Connect with us


How Google Responsive Search Ads Work & 10 Helpful Tips



How Google Responsive Search Ads Work & 10 Helpful Tips

Responsive Search Ads (RSAs) allow advertisers to enter multiple headline and description options that Google can combine in creating a personalized, relevant ad for each searcher. Google tests different combinations of the headlines and descriptions provided to learn which combos perform best in capturing shoppers’ attention and clicks.

“The ability to run and test multiple combinations of headlines and descriptions simultaneously using machine learning saves advertisers valuable time from repetitive A/B testing, as well as improving overall performance by showing the best combination possible.”

Josh Brisco, GVP, Acquisition Media at Tinuiti

In this post, we’ll explore how responsive search ads work, their advantages, how to create them, and some helpful tips for making the most of them in your Google advertising campaigns.


What Are Responsive Search Ads?

Google’s Responsive Search Ads were introduced in beta in 2018, and have grown to become the leading Paid Search ad format available in Google Ads. Similar in some ways to another popular ad type—Dynamic Search Ads—RSAs aim to best answer each searcher’s query through headline and description combinations based on their search.

Example of Responsive Search Ad on Google search engine results page

Responsive Search Ad optimization is done in real-time, continually working toward achieving the best performance outcomes from the provided ad elements. The more headlines and descriptions entered, the more Google Ads can test and learn which combinations work best for different searchers. With the ability to input up to 15 headlines and 4 descriptions for Google’s machine learning to mix-and-match in serving up the best ad, over 43,000 ad variations are possible!

Expanded Text Ads (ETAs) were the former standard ad format for Google search campaigns, with RSAs officially taking the throne when ETAs were sunset in June 2022. While ETAs created before June 2022 are still served and reported on—and can be paused and resumed—new ETAs cannot be created, and existing ETAs cannot be edited. If you still have lingering, stale ETAs in your account, take some time to transition to RSAs.

“The rollout of RSAs has saved advertisers countless hours of having to test combinations of ad messaging, but the effort doesn’t stop here. We’re seeing clients being rewarded with CPC—and ultimately, CPA—savings with creative RSA approaches and analysis.”

Austin Winkler

Austin Winkler, Paid Search Specialist at Tinuiti

Note that you can only have up to 3 enabled RSAs in any given ad group, so use your slots wisely.

The Advantages of Responsive Search Ads

Thanks to Google’s continual advances in machine learning and automation, RSAs offer advertisers and searchers alike a host of benefits. Let’s explore some to keep top-of-mind…

Simplify optimization through machine learning

RSAs allow advertisers to input up to (15) 30-character headlines and (4) 90-character descriptions. Each RSA constructed from the provided elements will include up to 3 headlines and 2 descriptions.

Google can test and run all possible combinations of these elements to see which are the best performing configurations for which searches based on the query, device type, and available user-specific signals, like past search history and clicks. This means you can bid farewell to more manual A/B testing, with Google’s Machine Learning/AI testing all possible outcomes to save advertisers valuable time and variable consideration.

“The RSA ad format offers a huge improvement in how we run and test messaging. Even though AI/Machine Learning is involved, we still can guide the machine to fit our client goals. We have seen crafted and tested RSA formats ultimately help with efficiency.”

Austin Winkler

Austin Winkler, Paid Search Specialist at Tinuiti

Ad Variations testing is an option that allows for pointed A/B testing for RSAs. This lets advertisers test one asset versus another, or an asset group versus another asset group.

Show up in a greater number of relevant searches

Thanks to their extensive headline and description options, RSAs give you the needed space to highlight many unique characteristics or selling points of your brand or product.

Similar to the approach you might take when crafting a well-optimized product description, think of a variety of compelling things that might entice a prospective customer, or be related to their search query. Try not to simply ‘say the same thing a different way,’ instead highlighting totally different (or complementary) aspects of your product or business.

Example Scenario:

Let’s say you’ll be creating RSAs for a line of lip balms. Think of all the different types of shoppers for whom the products you’ll be advertising would be a good fit. Now, think of the ways each of those different customer personas will be searching, including the keywords they’ll be using. Ensure that you have at least one headline for each of the most important, relevant, and/or likely queries.

