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Business Growth

How to keep businesses growing in uncertain times

Lauren Ettlinger


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Published by Google

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Changes are afoot in how people spend their money. Consumers are being more intentional with purchases, making fewer impulse buys, considering more brands, and exploring multiple commerce platforms. Businesses need to move quickly to keep up with this swerve in shopper mindsets, but it can be hard to put change into action amid uncertainty.

Finding the right balance between tested strategies and emerging tech innovations can revitalize marketing approaches and power long-term growth. At Google, we call this the tried-and-new approach. It’s about doubling down on proven tactics while leaning into new technology to drive success.

What does this look like in practice? We’ve identified a few strategies that position businesses to adopt the tried-and-new, along with examples of two innovative companies that are using Google’s tools to pivot their growth marketing strategy.

Market at the speed of consumers

People spend more time researching purchase decisions than they once did, and they’re conducting this research across a growing array of platforms. With this change, automation tools have become a critical way for brands to meet their customers across these digital touchpoints.

A good example of this comes from Estée Lauder in Thailand. Despite being one of the world’s largest cosmetic brands, Estée Lauder was challenged to keep up with customer search demand as new search queries and keyword combinations emerged daily. People were no longer just searching for terms like “serum,” but new specific searches like “best serum for the best price” and “best serum for brightening skin.”

The company decided to approach the problem using automation. To capture and convert prospective customers at scale, Estée Lauder used Google’s broad match to automate identification of consumers’ keyword searches to make their ads more relevant to prospective customers. The company also adopted Dynamic Search Ads to find exactly what consumers were searching for on Google and used that data to target their ads and fill gaps in their keyword-based campaigns.

As a result, Estée Lauder’s media performance shot up. Compared to traditional branded keyword campaigns, the company experienced a 15% increase in return on ad spend, a more than 16% rise in conversion value, and an 11% lift in average purchase size.

Knowing how to reach the most valuable customers and others like them at scale is a powerful growth multiplier. Using automated solutions allows businesses to do this, while controlling what they pay for customer acquisition and tailoring messages to attract customer attention.

Prioritize durable measurement

Marketers know they need to measure what matters, but what are the most important metrics when the economic outlook is in flux? Uncertainty signals the need to move beyond traditional proxy marketing metrics and toward the measurement of real business outcomes.

Arizona State University (ASU) had a business goal to enroll more online students for the 2022–2023 school year than the year prior — no small aim given years of declining enrollment across U.S. postsecondary institutions.

To drive this outcome, ASU partnered with Google data scientists to use advanced automation solutions in combination with first-party data to identify people who were most likely to enroll at the institution.

But ASU needed to embrace new measurement in order to track the results of these solutions and track progress against its goal. The university leaned in to Google Analytics 4 (GA4) and adopted Google Tag Manager’s (GTM) server-side tracking. This allowed ASU to measure the results of its first-party targeting, resulting in a 10% increase in observable conversions on its site and an 8% increase in the on-page conversion rate. Adopting GTM tagging also drove a 25% improvement in page load time and 18% improvement in search engine results page position.

This increase in conversions drove remarkable impact. For the 2022 fall semester, ASU Online increased enrollment by 6.9% compared to 2021, setting a record for incoming students.

New automation solutions handily harnessed the scale of platforms, helping ASU reach the people who were most likely to act at lower cost. And it was able to measure and track this progress in real time using privacy-safe solutions within GA4.

Future-proof your marketing strategy

Preparing for what’s next is always daunting — and all the more during times of rapid change.

But new marketing strategy tools available today can help to augment traditional strategies, deliver reliable results, and drive long-term growth, no matter what disruptions surface. Use the tried-and-new and make your marketing go further.

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