The Best GMP Updates From Last Year & What We’re Excited for in 2021


January 22, 2021

GMP Updates Part 1: Cloud | DV360 | SA360 | Data Studio | Google Optimize

2020 may have been different in a lot of ways, but one thing remained the same: Google updated and improved its Google Marketing and Cloud Platform products. Kicking off the year, we tapped our media and analytics experts to share info about the best new enhancements in the GMP (Google Marketing Platform) and their thoughts about the updates we can expect in 2021. There’s so much to talk about that we broke their contributions up into two posts. Up first, we’ll cover changes to Cloud, Display & Video 360 (DV360), Search Ads 360 (SA360), Data Studio and Optimize. Here’s what the pros had to say!


The Latest on Cloud with Pat Grady

Pat Grady - Adswerve Solutions Engineer
Pat Grady Solutions Engineer

“While you could call 2020 the year of 1P data for marketers, Google Cloud stands ready to take on that influx of computing and leverage it as we move into 2021.”

When thinking about Cloud for Marketers (C4M), 2020 was a big year, and we expect 2021 to be even bigger. What is C4M? It’s the cloud infrastructure used to run a marketing data warehouse (MDW) to unify and activate data, powering advanced marketing use cases, i.e., data-driven attribution. 

As marketers prepare for the removal of ID’s from The  Campaign Manager Data Transfer (its next milestone comes in Q1, 2022) along with browsers adding increased privacy for cookies, we saw a massive increase in demand for Google Ads Data Hub (ADH) in 2020. Similarly, more and more advertisers realized that if they didn’t move their first-party (1P) data into Google BigQuery they’d be left in the dark when it comes to attribution.

2020 also gave us the release of Google Analytics 4 (GA4) and Google Tag Manager (GTM) Server-side. Both of these releases signal Google’s strategy to tightly integrate its ad platforms with its cloud business. With GA4 comes real-time or daily streaming into BigQuery tables. Server-side GTM includes a click-to-deploy App Engine solution to deliver marketing pixels in a server-to-server context securely. GTM will also serve the gtm.js, analytics.js, and gtag.js assets from your domain, showing browsers that it and related marketing pixels are trusted, reducing the risk of data leakage. You can dive deeper into these updates in part two.

While you could call 2020 the year of 1P data for marketers, Google Cloud stands ready to take on that influx of computing and leverage it as we move into 2021. The Adswerve Technical Services Team, composed of data scientists and engineers, has helped brands with this transformation for the past decade. They’re ready to assist small businesses and enterprise clients alike, moving their marketing data platforms into the cloud to secure privacy, remove leakage and enable rich marketing capabilities for brands and agencies.


All About DV360 with Mary Kotara

Programmatic buying options will continue to expand and diversify in 2021. DV360 seeks to simplify the audio-buying process and deepen targeting opportunities for Connected TV (CTV) placements. And as the industry shifts to a people-based identifier for targeting and measurement, DV360’s logged-in user-based audiences and machine learning algorithms will become more important for your DV360 campaigns.

Mary Kotara, Adswerve GMP Programmatic Media Consultant
Mary Kotara
Programmatic Media Consultant

The platform has already grown to prepare for cookie deprecation with targeting expansion and conversion modeling, and you can look forward to seeing how else Google will use intelligent algorithms to solve for the ever-evolving programmatic landscape.

Now, for some of the best DV360 updates of 2020. They vary from greater control of managing a campaign to cool and creative “big picture” strategies:

  • Planning tool for forecasting
  • Customer Match (CRM uploads) on inventory beyond YouTube
  • Custom Bidding Algorithms for better Automated Bidding, like weighted conversions, GA360 goals, u-variables, ROAS and brand metrics.
  • CTV and Audio inventory added to the deal Marketplace 
  • Even and ahead pacing allowed for YouTube Insertion Orders
  • Campaign Manager 360 (CM360) tracking for some DV360-hosted creatives
  • CTV frequency capping and demographic audience targeting
  • Programmatic Guaranteed deals with Hulu

SA360 in 2021 with Brent Ramos

When it comes to search, the question is no longer what can I optimize, but what if search could? In the age of privacy, user-pulled tactics like search will serve as the ultimate beacon for how to lead your full-stack efforts, while also generating high-intent 1P data at scale.