If you prefer to start with an outline before crafting your final ad copy elements, consider taking notes as you go about each of the selling points you want to be sure to account for.

Sample notes you might take to help in building unique headlines for your lip balms…

  • Mention they’re tinted in at least two headlines
  • Highlight the three key ingredients in separate headlines
  • Include that they’re cruelty-free
  • Consider relevant Brand selling points or taglines
  • Consider including compelling offers / sales (new customer offer, product category sales, etc.)
  • Container is fully recyclable
  • TSA-friendly
  • SPF30 protection
  • Variety of scents including unscented
  • Organic ingredients

The variety of relevant value propositions you highlight gives your ads an opportunity to compete in more auctions, helping your message reach more customers by showing up for more searches.

“Showing an optimized search ad with the right message to the right audience has the potential to boost the CTR and lower CPCs for Search campaigns. If done correctly, this can help advertisers improve their ROAS and reduce wasted ad spend.”

Portrait of Josh Brisco

Josh Brisco, GVP, Acquisition Media at Tinuiti


Create thousands of ad combinations effortlessly

In addition to highlighting different selling points of your product—as we explored above with the lip balms example—pump up the variety by also exploring headlines and descriptions of different lengths, and including different types of callouts and offers.

Seeing what types of messaging result in the most clicks and conversions can not only help in optimizing your campaigns, but also in learning more about what’s most important to your customers. This can greatly influence your current and future advertising initiatives, and can even help in shaping the future of your business.

Examples of ad combinations based on headlines and descriptions for Google Responsive Search Ads

Source: Google

Note: Smaller scale advertisers may benefit from including less possible combinations to serve at first, as the required impressions for the RSA to optimize may be out of reach for many clients.

How to Create Responsive Search Ads

RSAs can be created in a few simple steps…

  • In your selected campaign, navigate to the ‘Ads & Assets’ tab in your Google Ads dashboard
  • Click the plus sign (+) alongside ‘Responsive search ad’ to create a new ad
  • Select an ad group to add your new ad to
  • Enter your RSA’s Final URL or landing page you’d like to direct users to with your ad
  • Input up to 15 different headlines (minimum 3)
    • If you currently have ads running, Google may suggest additional headlines that may improve performance (based on keywords in your ad group)
  • Input up to 4 different descriptions (minimum 2)
    • If you currently have ads running, Google may suggest additional descriptions that may improve performance (based on keywords in your ad group)
  • Click ‘Save New Ad’

Google will then review your RSA and launch it once approved.

Pinning headlines and descriptions

By their design, RSAs will test all of the headlines and descriptions you provide in different positions to see how their placement within a given ad impacts performance. If you want to maintain a bit more control over messaging—ensuring that all users are shown a given headline or description—you can opt to pin those in your ad in whichever position you choose, but this may result in a loss of eligible search volume.

Remember that while up to 3 headlines and 2 descriptions can show in RSAs, not all ads will include all elements. Depending on a variety of factors—including device screen size and competitiveness of the respective SERP—a given RSA may only include 2 headlines and 1 description (at minimum). With this in mind, you won’t want to pin essential (legal, brand guidelines) assets to ‘Headline 3’ or ‘Description 2’ as they may not always show.

Specs for Responsive Search Ads

Before you sit down to create your first RSA campaign, keep the following specs in mind to ensure you have everything you need for a successful launch.

  • Headlines to provide: Minimum of 3, Up to 15 (Recommended minimum of 5)
  • Descriptions to provide: Minimum of 2, Up to 4
  • Headline Character Count: Up to 30 characters (Aim for varied lengths)
  • Description Character Count: Up to 90 characters (Aim for varied lengths)
  • Display URL paths shown: 2 (optional)
  • Final URL: Where your ad will lead
  • How many headlines will show in each RSA: At least 2, up to 3
  • How many descriptions will be displayed in each RSA: At least 1, up to 2


10 Helpful Tips for Using Responsive Search Ads

Let’s explore 10 actionable tips advertisers can employ to see the greatest success from their RSA campaigns…

1. Provide a true variety of headlines

The greater variety of assets you provide, the more options Google has to work with in assembling your messages into highly relevant ads, which can significantly improve performance. RSAs allow you to upload up to 15 headlines, providing ample opportunity to experiment with different phrasing, value propositions, and CTAs.

