Key takeaways from Google ThinkLeadGen 2023.

A group of five people posing in front of the Google sign at Google's offices in New York

This October, we attended Google ThinkLeadGen 2023 in New York alongside clients and other best-in-class digital marketers. The digital landscape is evolving, and we as marketers need to evolve with it so conferences like these are great opportunities to stop, reflect and evaluate current strategies. Here are a few key takeaways that will help maximize lead quality and drive long-term growth.

The consumer journey has changed.

Based on research Google conducted with Ipsos, today’s consumers are more active in the research phase across brands. They’re using multiple touch points and favoring top of mind brands. In fact, consumers are 3.5X more likely to ultimately purchase from brands that were discovered during the journey. And users who used a Google touchpoint (search, display, video) are 1.7X more likely to purchase from a brand that they discovered in their research.

Takeaways for marketers:
• You can’t rely on bottom funnel tactics alone.
• Invest in your brand, especially in competitive markets.
• Get more people in the funnel and continue talking to them during their path to purchase.

Google Ads Growth Formula: Strategies to maximize lead quality and drive long-term growth.

1) Set objectives.
The single most important step is making sure your teams are aligned with the organizational goals. Knowing the business objective is the foundation for aligning your marketing objectives, media strategies and campaigns.
• Map your lead-to-sale journey.
• Assign conversion values for each of these touchpoints.
• Position marketing as a profit driver.

2) Get ready.
Consider that not all of your conversions are accurately measured and assigned back to the originating source. Google’s Enhanced Conversions matches your first-party transactions back to an earlier Google touchpoint. These additional signals help fuel AI models for bidding and data-driven attribution.
• Enable Enhanced Conversions for full-funnel visibility.
• Find untapped demand and drive incremental growth.
• Shift mindsets: marketing is a profit center, not a cost center.

3) Take action.
Shift your mindset from optimizing to lead volume to optimizing to lead value. AI-powered strategies such as broad match and performance max (PMAX) offer additional signals that reach beyond current targeting, and the more recent version of broad match has quality improvements which have led to new signals. Better language understanding leads to better interpretation of the intent and more comprehensive matching. As always, proceed with caution and test into each tactic.
• Consider the pairing power of broad match and PMAX.
• Switch to value-based bidding (tROAS vs. tCPA).

4) Evaluate and expand.
To ensure you’re optimizing your campaigns to the right customer actions you need to understand the value at each customer touchpoint, then optimize your bidding strategies and messaging accordingly. Test and scale results.
• Identify the right conversion actions to optimize to and shift to a value-based bidding strategy.
• Measure and optimize for metrics that matter.
• Ensure the organization is aligned with the goals and streamline efforts to connect data with results.

Overall, Google reminds us that the biggest threat to achieving a sustained advantage is inaction, so be proactive in this new landscape. And remember the output is only as good as the signals fueling it. Our consultative approach to working with our clients means that we can help ensure everyone at the table is aligned on the objectives and goals for the business and that you’re measuring each touchpoint in the consumer journey based on value and not solely volume. From there it’s our media mantra: optimize performance, test, learn, expand, and repeat.

Leanne Prewitt

President & Chief Executive Officer

Shaped by her background in creative direction, Leanne leads the agency’s culture and creative vision and also oversees the operations that allow a team of marketing, design and media specialists to create powerful and effective work for their client partners.

Leanne began her professional career in New York City working for some of the nation’s leading agencies. In 2016, after a five-month sabbatical around the world, she returned to her hometown and joined Ervin & Smith. Her global perspective and expanded professional experience influence the work she does today.