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Health care advertisers are deploying new Google offerings

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Google introduced a number of new features recently as part of their Google Marketing Live event. As data privacy becomes more important, Google has introduced measures to ensure conversion tracking and attribution can be accurately measured without compromising user data.

In addition, they have expanded some ad offerings as well. Some features include video ads on connected TV through Peacock, ads in YouTube Shorts and discovery, the new broad match and a formula for improved results using smart bidding, ad settings for individuals in my ads center, ads generated from website content, an asset library, data-driven attribution available to all, marketing mix modeling, more automated insights, and more. Many of these new features were built for e-commerce advertisers; however, pharma and health care advertisers are beginning to make use of some of them now and in the coming months.

New Ad Types and Network Expansion

Google announced that they have partnered with Peacock to deliver ads that now reach 93% of connected TV viewers. They announced that video ads will show in discovery on Chrome and YouTube and video shorts. Google is expanding use of images in search ads and adding live chat functionality within ads. In addition, advertisers can manage all ad types within Google Display and Video. Audio ads will have more podcast genres in targeting options, and connected TV will have Google audience targeting and more demographic segments available at the end of the quarter. Targeting will be the challenge when running these types of ads for pharma advertisers that have products with more narrow customer target populations.

Ad Optimization

Google plugged its advancement in broad match, saying that it is different than the broad match of the past. They also said that using smart bidding plus responsive ads has been seen to significantly improve performance in campaigns. For pharma, these campaigns will need to use cost-per-acquisition (CPA) bid rules to have something for Google to optimize from, meaning conversion measurement/tagging will need to be in place with a target CPA determined.

Ad Development and Asset Library

Google is making it easier for advertisers to create and store assets with automated ad development based on site content and launching an asset library. The asset library can be used to house and share various asset types including video, display, etc. For pharma, the ads created can be reviewed and submitted for legal approval and then launched, a critical approval step.

Insights and recommendations will include historical and predictive insights based on trends. Recommendations are already part of the Ads interface, and have been for some time. While some recommendations are relevant and can help optimize campaign performance, many do not suit pharmaceutical advertisers’ needs or any advertiser that needs to meet regulatory guidelines for ad copy and key words. Google now requires its partners to review 70% of its recommendations, although it does not require that 70% are implemented, thankfully. Google said that recommendations will cover all campaign types in the future. It remains to be seen how much they will cater recommendations to pharma advertisers and those in regulated industries.

Privacy and Measurement

Google announced the launch of My Ad Central, where users will be able to determine what types of ads they want to see. In terms of privacy and measurement advancements, DV360 is using privacy-safe methods to measure and create target audiences without using cookies and personal information. Google is working with publishers and exchanges to share information in a privacy-safe way using what they call EPIDs.

As Google is moving towards increased privacy with the launch of GA4, they have been stressing the importance of modeled data and using more first-party data. GA4 campaigns will only need to use global site tagging versus separate tags for Google Analytics and Ads. GA4 data will be able to be used in DV360 as well as SA360. Google emphasizes that data-driven attribution will be the default setting for new campaigns, saying it will give proper credit across channels and campaigns. It will be easier to add in more first-party data, like automatically importing customer data into Google for use in privacy-safe campaign targeting. This won’t be allowed for health advertisers targeting consumers, but Google could allow it for campaigns targeting health care professionals only.

Overall, the sessions provided a good overview of the changes happening at Google across a number of initiatives and channels. Whether all of it will be useful for all types of marketers and campaigns will remain to be seen when more details are available and programs are fully rolled out. As always, testing will be important and keeping a close eye on results.

Christa Toole is a partner in search and analytics at Greater Than One.