We suggest including a focus keyword in two or more of your headlines, with at least three headline options that do not include a keyword. Remember that you’ll also want each to be distinct enough so that if two are shown in the same ad, they aren’t repetitive. For example, unless you were pinning one of the options, you would want to avoid including “Free Shipping” and “Ships Free” in the same ad.

2. Create headlines and descriptions of different lengths

Sometimes short and sweet is the best answer! Give Google the opportunity to experiment with the performance of short, mid-length, and long headlines and descriptions by providing a mix of each.

Example of a responsive search ad on Google Search for best NYC hotels


Don’t try to maximize the character count in every headline and description. Remember that each headline, description, and image is just a part of the recipe—they don’t all need to be running at full capacity to convey your message when they’ll be working together.

3. Add at least 2 distinct descriptions

Responsive search ads show up to two descriptions at a time, so you’ll want to include a minimum of two complementary options. That said, we encourage you to take advantage of all 4 description slots to get the quickest learnings about what works best for your brand. The more work you put into maximizing your RSAs from the beginning, the greater head start Google has on testing combinations, and the sooner your campaigns will be optimized.

4. Provide relevant copy with features and benefits

Take the space you’re given to tell your brand story, and what makes your product the right choice for a given shopper’s wants and needs. Share additional products or service benefits and features, special offers, a problem your product solves for, activities for which your product is a good choice, shipping and return information, and more!

Think of your headlines and descriptions as foundational pieces in your wardrobe that can be mixed and matched to create a wide variety of outfits and looks for different occasions—an ad copy version of a wardrobe capsule collection. Google is doing much of the same work when crafting the perfect ad based on query and user signals as you are when crafting the perfect look from your closet. Make sure each ad element is strong enough on its own that it will be eye-catching regardless of what else it’s paired with.

5. Use a CTA in your description

Don’t be shy or mysterious! Be clear and concise about the action you want shoppers to take. A strong CTA helps your ad stand out in a busy SERP, providing clarity of desired action. You can also use CTAs to convey immediacy for products with limited availability or an expiring sale price.

6. Use pins intentionally

The option to pin is a very valuable feature, but it’s important to consider that the more you pin, the less impression volume you’re going to see in nearly all cases. We recommend using pinning as intentionally as possible to achieve the desired effect, relying on Google to craft the most compelling ad for each searcher without excessive requirements in place.

As for what to pin? Certain things may require pinning, such as legal disclaimers. Many advertisers also choose to implement pinning for testing different ad themes. Others leverage pinning to test multiple RSA units in an ad group. This is all to say that pinning is useful and effective, and can be used both practically and creatively. However, given that RSAs are dynamic by nature, over-pinning can put up concrete guardrails that prevent the ads from operating as intended.

7. Monitor Performance with Google’s reports

Use RSA Asset Reports across tactics—brand or non-brand, new or existing users, etc.—to determine which assets are boosting campaign performance the most. For directional purposes, we can assume that more impressions likely lead to a performance boost when this asset is shown.

Higher Ad Strength has more to do with the potential reach increase (number of ad auctions you’re eligible for) you could see, rather than suggesting higher CVR or CTR.

Frequently replacing low-volume or non-serving assets with new concepts, CTAs, or value propositions ensures you’re giving the algorithm new and exciting reasons to serve your brand’s ad. Combine the replacement using Google’s Ad Variations tool to set up an easy-to-use A/B split test that will provide you with valuable insights, and just might impress your boss or client!

Combination reports are useful in evaluating what the bulk of your users are seeing in their messages. If you find that two similar headlines are often shown together in a resulting ad, try pinning both to the same headline position. This will create a mini-test that guarantees the two assets won’t show in tandem.

