How Local Retailers Can Use Digital to Connect With Consumers

Wednesday, October 29, 2014 | 9:00 AM

Some have claimed that the rise of digital is making in-store shopping obsolete, but new research from Google, Ipsos MediaCT and Sterling Brands suggests a far more nuanced relationship between the two. In fact, the data suggests that consumers’ digital behavior can help retailers increase in-store business.

Our report debunks three common myths about the impact of digital on in-store shopping. Retailers can use these insights to find ways to connect and engage with customers, utilizing technology not just to drive shoppers to the store but also to assist them once they’re there.

Myth: Once in-store consumers start looking at their smartphone, the retailer loses their attention.
Reality: Retailers can grab consumers’ attention through search results and their mobile site or app.

Our research shows that 42% of in-store shoppers search for information online while in-store. While most are using search engines, almost half of shoppers use the retailer’s own site or app.

See the full report on Think with Google for more statistics and insights to learn how retailers can reshape and optimize the in-store shopping experience with digital technology.

In-stream video tools support video ad targeting

Tuesday, October 28, 2014 | 8:26 AM

Cross-posted from the DoubleClick Advertiser blog

For the past week, we’ve discussed the ways that advertisers can pair smart creative with their media buying strategies, to produce successful digital campaigns. Today, we’ll talk about our fourth and final creative and media pairing around in-stream video -- advertisers should make sure they have the right video ad creative to run in their video ad placements. 

Did you know? In 2014, over a third of mobile phone users streamed or downloaded video on their mobile devices. In 2015, the percent of people watching video on their phones is expected to jump to 40%. (1)

Rather than simply reusing TV commercials for their digital campaigns, advertisers can make their video ads work better for digital by building in interactivity. Interactive in-stream video (VPAID) allows advertisers to add additional layers of information on top of their video assets. This functionality turns a linear video into an experience that resembles a micro-site -- consumers can interact and learn about the brand all within the single ad unit, without having to navigate away from the original page. 

Easy, automated in-stream video 
Our new VPAID Layout allows advertisers to take an existing video asset, upload it into the Studio Layouts tool, and create an interactive ad unit in minutes. Here’s a demo of the process:

Smart serving technology for mobile video ads
When you build ad units with video in them and then serve them to mobile devices, you have to remember that video files are large, and mobile devices have slower and often fluctuating bandwidth connectivity. DoubleClick Campaign Manager has smart serving technologies to allow you to provide the best quality video to consumers based on their available bandwidth.

DoubleClick will now transcode and segment your videos so they can be served in a file size that will load on the viewer’s mobile connection (3G, 4G or wifi). The video can even be altered on the fly, if the connection changes during playback. 

It’s important that advertisers pair smart creative with their media buying strategies. A campaign is only as good as the creative that shows up, so developing creative strategies that align with the media buy from the outset of the campaign is critical to campaign success. Advertisers that do this will benefit from more successful and engaging digital campaigns.

Posted by Becky Chappell, Product Marketing Manager, DoubleClick

(1) eMarketer Comparative Estimates, August 2014

HTML5 and in-app creative tools support mobile ad targeting

Monday, October 27, 2014 | 10:47 AM

Cross-posted from the DoubleClick Advertiser blog

Last week, we talked about how creative strategies support the media buy in successful campaigns. Without ad creative that is engaging and relevant to people, a campaign will fall short of its advertising goals. Further, with consumers spending much of their time on smartphones and tablets, these engaging and relevant experiences need to work across screens. 

Our third creative and media pairing focuses on creating successful cross-screen advertising: If your media agency is including mobile inventory in the media buy, your creative agency needs to build mobile-compatible creative to be served to those placements. The best way to build those ads is in HTML5, which allows you to provide the same interactive experiences for mobile as you do on desktop.