Brent Ramos, Adswerve GMP Media Platforms Manager
Brent Ramos
Media Platforms Manager

To succeed and surpass your competitors you’ll need to master a search management tool like SA360, pass 1P data through it and then activate on the data.

The days of viewing search as a standalone low-funnel tactic are over. This is the era of user-initiated messaging that’s personal, unique and responsible—all of which will hinge on your search data, and having a capable search management tool like SA360 to deploy. Here are few things we are excited about:

BigQuery for SA360 (BQ4SA) + ADH (Ads Data Hub)

This tool will allow data from your search efforts (including all engines you pull into the platform) to be extended into a data warehouse for slicing and dicing. This is important because gClids expire within 90 days of all media platforms. In order to activate 1P data like LifeTime Value (LTV) and more, you’ll need to get data out of the platforms and into a responsible business-owned-warehouse like Ads Data Hub (ADH).

Adswerve SA360 Connectors

BQ4SA, ADH, DT. Acronyms from outside the media universe can be conceptually hard to understand in practical media. And they’re even harder to actually connect and deploy. Thanks to partner-level builds on the Adswerve side, we’re able to make connection and navigation simple for anyone to start activating search at a higher level. Look out for more information on this search activation easy button in 2021. 

SA360 Tool

There’s an incredible roadmap coming soon to SA360, with features that we’re super excited about. There’s not much more we can say at this point but stay tuned in the weeks ahead for updates, and we encourage you to scale into the tool for 2021 if you have not done so yet. 

Data-Driven Attribution (DDA) & Increased Levers for Bidding

DDA existed in 2020, but we’re excited to see continued adoption of the feature, which makes it easy to expose opportunities with the click of a button, in 2021. This agility in creating opportunistic clarity, combined with the increased functionality of Auction Time Bidding (ATB) within bid strategies and budget-bid-strategies, will become cornerstone features of masterful bidding. 


What’s Happening in Data Studio with Stephen Eide

Stephen Eide, Adswerve GMP Sr. Platforms Learning Specialist
Stephen Eide
Sr. Platforms Learning Specialist

Google continues to update Data Studio, making key day-to-day tasks even easier. Here are a few useful items to note for the new year.

Moving Toward an Enterprise Permissions Model

  • G-Suite administrators can now transfer Data Studio assets from one user to another. This makes it easier to transition projects when users leave your organization. Learn more with this article from the G Suite Admin Help Center.
  • Data Studio is moving off of Google Drive. This migration is complete for non-G Suite users. G Suite users will be migrated in the coming weeks. You don’t need to act, but G Suite administrators can learn more here.

HIPAA Compliance

Improved report navigation

  • While arguably a small update, the UI improvement makes a big difference.

Optimizing Google Optimize with Tim Gillman

Tim Gillman, Adswerve GMP Sr. Digital Analyst
Tim Gillman
Sr. Digital Analyst

In 2020, after years of confusing documentation, Google Optimize finally released a simple method to add a container to any site. This makes it easier for people of any skill level to begin using the tool. There’s also the option to deploy Optimize synchronously or asynchronously.

Editing Live Experiments

A/B testers everywhere waited for the opportunity to edit live experiments, and in 2020 Google finally released this feature. Similar to other A/B testing platforms, you can go into a live experiment and make changes without having to stop/restart an experiment. On paper, this is a cool feature, but it does open a can of worms regarding data integrity for an experiment. 

GA4 Integration

GA4 is hot in the analytics world, but as of today, you can’t use it with Google Optimize. Google anticipates having this integration ready to go later this year, which will provide yet another benefit for companies shifting to GA4. 


And That’s Only the Half of It

Check out part two of this series, which covers our thoughts on other exciting GMP platform updates including, GA4, Campaign Manager 360, Google Tag Manager and Surveys 360. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to our experts.