So there we have it, Google Marketing Live 2019 has been and gone. Last year’s Google Marketing Live was focused on Ad Innovations, Platforms and AI. This year, Google has expanded on this and we saw how they are focusing efforts on ‘Being There’ when it matters, ‘Being Useful’ throughout the consumer journey, and ultimately ‘Being Responsible’. These were very much the theme of Google I/O 2019 also, demonstrating how much Google is going to be focusing all of its efforts on this for the near future. Of course, we also had a glimpse into the newest ad formats, the latest in machine learning, and new tools we can have access to. So without further ado, here’s our deep dive into the ads innovation keynote and what this means for you.
What were the key themes overarching Google Marketing Live 2019?
The 3 revolutions of Search
The keynote started off by looking at 3 revolutions affecting Google and Advertisers today:
- Machine Learning
Google predict that search is going to become more ‘Voice In and Image/Augmented Reality Out’, and this is where the exciting innovations from the Google Assistant might come. Google didn’t release any specific ad formats for voice and the Google Assistant yet, but they said to “Stay close to the evolution of Mobile” if we want to be ready. With the focus on creating seamless search experiences, we predict that your Smart Home Devices will eventually detect other devices in your vicinity and display the image relevant to answering your questions via the the nearest devices (probably Mobile). Mobile will become an extension to your smart home devices, giving images to otherwise imageless results.
All of this is being accelerated by Machine Learning, it’s evolving quickly. With this evolution comes growing concerns from consumers about data and privacy. As predicted, Google had this as a focus throughout the Keynote and gave particular importance to Responsibility and Trust by ending the keynote on this topic.
Google says it listened to advertisers to build better products
Over the past year, Google has made a conscious effort to ask advertisers about the specific challenges that they face day to day and how Google Ads can help better solve these for them. They grouped these into 4 areas:
- Insights; give me more insights that i can act on. Google needs to give us new ways for surfacing insights
- Management; make my life and teams life easier. We need tools to plan by customer rather than channel.
- Creative; give me more ways to test and deliver more relevant ads. We need to target context and intent.
- Measurement; ways to measure impact whilst protecting user privacy. We need to prove the value of our campaigns.
From here, Google Marketing Live 2019 looked to deliver solutions that will help go a long way to solving these issues through creating products that allow us to Be There, Be Useful, and Be Responsible.
Google always want to do more for users and they have a responsibility to use as little data as possible to make decisions on relevance too. Using Audiences, Google can accurately determine interests and then be confident enough to personalize the ads. If not, then it will take the context of the website into account and make a decision using Machine Learning. Machine Learning will try to predict what the user wants if they are have opted out of cookie targeting. So if you are a retail brand, and the user is opted out of cookies but visiting a ‘Running’ website, Google will assume they are into running and therefore will personalize the ad as close as possible to the context. All of this allows us to ‘be there’ when it matters most to our campaign goals.
This is where Google is focused on creating products that are helpful for everyone. Ads should be helpful, more relevant, more personal. Google understands people’s intent better than ever before and the questions they are now asking themselves is ‘How can we use this to better anticipate intent?’. If they can answer this, then it provides real value for advertisers and users.
Users want rich and immersive content through Images & Videos in Search, and they expect to move seamlessly between devices. This causes Google challenges whilst being respectful of privacy.
Despite wanting ads to be relevant, personalized and useful, users are losing trust in how their personal data is being used. Ad blockers are on the rise in order to give them a sense of control, and sweeping changes through new regulations (GDPR) are raising the bar for transparency and privacy. The consumer journey is ever changing and users are screaming out for relevant advertising. People prefer ads that are relevant, but in order for ads to be relevant users need to share their data. So how can we be responsible and find the balance between Google having too much power, and the user enough control? How can we be there if we don’t know the who, what, where, when and why? How can we be useful?
Choice, Transparency, Control; this is how the industry earns and retains user trust. The industry needs to respect people’s privacy when it comes to the ads that they see.
How can you be more responsible?
Google gave 3 steps that advertisers can use to be more responsible:
- Audit your policies: what data you collect & why, privacy policies up to date.
- Build more direct relationship with users: invest in 1st party measurement solutions, understand and respect people’s privacy in deciding which ads to show them.
- Pay attention to the context to which the user is in when personalized ads are taken into account.
What was new at Google Marketing Live 2019 and when can I get my hands on it?
Ads: New Ad Formats for different stages of the consumer journey
- Discovery Ads – provides an open canvas to showcase your brand/products across Google portfolio. Google Discover has been the search engine’s news feed since September 2018, and now you can place ads here for more for reach. It’s essentially Google’s answer to Native Ads across it’s wider product portfolio. The ads are meant to target the moment when a user is open to discover something new. Creative matters a lot here.