Did you know? There are more people in HTML5-compatible environments today than in Flash-compatible environments (1) yet 84% of rich media ads are still built in Flash. (2) 

Here are four best practices for building cross-screen ads to pair with your mobile media buys:

Build in HTML5
Building mobile-compatible ads in HTML5 is getting much easier, as new tools come onto the scene to help expedite the transition from Flash. With our HTML5 and in-app layouts, advertisers can upload their existing creative assets and create multiple formats in minutes. For more custom HTML5 units, Google Web Designer provides a robust and intuitive suite of design and animation tools to allow for more creative flexibility.

Build for apps
80% of the time that people spend on their smartphones is spent within a mobile application. (3) Mobile web is very different from a mobile app, so what works on a website experience doesn’t necessarily work in a mobile application. Make sure to build ad creative that is designed for the app experience.

Use device form-factor
Desktops, smartphones and tablets all have different form-factors, or device-specific attributes and interaction modes. Smartphones and tablets have touch screens and accelerometers or motion sensors that sense movement and orientation of the device, while a laptop does not. Smartphones have much smaller screens, while tablets and desktops have larger, “lean-back” screens. Smartphones also have calling and texting capabilities. These are all opportunities for incorporating cool things about the device into your ad creative. 

For example Burberry took advantage of device form-factor in their Burberry Kisses campaign. This campaign captured the shape of someone’s lips, digitized it and put it onto a digital letter that could be emailed to a loved one. To provide the same experience on different devices, the designers had to be smart about form-factor. 

On desktop, they could use the video camera on the computer to capture a person’s lips. But smartphones and tablets don’t have a front-facing video camera that would work. Instead, the developers used the touch screen capabilities of these devices to allow people to kiss their screen. The device was able to understand the size and shape of the person’s lips via the touchscreen and digitize the image. This provided the same overarching brand experience for the user, but utilized a different way of executing it on different devices.

Use geo-location
Smartphones have the unique characteristic of travelling with us wherever we go. When a user opts to share their location information, the advertising they see has the opportunity to become more relevant to the physical world around them. Advertisers can send specific messages about their store or retail outlet to people who are traveling within a specified area around it.

By building HTML5 ads that work for apps, use device form factor, and provide geographically-relevant info, advertisers can ensure their ads reach consumers successfully on every device and environment. 

Posted by Becky Chappell, Product Marketing Manager, DoubleClick

1) StatCounter
2) Internal DoubleClick Data, Sept. 2014
3) Flurry analytics, Apr. 2013

Dynamic creative tools support programmatic media buys

Friday, October 24, 2014 | 7:15 AM

Cross-posted from the DoubleClick Advertiser blog

As we introduced on Wednesday and explained further yesterday, it’s critical to pair your media buying strategies with smart creative strategies to develop more successful digital campaigns. A media buy is only as good as the creative that goes into it! 

Our second creative and media pairing revolves around the idea of programmatic: When you are buying your media programmatically (automatically, in real-time, with granular information about each viewer) you should also be building your creative messages automatically, in real time, for every viewer. Dynamic creative is a technique that advertisers can use to accomplish these real-time messages.

Did you know? Consumers are twice as likely to engage with real-time advertising than they are with generic ads.* 

Dynamic creative is a powerful and flexible system that lets marketers create a single ad template and then swap in creative variations to fit each viewer. What's more, it does it in real time: changing headlines, images, copy and calls to action depending on variables like the user's demographic, their location and the device they're using at the moment they see the ad. 

People may be familiar with the idea of dynamic creative for direct response campaigns (i.e. showing a product based on what someone already viewed), but there are also clever ways to incorporate dynamic creative for brand awareness campaigns. 

For example, Nike used dynamic creative to fuel their real-time “Phenomenal Shot” campaign for the World Cup. Nike wanted to deliver experiences that related to live moments in the soccer matches. They used an HTML5 dynamic template, which allowed them to create and manage one flexible ad—instead of hundreds of custom-built ads—that could run across screens. 

