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Google throws digital advertising curve ball at financial marketer




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Is Google stepping below its own success story, as the pandemic re-emphasized the importance of digital marketing? Or is it fundamentally changing its role in digital marketing inclusion in response to social unrest?

Google has made major changes to its personalized advertising policy, throwing a wrench into targeted advertising, which is one of the biggest benefits of digital marketing. Search giants have long implemented policies that ban consumer-targeted advertising based on identity, belief, or sexuality, but this change is at the heart of what many financial institutions do in digital campaigns. Drill down to. Open an account with relevant and timely messages.

The new rules, set to take effect on October 19, 2020, prohibit the targeting of ads by gender, age, parental status, marital status, or zip code. This change will initially apply to products and services in three broad categories: housing, employment and credit. According to the Google FAQ, the changes apply to all ad formats (text, display, video) and all channels (search, display, video).

Facebook rolled out similar targeting restrictions in the summer of 2019 in response to a settlement with civil rights advocates who claimed to allow social media giants to target ads in a discriminatory way. In addition to this, social unrest, which has entered a large and very common situation since May 2020, may have contributed to Google’s rule changes.

“I think Google has a fundamental goal to ensure that marketers can run highly targeted campaigns on people, so that repulsions aren’t considered diverse. [who] It falls into the category of “buckets,” said Michael Bertini, senior director of search strategy at iQuanti.

Charlotte Boutz-Connell, Strum’s Client Experience Director, said that ad targeting actually benefits consumers by putting relevant messages in front of them against the usual noisy media clutter. I will. But she also believes that “balancing that benefit with fairness and inclusiveness is essential, and that’s what Google wants to achieve with this change.”

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For digital marketers, this new rule change will be in addition to Google’s January 2020 pending “cookie-pocalyse” announcement to phase out the use of third-party cookies over the next two years. .. These changes are disturbing given that digital marketing has become even more important to financial institutions since the outbreak of the pandemic.

“The biggest challenge here is that every time our advertising policy changes, we need to change our advertising strategy,” said James Robert Lay, founder and CEO of the Digital Growth Institute.

Ray finds that many are overwhelmed by the demands of the COVID crisis, as so many financial marketers are thin.

Beyond that, the impact on the marketing budget and effectiveness of banks and co-operatives can prove to be significant.

“The loss of the ability to target ads can force financial brands to spend more to get the same results,” Ray said. However, there are some potential positives that result from Google’s targeting restrictions and alternatives that can mitigate the blow.

Are marketers ready? If not, what happens?

The number of banking and co-operative marketers who know Google’s new ad targeting rules is an open question. The marketer whose name appears in your Google Ads account should have received an email from Google about the change. However, most people had to rely on their digital advertising agency to notify them. In some cases, the agency simply processed the change.

In any case, Google requested a response. “Advertisers had to log in to their Google Ads account to accept and approve these policy changes,” explains Paul Evers, EVP and General Manager of Financial Services at Merkle. If you don’t, you won’t be able to create a new campaign until you create it. In addition, after October 19th (by Google), existing campaigns subject to change will be disapproved and will no longer be offered.

“Like Facebook, these policy changes by Google make it clear who has power and control in the digital advertising space, not banks or credit unions,” Lay concludes. ..

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Impact of changes on digital advertising campaigns

The impact of Google’s targeting changes is very different. For example, most of FI Grow Solutions’ current clients haven’t seen much change, as digital marketing companies primarily recommend PPC (pay-per-click) search advertising and aren’t targeting based on age or gender. Hmm. “We rely on keyword research to make sure we’re targeting the right people,” explains digital ad manager Ida Burr.

However, according to Patrick Trayes, senior digital strategist at ZAG Interactive, some financial institutions are targeting ads to specific zip codes. He points out that Google will still allow brands to be geographically targeted by states, counties, cities and metropolitan areas.

For financial institutions that use Google’s in-market audience to target based on specific interests such as car loans and savings, Trayes will continue to use such interest-based audiences under new rules. However, it states that it cannot be used if it indicates gender. , Age, parental status or marital status. “You can add these audiences as observational audiences to see their performance in your campaign, but not as target audiences that users need to belong to that group to see your ads,” Trayes said. Explains.

