Google Ads Relevancy And How It's Changing


Google’s definition of relevance is changing–and your online advertising strategies should, too. Here’s what you need to know about relevance:

What is relevance?

Long story short, people pay attention to ads that are relevant.

When an ad is relevant, this means that the ad’s content, format, channel of delivery, and timing are all relevant to whoever the ad’s target audience is.

Relevance means different things on different platforms

For Google, relevance takes on another level of meaning. Search engines like Google survive by digging through a universe of information in order to organize and present results (in the form of links, videos, advertisements, etc) that are most likely to be what a person is searching for. This means that search engines survive by showing results that are relevant to a searcher’s intentions.

Because platforms like Google survive by showing relevant content, they’ve built a complex algorithm that factors in a variety of metrics to measure how relevant a given piece of content is to its intended audience.

Different platforms measure an ad’s relevance in different ways. In Google Adwords, ad relevance measures how closely your chosen keywords relate to your ads. Your ad relevance is a factor that feeds into your overall ad Quality Score.

Is your ad relevant?

There are three main factors that influence whether or not your ad is relevant. It must be the right creative message, shown to the right person, at the right time. Today, as consumers expect more and more personalized content, speaking clearly to a very specific audience is no longer a “nice-to-have”. Being relevant is a critical marketing imperative.

To make more attention-worthy ads that will perform better in Google Adwords, follow these online ads best practices from Google.

1. Are you focused on demographics? Don’t forget about audience intent.

In 2018, brands do not have to guess what their audience might be in the market for at any particular time.

This is because we have access to data on consumer behavior, namely: intent signals.

Intent signals are little bits of information collected from Google search, maps, and apps that indicate what a consumer might want in the near future.

Take a bikini as an example. In the past, we advertised to bikini shoppers by focusing on demographics: women between 18 and 35. As technology evolved, we were able to target potential buyers based on interest—for example, we could show our bikini ad to women who are interested in beach volleyball. Now, we can use data gathered from apps, search, and maps to serve our bikini ad to women who have recently searched for tropical cruises, scrolled through swimsuits on a shopping app, or watched a bikini abs workout video.

By using intent signals to find consumers most likely to be actively interested in your product, your ad suddenly becomes highly relevant to its audience. Not only this, but according to a recent Google article, advertising campaigns that target consumers based on intent had 20% higher ad recall and 50% higher brand awareness compared to campaigns that only used demographic targeting.

2. Become hyper-relevant by customizing your ad content.

You can use intent signals to target the right people, but what about showing the right creative content? If you think that it’s too hard or too expensive to make relevant, customized creative content at the scale necessary for an online advertising campaign, think again.

Advances in technology=opportunities to customize ads.  

Gone are the days of the “one size fits all” billboard poster. Tools like YouTube’s Director Mix can be used to show personalized video ad content. It works by swapping images, text, and other video elements from layers of files, showing certain elements to certain users based on intent signals.

A simpler version of this is a basic A/B test that shows two slightly different versions of ad content to the same audience, allowing you to gauge which content is more appealing to your selected audience.

3. Keywords, format, and content are important…but timing is everything.

You may have delivered the right message to the right people, but if your timing is off, even the perfect ad can flop.

Today, the discussion about optimal timing for an ad goes far beyond a consideration of seasonality, the day of the week, or even the time of the day when you serve your ad.

We now have tools that allow brands to control exactly who they target and re-target, what they are shown, and when. This opens up the possibility of serving ads in the form of multi-part, sequential stories that are shown to a particular user over time, starting with content designed to build brand awareness and leading to content designed to close the sale.

Sequencing your ad content can be a game-changer: with the right strategy, you can show the right message to the right user at the most opportune time. For example, you could begin with a sidebar ad that grabs attention and builds awareness of your brand. To the same user, you could then present a longer piece of content, such as a video showing the value of your product or service. At this point, the viewer has had time to become familiar with your offer and is more likely to act when you show them a quick, 5-second bumper ad the next time they see it pop up in their video feed.