To accommodate dozens of ad alternatives localized for 15 different languages, they created a Google Spreadsheet template that served as their dynamic feed to generate ads. Once the dynamic feed was set up, they could generate the ads quickly by updating the spreadsheet, which minimized the effort and speed of releasing ads in real time. The spreadsheet was robust yet simple enough that the ads could be updated without assistance from technical or creative employees.

Nike cleverly used dynamic creative as a way to bring live moments into their ad campaigns in real-time. Knowing that their viewers were on their phones as they were watching the soccer matches, Nike made sure their ads could show up on smartphones and tablets, to grab users’ attention and engagement during commercials or breaks in the game. 

As brands buy more reservation-based ads through programmatic channels, using the information about their audiences in their creative is going to become increasingly important. To accomplish these smart creative campaigns, Advertisers must include both the media agency and the creative agency in the room at the outset of the campaign. This will enable the agencies to develop creative and media plans that are aligned. 

To learn more about how to pair dynamic creative with your programmatic media buy, visit our dynamic solutions page and select the vertical that is relevant for you. 

And come back on Monday for our third pairing: Mobile media buys and HTML5 creative. 

Posted by Becky Chappell, Product Marketing Manager, DoubleClick

*source: “Media Economy Report: How Data is Changing our Business,” Jan. 2014, Magna Global

Powerful creative management tools support large-scale campaigns: A deep-dive into Asset Library

Thursday, October 23, 2014 | 7:27 AM

Cross-posted from the DoubleClick Advertiser blog

Yesterday, we announced 13 updates to our DoubleClick Creative Solutions and explained how advertisers can develop more successful campaigns by pairing their media buying strategies with smart creative.

Pairing #1 from yesterday’s post centered on scalability: Creative agencies need robust creative management tools to keep up with the scale and complexity of increasingly large media buys. The new Asset Library tab that launched this week in DoubleClick Studio provides just that -- it allows creative agencies to easily scale and manage their assets across their creatives. 

With Asset Library, you can host, manage and update all of your creative assets for free, from a single cloud-based location within DoubleClick Studio. Easily manage your assets across all of your DoubleClick campaigns and update live campaigns immediately with new creative.

Six things to know about the new Asset Library tab:
  1. No waiting: You don’t have to wait for a hosted URL from the DoubleClick team, so you can get your ads live faster.
  2. Larger file sizes: Upload individual creative assets up to 60MB, and upload any total file size that you want. 
  3. Share assets easily: Advertisers can use Asset Library to share their creative assets directly with their creative shops, all in one place.
  4. Batch Update: Automatically update a batch of creatives with one click in Asset Library. You can also refer to assets uploaded to Asset Library within your dynamic creative feeds.
  5. Automatic video transcoding: Asset Library automatically transcodes videos into all necessary formats when uploaded into the platform.
  6. Update live campaigns immediately: Edit your asset in Asset Library and push it live to the locations you want in your campaign immediately, no 24-hour review cycle or re-trafficking required. 
Here’s what some of our beta testers have said about Asset Library:

"We’ve used the asset library to host HTML5 assets and then pull them in dynamically within DoubleClick Studio. This has made file management more efficient and enabled us to change assets quickly when pricing, messaging changes and creative tweaks have been necessary." ~David Morgan, Director, 22Design 

"We use DoubleClick Studio to build 99% of our creative and appreciate how Asset Library has simplified video serving. Instead of handing off files, we can manage the serving ourselves through our Asset Library folder." ~Kate Bush, Associate Director of Project Management, Isobar Detroit

"I have been using Asset Library with a dynamic ad campaign for one of our major clients. Having all of the assets accessible in DoubleClick one place has saved me so much time and energy. I can keep all my assets in a well documented and simple way. It also makes the data feed that I put into Google Docs a lot smaller and easier to manage when dealing with vast amounts of data in the dynamic ads. It is the most beneficial upgrade to date." ~Darren Stevenson, Head of Digital Display at UK creative agency Partners Andrew Aldridge

Over the next couple quarters, we’ll be integrating Asset Library into Google Web Designer, DoubleClick Campaign Manager and DoubleClick Bid Manager, so you’ll be able to access your creative assets from every management tool within the DoubleClick Digital Marketing platform.

