torsdag 25. mars 2010

Google tries to prove longer-term advertising mettle with remarketing

Google built an empire out of serving consumers ads matching exactly what they were looking for at exact right moment in time. But people develop desires over months or years, so the search giant, along with a whole host of competitors like Facebook, are trying to prove their mettle in ads that generate demand.
The problem — and goldmine — is in having the right metrics that prove that these ads work.
Today Google unveiled remarketing, which lets advertisers reach consumers long after they’ve initially made contact with a online site or brand. It comes on top of two other big changes the company made in search ad targeting and metrics earlier this year (described below). All of these changes appear incremental on the surface, but are really quite profound in terms of their impact on privacy and in how Internet companies can influence consumer behavior.
Remarketing is pretty simple in concept. It lets brands continue marketing to potential customers even if they’ve left your site.
Here’s an example the company gave: Say a customer is looking to make a vacation to the Caribbean and they visit your site. But it’s too expensive, so they leave for now. However, they may eventually end up making the trip. How do you reach them? The remarketing program lets the business serve ads to them on other Google content sites (like the one pictured to the right). This is sure to raise a number of privacy concerns. Google is trying to assuage those by offering an opt-out but as others point out, it’s hard to find and put in effect.
The new remarketing feature comes on top of two serious developments we’ve seen over the last few months that expands Google’s advertising influence beyond a single search.
Earlier this week, the company unveiled search funnels, which are a way of tracking searches that users make up until they make a conversion (or click on the search ad you bought). Normally, Google counts the very last ad before a click as the one that makes a conversion. But users often do multiple searches before they finally decide to click on an ad. The new feature will show advertisers the path of searches a user makes on the way toward reaching and clicking through that ad.
Another development we saw earlier this year was a switch Google made from targeting ads based on a single search to targeting ads based on hours of search history.
All of these efforts are meant to demonstrate and boost the power of demand-generating ads that come before the point of conversion.
Angel investor and Hunch co-founder Chris Dixon explained the idea really elegantly in a post that’s worth reading today:
“Cost-per-click search ads are extremely good at harvesting intent, but bad at generating intent. The vast majority of money spent on intent-generating advertising — brand advertising — still happens offline. Eventually this money will have to go where people spend time, which is increasingly online, at sites like Facebook. Somehow Coke, Tide, Nike, Budweiser etc. will have to convince the next generation to buy their mostly commodity products. Expect the online Starbucks of the future to have a lot more – and more effective – ads.”
Google’s remarketing program is about starting to make these ads happen, and to prove that they’re worth it.
Tags: ads, online advertising, targeting
Companies: Google

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