May 2, 2011

Google Improves Personalization--Ahead of The Curve Again

Google plans to introduce a suite of new features in the coming months that will give advertisers smarter tools aimed at retargeting dynamic ads to potential and existing customers. The move highlights an ongoing effort to serve personalized messages at the perfect time, as the service continues to generate 113% sequential growth across the Google Display Network since launching a year ago.

On Monday, Google plans to release statistics demonstrating growth. For instance, Yankee Candle Co. used remarketing to increase conversion rates by 600% while cutting cost-per-conversions in half. Lenovo's PC sales rose 20%, while lowering the overall expense-to-revenue ratio by 14% in a campaign supported by remarketing and display across multiple networks. And saw twice the click-through-rate at a 75% lower cost-per-click with remarketing, compared with their display advertising campaigns [...]
This year, Google improved the algorithm that determines in real time the bid amount for impressions, and gave advertisers a method to run dynamic ad campaigns with help from the technology acquired through the Teracent acquisition.

Google's investment in remarketing, known to the rest of the ad industry as retargeting, may not mean advertisers see changes to the user interface, but rather tweaks to back-end code and algorithms. Advertisers will see the changes in improved click-through and conversion rates, as well as return on investment, according to Brad Bender, product management director for the Google Display Network at Google.

On average, the Google Display Network reaches 84% of the people on a typical remarketing list, and it serves hundreds of billions of advertising impressions monthly to more than 500 million Internet users worldwide. The network also connects with the DoubleClick exchange -- a marketplace for inventory -- to access premium content across a variety of networks, making the number of transactions done across the exchange more than the world's stock and bond exchanges combined.

Remarketing continues to become a focus for advertisers and publishers, as many attempt to connect with consumers that have landed on Web sites, demonstrated interest in products, and moved on without making a purchase, or requested or downloaded information.

One company, Magnetic, created a business model based on search retargeting, which pulls in search data to retarget display ads. Bender said Google keeps search and display data separate. He declined to discuss any possibilities of combining search and social data in remarketing services, but it's difficult not to imagine the possibilities.

Even without the search and social data, Bender said publishers have seen a lift in revenue from serving remarketing ads on their sites. Google's internal studies show remarketing ads bring in nearly two-times the revenue as other display ads.

Google also has began to roll out an ad icon with a lowercase "i" in a triangle, which replaces the lowercase "i" in a circle. Clicking on it gives consumers more information about the ad-targeting process and the ability to opt out. It's part of an industry-wide effort to make consumers more knowledgeable about ad servicing and targeting.