It’s worth noting that current RSA Asset Reporting is limited, with impressions and ‘strength’ being the primary measures of performance success at this time. Advertisers also have insight into the most commonly served combinations of headlines and descriptions, which they can leverage to continue refining their campaigns, providing Google with more of what’s working to choose from.

8. Solve Business Problems / Run Your Own Tests using Ad Variations

Use Ad Strength as a general guide to creating the right components that make up an effective RSA, but use your ad’s performance and your client goals when determining success. Use your own testing methodologies to optimize towards desired outcomes (e.g. CVR improvement, % new customers, etc.).

9. Expand your testing breadth by combining copy tools/features and testing BETAs where applicable

Fully maxed out in your 15 headlines and 4 description lines? Try testing out other Google ad content features within RSAs, including Ad customizer feeds and Dynamic Keyword Insertion.

10. Start with one RSA per group, then expand

Try RSA versions built to suit different target audiences or customer types. For example, ‘New Customer RSA’ can feature brand value-adds and percentage-off first purchase assets. ‘Research-Centric User RSA’ are best armed with less ‘buy’ CTAs and more ‘Learn More / Newsletter Subscribe’ CTAs.


RSAs are the progression beyond Expanded Text Ads that advertisers needed to meet each user where they are in today’s complex search journey. Want to learn more about how RSAs and other Google advertising options can help you reach your business goals? Stop by our Paid Search services page, or contact us to chat with an expert.


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published by Greg Swan in May 2018 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address


Comparing Credibility of Custom Chatbots & Live Chat



Building Customer Trust: Comparing Credibility of Custom Chatbots & Live Chat

Addressing customer issues quickly is not merely a strategy to distinguish your brand; it’s an imperative for survival in today’s fiercely competitive marketplace.

Customer frustration can lead to customer churn. That’s precisely why organizations employ various support methods to ensure clients receive timely and adequate assistance whenever they require it.

Nevertheless, selecting the most suitable support channel isn’t always straightforward. Support teams often grapple with the choice between live chat and chatbots.

The automation landscape has transformed how businesses engage with customers, elevating chatbots as a widely embraced support solution. As more companies embrace technology to enhance their customer service, the debate over the credibility of chatbots versus live chat support has gained prominence.

However, customizable chatbot continue to offer a broader scope for personalization and creating their own chatbots.

In this article, we will delve into the world of customer support, exploring the advantages and disadvantages of both chatbots and live chat and how they can influence customer trust. By the end, you’ll have a comprehensive understanding of which option may be the best fit for your business.

The Rise of Chatbots

Chatbots have become increasingly prevalent in customer support due to their ability to provide instant responses and cost-effective solutions. These automated systems use artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP) to engage with customers in real-time, making them a valuable resource for businesses looking to streamline their customer service operations.

Advantages of Chatbots

24/7 Availability

One of the most significant advantages of custom chatbots is their round-the-clock availability. They can respond to customer inquiries at any time, ensuring that customers receive support even outside regular business hours.


Custom Chatbots provide consistent responses to frequently asked questions, eliminating the risk of human error or inconsistency in service quality.


Implementing chatbots can reduce operational costs by automating routine inquiries and allowing human agents to focus on more complex issues.


Chatbots can handle multiple customer interactions simultaneously, making them highly scalable as your business grows.

Disadvantages of Chatbots

Limited Understanding

Chatbots may struggle to understand complex or nuanced inquiries, leading to frustration for customers seeking detailed information or support.

Lack of Empathy

Chatbots lack the emotional intelligence and empathy that human agents can provide, making them less suitable for handling sensitive or emotionally charged issues.

Initial Setup Costs

Developing and implementing chatbot technology can be costly, especially for small businesses.

The Role of Live Chat Support

Live chat support, on the other hand, involves real human agents who engage with customers in real-time through text-based conversations. While it may not offer the same level of automation as custom chatbots, live chat support excels in areas where human interaction and empathy are crucial.

