For over 10 years Forecaster was the pride of Summit. It was revolutionary in retail, game changing, award winning and it was ours! Combining bid management, marketing intelligence, and sophisticated data science, Forecaster drove double-digit growth for our clients, year-on-year.
On April 27th 2022, after 12 years I switched it off, never to return. We moved all accounts to Google Automated Bidding and in particular Google’s latest release and the talk of the marketing industry – Performance Max.
So, why did I do this and what can other brands and agencies learn? Let’s start with the facts:
Smart Bidding is now the best performing bid management technology on the market
We tested and tested and tested. The Range, Joules, H.Samuel and a host of other blue chip retail clients found Smart Shopping repeatedly matched or outperformed Forecaster. This was uncomfortable. It wasn’t the answer I wanted (especially when Forecaster had a valuation of £18m only 4 years ago!), but facts are facts, and the data was clear. Smart Bidding was now the best way to make it more likely that people buy from our clients than anyone else.
On reflection I shouldn’t have been surprised. Google have an army of developers, twenty years’ experience and have direct access to the secret source – the audience data, the media inventory, and the Google product road map.
The future of Google advertising is Performance Max
‘PMax’ will supersede Smart Shopping this summer and unfortunately it simply won’t work with alternative bid management solutions. If you haven’t come to this conclusion yet, you’re in for a shock. Not only is PMax the ultimate walled garden ‘black box’, it will also revolutionise the mechanics behind managing your campaigns. Furthermore, experience has shown us that early adopters of PMax will win much more quickly in their markets.
By automating the management and offering more Google advertising channels and inventory, Google will funnel advertisers into PMax without remorse or commercial objections – increasing the reach and bid competition while maintaining the performance is win win win.
A win for Google revenues as they fill more advertising inventory across search, display and YouTube. A win for agencies who can spend more budget in less time, while delivering comparable or better ROIs. A win for the brands who will reach more customers and drive greater market share. Google has grown every year since 1998; they are the most successful company in the world at landing their big ideas and PMax will be no different.
Marketeers have more control and choice than ever
By adopting Google technology and best practice you would think that agencies and practitioners would become brainwashed, but great agencies and brands are in control of the questions- and not every answer is Google. You are in control through great budget management and knowing when to say no. You are in control by ensuring you are reaching audiences across multiple platforms and channels. You are in control by creating great organic content that is owned and earned by the brand. You are in control by using measurement and attribution you can trust.
Where once the winners in marketing technology were those competing with Google such as Forecaster, Marin and Kenshoo, it is now those who work with Google and other media platforms such as Facebook and Amazon, for example Adzooma and Squared.io, that will become essential for marketeers.
TikTok is now the most visited app in the world with 1 billion monthly active users. Facebook is now enabled for social commerce offering a two click purchase. 50% of product searches start at Amazon. Don’t get me started on just how important the affiliate channel will be as we go through our cost-of-living crisis. These are great counterweights to the Google juggernaut and offer genuine choice and breadth to performance marketeers.
The principle of Forecaster still holds true; if you fully understand the past, you can better predict the future. Forecaster’s elevator pitch was always the promise to “identify where and when to invest to get the greatest return” and never has this promise been more apt. At Summit we are investing in the Google technology stack and PMax and we have proven this is where and how our partners will get the “greatest returns” from Google.
Summit is a Google Premier Partner Agency, in the top 3% of agencies working with Google in the UK. If you would like to know more about how we make it ‘more likely that customers buy from our clients than anyone else’ then please contact us at [email protected].