Google’s 4 New Advertising Moves Collectively Take Direct Aim at TV Budgets

Debuts updated measurement tools, local promos

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Google will hold court in multiple sessions at Advertising Week in the coming days, and one message showgoers can expect to hear is how the company's video ads compare with TV. It's a similar refrain to what YouTube has heralded at the recent BrandCasts, the annual NewFronts show the video platform puts on. 

The digital giant will also make the argument that it can measure foot traffic in stores with great accuracy while targeting ads across devices. That's the pitch: Buy our ads instead of television—which lacks trackability—and actually see how well they work

Here are Google's four big announcements for this year's Advertising Week. 

1. Video inspires search

It's debuting an upgraded version of its Brand Lift measurement product. It's now designed to let marketers compare how many times people search on Google and YouTube after seeing a YouTube ad versus how frequently they search after viewing a TV spot. 

From early tests, Brad Bender, vp of display and video advertising at Google, said his researchers have "seen YouTube generate almost two times the searches per impression than TV generates."

VaynerMedia recently tested the system for a video ad campaign for CNBC show West Texas Investors Club. YouTube drove five times as many incremental searches per impression compared to television, and the video site generated twice as many incremental searches per dollar spent.

2. Local extensions

Google Display Network mobile ads are getting to be more local. They can now include a business address, Google Maps directions and photos. Home Depot tested the feature, stating that it improved in-store return on investment on its ads by eight times. 

"Mobile location extensions for display proved their worth very quickly," said Umut Dincer, director of online marketing for Home Depot. "We're able to reach DIYers who are close to our stores and make a 'just in time' connection that brings them the information they really want in their I-want-to-buy-it moments." 

3. Offline measurement

Bender and his team want retailers to believe Google Display Network drives brick-and-mortar sales, so they are bringing more data to the table. Google has the dimensions of 200 million stores globally and claims to have the ability to pinpoint with 99 percent accuracy when it comes to store visits. Its measurement tools will also employ a five-million-user panel to gauge whether ads drove retail patronage.

Google's selling point is that mobile drives purchase intent. According to its research, 30 percent of smartphone users who visited a retailer's website or app on their phone ended up buying something in a store within 24 hours.

4. Cross-device retargeting

Lastly, Google is introducing cross-device ad retargeting for Google Display Network and DoubleClick Bid Manager. The concept here revolves around a brand being able to serve potential customers ads on their smartphone in the early morning, on desktop during lunch and via their tablet at night. 

All four of the announcements could help Google lure more brand money away from TV budgets. That's definitely the game plan. 

"I think we are ready to call it—the loop is now officially closed," Bender proclaimed. 

Well, not quite yet, as his company plans to roll out all of the above additions in the next few months. But how these moves affect the ads ecosystem will be worth watching during the holidays as well as into 2017. 

"We're the prime time for the mobile world," said Philipp Schindler, chief business officer at Google. 

Check out our interview with Schindler for the latest Adweek magazine here

@Chris_Heine Christopher Heine is a New York-based editor and writer.