Ready to give it a try?
Simply login to your DoubleClick Studio Account and click on the new Asset Library tab in the top navigation bar. You can also check out our Getting Started guide

Come back tomorrow for creative and media pairing #2 around programmatic. 

Posted by Becky Chappell, Product Marketing Manager, DoubleClick Creative Solutions

13 new DoubleClick Creative Solutions to make your campaigns more successful

Wednesday, October 22, 2014 | 7:49 AM

Cross-posted from the DoubleClick Advertiser blog

Savvy advertisers know they need to pair smart creative with their media buying strategies, to accomplish successful digital campaigns. Today, we're making it easier than ever to do just that with 13 new tools across our DoubleClick Creative Solutions. These updates help advertisers succeed with four key creative + media pairings:

1. Powerful creative management tools support large-scale campaigns
2. Dynamic creative tools support programmatic media buys
3. HTML5 and in-app creative tools support mobile ad targeting 4. In-stream video tools support video ad targeting

Pairing #1: Powerful creative management tools support large-scale campaigns
Display campaigns are getting larger and more complex. To keep up, creative agencies need tools that help them build ads to suit every shape and size required by that campaign, in a fast and seamless way. 

Asset Library is a creative management layer launching today in DoubleClick Studio and rolling out across the DoubleClick Digital Marketing platform in the next couple quarters. Asset Library allows advertisers to host assets for free in DoubleClick and easily manage and bulk update creative, even in live campaigns, without having to re-traffic them. 

“We have cut our development time considerably using Asset Library as part of our daily work flow. It's hard to imagine how we survived without it.” ~ Michael Douglas, Head of Production, SapientNitro

Pairing #2: Dynamic creative tools support programmatic media buys
Advertisers can use the audience information from their media buy to craft relevant ads for every viewer. Our new dynamic tools focus on making the process easier to manage:

  • A lightweight version of dynamic creative for retail and hotel clients is available in DoubleClick Bid Manager (Premium US users). Use six HTML5 templates to build dynamic ads that are aligned with the programmatic media buy. They work for Facebook right-hand side inventory too!
  • Advertisers can now pull their Google Merchant Center Feed into a dynamic remarketing creative in both DoubleClick Studio and DoubleClick Bid Manager. This makes it much easier to build complex retail campaigns without having to re-input the data.
  • Understand which products in your dynamic ad lead to which website conversions, using the new u-reporting feature in DoubleClick Studio. 

Pairing #3: HTML5 and in-app creative tools support mobile ad targeting
To show a successful ad unit on mobile and tablet placements, you have to build HTML5 ad creatives in formats that work well on smaller screens.

  • Build mobile-compatible ads in minutes, with 20 new HTML5 and in-app Studio Layouts
  • To build more custom HTML5 ads, agencies can use Google Web Designer and then publish their ads in one click to DoubleClick Studio. 
  • For a dynamic creative campaign, DoubleClick Studio supports HTML5 dynamic creative, so advertisers can ensure their real-time messages reach consumers wherever they are. 
  • Publish with confidence: DoubleClick supports MRAID 2.0 (the IAB’s latest mobile in-app standard) and has certified over 90 of the largest publishers and networks, to make sure their websites will support DoubleClick in-app ads. 

Pairing #4: In-stream video tools support video ad targeting
Make your TV commercials work for digital by building in interactivity. Serve your video ads alongside the rest of your digital campaign so that your data and reporting are consolidated. This can lead to better campaign insights. 

  • Our new VPAID Layout lets you easily build interactive in-stream video ads (VPAID). Simply upload your video asset and add interactive elements to create a complex ad unit in minutes.
  • You can also ensure people have a smooth viewing experience with your mobile video ads. DoubleClick Campaign Manager will transcode and segment your videos so they can be served in a file size that will load on the viewer’s mobile connection (3G, 4G or wifi). The video can even be altered on the fly, if the connection changes during playback. 