When? Available to everyone later this year
- Gallery Ads – Combine the intent of search, with a more interactive visual ad format. Show compelling visuals with text ads. 4-8 images, 70 characters under each image, up to 3 headlines to test different call to actions. +25% more interactions (pay clicks or swipes).
When? Later this year.
- Deep Linking in Google Ads – You can now deeplink into Apps via Google Ads. Tracking & measurement will also be updated. Measure & optimise the effectiveness of this. Google Ads web tracking and deep linking enabled. Search & Shopping will be taken directly to the app. App Conversion Reporting (GA for Firebase) send these events then into Google Ads.
When? Later this year.
- Google Shopping experience on Google.com – Decide what to buy and where to buy it – purchase online or local store, or purchase directly from retailers on Google. This will bring a new Shopping homepage with personalized recommendations (shopping list, recently viewed, accessories etc.). All the info you need on the page to make a decision. It will include links to YouTube of people using and reviewing the product. Here you can choose the buying option that works best for you; In-Store, Direct via Google, Online via the website. It’s essentially merging the best of Google Express and Google Shopping.
When? Available in France already, in the US in coming months. Other markets TBC.
- To Google Assistant with more functionality coming, Buy with Voice and interaction. In the Google Assistant, you can purchase directly when it’s relevant to the query. You can also now search via Google Images and YouTube and purchase directly the product you are viewing, even whilst the video is playing.
When? Later this year. Sign up for Shopping Actions.
- Showcase Shopping Ads – visual heavy ad format which allows you to target users who are looking for inspiration. Higher up the funnel ad format. over 50% of traffic to website is new visitors. Now you can get them across Google Images, YouTube and Discover on Google Ads.
When? Available now.
- Shopping Campaigns with Partners. Retailers can accept additonal budgets from their brand partners on Google Ads. Brand partners can select which products they want to promote with that budget. It’s a partnership designed to let brands support their retail partners in promoting specific products, growing sales and consideration for both brands and retailers.
When? Join the beta programme today.
- Local Campaigns. Reach users as they are looking for businesses and drive actions such as phone calls or store visits across YouTube, Google Maps or Display. Expanding this further; you can use this to display specific product lines. Promoted pins will also be expanded into Google Maps; planning route or as they are navigating.
When? Opening up to everyone.
- Tying together travel experiences into single experience focused on planning travel. Go to Google.com/Travel and you can explore potential trip destinations, explore Google Flights, and track prices. From here, you can go to Hotels and find your hotel; look at availability, reviews and more. ‘Trips’ can plug gaps in your itinerary timeline such as restaurant recommendations, missing flights etc. It’s going to help you connect the dots, organise the information, and drive more qualified leads for advertisers.
When? Available already on Mobile and today is available on Desktop.
Smart Bidding: Using machine learning to find the optimal bid for every auction
Google is giving us more flexibility in Smart Bidding to achieve goals.
- Maximise Conversion Value. Optimise to what matters most to your business. Use machine learning to try and maximise conversion value (such as revenue) within your specified budget.
- Campaign Level Conversions. Choose which conversions you want Smart Bidding to optimise towards in the same account. Smart bidding can now optimise to store-visit conversions.
- Conversion Actions Sets. Optimise to multiple conversions across campaigns.
- Conversion Value Rules. More control over the conversion reporting and value you associate with different campaigns.
- Seasonality adjustments. Let Google know about events ahead of time. Input the dates and conversion rate changes you expect and Smart bidding will adjust to account for these changes. Google will then exclude this data from your bids once the event has finished.
When? Available soon.
Audiences: Continuing to evolve Audience Types
- Merging Custom Affinty/Intent into ‘Custom Audiences’. Here you will describe the people you are trying to each e.g. hiking enthusiasts. Google will suggest audiences too as you type in who you are trying to target. Audience insights & impression data will be surfaced to help with your planning. You can use this across Gmail, YouTube and Discovery campaigns.
When? Later this year.
- Audience Expansion Tool. Find more people like those in your audiences. This also has a slider that moves right and left to Expand Reach. Find the right reach to meet your advertising goals. Early testers have found up to 50% more conversions for the same budget.
When? Later this year.
Tools: New tools to make it easier to launch Bumper Ads
- Bumper Machine. This is a new tool that generates 6 second ads directly in Google Ads. No additonal production costs – it’s free. Give Google a link to a 90 second ad and it ill then give your 3 to 4 6 second ads for you to choose a Bumper Ad from. Uses Machine Learning.
When? Later this year.
What did you think about Google Marketing Live 2019?
- Responsive Search Ads available to all advertisers in Google Ads - March 2, 2020
- Google launches Continuous Audience Sharing for manager accounts - February 29, 2020
- Google Shopping Ads now available on Gmail - February 23, 2020