Susan Wojcicki and her five ideas for the future of advertising
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Susan Wojcicki and her five ideas for the future of advertising

San Francisco : CA : USA | Apr 10, 2013 at 10:51 AM PDT
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Google's Susan Wojcicki - IAB Annual Leadership Meeting 2013

The energy from yesterday’s festivities is still thriving – despite a night filled with afterparties. This morning’s keynote began with Susan Wojcicki, senior vice president of advertising at Google, discussing five ideas for the future of advertising. According to Wojcicki, providing the right message, with the right context, at the right time, is crucial for long-term success in this evolving landscape.

Interestingly, all of Wojcicki’s ideas begin with the letter “C,” which is intentional. C represents our constantly connected generation who is either constantly generating or consuming content.

Choice: Ad Views Will Be Voluntary

Advertising, as we know it, is changing. We’ve moved from a “shove it down your throat” model to a model where users are choosing to see – and engage – with their ads. This has long been the case with the CPC model that Google has notoriously pioneered.

Voluntary ad views are advantageous for advertisers as the incentives are aligned with their marketing goals and the advertiser only pays when a user sees the ad. YouTube TrueView ads are a great example of voluntary ads working for both publishers and advertisers. This new voluntary model provides ads users want to see, when they want to see them, resulting in a reduction of 40 percent in drop-off and 70 percent of all YouTube ads.

Wojcicki noted a TrueView ad that was wildly successful for Pepsi, featuring Jeff Gordon of NASCAR in a 4-minute ad. Using the traditional “prankster” vibe of YouTube, the video generated content users want to see. Despite the length, the video generated over 33 million views – that’s 220,000 hours of continuous playtime!

On the web, Google is pioneering a new Engagement ad format. When a user hovers over the ad, it expands into a light box that serves as a canvas, which advertisers can use to surface videos, catalogs and other content. With this new IAB standard ad format, publishers saw a 10x increase in engagement compared to traditional ad formats.

Users Want Control

Relevancy is extraordinarily important to Wojcicki, as she discussed ads she personally saw that weren’t relevant. To develop a healthy advertiser relationship with consumers, web visitors must have choice with regard to the ads they see –especially as they become more prominent on the web. Allowing users to identify their interests and wants produces a healthier relationship.

Did you know Google has an ads preference page? When users are given control, Wojcicki noted they typically take it. For every user who goes to this interests page, for every opt-out, two users add interests to their account. The key for long term growth is providing a platform that enables users to tell advertisers their interests at scale.

Charm – Ads Will Be More Interactive and Beautiful at Scale

Wojcicki pointed out an interesting caveat: The most beautiful, interactive ad experiences are on the home page of most sites. Deep within the Internet, ads are comprised of traditional – perhaps ugly –elements. The Internet is an amazing canvas, offering a multitude of advanced interactivity, such as location, social and dynamic content. Once more, Wojcicki noted Engagement Ads as the future.

Unlike niche ad formats, the new Engagement Ad unit is standardized to IAB specifications, providing marketers with a huge amount of flexibility. Wojcicki described a recent Samsung campaign using this new format, in which the company used the ads to live stream their 90-minute Galaxy S IV product launch.

People are Constantly Connected

Mobile is the biggest revolution of all time and marks the biggest change since the invention of the Internet, according to Wojcicki. At Google, she notes they are “rethinking everything that we do.” Users are continually using more devices, their lives becoming fragmented with devices blurring together. Smartphones, phablets and tablets – everything must come together to provide a connected user experience.

Such was the case for the company’s latest Enhanced Campaigns, the biggest structural change since the launch of AdWords. Enhanced campaigns enable advertisers to reach users – not devices– in the context that they want.

Everything Will Be Measured

Analytics and the way we measure ad performance will change, Wojcicki noted. Clicks are only one form of measurement and do not account for brand metrics such as reach and impact. Through new technologies, we can close the loop and understand which ad experiences are working, Wojcicki said.

For example, the company is working on two new metrics, reach and impact, which provides users with surveys after they viewed a brand ad to understand the overall impact. Additionally, Google made significant changes to Google Analytics, so publishers can understand what’s working and how to integrate everything together.

This article is part of Allvoices’ series on ad:tech, the largest, longest-running digital marketing and technology event. Check out allvoices.com/adtech for more of Allvoices’ ad:tech coverage. This series is supported by ad:tech.

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Susan Wojcicki
Susan Wojcicki and Her Five Ideas for the Future of Advertising
Joseph Thomas is based in Redwood City, California, United States of America, and is an Anchor for Allvoices.
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