It has been a crazy year… There has been so much going on in digital that it’s worth reviewing! Google Ads specialists from the MTA Digital team answered 9 questions about trends, challenges and changes that had taken place in the past year. The questions were as follows:
1. How has the pandemic affected the industry? What kind of elements have changed?
2. According to you, what was the most important event of the year?
3. What kind of changes have been the most challenging: for the industry as a whole/for you as a professional?
4. What were the most important trends in 2020? Which of them was the most surprising to you?
5. What was your team’s biggest success in 2020?
6. What was the tool you couldn’t imagine working without in 2020?
7. What were your favourite podcasts, books and blogs that you used to listen to/read in your free time?
8. What sort of changes will 2021 bring in your opinion? Which areas of the industry will grow the fastest and which strategies will stay the same?
9. If you could move to January 2020, what would you tell yourself?
Nine questions, six experts. Who are they?
Jakub Bendlewski – Google Ads Team Leader
Jarosław Noelle – PPC Manager
Adrian Borzęcki – Performance Manager | PPC Specialist
Ewa Profaska – PPC Specialist
Michał Hołub – Digital Marketing Strategist | PPC Specialist
Radosław Kmita – Google Ads & Web Analytics Consultant
How has the pandemic affected your business area? Which of its elements have changed?
We have focused much more on online interactions. When it was impossible to meet face to face, we have been trying to keep in touch at least virtually. The popularity of short video recordings, or simply video conferences, has increased.
One thing that the pandemic has changed in my area is that it has forced even those entities that were normally associated with offline activities to move online. They had to find their way in the new reality and that was evident, of course, not only in GAds but also in marketing as a whole.
In terms of strictly GAds, I think the pandemic has stopped or reduced the momentum with which the novelty of Local Campaigns has been implemented into accounts. At least during the lockdown periods, this type of campaign was more or less unused – after all, what’s the point of guiding users to offline points when they are closed. I have the impression that it was supposed to be a big omnichannel novelty, aimed also at smaller service providers, e.g. restaurants ( at least it worked that way in the past abroad), but it has not yet entered the consciousness of advertisers in Poland.
Increased expenses for certain campaigns. The appearance of new types of behaviour that weren’t in existence before and which have moved online by necessity e.g. acquiring more leads online rather than doing it offline.
Due to constant changes in restrictions, we have witnessed many unpredictable changes in the effectiveness of campaigns, including their costs, number of clicks, surges and drops.
Honestly? I have not been affected. The clients I worked with didn’t experience any pandemic effects because of the industries they operate in. The only change was a temporary campaign budget modification – for a single e-commerce site.
According to you, what was the most important event of the year in Google Ads?
The COVID pandemic. It has caused a certain bubble to burst in almost every company – things that seemed natural/normal to everyone were suddenly impossible and people had to adapt to the new reality.
Apart from the pandemic that has caused all sorts of difference in every field, these were two new ad formats: Discovery Ads and Local Campaigns. Google is increasingly interested in making advertising use of the tools and spaces it already has.
Discovery Campaigns are a way of using the Android “Discover” space that appears when you swipe the Android home screen to the left, but also the other Google app spaces like YouTube, Gmail, etc. Local Campaigns mainly involve the use of Maps, and beyond that, as in the case of Discovery Campaigns, other Google spaces.
Another interesting addition was the inclusion of the lead form extension. It may not be very impressive in itself, but I suspect Google will be looking to create a format similar to Facebook Lead Ads.
Launching Local Campaigns. However, this has collided with the current global situation.
A reduction in the number of user queries shown in Google Ads reports – of course, I consider it to be a negative event, as it has significantly reduced the specialists’ “field of vision”.
What kind of changes have been the most challenging: for the industry as a whole/for you as a professional?
For me personally, it was about getting used to using the webcam, as I wanted the recipient of the message to understand me as well as possible. This is why I started to record videos, which eventually became an indispensable companion in communication 🙂
Pandemic – this was not a problem for our team, but I think the whole sector was suddenly forced to move completely online. It resulted in a lot of companies having to learn to work remotely very quickly. In many cases, it was certainly a test of confidence in their employees. Fortunately, at the MTA we didn’t have this problem and we were immediately able to make a smooth transition to work entirely remotely.
In terms of GAds, I think the challenge has been educating clients on why it’s important to go a step further in lead optimisation and focus on quality/value over time rather than quantity. To operate in this way it is also necessary to have access to customer data, thus their understanding of the whole idea is very important.
Effective scalability of already running campaigns and an increase in campaign costs, while keeping efficiency at a high level.
Testing CPA (Cost per action) targets in Google Ads based on the LTV (Lifetime value) of the customer in segments categorised by geographical location and acquisition channels (Search, Paid Social, Display, etc.). To obtain this type of data and to make them work in conjunction with Google Ads or Facebook Ads algorithms, it is necessary to analyse the maximum amount of the client’s 1st Party Data (e.g. from CRM or their user data collection systems), to start sending new events and to work very closely with the person responsible for analytics at the customer’s company.
It was a big challenge for me to organise my work in terms of the number of new clients and orders.
The most important trends in 2020? Which one was the most surprising to you?
