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Swirl, Virtual Try-On, Beauty Try-On – VR and AR ads on Google and YouTube – Overview of the possibilities

At the beginning of last year, Google announced major changes in the advertising formats available on Google and YouTube. The largest search engine in the world is moving towards 3D and augmented reality. The goal? To help the customer familiarize himself with the product as well as possible before making a purchase decision.

3D in marketing is nothing new. The automotive industry was one of the first to adapt it to its needs. It was on the websites of car manufacturers that you could see 3D models of offered cars, which – due to 360o rotation – could be seen from all sides, without moving from the computer screen.

Google decided to follow the same path and introduced 3D advertising, known as Swirl. These ads are designed primarily for mobile users, but can also appear on the computer screen. The creators of this format wanted to enable customers to familiarize themselves with the product as accurately as possible without having to go to the manufacturer’s website. Already during the viewing of the advertisement, you can precisely watch the product and learn additional details related to this.

Google will help you develop a Swirl ad

To encourage customers to use the new format, Google offers help to those advertisers who do not have 3D models created in their resources. In such a case, you can use the support of Google production partners who will create a model suitable for advertisement. One of such Google partners is NexTech AR Solutions, which is cooperating with Google to introduce a series of 3D advertisements for its customers. The company predicts that the year 2020 will be a breakthrough period for this new form of promotion, during which interest in this form of promotion should significantly increase.

However, this is not the end of support for companies willing to launch a three-dimensional promotion. Brands that have already created 3D models can easily create an advertisement using the 3D/Swirl component in Google Web Designer. The campaign can be launched through the Display & Video 360 platform. More information can be found here. Google has also introduced a new editor on its Poly platform (poly.google.com), which will allow advertisers to edit 3D models before publication in the form of Google Swirl advertising.

One of the first companies choosing this form of promotion was the tycoon of the fragrance industry, Guerlain, which used this format to advertise the Aqua Allegoria fragrance. The advertisement was not limited only to the possibility to turn the bottle. During the interaction with the object (turning), additional buttons are being displayed, allowing to get more information about the product. The creation can be viewed at this link

YouTube Virtual Try-on/Beauty Try-On, so YT extends reality

YouTube is not idle either. The platform decided to introduce an AG (Augmented Reality) solution. The novelty was launched in mid-2019. The new form of advertising is called Virtual Try-On or Beauty Try-On. The name is not accidental, this form of promotion is intended to be used primarily by beauty advertisers to promote cosmetics.

How does this advertisement work? When it starts up, the smartphone screen displays the image from the front camera, so the client can see himself on the screen. She can, for example, choose the colour of her lipstick that interests her. Once the shade is selected, it will automatically be applied to her lips, so she can try out if the colour matches her, without having to visit a store. At the same time, the user can follow the YouTuber participating in the advertising campaign to get advice, product reviews and other information while ” trying” on. It is worth noting that virtual product samples work in the full range of skin tones.

Under the panel allowing you to choose a specific colour there is information about the producer and the name of the product, including the price. You can also go directly from the advertisement level to the producer’s store through the “shop” button located in the lower right corner of the screen.

This time the pioneer turned out to be MAC Cosmetics company, which used new AR ads to present a new model of lipstick. Google claims that during the test campaign, about 30% of people among the group to which it was displayed decided to launch the AR platform, who spent on average over a minute with “virtual lipstick”. However, there are no detailed data. In the beginning, the advertisement could only be launched through the internal YouTube network of influencers, famebit.com.

First effects and link to the test

Since mid-October 2019 AR Beauty Try-On has been available for brands worldwide in beta version. Beauty Try-On will be combined with YouTube Masthead and TrueView ads. NARS Cosmetics is one of the first brands to display TrueView and Masthead ads with Beauty Try-On feature. According to YouTube data, the ad has already reached more than 20 million women, each of whom has tried more than 2/3 of all available shades on average.

If you want to test AR Beauty Try-On, open this link on your smartphone. Right below the video you will see a “try it out” button. When you click it, the front camera of your smartphone opens. After pointing it at your face, you can check the different shades of lipstick that Youtuber is talking about. The recording does not stop during your “tests”, so you “try on” a new lipstick and listen to information about it.

To order an AR Virtual Try-On advertisement, contact your account manager or YouTube technical specialist, it is ordered in the same way as a traditional YT masthead or TrueView advertisement.

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eCPC – does smart bidding really work?

ecpc

In the second half of 2019, a new possibility to choose the enhanced CPC (eCPC) settings appeared in Google Ads. With this change, you can choose whether you want eCPC to optimise your advertising rates in terms of conversion numbers or conversion values, without increasing your assumed advertising budget. With this recent change, it is worth considering whether the enhanced CPC is actually a step forward and smart bidding should be the industry standard or whether manual actions are still better? Let’s check it out!

Generally speaking, a company advertising in Google search engine has two options for setting advertising rates. It can either be done completely manually, on the CPC (Cost Per Click) model or combined with the smart bidding strategy, which is offered by the eCPC model, by name – enhanced/improved (not to be associated with effective CPC which is the calculation of cost per click on the CPM model). However, is it really a step forward and manually managed campaigns will soon go down the drain? It turns out that not necessarily, or at least not immediately.

How does eCPC work?

