Google talks up YouTube’s branding credentials at as Advertising Week New York kicks off

Advertising Week New York kicks off this week, and Google’s messaging centers on how its suite of advertising products can help bolster brand metrics, plus in-store visits, as well as a new cross-device targeting tool.

The traditional lines between online and offline are blurring

Google has used this week’s activity to announce a host of advertising services that help marketers understand how online ads drive offline behaviors, and make a number of bold claims, including how YouTube ads drive double the amount of searches compared to TV executions (see graph below).

Google vice president of display and video advertising Brad Bender made the announcements earlier today (September 21) in a blog post detailing how Google aims to help advertisers harness the blurring of the lines between the online and offline worlds.

Extending Brand Lift for TV

Google launched Band Lift for TV some years back in order to help marketers understand how YouTube campaigns can impact metrics such as awareness, etc. Now the online giant is extending the capabilities of Brand Lift to TV campaigns to show marketers how TV ads increase Google and YouTube searches for your brand compared to just YouTube campaigns.

“Today, we’re extending the capabilities of Brand Lift to TV campaigns to show marketers how TV ads increase Google and YouTube searches for your brand compared to YouTube campaigns. From early tests, we've seen that YouTube generates almost twice as many searches per impression than TV generates,” reads the blog post penned by Bender.

“Brand Lift for TV requires very little set-up – you don’t even need to provide your media schedule. As long as you’re running Brand Lift on both a TV campaign and a YouTube campaign, we’ll be able to report the incremental searches for your brand.”

Closing the loop between the digital and physical worlds

Google is also helping marketers better understand how their mobile ads drive in-store sales with the update of its Store Visits for Display that lets advertisers display their business address on Google Maps, as well measures the impact of display ads on actual visits to a store.

“We’re introducing location extensions and store visits measurement for the Google Display Network – to help marketers close the loop between online ads and offline sales,” added Bender. “As consumers browse their favorite websites or interact with their favorite apps, you can reach them with ads that show your business address, Google Maps directions and photos. It’s a high-impact, immediate way to increase foot traffic to your store.

Cross-device remarketing updates

Google has also introduced a cross-device re-targeting solution that lets brands tailor how they reaching online audiences that have engaged with their brand, but failed to convert, across the range of devices they use to access the internet.

The update lets advertisers re-market across the Google Display Network using DoubleClick Bid Manager, an update it claimed will give them better control when it comes to important issues such as frequency capping, etc.

“Let’s say you’re a retailer and want to build a customized Halloween campaign. With cross-device remarketing, you can reach your customers with an ‘It’s almost Halloween’ ad on their phone during the morning commute,” explained Bender. “Later in the day, you can follow up with a limited time offer on decorations and recipes when they’re browsing a tablet at home.”

All of these services will be rolled out beginning with the US over the course of the next few months, with further territories to follow. The initial releases promoting the updates contain glowing testimonials from brands including Volkswagen and Home Depot which took part in beta experiments.

Growing dissent over measurement

However, third parties in the media industry consulted by The Drum over the updates echoed recent public musings over the importance of transparency, and third-party verification over measurement when it comes to performance on campaigns inside the industry’s ‘walled gardens’.

Thinkbox, a marketing body that promotes the effectiveness of the TV advertising industry, was quick to highlight how Google’s claims over YouTube ads driving double the amount of online searches compared to TV executions was based on their own internal research.

Matt Hill, Thinkbox’s research and planning director, added: “Until we understand the methodology of this US study it's hard to make a meaningful comment, but given this is Google’s own analysis and not an independent third party we need to remain skeptical.”

He added: “We tend to find that Google's attribution systems over-credit the last click. Advertisers need to understand what all the media exposures were that contributed to that final click to search - not just TV - and they need to do their own less short-term analyses.

“Also, looking at online search volume per impression is quite a crude measure. What really matters is the ability of a campaign to drive a high volume of profit and build the brand in the long term, which is where TV excels.”

Hill’s claims tallied with the musings of many in the advertising industry, particularly in the wake of the last week’s admission from Facebook – another of the professed walled gardens of the internet – that it had overestimated the average number of video views on its network.

Advertisers want more third-party verification

Speaking with The Drum earlier this month at Dmexco, WPP chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell, also voiced his concerns (and those of his clients) over inadequacies when it comes to advertising on such ecosystems.

“We’re hearing from the Proctor & Gambles, and Unilevers – from Marc Pritchard and Keith Weed – about the inadequacies of measurement, such as Facebook’s three-second view, with 50 per cent of the time the sound is turned off, equating to a 15, or 30 second view,” he explained.

“All of which is putting the microscope on digital spending, which is now about almost 30 per cent of spend,” added Sorrell. “So procurement departments and CFOs are starting to say ‘show me the money’, and ‘where’s the beef?’. So measurement is critical.”

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