Advantages of Live Chat

Human Touch

Live chat support provides a personal touch that chatbots cannot replicate. Human agents can empathize with customers, building a stronger emotional connection.

Complex Issues

For inquiries that require a nuanced understanding or involve complex problem-solving, human agents are better equipped to provide in-depth assistance.

Trust Building

Customers often trust human agents more readily, especially when dealing with sensitive matters or making important decisions.


Human agents can adapt to various customer personalities and communication styles, ensuring a positive experience for diverse customers.

Disadvantages of Live Chat

Limited Availability

Live chat support operates within specified business hours, which may not align with all customer needs, potentially leading to frustration.

Response Time

The speed of response in live chat support can vary depending on agent availability and workload, leading to potential delays in customer assistance.


Maintaining a live chat support team with trained agents can be expensive, especially for smaller businesses strategically.

Building Customer Trust: The Credibility Factor

When it comes to building customer trust, credibility is paramount. Customers want to feel that they are dealing with a reliable and knowledgeable source. Both customziable chatbots and live chat support can contribute to credibility, but their effectiveness varies in different contexts.

Building Trust with Chatbots

Chatbots can build trust in various ways:


Chatbots provide consistent responses, ensuring that customers receive accurate information every time they interact with them.

Quick Responses

Chatbots offer instant responses, which can convey a sense of efficiency and attentiveness.

Data Security

Chatbots can assure customers of their data security through automated privacy policies and compliance statements.

However, custom chatbots may face credibility challenges when dealing with complex issues or highly emotional situations. In such cases, the lack of human empathy and understanding can hinder trust-building efforts.

Building Trust with Live Chat Support

Live chat support, with its human touch, excels at building trust in several ways:


Human agents can show empathy by actively listening to customers’ concerns and providing emotional support.

Tailored Solutions

Live chat agents can tailor solutions to individual customer needs, demonstrating a commitment to solving their problems.


Human agents can adapt to changing customer requirements, ensuring a personalized and satisfying experience.

However, live chat support’s limitations, such as availability and potential response times, can sometimes hinder trust-building efforts, especially when customers require immediate assistance.

Finding the Right Balance

The choice between custom chatbots and live chat support is not always binary. Many businesses find success by integrating both options strategically:

Initial Interaction

Use chatbots for initial inquiries, providing quick responses, and gathering essential information. This frees up human agents to handle more complex cases.

Escalation to Live Chat

Implement a seamless escalation process from custom chatbots to live chat support when customer inquiries require a higher level of expertise or personal interaction.

Continuous Improvement

Regularly analyze customer interactions and feedback to refine your custom chatbot’s responses and improve the overall support experience.


In the quest to build customer trust, both chatbots and live chat support have their roles to play. Customizable Chatbots offer efficiency, consistency, and round-the-clock availability, while live chat support provides the human touch, empathy, and adaptability. The key is to strike the right balance, leveraging the strengths of each to create a credible and trustworthy customer support experience. By understanding the unique advantages and disadvantages of both options, businesses can make informed decisions to enhance customer trust and satisfaction in the digital era.

Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address
Continue Reading


The Rise in Retail Media Networks



A shopping cart holding the Amazon logo to represent the rise in retail media network advertising.

As LL Cool J might say, “Don’t call it a comeback. It’s been here for years.”

Paid advertising is alive and growing faster in different forms than any other marketing method.

Magna, a media research firm, and GroupM, a media agency, wrapped the year with their ad industry predictions – expect big growth for digital advertising in 2024, especially with the pending US presidential political season.

But the bigger, more unexpected news comes from the rise in retail media networks – a relative newcomer in the industry.

Watch CMI’s chief strategy advisor Robert Rose explain how these trends could affect marketers or keep reading for his thoughts:

GroupM expects digital advertising revenue in 2023 to conclude with a 5.8% or $889 billion increase – excluding political advertising. Magna believes ad revenue will tick up 5.5% this year and jump 7.2% in 2024. GroupM and Zenith say 2024 will see a more modest 4.8% growth.

