The 11th edition of Friends of Search took place last week at the Kromhouthal in Amsterdam, one of the largest search conferences in Europe! The best search specialists gathered and shared their insights and future developments. As expected, the PPC sessions during Friends of Search were focused on AI; in all SEA sessions, (generative) AI was mentioned at least once. Ricardo Riemslag (PPC Director) highlights the key takeaways from the event for you.

Ricardo Riemslag

PPC Director

James Murray from Microsoft said that 2023 was the year AI was democratized with intuitive interfaces that were accessible to all. And 2024 will be the year that AI integrates into our daily lives, amplifying our productivity and creativity. This isn’t tomorrow, it’s now. 

Building a Future-Proof Foundation 

We’re at an inflection point in marketing: AI is very capable and constantly improving, but it is still dependent on the quality of the data input. Tetsuo Konno and Hedwich de Groot from Google explained how to build a future-proof foundation. Predictive AI has been the foundation of Google Ads for years. But if everyone has access to these great tools, how can you set yourself apart from the competition?  

It’s about what we feed in the AI. Therefore a strong foundation is needed, a robust foundation begins with precise data measurement, facilitated by the Google Tag and an SDK. To prevent data loss, they recommended the use of consent mode (v2) and enhanced conversions. Once the right data is measured, it can be enriched and optimized using AI-driven features such as Vertex AI, Soteria, and FeedGen. 

Campaign structure in the age of AI 

Martin Röttgerding told us about his campaign structure in the age of AI. He has a solution for the dilemma: Should marketers opt for numerous ad groups to achieve higher ad relevance, or consolidate into larger ad groups to gather more data for ad optimization? 

  • The Dilemma 
  • Many Ad Groups: Smaller ad groups allow for hyper-targeted ad relevance. However, there’s a trade-off. Larger ad groups yield more data for optimization but sacrifice ad specificity. 
  • Few Big Ad Groups: While big ad groups provide ample data, they suffer from lower quality scores due to generic landing pages and the inability to include keywords in ad copy. 
  • The AI-Ready Solution 
  • An AI-ready campaign structure where you can focus on ad optimization and still has the advantages of customized ads per keyword: 
  • Ad Customizers: By incorporating keywords dynamically into ad copy, marketers can maintain relevance without compromising optimization. 
  • Final URLs at Keyword Level: Leveraging specific landing pages per keyword ensures a tailored user experience. 

Martin’s approach empowers marketers to harness AI’s potential while preserving the essence of relevant messaging. The future lies in campaigns that seamlessly blend relevance and optimization. 

Balancing PPC innovations & proven strategies 

The PPC landscape is changing and that became very evident during the presentation from Navah Hopkins regarding, among other things, match types and performance max.  

  • Match types are continuously changing in the history of PPC. Optmyzer’s analysis reveals that exact match still outperforms broad match in terms of Click-Through Rates (CTR) and conversion rates. However, broad match is steadily catching up. Google continues to fine-tune match types, but it’s not yet perfect. 
  • The takeaway? As marketers, we must stay agile, adapting our strategies to the ever-changing match type landscape. 
  • Google is also very much focused on pMax campaigns and Nava had some cool take aways for us.  
  • There is no right answer on whether to use multiple campaigns, with one asset group, or use multi-asset groups within one campaign. You have to find out what works best for your business, and creatives should be the big determining factor.  
  • In terms of targeting you need to know that audience signals are not the same as targeting audiences. Within pMax you can’t target a specific audience. Performance Max only uses the audience data as a signal to steer the algorithm. Therefore it is important to use exclusions.  
  • What Tetsuo Konno told us during his presentation about getting the most out of AI based campaigns, is extremely important for pMax. If you do nothing, you’ll get average results. If you leverage audience signals, creative, and exclusions you can get extraordinary results. 

Intergamma's omni-channel journey in search 

One of the presentations on which, we as dentsu, are very proud is the session about Intergamma’s omni-channel journey in search. In an ever-evolving landscape, customer journeys are akin to moving targets, and understanding their nuances is extremely important. Only focussing on online conversion will not give you a clear view of your marketing efforts and the impact. It's a must to take all valuable touch points into account.  

Consider this: 51% of shoppers now make purchases directly from their phones while physically in stores. Additionally, 78% of shoppers actively engage with retailers’ apps during their in-store shopping experiences. These statistics underscore the need to measure the full impact of digital ads across both online and offline channels. 

Intergamma’s approach involves harnessing the power of store sales data. By integrating this valuable information into their digital ad campaigns, they enhance overall efficiency and effectiveness. As a strategic partner, dentsu has been involved in testing the incrementality of Intergamma’s omni-channel approach. 

In an era where data drives decisions, understanding the interplay between online and offline sales is not just insightful—it’s essential for success. 

Our white papers

Browse through our whitepapers

Link to Our white papers

Our blogs

Discover our latest blogs from across our network

Link to Our blogs