What’s in Search Ads 360’s Secret Sauce? - Part Three: Finding Saucy New Applications

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A Quick Recap

Aligning business-side KPIs with digital marketing goals and initiatives is imperative for organizations to compete effectively in the market. While this principle is most easily understood from a brand-centric view, it also extends to agencies’ relationships with their brand clients. KPIs siloed between business ops and the paid media execution channels, and even amongst the different execution tactics (search, social, display, email, etc.), implicitly introduce an uncoordinated effort and avoidable difficulties when in-market.

In our previous installment of this blog series, I walked through a scenario where a business-owned goal could be incorporated into a digital marketing strategy using Search Ads 360 (SA360) as the media activation tool to help drive results. There, we talked about how “Enterprise”-qualified leads were strategically important to a brand for the remainder of the year, and I showed how SA360 and the Floodlight pixel can be used as a lever to help accelerate the attainment of that objective.

However, that was just one of the many different ways that an activation strategy in SA360 could be incorporated, and the final entry in this blog post series will expand on the original conversion segmentation tactic.

So sit back, relax and let’s walk through five saucy strategies that can be employed within SA360 and beyond.

1) You Should Really Be Using Data-Driven Attribution

I could eulogize about the death of last-click attribution, but the reality is that this has been done ad nauseam for a number of years now. However, despite this, I still see a staggering amount of accounts that continue to use last-click attribution.

Data-Driven Attribution (DDA) allows for fractional conversion credit to be assigned to each of the different touchpoints that a user had with your account’s content. For instance, if the user had begun their journey with a generic or non-branded search and ultimately converted via brand, DDA would account for this and assign fractional credit to the non-brand and brand keywords involved in the conversion path.

Pro tip: Training a DDA model takes ~24 hours, and that model will then be applicable to the prior 60 days worth of historical data, making it a no-brainer in our everlasting quest for budget efficiency and performance efficacy.

The power of DDA becomes fully realized when incorporated into SA360’s bid automation, allowing it to optimize each of these fractionally weighted touchpoints rather than focusing strictly on that final touchpoint. Since our conversion segment strategy has bid automation applied to it, we can achieve even greater efficiency and marginal performance lift through the use of DDA.

2) Incorporate More Conversion Segments

With all of the excellent work we did to segment our Enterprise conversions from the aggregate, there’s no stopping us from performing the same exact exercise to the other remaining product segments (SaaS and Demo you may recall). Again, since our running hypothetical scenario is based on a single lead form capturing user interest spanning three different products, there’s no reason why we’d want to limit our scope of segmentation just to the Enterprise leads when we could just as easily apply the same process to the two remaining product inquiry selections.

Pro tip: Use the “duplicate column” function to more easily create additional conversion segmented Floodlight columns

Considering that the implementation of Custom Floodlight Variables (CFV) within CM360 and on-site requires some degree of resources, we can ensure that we’re extracting the most value out of the implementation as we can by introducing conversion segmentation to these other product values.

3) Start Thinking About What’s Being Done Offline

Unless you’re an online storefront, there’s a very high probability that some of your conversion funnel activities take place offline. This is largely endemic to the B2B space, where many of the tactics that digital marketers employ revolve primarily around lead generation, and perhaps the qualification thereof. But often the actual conversion from lead to sale consists of several interactions that all occur offline. The .edu space, as another example, sees significant offline touchpoints in the run-up from application to admission.

Simplified example of offline+online data sources

As digital marketers, we shouldn’t discount or approach offline activities timidly. We should instead be looking at them as a whole new frontier of opportunity for both lead cultivation as well as funnel optimization. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools such as the ubiquitous Salesforce platform and its peers provide an opportunity for digital marketers to gain insight into offline touchpoints.

4) Lean Into 1P Data and Understand Its Use Cases

A conversation around offline conversions usually proxies a broader conversation around how digital marketers can leverage first-party data for media activation through a tool like SA360. First-party data can encompass any data that a brand captures through its own means. This includes site analytics (through tools like Google Analytics), CRM data (through platforms like Salesforce), phone or call center data and more. What makes these data sets so powerful is that they can strongly augment what signals SA360 is taking into account in bid automation.

Classically, bid automation algorithms have had to rely strictly on what they know about the user based on their web browsing history and other online-related signals. Incorporating first-party data into bid automation essentially adds new dimensionality to what SA360’s bidder can evaluate. This not only increases its effectiveness but also allows us to embark on advanced capabilities -- such as predictive lifetime value (pLTV) and propensity modeling -- that are only made possible through first-party data onboarding.

5) Scale First-Party Data Activation into Different Platforms

SA360 is an incredible tool when it comes to activating on first-party data, but it’s only one component to a digital marketing program designed to succeed in a privacy-first world.

Display & Video 360 (DV360), the programmatic arm of the Google Marketing Platform, can duet to the same first-party data tune that SA360 is singing. With the Floodlight as the north star for DV360’s conversion measurement ability, many of the same practices that we’ve covered in this series are equally applicable when actioned within programmatic.

Stay tuned for my next article where I'll take a deeper look into advanced first-party data capabilities for SA360 including more on how DV360 can be a perfect compliment.

A Conclusion and an Ask

If you’ve come this far, then allow me to be bold in a “breaking the fourth wall” sort of way and suggest that we take the next step together. Adswerve would love to know how you’d answer the proverbial question “What’s the dream?” That is, what’s the overriding goal that you and your organization want to achieve assuming you had all resources at your disposal, absent of any blockers. 

We specialize in media and analytics, but we’re also a group of individuals who love to solve problems and lead our clients through joint innovation and positive outcomes. So, I want to take this final moment to ask you to reach out to us. If any of the concepts from this article series excites you or stirs a newfound curiosity, then let us work back from that ideal dream state and put together a framework that makes your vision a reality.