Robert says that the feeling of an ad slump and other predictions of advertising’s demise in the modern economy don’t seem to be coming to pass, as paid advertising not only survived 2023 but will thrive in 2024.

What’s a retail media network?

On to the bigger news – the rise of retail media networks. Retail media networks, the smallest segment in these agencies’ and research firms’ evaluation, will be one of the fastest-growing and truly important digital advertising formats in 2024.

GroupM suggests the $119 billion expected to be spent in the networks this year and should grow by a whopping 8.3% in the coming year.  Magna estimates $124 billion in ad revenue from retail media networks this year.

“Think about this for a moment. Retail media is now almost a quarter of the total spent on search advertising outside of China,” Robert points out.

You’re not alone if you aren’t familiar with retail media networks. A familiar vernacular in the B2C world, especially the consumer-packaged goods industry, retail media networks are an advertising segment you should now pay attention to.

Retail media networks are advertising platforms within the retailer’s network. It’s search advertising on retailers’ online stores. So, for example, if you spend money to advertise against product keywords on Amazon, Walmart, or Instacart, you use a retail media network.

But these ad-buying networks also exist on other digital media properties, from mini-sites to videos to content marketing hubs. They also exist on location through interactive kiosks and in-store screens. New formats are rising every day.

Retail media networks make sense. Retailers take advantage of their knowledge of customers, where and why they shop, and present offers and content relevant to their interests. The retailer uses their content as a media company would, knowing their customers trust them to provide valuable information.

Think about these 2 things in 2024

That brings Robert to two things he wants you to consider for 2024 and beyond. The first is a question: Why should you consider retail media networks for your products or services?   

Advertising works because it connects to the idea of a brand. Retail media networks work deep into the buyer’s journey. They use the consumer’s presence in a store (online or brick-and-mortar) to cross-sell merchandise or become the chosen provider.

For example, Robert might advertise his Content Marketing Strategy book on Amazon’s retail network because he knows his customers seek business books. When they search for “content marketing,” his book would appear first.

However, retail media networks also work well because they create a brand halo effect. Robert might buy an ad for his book in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal because he knows their readers view those media outlets as reputable sources of information. He gains some trust by connecting his book to their media properties.

Smart marketing teams will recognize the power of the halo effect and create brand-level experiences on retail media networks. They will do so not because they seek an immediate customer but because they can connect their brand content experience to a trusted media network like Amazon, Nordstrom, eBay, etc.

The second thing Robert wants you to think about relates to the B2B opportunity. More retail media network opportunities for B2B brands are coming.

You can already buy into content syndication networks such as Netline, Business2Community, and others. But given the astronomical growth, for example, of Amazon’s B2B marketplace ($35 billion in 2023), Robert expects a similar trend of retail media networks to emerge on these types of platforms.   

“If I were Adobe, Microsoft, Salesforce, HubSpot, or any brand with big content platforms, I’d look to monetize them by selling paid sponsorship of content (as advertising or sponsored content) on them,” Robert says.

As you think about creative ways to use your paid advertising spend, consider the retail media networks in 2024.

Like what you read here? Get yourself a subscription to daily or weekly updates.  It’s free – and you can change your preferences or unsubscribe anytime.


Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address
Continue Reading


AI driving an exponential increase in marketing technology solutions



AI driving an exponential increase in marketing technology solutions

The martech landscape is expanding and AI is the prime driving force. That’s the topline news from the “Martech 2024” report released today. And, while that will get the headline, the report contains much more.

Since the release of the most recent Martech Landscape in May 2023, 2,042 new marketing technology tools have surfaced, bringing the total to 13,080 — an 18.5% increase. Of those, 1,498 (73%) were AI-based. 

Screenshot 2023 12 05 110428 800x553

“But where did it land?” said Frans Riemersma of Martech Tribe during a joint video conference call with Scott Brinker of ChiefMartec and HubSpot. “And the usual suspect, of course, is content. But the truth is you can build an empire with all the genAI that has been surfacing — and by an empire, I mean, of course, a business.”

