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[Tech Talks] Google's Move From AdTech to MarTech: Google Marketing Platform

Updated: Apr 5, 2023

While most marketers know Google and are familiar with DoubleClick, fewer may be aware of Google Marketing Platform (GMP)—Google’s rebranded “suite” of AdTech and Analytics tools launched two years ago.

In this instalment of Tech Talks, Ben Wightman, Head of Data & Analytics from Wunderman Thompson provides an insightful overview and independent assessment of the Google Marketing Cloud:

To start off, it’s useful to break down GMP into the functions of its component parts.

At a high level, GMP is fundamentally a combination of former DoubleClick advertiser tools and the Google Analytics 360 Suite.

Some of the main features of the Analytics side of GMP focus on the tracking of Conversions, Keywords, Referral Sources, Site Searches, Time on Site and User Interactions.

On the DoubleClick side, GMP focuses on uploading ads and reporting their performance and also provides forecasting tools to help predict future campaign needs. Bid optimisation tools also help manage pay-per-click campaigns across search engines, including Bing and Yahoo.

There are then Integration and Administration tools for managing permissions and data flow between applications.

Breaking GMP down further, on the advertising buy side, you have:

  • Display & Video 360 which manages display and video campaigns, bids, creatives, and audiences, and

  • Search Ads 360 which manages search campaigns across Google Ads, as well as Bing, Yahoo, Baidu, etc.

Then on the analytics side, you have a number of other “360” solutions, including:

  • Analytics 360 which provides an understanding of how users engage with your websites,

  • Optimize 360 which helps run digital experiments on owned media and can personalise content similarly to Adobe Target,

  • Tag Manager 360 which manages web and app tags from a single interface, similar to what Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) like Tealium offer,

  • Surveys 360 which enables you to do research by posing questions to broad populations of online users, similar to Pollfish and SurveyMonkey, as well as

  • Data Studio which, as Ben shared in his earlier Tech Talks on data visualisation, enables you to create data visualisations; like a bare-bones version of Microsoft’s Power BI.

By investing in all of these tools—many of which are still being further integrated beyond the branding—GMP promises to generate greater cost and performance efficiencies and advance organisations up the digital marketing maturity sophistication model to “multi-moment.”

Depending on what component of GMP you’re evaluating against, key competitors include Adobe Advertising Cloud, The Trade Desk, AppNexus—now part of AT&T's advertising and analytics business—and Sizmek, now owned by Amazon and Kenshoo.

While your department or IT organisation may have already decided what cloud and media analytics providers you use, it’s important to assess what you’ve already got in place and the related flexibility when you evaluate GMP.

For those already using Google Cloud and putting most or all of your media dollars through Google, GMP provides a much more compelling value proposition due to ongoing integration efforts. For those doing more sophisticated attribution and customer journey modeling with BigQuery, advancements in Google’s new Ads Data Hub will enable GMP customers to do more with their own first party data.

In addition, those using Salesforce Marketing and/or Sales Cloud will benefit from GMP due to increasing collaboration between the two tech giants which now have a formal partnership, which Ben feels is one of the most compelling, long-term value propositions of GMP, given that majority of companies are using Salesforce. The combined power of Salesforce’s leadership in CRM and MarTech with Google’s leadership in AdTech make them a fierce competitor to Adobe’s various marketing clouds.

Now for the negatives.

As you might expect given Google's partnership with Salesforce: GMP is lacking in more sophisticated tracking of prospect-to-sales pipelines and true CRM marketing automation like those offered from Salesforce and its competitors Marketo, an Adobe company and Oracle’s Eloqua, HubSpot, etc. GMP also doesn’t offer full channel management tools like a CMS, such as those offered by Sitecore and Adobe Experience Manager.

However, most marketer complaints are centered around two things:

  1. Lackluster self-service support and customer service, especially for the free versions.

  2. Confusing and inconsistent integration in interfaces and branding with constant changes.

The first is, honestly, inexcusable, especially given the cost of the premium versions. Marketers complain that it is difficult to self-serve and reach customer service which, when finally contacted, seem to have expertise in only individual solutions.

The second primary complaint of GMP being confusing makes the customer service issues all the more a concern, as it looks like even Google itself is struggling to keep up with its own solution integration efforts. However, it must be said that all the other major AdTech and MarTech solutions are suffering similar issues as they look to integrate a constant flow of new acquisitions.

So what is Ben's final word on GMP?

For those already using Google Cloud and Salesforce and putting the majority of their money through Google, it’s a no-brainer as they will experience immediate savings through GMP.

However, for those who are resistant to centralising everything under one vendor, using programmatic providers like The Trade Desk and Adobe’s Experience Manager and Target, the verdict is still out, especially if another AdTech vendor can offer greater value.

About Wunderman Thompson 

At Wunderman Thompson we exist to inspire growth for ambitious brands. Part creative agency, part consultancy and part technology company, our experts provide end-to-end capabilities at a global scale to deliver inspiration across the entire brand and customer experience.  We are 20,000 strong in 90 markets around the world, where our people bring together creative storytelling, diverse perspectives, inclusive thinking, and highly specialized vertical capabilities, to drive growth for our clients. We offer deep expertise across the entire customer journey, including communications, commerce, consultancy, CRM, CX, data, production and technology.

Wunderman Thompson is a WPP agency (NYSE: WPP). For more information, please visit us at and follow Wunderman Thompson on our social channels via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

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