Digital is Evolving: 3 Key Takeaways from #GoogleMarketingLive

Google recently hosted its annual #GoogleMarketingLive, in which Google executives unveiled the latest Ads, Analytics and Platforms innovations to a crowd of marketing professionals. This year’s keynote speaker homed in on three core concepts: value, transparency and trust — as they relate to both marketers and their customers.

“Digital is no longer the underdog,” said Sridhar Ramaswamy, Google’s senior vice president of ads. “It is now a meaningful part of people’s lives.”

In other words, marketing must adapt to this digital world that we have all immersed ourselves in.

How People Search is Changing
Once upon a time, people used to search for “grocery near me,” “restaurant near me,” or “shoe store near me.” Now people are using that search term “near me” to find specific items rather than places. So, the marketing needs to change to capture those prospective customers who might be hunting for “cowboy boots near me,” “rib joint near me,” or “organic foods near me.”
Ramaswamy also noted that Google has seen a 10x increase in mobile searches from people who are using words like “open near me tonight.”

Ads Should Add Value
People expect meaningful experiences online. More than anything else, consumers want advertisements to help them get things done and save them time and money. The advertisements consumers expect to see need to be helpful and frictionless. Valuable marketing is not a new concept, but new technologies have changed customer behavior, and as a result, so has the definition of what is and is not deemed “valuable” or “meaningful.”

During #GoogleMarketingLive, Ramaswamy discussed a trend called “assistive advertising,” a method of advertising that puts consumers first and answers the question, “What can I do to make the consumer’s experience more satisfying?” It’s up to marketers to answer that question.

Advertising Should Put People First
It’s nothing new — consumers’ expectations from companies is increasing and they are increasingly difficult to please. The good news is that in 2018, marketers have more tools and opportunities to get the job done than ever before. Consumers expect content that understands their needs, satisfies those needs and — most importantly — makes them feel important. In 2018, people don’t respond to advertising unless they themselves feel valued by the advertisement. Marketers need to acknowledge that reality and use the tools that are available to personalize each touchpoint along the customer’s journey — from start to finish. Targeting the right audience is just one part of the equation. Understanding how to capture the attention of the perfect audience with the right message at the right time and the right way is key.

Consumers Are in Control
Twice as many people own smartphones today as compared to just five years ago. With the world at their fingertips, consumers are more curious, demanding, impatient and “research-obsessed” than ever before. Consumers are in control, and today, consumers are hyper-aware of how they’re being marketed to and more importantly, how their data is being used. That’s why it’s important for marketers to put out content that is not only valuable, but transparent and trustworthy.

While consumers are more digital-savvy than ever before, companies can now target customers with a laser focus, using the tools and knowledge that they have in order to customize the digital buying journey.