Content tools accounted for 34% of all the new AI tools, far ahead of video, the second-place category, which had only 4.85%. U.S. companies were responsible for 61% of these tools — not surprising given that most of the generative AI dynamos, like OpenAI, are based here. Next up was the U.K. at 5.7%, but third place was a big surprise: Iceland — with a population of 373,000 — launched 4.6% of all AI martech tools. That’s significantly ahead of fourth place India (3.5%), whose population is 1.4 billion and which has a significant tech industry. 

Dig deeper: 3 ways email marketers should actually use AI

The global development of these tools shows the desire for solutions that natively understand the place they are being used. 

“These regional products in their particular country…they’re fantastic,” said Brinker. “They’re loved, and part of it is because they understand the culture, they’ve got the right thing in the language, the support is in that language.”

Now that we’ve looked at the headline stuff, let’s take a deep dive into the fascinating body of the report.

The report: A deeper dive

Marketing technology “is a study in contradictions,” according to Brinker and Riemersma. 

In the new report they embrace these contradictions, telling readers that, while they support “discipline and fiscal responsibility” in martech management, failure to innovate might mean “missing out on opportunities for competitive advantage.” By all means, edit your stack meticulously to ensure it meets business value use cases — but sure, spend 5-10% of your time playing with “cool” new tools that don’t yet have a use case. That seems like a lot of time.

Similarly, while you mustn’t be “carried away” by new technology hype cycles, you mustn’t ignore them either. You need to make “deliberate choices” in the realm of technological change, but be agile about implementing them. Be excited by martech innovation, in other words, but be sensible about it.

The growing landscape

Consolidation for the martech space is not in sight, Brinker and Riemersma say. Despite many mergers and acquisitions, and a steadily increasing number of bankruptcies and dissolutions, the exponentially increasing launch of new start-ups powers continuing growth.

It should be observed, of course, that this is almost entirely a cloud-based, subscription-based commercial space. To launch a martech start-up doesn’t require manufacturing, storage and distribution capabilities, or necessarily a workforce; it just requires uploading an app to the cloud. That is surely one reason new start-ups appear at such a startling rate. 

Dig deeper: AI ad spending has skyrocketed this year

As the authors admit, “(i)f we measure by revenue and/or install base, the graph of all martech companies is a ‘long tail’ distribution.” What’s more, focus on the 200 or so leading companies in the space and consolidation can certainly be seen.

Long-tail tools are certainly not under-utilized, however. Based on a survey of over 1,000 real-world stacks, the report finds long-tail tools constitute about half of the solutions portfolios — a proportion that has remained fairly consistent since 2017. The authors see long-tail adoption where users perceive feature gaps — or subpar feature performance — in their core solutions.

Composability and aggregation

The other two trends covered in detail in the report are composability and aggregation. In brief, a composable view of a martech stack means seeing it as a collection of features and functions rather than a collection of software products. A composable “architecture” is one where apps, workflows, customer experiences, etc., are developed using features of multiple products to serve a specific use case.

Indeed, some martech vendors are now describing their own offerings as composable, meaning that their proprietary features are designed to be used in tandem with third-party solutions that integrate with them. This is an evolution of the core-suite-plus-app-marketplace framework.

That framework is what Brinker and Riemersma refer to as “vertical aggregation.” “Horizontal aggregation,” they write, is “a newer model” where aggregation of software is seen not around certain business functions (marketing, sales, etc.) but around a layer of the tech stack. An obvious example is the data layer, fed from numerous sources and consumed by a range of applications. They correctly observe that this has been an important trend over the past year.

Build it yourself

Finally, and consistent with Brinker’s long-time advocacy for the citizen developer, the report detects a nascent trend towards teams creating their own software — a trend that will doubtless be accelerated by support from AI.

So far, the apps that are being created internally may be no more than “simple workflows and automations.” But come the day that app development is so democratized that it will be available to a wide range of users, the software will be a “reflection of the way they want their company to operate and the experiences they want to deliver to customers. This will be a powerful dimension for competitive advantage.”

Constantine von Hoffman contributed to this report.

Get MarTech! Daily. Free. In your inbox.

Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address
Continue Reading