Google Marketing Live: A Recap

Google Marketing Live happened last week, which means we have all kinds of shiny new toys coming soon in Google Ads and other products/platforms/services/portals from The Goog.

They covered a lot of ground during the conference, from the value of inclusion to the future of search and some more nerdy avenues in between. But for the purpose of this post we’re going to cover what’s new in the world of advertising with Google. Consider this the greatest hits, just in time for your long weekend reading enjoyment.

What Happened at Google Marketing Live 2019?

Gallery Ads from Google Marketing Live 2019
Screenshot from the Google Marketing Live livecast

You Got Display Ads in My Search Results

First up, Gallery Ads. They’re like social media carousel ads but for search results. Yeah, you can put images in search ads now. ??

Since these are for the search network you’ll be able to add them to existing campaigns once they roll out, just like responsive search ads. (you are using those, right?) Now for the specs. You upload 4-8 images, each one gets a 70 character caption, and you can add up to 3 headlines (a.k.a. robot food) for ultimate optimizability. See, just like responsive search ads, but with pictures.

Google Discovery Ads
Discovery Ads | Image from Google

Discover Discovery

Discovery Ads were the big announcement. And the big, colorful G has reason to be excited, they may have finally found their answer to social, by copying paid social. This ad type is essentially a newsfeed ad, like your favorite social network, but it delivers in the Google Discover feed (a.k.a. Google’s mobile homepage), the YouTube home feed, and the Gmail promos tab. 3 networks for the price of 1!

They’re geared towards, you guessed it, consumer discovery and creating them should be similar to creating responsive display ads. (you’re using those too, right?) You upload at least 1 landscape image and 1 logo, up to 5 headlines, and up to 5 descriptions, then Google’s robots go to work mixing and matching.

Google Shopping Showcase Ads
Showcase Shopping Ads | Image from Google

Shop ‘Til You Drop

In an attempt to move themselves into a prime position to compete with a major e-commerce player, Google made some flashy announcements around Shopping.

First up, Showcase Shopping ads. This isn’t a new ad type, the new aspect is that this format will be rolling out to image search results and the Discover feed (and maybe even YouTube). More shopping in more places. These ads are based on the idea that users are seeking inspiration, so when the user clicks they are taken to a collection of similar products.

Google Shopping in Image Search
The New Google Shopping | Image from Google

Then Shop Some More

The other big Shopping announcement was the launch of Shopping results in image search and on YouTube. More shopping in more places. Soon you will be able to checkout directly from image search results, the future is here! They also mentioned that there may be increased opportunities for brands and retailers to partner on advertising initiatives in the future, but we’ll see what happens.

YouTube Bumper Machine
Image from Google

What’s new on the ‘Tube?

Besides some new ad formats showing up in the feed, the big YouTube announcement was Bumper Machine. This feature has nothing to do with pinball and everything to do with making it easier to create 6-second bumper ads, which apparently perform really well. Instead of having to create 6-second clips on your own, you can feed an existing video to the Bumper Machine robots and they’ll do fancy, algorithmic things to automagically make bumper ad ready clips from it. Bump, bump, bump it up!

Google Local Campaign on Display Network
Display Network Ad Example from a Local Campaign | Image from Google

Let’s get local.

This one is exciting, the new Local campaign type is optimized for store visits and delivers across a bunch of networks, from search to display and maps to YouTube. It leverages Google’s algorithmic automation capabilities to promote the location of your choice, as long as it’s in Google My Business (and it really should be).

Google Ads Smart Bidding
Image from Google

Are You Smarter Than An Algorithm?

Finally! One of the biggest smart bidding announcements is the ability to now set conversion goals at the campaign level. No longer are we subject to the tyranny of account level conversions! Now you can match your campaign intent with the conversion(s) you want it to drive. You can also create conversion action sets for easier adding of groups you want to target across multiple campaigns, so you don’t have to select them each and every time.

Soon Shopping campaigns will be able to make seasonality adjustments for their smart bidding strategies. What’s that mean? Basically, if you know something is coming up that is likely to boost sales that the robots might not (like a big sale), you can tell the system to get ready and schedule bid changes. Then, once it’s done, everything reverts back to normal.

We also got a new strategy type: Maximize Conversion Value. You tell the system what your different conversions are worth to you and then it optimizes to maximize the value your ads drive based on your budget. It’s like a midpoint between the Maximize Conversions and Target ROAS (a.k.a. the dream) strategy types.

But Wait, There’s More!

The fun isn’t over yet! The different custom audience types are now being combined into one Custom Audiences option that allows for the inclusion of multiple parameters. Go forth and customize.

More fun with audience building: there is now an audience expansion tool that allows you to set how far you want the magic machine to expand your targeting based on estimated audience size.