“Many financial institutions are looking for alternatives to address the loss of ROI due to the inability to fine-tune age goals.” Michael Bertini, iQuanti

In contrast, Michael Bertini has many, if not most, banks and credit unions running specific advertising campaigns that use currently restricted elements to stand in front of an ideal target audience. I think. “These are used in all the brands I’ve consulted with, and of course they are. They help you reach the person most likely to buy your product, ROI. Maximize. “

“Take someone looking for a mortgage,” Bertini continues. “As a marketer, you’re trying to find something in common with those who get approval for these types of loans, and use those elements to show ads to more people like them. This is because it is more likely to be approved and improves ROI.

“Let’s assume that people between the ages of 18 and 26 are less responsible for loans, so we won’t target them in the campaign,” Bertini suggests. Logically, “marketers will target a slightly older group of consumers, such as new parents,” he continues.

Under the new rules, “everything changes,” says Bertini. “As a result, many financial institutions are looking for alternative targeting methods.

James Robert Ray, like Bertini, sees the tremendous impact of this change. “The majority of financial brands are community-focused, relying heavily on zip codes to strategically place ads on people close to physical branch locations within the community where they live or work. And deliver, “he told financial brands. In addition, Ray said that Google’s changes negatively impacted the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning, reviewing current account owner data to identify the ideal account, and remarketing to target the next best products. I’m thinking of creating a list.

Ray continues that the change will stop advertising for the most advanced types of financial institutions targeting male and female consumers with messages specific to both age and gender. For smaller financial institutions, Lay expects the change to be completely excluded from Google, as the final CPA (conversion price) will not make sense for growth strategies.

Similarly, Rupert Hodson, CEO of native advertising platform Dianomi, said: “If the financial industry is tightly regulated and, as a result, marketing campaigns are relatively conservative, [the Google targeting changes] It may lead financial marketers to rethink their strategies. “

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Long-term effects also come with opportunities

Most of the digital marketing experts contacted agreed that Google’s targeting restrictions would reduce ROI to varying degrees, but some raised a balance.

For example, ZAG Interactive’s Patrick Trayes said, “If you cast a wider net, you may be in the market for services, but you’re not accurately grouping to the audience you’re targeting, and you’re advertising to a larger audience. I can do it. “

At a broader level, Michael Bertini says marketers need to start building their own walled gardens. “

“We need to broaden our horizons to paid search and SEO methods. [search engine optimization] We can work together to drive more to our target audience, “he says. “First, get all the paid data, sit down with the content team and create a new content calendar based on all the paid insights. Then remarket to those people and they transform. We will continue to send informative lifestyle content until. “

“Email and SEO are about to enter a second golden age as digital advertising challenges continue to grow.” James Robert Tray, Digital Growth Institute

That advice is related to James Robert Lay’s prediction that email and SEO are about to enter a second golden age as digital advertising challenges continue to grow. He points out that email can be hyper-targeted, as well as advertising.

“The biggest difference between email and digital advertising is that email lists represent assets owned by financial brands, while ads are leased to someone else’s digital real estate,” Ray said. say. “That’s why email should be considered a strategic asset, and the same is true for content.”

The comprehensive point raised by Strum’s Charlotte Boutz-Connell is that the focus of what Google is trying to promote through this particular change is diversity, fairness and inclusiveness. She claims that these attributes are central to financial institution brands across the country. “This is an important time for everyone to contribute to these efforts, and financial institutions play an important role in this work, not only as brands but also as employers.”

In addition, Boutz-Connell believes that as long as this change encourages financial marketers to try new things, it could be a driving force for new, better approaches and performance.

Ray agrees. “This change in the environment creates an opportunity for financial brands and consumers to finally start working together,” he said. “It’s time for the financial marketing, sales and leadership teams to confidently support first and then promise to sell.” Lay said the future path for the financial marketing team was “Marketing. We firmly believe that it is rooted in “transforming to operate like a content / media brand.”

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