Meridian: All You Need To Know About Google’s New Privacy-Focused Ad Measurement Tool

In anticipation of phasing out third-party cookies, Google has launched a new open-source measurement tool for advertisers: Meridian. This Marketing Mix Model (MMM) prioritises user privacy while still offering valuable campaign performance insights.

Today’s marketers struggle to measure the true impact of their marketing across different channels. Fragmented media consumption habits and privacy restrictions make it even harder. That’s why Marketing Mix Models (MMMs) are making a comeback.

Google has taken a step forward to increase investment in the future of MMMs. 

According to a study by Kantar, 60% of US advertisers already use MMMs, and even more (58% of those who don’t) are considering them. The search giant has seen the shift firsthand with a growing number of customers, particularly those focused on performance marketing and full-funnel strategies. 

In a blog, Google announced Meridian, an open source MMM that empowers teams to build best-in-class MMMs and drive better business outcomes. 

What is Meridian?

MMMs are statistical tools that analyse the big picture: how all your marketing efforts, working together, affect sales and other important goals. This comprehensive view is crucial in today’s complex marketing landscape. 

Google’s Meridian is an open-source MMM, meaning its code and methodology are transparent and accessible for anyone to review. This fosters trust and allows for customisation based on specific needs.

Google says it’s built to “enable privacy-durable, advanced measurement while meeting marketers where they are.” 

Why should you care?

MMMs are crucial for understanding your marketing ROI (Return on Investment). They help you:

  • Optimise budget allocation: Identify which marketing channels are delivering the biggest bang for your buck, allowing you to focus resources on the most effective strategies.
  • Measure campaign effectiveness: Quantify the impact of individual campaigns, helping you refine them for better results.
  • Predict future performance: Gain insights to forecast the potential impact of future marketing efforts.

The Traditional MMM Hiccup

Traditionally, building and implementing MMMs has been a pain point for many businesses.  Here’s why:

  • Costly: Developing custom MMMs often requires significant consulting fees.
  • Time-consuming: The complex analysis can take weeks, months, or even years to build and refine.
  • Limited Accessibility: The expertise required to build and interpret MMMs has typically been restricted to specialised data scientists.

This is where Meridian comes in as a game-changer!

Benefits Of Using Meridian

Meridian’s open-source approach makes MMMs more affordable and readily available, allowing even smaller businesses to leverage this powerful marketing analysis tool.

Google has packed it with features designed to empower marketers at every level. Let’s delve into the key benefits Meridian offers:

  • Innovation at its Core: Meridian ensures the accuracy of your MMM by calibrating it with real-world data from incrementality experiments. This eliminates misleading results and provides a clearer picture of campaign effectiveness.
  • Integrated Reach and Frequency Analysis: Understanding how often your message reaches your target audience is crucial. Meridian seamlessly integrates reach and frequency data into your MMM analysis, allowing you to optimise campaign exposure for maximum impact.
  • Actionable Search Measurement Guidance: Optimising search campaigns is a constant battle. Meridian provides specific guidance on tailoring your MMM to accurately measure search campaign performance, helping you refine your search strategy for better results.
  • Transparency Breeds Trust: Open-source by design, Meridian allows anyone to examine its code and underlying methodology. This transparency fosters trust and empowers users to understand how the model arrives at its conclusions. Moreover, it allows advanced users to potentially customise the model based on their specific needs.
  • Actionable Insights for Informed Decisions: Meridian isn’t just about data analysis; it’s about driving actionable insights. The tool provides valuable data inputs, model guidance, and cross-channel budget optimisation recommendations to help marketers make informed decisions.
  • Rich Data Inputs: Meridian goes beyond basic data points and integrates various sources, including YouTube reach and frequency data and indexed Google query-volume data. This comprehensive approach provides a richer picture of your marketing landscape.
  • Model Guidance: Don’t get lost in the numbers. Meridian offers clear guidance on interpreting the model's results, making it easier for marketers of all experience levels to leverage its insights.
  • Cross-Channel Budget Optimization Tools: Meridian empowers you to optimise your marketing budget across all channels, ensuring you allocate resources where they’ll have the most significant impact.
  • Privacy-Focused: By not relying on third-party cookies, Meridian helps advertisers comply with evolving privacy regulations and user expectations.

Availability Of Meridian

Meridian is currently in a limited beta program accessible to select marketers and data scientists. However, Google plans to expand access to all advertisers in the near future.

Harikesh Nair, Google’s Senior Director, Data Science, said in a statement:

“As advertisers search for comprehensive and privacy-durable measurement solutions, MMMs are experiencing a renaissance.” He added, “MMMs today are not perfect, but are evolving. With Meridian, we look to help your team navigate toward your future North Star, both through innovation, and by sharing our data in conjunction with an open source model.”

Here are some tips for advertisers to start exploring Meridian as soon as they can.

  • Start exploring now: Even if you don’t have immediate access, familiarising yourself with Meridian’s functionalities will prepare you for its wider release.
  • Consider privacy-centric strategies: Phasing out third-party cookies is an industry-wide shift. Embracing privacy-focused tools like Meridian can give you a competitive edge.
  • Stay informed: Keep an eye on Google’s announcements for updates on Meridian’s availability and functionalities.

With Meridian, you can move beyond guesswork and make data-driven decisions about your marketing investments.

Google understands that navigating a new tool can be challenging. That’s why Meridian comes with a comprehensive suite of educational resources, including an in-depth documentation that explains every feature and functionality and built-in FAQs that provide quick solutions to common issues.

Need a fresh perspective? Let’s talk.

At 360 OM, we specialise in helping businesses take their marketing efforts to the next level. Our team stays on top of industry trends, uses data-informed decisions to maximise your ROI, and provides full transparency through comprehensive reports.

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