Media Best Practices #1: Google Is Not Just a Verb

google-capabilities-1011Given its beginnings, it’s natural to think of a Google marketing campaign as a search campaign that relies on keyword-based search traffic. After all, when “google” gained the distinction in 2006 of being added to the Oxford English Dictionary, it was defined as “to search for information on the internet using the Google search engine.” But to marketers, the purpose and application of “google” is so much broader. Google is an important part of a well-rounded cross-channel marketing campaign. It’s time for us to stop thinking of Google as a verb, and fully capitalize on its influence and strengths.

As a practicing, certified (Adwords, Bing) marketing pro on Integrate's Digital Media Services team, I live and learn every day the vast possibilities with Google Ads (what works and what doesn’t!). For this post, we will focus on the “what works” and share a few media best practices and possibilities that span beyond search to consider for bolstering your campaign results:

  1. Display: This is one area where Google Ads consistently shines. The Google Display Network serves 1 trillion impressions across more than 2 million websites each month. As a Google advertiser, you can target specific website placements or select topics and categories to determine the types of sites where your ads are shown. You can even designate the interests of your target audience in order to display your ads to people who match your audience profile. Google users are categorized by browsing history and recent activity, offering audience data on more than 90% of global internet users.
  2. Contextual: Thanks to Google’s thorough analysis of webpage content, their contextually targeted ads typically work really well, allowing you to reach audiences even when they’re not searching for your products. Contextual targeting also supports ad placements on website pages that only contain relevant keywords.
  3. Retargeting: Google’s retargeting lets you develop a cookie pool of users who have interacted with your website and serve ads to those users across the web. Anyone who interacts with your landing pages, creative or sites can be retargeted, closing gaps in your sales cycle. You can leverage Google’s new dynamic retargeting to show users ads specifically for products they previously expressed interest in.
  4. YouTube: A little known fact, YouTube is the second largest search engine. It offers both search and display placements, with pre-roll and in-stream video ads. Marketers are not only able to drive traffic to their own videos, but they can show ads across other relevant pages.

The Google platform also offers other features, including: Site Extensions, Location Extensions, Geo targeting down to the mile radius, Google Shopping, and Google Places. All of these can be tapped into, depending on your marketing goals, targets and budgets.

Most importantly, not only can these capabilities be applied to individual campaigns, but combining their unique purposes can create more compelling user experiences.

To bring to life the “Google is more than search” mantra, let’s take a company like Target for example. Target is selling red shoes this upcoming spring season.

  • Sally goes to Google and searches for “red pumps” where she sees a Target search ad featuring their hottest red shoes.
  • Sally clicks on the ad and hits the shopping page for the red shoes, at which point she is added to Target’s retargeting pool. She glances at the shoes but isn’t ready to purchase and goes back to her Google search results.
  • Then she switches over to the Google Shopping section where she “just so happens” to see the same shoes featured in a text-with-image ad.
  • But now she wonders if red shoes are even in this year, so she reads an article about shoe trends for the spring season. Luckily, the article says red shoes are on trend. At the same time, Target’s contextually targeted display ad appears.
  • The fashion article also showcases a couple of YouTube video beauty blogs that catch Sally’s attention and, wouldn’t you know it, there are Target’s red shoes again in both a pre-roll ad on the vlog (video blog) entry and a display ad alongside it.
  • After learning the ins and outs of fashion this season, Sally decides she’s invested enough time in fashion for the day and heads off to her local news site, where she’s retargeted with yet another ad featuring those same red shoes. Thinking this must be fate, Sally clicks on the ad and finally purchases the shoes.

This entire user experience can be created from one Google Adwords account. And if you think this is all about Google – you can copy the exact campaign into Bing for more reach.

Do Note: Google Does Not Accept Tags. Even though Google understands that most buyers love having their own reporting, tags enable advertisers to make changes to their creative after it has been approved. So for the users’ safety, tags are not allowed.

If you want to share ideas on ways you can get the most out of your experience with Google Ads, contact me at



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