As part of Advertising Week, Google announced several search product updates rolling out over the next several months. The two updates we’ll focus on specifically are Tailored Insights and Performance Max campaigns.
Tailored Insights Evolves Rising Retail Categories Report, Makes Them Account-Specific
Earlier this year Google released a tool called the Rising Retail Categories report to help advertisers see period-over-period snapshots of consumer behavior searching patterns. It was helpful for seeing nationwide trends across different categories, especially during a period when consumer behavior was a bit unpredictable.
Tailored Insights does exactly what the name suggests: it takes these consumer behavior trends and tailors them to your own account, making the recommendations more specific and actionable. Tailored Insights will take search trends relevant to products or keywords in your account and layer that trend data on top of the trends your related campaigns are seeing. In the example screenshot below, Google suggests where a gap might exist by comparing the increase in search demand with the increase in an advertiser’s conversions over that same period of time. Advertisers can look at more details related to that trend, including how that search or product is trending across different audiences, locations, demographics, and queries. With this tool being account-specific, it’s also integrated with recommendations that will provide budget, bid, and keyword opportunities based on the search trends identified.
Another new, interesting feature is Forecasted Trends. This provides predictions for interest that will increase in the near future, along with recommendations to take advantage of this anticipated change. There isn’t a lot of detail regarding how those trends are forecasted, but it could be a helpful in-account reminder for preparing ahead of changes in product seasonality.
Before taking action, context is key
We used this exact same sub-headline when blogging about the Rising Retail Categories report, and it still rings true for Tailored Insights. It’s important to dig into the trends and recommendations presented before taking action to ensure they’re relevant for your own account. A few questions to ask yourself when evaluating these trends:
1. Are the specific queries driving increased interest relevant to my business? For example, if I’m an online-only seller of large, luxury tents and some of the top trending queries are “pop-up tents” or “tents for sale near me”, there may not actually be untapped opportunity to capture.
2. Are the queries likely to have sustained interest? Increased interest in flower delivery the weeks leading up to Mother’s Day does not warrant bid pushes after Mother’s Day, for example.
3. Is my bidding method likely to naturally make these adjustments for me with my account’s performance goals in mind? Auction-time bidding systems should react to increased demand relatively quickly without any manual adjustments.
4. Will the cost required to capture incremental demand fit within my performance goals?
Performance Max Campaigns Provide an Automated Solution to Complement Search Campaigns
Performance Max campaigns will reach more Google ad inventory than any of its Smart Bidding predecessors, with eligibility to serve on the Display Network, YouTube, Gmail, Discover, Search, etc. It is meant to complement keyword-based search campaigns, and will offer various options for business goals, including online sales, new customer acquisition, and offline sales. Advertisers will provide creative and copy assets, and machine learning will optimize the campaign across channels to achieve its goals. This update isn’t surprising, given Google’s march toward machine learning and automation over the past several years (see: Responsive Search Ads, Smart Shopping Campaigns, etc.)
Performance Max campaigns are in an earlier stage than Tailored Insights, so additional information on the format is limited. Overall, it sounds like a useful option for smaller advertisers that want to take advantage of Google’s various ad types within an easily-manageable account structure. For more sophisticated advertisers, a few questions come to mind:
1. How will the interplay work between Search campaigns and Performance Max campaigns? Will keyword-based Search campaigns win out over Performance Max on queries where a keyword exists, similar to what we see with Dynamic Search Ads?
2. What visibility will advertisers get into where, when, and how Performance Max ads serve? Google’s blog post indicates that data will be available to show which creative assets and audiences perform the best, but will we get to see the search terms or websites that our ads are showing on?
It’s been an unusual year for consumers, businesses, and advertisers alike, and Google’s been busy rolling out changes to support all of those parties as they continue to navigate uncertain waters. These updates are no different. Tailored Insights is a positive addition for all advertisers, especially given the early-Q4 timing, to reach consumers based on what they need now. Performance Max campaigns could be a valuable tool for small businesses looking to expand their online presence to balance out lower in-store demand. We look forward to diving into these tools once they go live!