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Inside Google Marketing

The objective: Driving awareness and adoption of the Google app

Google represents an array of technologies, but for many people the name remains a synonym for search. When you’re looking for showtimes or the name of a prime minister, you “Google” it.

Though most people “Google” things just as instinctively on their smartphones as they do on desktop, the Google app improves the user experience by fully embracing the capabilities of mobile — always on, always moving. Developed as the best friend of the curious, the app offers the features mobile users want:

  • Location aware: It finds the things people care about most, nearby, wherever they are.
  • Personalized: The app can provide proactive information based on preferences and granted permissions, like linked calendars.

The Google app delivers a Google experience like never before, but given the instinct to rely on browsers and a lack of awareness of the app and its benefits, there was an opportunity to drive greater awareness and adoption. The marketing team behind the Google app needed to raise awareness and demonstrate how helpful the technology could be, so they turned to Media Lab, Google’s in-house media team that develops, buys and executes media in partnership with Essence Digital to advertise Google products.


[1] Google internal data

The idea: Replicating the Google app in a banner

To drive adoption of the Google app, the Media Lab team needed to both increase awareness and present the app as a superior mobile search experience.

Because the Google app is visually compelling, engaging and brimming with rich information, it sells itself. The team decided to showcase the power and benefits of the app by pulling live results into the ads. They developed a campaign that would engage users in the places and times of need to provide answers in the moment, showing up across the habitual touchpoints when people look to their phone for help throughout their day. With data signals and APIs, the ads could identify people’s locations and deliver to popular local queries, the current weather and nearby restaurant recommendations — just like the real app.

Application Programming Interfaces, or APIs, have a wide range of uses, and they make it possible to share resources by conversing with applications around the web. They're a kind of window into open source data from a certain company or app. Using APIs with DoubleClick Creative Solutions can help curate ad content for users by providing real-time information, like weather, location and nearby places.

Karin Hennessy, Product Manager, DoubleClick Creative Solutions

The creation: Utilizing technology to iterate creative

In traditional media campaigns, every new piece of creative needs to be developed, uploaded and placed manually. With DoubleClick Creative Solutions, technology can automate customization, delivering unique ads to the right people and in the right context.

Knowing they could leverage these powerful tools, Media Lab developed three experiences that would reveal the Google app in action:

  • Magic Banner: Ads helped locals rediscover and visitors navigate their city with curated, timely suggestions in 25 cities across the US.
  • Explorer: When people were near points of interest like sports stadiums, festivals and parks, ads served results for the most popular search queries at those places.
  • Couch Surfer: During broadcast moments, ads created a second screen experience through mobile ads, delivering the most popular queries people were likely to search about the content on TV.

The execution: Automating flexible, relevant and valuable banners

To determine the most popular queries, landmarks and TV programming, Media Lab worked with the Google Sales team, accessing search query trend data similar to Google Trends, which is available to all marketers. The data informed the static imagery used for the ads, with iconic background images chosen for each location. The rest of the creative, from weather results to local eateries and restaurant reviews, was real-time, pulled in automatically by five APIs on DoubleClick. For the Magic Banner ads alone, this technology allowed the team to deliver 1,335 unique creative iterations built with dynamic content.

Automation allowed for scale and managed the complexity: Ads were dynamically rendered based on many factors to mirror the Google app itself. This technology also reduced human error and consolidated the campaigns, so the team could monitor and adjust hundreds of pieces of creative from one place.

Explore the flexibility of automatically iterated creative

The Magic Banner ads customized creative based on a person’s location, weather signals and nearby places. Scroll across the steps to see how technology generated unique creative for each of the Magic Banner locations with real-time data, programmatically.

The technology: DoubleClick Creative Solutions and Bid Manager

DoubleClick Creative Solutions offers dozens of APIs to build dynamic ads that incorporate real-time data. Media Lab used five in the Magic Banner ads to give locals a deeper understanding of their city: Worldwide Weather Online and Google Places search, details, photos and static maps.

The Explorer and Couch Surfer ads used a different method of automation. The team uploaded the top trending queries for landmarks and TV programming. When people approached those points of interest, Explorer ads populated the facts and trivia about those places. During major broadcasts like season premieres and football games, Couch Surfer ads delivered results for questions people often had about certain actors and players. The location targeting of DoubleClick Bid Manager delivered the right message to the right people in the right place.

By displaying real data, the Google app ads brought the app to life, allowing people to experience it on their phones without a visit to the app store. This DoubleClick technology also consolidated the media management to just a few campaigns — rather than 200+.

DoubleClick Creative Solutions automated the development and management of hundreds of creative iterations, in a single campaign. This efficiency allowed us to scale across the globe. If this was manual, we would have had to create multiple iterations for each signal, multiplied by each country, and assigned a manager for each. Relying on the technology of DoubleClick saved resources and reduced human error.

Andria Sadowski, Creative Program Manager, Media Lab

The results: Higher app usage with lower costs

DoubleClick Bid Manager tracked all of the API iterations with a consolidated view of the expansive campaigns. The team could track and adjust from a few campaigns, easily optimizing all 1,335 iterations of the creative.

From automation to streamlined management and reporting, the technology paid off in time, cost and results. Expansion rates, engagement and absolute brand lift blew benchmark stats out of the water:

  • The Explorer banners had a 241% higher interaction rate than the industry benchmark.
  • The Magic and Explorer banners outperformed 95% of Media Lab’s mobile campaigns in brand awareness lift.2
  • The campaigns revealed a 6.2% lift in intention to use the app.

Moreover, brand lift surveys revealed the campaign accomplished its primary goal: to raise awareness of the Google app. People who saw the ads learned more about the app’s core features — and were more likely to use it to search on their phones.3


[2] Google internal data

[3] Google internal data

higher interaction rate than industry benchmark, and a 6.2% lift in intention to use the app

searching results

Conclusion: Let technology do the work for you

When they’re relevant and delivered to the right audience, rich media ads can deliver an impressive return on investment — not only in results, but in operations cost. Google marketing was able to reach 25 distinct cities and manage thousands of creative iterations with a single, nimble team. Data-driven marketing, powered by advanced technology, pays off.

The automation of rich media also leads to more efficient campaigns. DoubleClick Creative Solutions reduces human error, focusing on the details to give media managers more peace of mind. Technology should do the work for you. When it does, like it did for the Google app, you can create more efficient and more effective campaigns.

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