.
Leveraging programmatic technology
Our team must also integrate the right technology along the way. DoubleClick solutions, including Bid Manager and Creative Solutions, allow us to develop dynamic creative, capable of adapting to myriad audience segments. This approach allows us to scale creative efficiently, so that global teams can build on prior successes. It also allows us to test different design elements and copy to optimize campaigns in real time. Recent ads for the Google app, for example, utilized real-time data to deliver actual search results like nearby restaurants and the weather, based on users' locations and the time of day.
Technology, insights, and creative are the pillars of every campaign. And bringing those three elements together delivers powerful results. To help you discover ideas you can apply to your own campaigns, we’ve compiled case studies of Media Lab’s recent campaigns into a single hub. We learned a lot along the way, and we hope you will too.