The development of webinars and online conferences. I was especially surprised by the willingness of users to pay to participate in the latter (especially in VIP packages), while in fact these people only watch the live broadcast from their houses 🙂
I think there are a few trends worth mentioning:
- Google’s objective to optimise events for the real value of leads acquired through campaigns. That is, paying attention to not only optimising campaigns for the number of leads, but also for their quality. Linking customer data with Google Ads accounts.
- YouTube as an advertising tool that enables not only the building of awareness and coverage but also sales. Google is trying to prove that YouTube can also generate sales by adding new formats and strongly signalling this “convertibility”.
- Accelerating the transformation of businesses from offline to online. The development of areas which previously (especially in Poland) were considered completely offline. Education, for example.
- Google’s efforts to improve the results of entire businesses, not only online, but also to support offline channels through, for example, local campaigns.
I try to be open-minded and not surprised by anything in life. According to this principle, none of these things surprises me. 🙂
The number of areas that occasionally wanted to digitise too forcefully, often without being more aware of their actions.
A quick adaptation of users (including older people) to online reality.
The change in algorithms and Google’s continued emphasis on using automated/machine-learning solutions.
Your team’s biggest success this year?
The recruitment of new team members and scaling of revenues despite the pandemic. This is the proof of our clients’ confidence in our services and good financial management of the MTA.
There was, as always, a bit of this and it is difficult to point out just one success, so I will mention a few of them:
- Running (successfully) a Europe-wide campaign for a foreign client. Splitting the campaign into a dozen or so countries, linking all the FBAds/Programmatic/partly Google Ads activities.
- Taking advantage of opportunities in case of businesses that gained from lockdown. The development of SaaS and e-commerce projects.
However, the biggest success in my opinion was the way the whole team responded to the crisis. In solidarity, we all (without exception) reduced our salaries, we were very flexible and understanding to each other, we strengthened ourselves internally, we switched into a fully remote work without any problem.
Maintaining some clients despite the pandemic.
Financial – $1.2 million in revenue for one e-commerce customer. Other – the development of certain clients with the promotion of services to new countries and platforms.
A tool you could not imagine working without in 2020?
Loom. When it comes to the sales process, short videos work miracles, but they also make team communication much easier and faster. Out of all the tools tested, Loom is my personal favourite.
- Clockify – It allows me to know how much time I have spent on a project.
- Calamari – Thanks to it, I know how much time I have spent at work.
- Asana – Thanks to it, I could easily manage tasks involving multiple projects and areas and also communicate with many people about these projects and areas at the same time.
- Google Meet – thanks to it, I was able to see other people of the team in a real way.
- Loom – thanks to it I could record reports, instructions, show clients how I work on an account. Loom makes the things we do on accounts more accessible to clients, it also enables me to describe in a very detailed way what there is to do within a particular task. I highly recommend it. 🙂
Asana – thanks to it I could organise my work well.
Definitely Google Ads Editor.
Favourite podcasts,books and blogs that you have used in your spare time?
I often found knowledge and news about the industry from Facebook groups, mainly:
- Wsparcie z Google Ads|Analytics|Tag Manager|Optimize by Karol Dziedzic
- Google Ads (AdWords) – Darmowe Wsparcie, Porady, Nowinki [MarcinWsol.pl]
- Google Ads Strategy with Kyle Sulerud
In case of podcasts these are rather not marketing ones, I like to get inspired by other fields while resetting myself. When it comes to marketing resources these are the sites for me:
When it comes to Google Ads content, I often looked into Marcin Wsół’s newsletter and Facebook group, as well as Measured, Crealytics and Brainlabs blog and events.
What sort of changes will 2021 bring in your opinion? Which areas of the industry will grow the fastest and which strategies will stay the same?
Many companies will stay with remote working, so interpersonal skills will disappear with every passing year. Working remotely doesn’t require much interaction with third parties, which will further increase social distancing, and those individuals with soft skills will be even more appreciated.
There will still be a large contribution from specialists in creating and optimising Google Ads campaigns, but surely 2021 will bring further elements of automation that will reduce specialists’ workload on accounts.
I also think that the value of YouTube in performance campaigns will gradually increase, with more and more video ad formats that will generate valuable traffic.
Google is also likely to go further when it comes to Lead Ads formats. At the moment, most of these types of formats are in beta, but they will be probably coming out of beta and into widespread use soon.
We will continue to see increasing value in optimising campaigns for lead value. Lead scoring, Customer Lifetime Value, offline conversion tracking – these will be very important phrases used by Google regularly at various conferences and events. 🙂
No major changes: there will be a lot of small players in the market who will make small deals, while giants like Google and Facebook will strengthen their position in the online marketing industry. This will lead to even greater centralisation of efforts and activities on these platforms.
Probably we will observe further development of machine learning algorithms in Google Ads and the emphasis on using them.
If you could come back to January 2020, what would you say to yourself?
Buy a supply of face masks while they’re cheap 🙂
Don’t fly to the USA on the 10th of March or do it a week or two earlier.
Discover MTA now and work with them sooner!
Get ready for a big dose of knowledge and new skills 🙂
Curious what our Facebook Ads specialists have to say about 2020? Check out our Summary of 2020 in Facebook Ads!