It’s the perfect time to do a Google Marketing Platform spring clean

During this time of global uncertainty, it’s anything but business as usual for our daily lives and work schedules. It’s at times like this that we demonstrate what a talented, agile and resourceful bunch of people we really are. Whether it’s keeping the children educated and entertained, learning to keep fit with Joe Wicks’ daily PE lesson or deep-diving into the latest tutorial on data insights.

It has been inspiring to see the way so many people are turning a bad situation into a positive, and we think now is the ideal time to do the same thing across your Google Marketing Platform (GMP) products. While you have a little extra time you can make sure your ad tech is set-up, configured and optimised to ensure you get maximum results now, and hit the ground running faster than the competition when this all starts to ease up. We’ve asked our experts to share some suggestions for each GMP product below.

Analytics 360

Chris Ford, Head of Data Analytics

Analytics 360 is one of the most popular platforms for monitoring suite performance and user behaviour. However, you need to be mindful of the fact that you might be making decisions based on inaccurate data. Now is a great time to focus on the maintenance of your analytics platform, and it can be as easy as creating a segment to isolate the ‘dark traffic’ in your analytics reports to ensure your traffic is not being miscategorised.

There are of course more thorough methods to ensure accuracy, i.e. a full audit of all site pages to ensure the tracking code is in place and to make sure it’s not duplicated. Additionally, filtering out any internal traffic that may appear in reports (via IP exclusions) which could be from the brand’s website development or internal call centre teams. Or even, taking the time to test that goal tracking has been set up correctly to make sure actions are being recorded accurately e.g. contact us form, thank you page views, etc.

Campaign Manager

Jamie Cattell, Ad Operations Manager

It’s important to review your taxonomy and ensure it’s consistent across platforms. Use this time to be creative and develop taxonomy tools that will save you much needed time in the future. Make use of Data Studio to set up tracking overviews for Campaign Manager and deep dive into attribution modelling to determine incrementally.

Housekeeping is something we don’t always have time for, but it can be invaluable during downtime to help stay organised and keep control. As in any spring clean, it’s out with the old and in with the new. So now is the time to archive those out-of-date creatives that you keep meaning to do something about.

Additionally, reviewing websites and how users interact with them, will help uncover any new tracking and audience building opportunities. Start by checking what information is available through the dataLayer. Then create tagging matrices for each brand that will work alongside the dataLayer. This will ensure coverage for the full tagging spectrum including analytics, floodlight tags and custom variables is in place.

Display & Video 360

Catherine Meyrick, Senior Programmatic Media Manager

Using a comprehensive and robust naming convention to further incorporate reporting on markets, channels and strategies is crucial. As with Campaign Manager, now is a good time to review your taxonomy. It needs to be easy to follow and consistent across products. It’s good practice to include the market, product, strategy, audience and format –  you could even include your KPI.

During these unprecedented times, it’s worth reviewing and potentially suspending any A/B testing, particularly if you are making comparisons with year-on-year and month-on-month data.

Now is the opportunity to really dig into certain areas of performance you might not usually have the time for. For example, by exchange, or by domain or site category. Create blacklists for low-performing or low-quality websites, and whitelist those that you want to appear on more frequently. When assessing performance, be sure to look at a sensible time period, so that your decisions aren’t clouded by unusual audience behaviour as a result of COVID-19.

It’s also important to review brand safety thoroughly, to ensure you are not placing ads against the wrong content that could damage the brand – especially during these sensitive times. Use the ‘quality’ filter at Insertion Order or Line Item level to view the potentially sensitive content your ads have appeared next to, and make any necessary changes to your settings.

Search Ads 360

Benoit Le Gendre, Senior PPC Account Manager

With impending changes to some of Google’s portfolio bid strategy features, now is a good time to review the feature improvements and make any necessary changes. With Bing deprecating average position, make sure to review your positional big strategies if you have been running them for Bing and move to impression share bidding.

Take the time to review your tech set-up in line with Google’s maturity framework. Are you set up to let the machine do the heavy lifting when things ramp up? Look at creating a data-driven attribution model to capture the full potential when traffic picks up again and ensure to set data exclusion events or seasonality adjustments for your bid strategies in case you have been offline or performance isn’t reflecting BAU (business as usual).

Monitor performance and make sure of labels, actions and alerts to monitor activity in executive reports. This could be simply reducing bids when spend increases by 20%. And if you accidentally added a term on broad match, make use of the labels to manage and report on campaigns, ad groups, ads and keywords outside of the traditional campaign structure.

In conclusion, reviewing your unified strategies and set-up, in general, is good practice. It may be the case that you were working with a less-than-ideal set-up because you didn’t want the disruption of changing things. However, now that you might be pausing certain areas, it’s a good opportunity to review ready for when things return to normal and profit from some of the time-saving opportunities in the future. It’s time to spring into action.

To learn more about Search Ads 360 join us on 23rd April for a Croud Academy Live webinar with Benoit, in which he’ll explore the platform in more detail. You can register online here.

If you have any questions or would like our experts to provide an audit of your GMP account then please get in touch.  Or if you’d like to know more about our new webinar series, visit our page here.

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