Digital campaigns are nuanced and complex, so having the right support resources at your disposal is important. We built the Creative Recommendation Tool to help you identify the best product to use based on your project’s resources. We’ve also integrated Chat Support into the Studio UI, so you can get in touch with a real person immediately, get your problem solved and get on with your work. 

While advertisers may be focused on scaling campaigns across big bets like mobile, video and programmatic, smart creative is a critical element of every successful campaign and can’t be an afterthought. Advertisers will achieve the best results when they combine creative strategies with media strategies from the outset of their campaigns. 

Over the next few days, we’ll dive into each of the four creative strategies listed above, to provide best practices for combining creative and media strategies in your campaigns. Stay tuned!

Posted by Becky Chappell, Product Marketing Manager, DoubleClick Creative Solutions

Introducing Custom Affinity Audiences across the Google Display Network

Tuesday, October 7, 2014 | 9:20 AM

Cross-posted from the Inside AdWords blog

Over the past 2 years, we’ve launched affinity and in-market audiences, two new ways to help advertisers reach people across the Google Display Network who are most likely to be receptive to their messages. For example, if you’re marketing a new car for 2015, affinity audiences makes it possible to reach auto enthusiasts, while in-market audiences lets you find people who are actively shopping for a car.

Introducing Custom Affinity Audiences

In the coming weeks, we’re rolling out our newest offering in this suite -- custom affinity audiences. It gives you the flexibility to reach exactly the audience you're looking for, because you decide who to reach.

Custom affinity audiences lets advertisers define who they want to reach across the web, on any screen. By factoring in consumers’ most recent passions and ongoing interests, your message always reaches the right people. Custom affinity audiences works across the Google Display Network, which, according to ComScore, reaches 94% of the web in the United States on a monthly basis, and 89% of global internet users. Like affinity audiences, custom affinity audiences work best with existing features and formats like Engagement Ads and viewable impressions, and can be measured using Brand Lift reporting.

In the Spotlight

Electronic Arts used custom affinity audiences to engage fans of specific NFL teams in their recent Madden GIFERATOR campaign. Google’s affinity audience solution offers a segment for football fans, but EA used custom affinity to take precision to the next level. They created 32 custom affinity audiences, one per NFL team, to reach fans of specific teams with display ads timed to the real-time action on the field.

Alexis Cox, Senior Product Manager at EA, collaborated with Google to build this innovative campaign. “One of our goals with the GIFERATOR was to make Madden a part of the live NFL conversation. Custom affinity audiences has allowed us to broaden Madden’s reach with tailored real-time content while maintaining strong engagement,” Cox said.

This new way to customize a campaign was also music to the ears of Kevin McCollum, producer of Motown the Musical. Getting the attention of people on vacation in New York City, with all its myriad attractions, can be a huge challenge.

Motown the Musical used custom affinity audiences to find potential theatergoers in New York City and saw strong results. McCollum shared, “Google's custom affinity audiences allowed us to reach New York City tourists at a scale and efficiency unlike an any other technology, and it drove fantastic results, at no additional cost.”

“Using custom affinity audiences yielded nearly double the performance of our other campaigns targeting New York City tourists this summer,” said Kyle Fox, Associate Digital Media Manager at SpotCo, agency for Motown the Musical. “Set-up was easy and we were still able to maintain the great hands-on optimization we expect from AdWords.”

Offering Richer Insights

We’re continually improving AdWords to make it easier for you to reach the right audience and to provide insights about the audiences you’re reaching. As you build a custom affinity audience, we will now provide immediate estimates for the people you may reach by showing breakdowns of their demographics like age and gender as well as their most relevant affinities.

You’ll see these same kind of insights whenever you access Interests & remarketing features from the +Targeting button in AdWords. To learn more, visit the AdWords Help Center.

Posted by Jon Krafcik, Senior Product Manager, Display Ads

1ComScore Key Measures and Media Metrix, August 2014