The enhanced CPC is designed to set advertising rates to optimise the number and value of conversions (e.g. the value of the shopping cart or the value of other actions resulting in conversion). In simple words, eCPC increases the rates set by the user in situations where the probability of sale (conversion) is higher and reduces them when the probability of conversion is lower. Currently, eCPC can be applied to practically any kind of promotions in the search engine, from Google Ads, through video (YouTube), to Google Display Network. 

When rates are optimized for conversion, the enhanced CPC adjusts the rate every time an advertisement qualifies for display and the click is likely to lead to conversion. It is also possible to set eCPC to maximize conversion values. In such a case, eCPC takes into account not only the probability of the conversion but above all, its predicted value. When selecting the first option, Google focuses on generating numerous transactions, regardless of their value. In the second case, the algorithm focuses on the higher value of conversions (e.g. higher value of the shopping cart).  

It is worth noting that eCPC constantly analyses its actions and “learns” to work more and more effectively. To this purpose, it leaves some traffic for standard maximum CPC rates and compares the two sets of results, adjusting its work to the results obtained. According to Google’s recommendation, the first results should be visible after at least two weeks. Google ensures that the eCPC model will be more effective or at least as effective as a traditional manual CPC. 

The algorithms when assessing the likelihood of a transaction occurring, take into account such factors as browser location, browser type, user demographics, time of day, day of the week, as well as the history of your Google Ads account

eCPC in practice

Does practice confirm Google’s promises? It turns out that in many cases it does, but it is not without drawbacks. Let’s consider a hypothetical case of an online store offering sports shoes. The owner sets the maximum rate at 1 GBP per click and selects an enhanced CPC. The Google Ads algorithm draws attention to an auction where the advertisement achieves good results. However, the minimum bid eligible for this auction is 1.20 GBP per click. In this case, eCPC will ignore the set maximum rate per click and run a rate of 1.20 GBP to ensure that the advertisement is displayed. Your advertisement is actually displayed, people are clicking it, shoes are selling. You have just achieved more revenue.

However, an increase in revenue does not necessarily mean an increase in profits. The price of shoes has remained the same, which means that you have earned less on every pair sold, and the cost of advertising (clicks) has just increased by 20%. In the original version of eCPC, the algorithms were allowed to increase your advertising rates by up to 30%, after the update, there is no specified threshold. Google’s algorithms are supposed to try to keep the rates close to those specified by the user

In most cases, the search engine delivers on its promises regarding the eCPC model. According to IgniteVisibility.com data, such eCPC tactics have improved Return on Investment (ROI) for 70% of users. There are a lot of pre- and post-running eCPC statements on the network. Here are examples of results:

  • Insurance company: 38% increase in conversions, over 27% decrease in advertising costs
  • Mobile applications company: almost 20% increase in conversions, 9.7% cost reduction. These results appeared within “a few weeks” since the launch of eCPC. 
  • Taxi company: the increase in conversions by almost 12%, decrease in cost by over 35%. In this case, it took a month to achieve this result. 

Does this mean that eCPC is the perfect solution without defects? Unfortunately not, let’s take a closer look at it.

When will eCPC fail? 

First of all, eCPC will not pass the exam for campaigns with a small number of conversions (less than 15). If you manage an ad account with a small number of conversions, eCPC algorithms are likely to simply increase the cost per click and keep the volumes of conversions at the current level. This is because there is not enough information on which Google’s artificial intelligence can build traction and therefore improve its results. 

Secondly, using the eCPC model, however, deprives some measure of control over your campaigns. Of course, you don’t immediately become an incapacitated observer who’s unable to take any action, but experienced marketers appreciate full control over what happens to their advertising account. And eCPC takes some of that control away. 

And finally, as we mentioned earlier, passing the torch to eCPC algorithms can increase the cost of advertising at any time and by the minute. This should be taken into account when planning advertising activities and to calculate whether the profit after raising these costs will still be acceptable. If not only a one-time transaction is important to you, but also the opportunity to get a loyal customer who will come back with new orders – most likely it’s worth a shot.

Teach eCPC Micro-conversion

A good way to “learn” Google’s algorithms how to work is to use micro-conversions, which are one-time, completed actions from the client. These can be such behaviours as:

  • A certain amount of time spent on the site
  • Number of products viewed
  • Number of subpages opened per page

In the majority of cases, a customer who has viewed several products in your e-shop has a better chance of buying something than a person who closed the site after 10 seconds. On this basis, you can “teach” eCPC algorithms which clicks are valuable. After some time, this will translate into displaying ads at a higher rate for those people who have a better chance of making a purchase. As a result, the number of transactions will increase and after some time you will be able to move to ROAS.

eCPC – the future of Google Ads and your company?

There is no one universal answer to whether an enhanced CPC is better than manual control over your account. It is true that the manual rate-setting guarantees predictability and consistency of campaigns and their costs. On the other hand, there are a number of case studies where the improvement of campaign effectiveness after the introduction of eCPC is clearly visible. The safest way to do this is to carry out a series of tests that will show whether eCPC is defending itself in the case of your campaigns. If this turns out to be the case, it is worthwhile to implement at least part of your advertising campaigns in the eCPC model. 

Probably in the near or distant time horizon, Google will strive to promote the eCPC model. Apart from other issues, it will give the search engine better control over the advertising expenses from which it profits. Therefore, it is worth at least familiarizing ourselves with this system and treating it as an integral part of advertising campaigns. When it becomes a standard, this will not mean a revolution in advertising campaigns.