Once a month, as a team,  we take a break from our typical routine to participate in an activity we call Redbop. During Redbop we dedicate most of the day to sharing industry insights, learning new tricks, brushing up on the old ones and everything in between.  From time to time we invite guest speakers to join us…  Those are always my favorite and not because there are typically free drinks to wrap up the day.

Hanapin and Google after a PPC training session
Hanapin + Google at the end of training!

Google’s May Visit with Hanapin

Event menu for a target audience

We’re going to start at the end of the day and work our way backward.  At happy hour Google served us appropriately named signature cocktails:  Mobile Mule, Conversions Libre, RLSA & Tonic, etc.

Creative, clever and appealing to their target audience…  A bunch of PPC nerds!  In a different venue with a different segment of their business this unique personalization would have fallen flat.

Which is a great segue to the purpose of Google’s onsite visit.  They made the trek to Indiana to present and have us participate in an Audience Lab.  In this workshop we walked through the steps to approach our paid accounts using the framework of “identify, re-engage and expand.”  While there were several key insights from the full day of training, as displayed above if you don’t take the time to find the right audience, your clever ads might fall flat.  The “Mobile Mule” might be mistaken for a form of primitive communication.

Key Insight #1: Audience data can drive better audience segments

Google opened with a fairly obvious statement, “In the same way we make assumptions about people on the street and we make assumptions about our clients too.”  The examples presented were pretty common misconceptions.

Making assumptions about people

Using Audience Data, Google was able to reveal:

  • Over 60% of female sporting goods shoppers who engaged with relevant YouTube content on mobile
  • Over 45% of video game searchers on mobile who are 35+
  • Over 40% of mobile home-goods searchers are male
  • Over 60% of mobile auto searchers are female

As marketers, if we set up our segment strictly by demographics, we’d be missing out on a significant share of audience.  To achieve this level of success, Google recommends we collect these audience signals and segment these in our accounts as audiences.

Key Insight #2:  Audience Signals include who customers are and who they want to be

We glean insights into our audiences through what is included in profile data, including location, gender identity, etc.  This shared data encompasses who customers are.  A deeper level of data can be found in our “hidden self” or who our audiences want to be.  This type of data is collected behind the scenes, through search history and repeated behaviors, and while this data is not public, it is used by Google to build segments.

Hanapin PPC Heroes getting insights from Google
Who we are PPC professionals… Who we want to be PPC Experts!

Key Insight #3:  Machine learning is helping us reach the right audience

Once we identify our audience, we need to let the man behind the screen do his job.  Google does a great job of protecting their users, while leveraging the data they collect to help marketers deliver their message to the appropriate audience.

Using machine learning, Google identified 5 clear benefits:

  1. Segments are formed using patterns and not single instances
  2. They use these patterns to identify interest and intent signals
  3. Algorithms are personalized to each cookie
  4. Audiences are updated at every impression
  5. These audiences are free!

Key Takeaway:  Developed audiences make marketers and consumers happy

Hanapin and Google having fun.
We love Mobile Mules!

To round out the day, and prior to heading to happy hour, we looked at specific accounts to identify audiences, segment them into groups and prioritize the implementation of what we’d learned in the audience lab.  The key insights above helped us understand the importance of the knowing your audience and how Google uses this data to provide a better experience for both consumer and marketers. Without a solid audience foundation the latter steps in the framework, to re-engage and expand, wouldn’t prove as effective.

For more information on the next steps please visit two additional posts that summarize learnings as a result of our workshop. Diane Chelius, helps us find our audiences in her follow up post, How to Find The Right PPC Audiences.  Tackling how to use Google audiences to expand is our own Alaina Thompson, PPC Audience Targeting From Google to Social.