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Google Marketing Live - What You Need To Know


As a Google Premier partner, we always aim to stay on top of the latest Google Marketing trends. As such, we pay close attention to industry announcements, among the biggest of which is Google Marketing Live, where Google unveils all of the new features and major innovations they’re working on.

Our marketing team gathered together on May 14th to watch the Ads Innovation Keynote, curious about the new features and how they would impact our clients’ campaigns. Here are a few of the new capabilities introduced during the keynote (and a few notable omissions).

New Ad Formats

The Ads Innovation keynote began by revealing two new ad formats: Gallery Ads and Discovery Ads.

Discovery Ads

Google wants to go beyond serving ads relevant to user searches. They want to surprise and delight customers with products that perhaps they weren’t searching for, while remaining tailored to each unique individual.

Google’s Machine Learning – a major theme of any of Google’s events – chooses from a variety of a business’ creatives to select the optimal image for the ad, allowing for ‘discovery’ of your brand and product. Ads will be delivered based on previous actions the user has taken, including sites visited and YouTube videos watched.

A major question we have, along with many others it seems, is how does this affect the world of SEO? That remains to be seen.  

Gallery Ads

Gallery Ads were the second new ad featured in the keynote speech. Gallery Ads are reminiscent of Facebook carousel ads, a mobile-exclusive ad type placed at the top of Google Search Results. Gallery Ads can be added to existing ad groups alongside existing Expanded Text Ads and Responsive Search Ads.

Gallery Ads are highly visual, featuring four to eight images that will appear at the top of search results in a carousel format. Each image will allow for a description of up to 70 characters. Google’s Machine Learning will select one of three headlines for each ad that best matches the user’s intent. Google cited that in testing Gallery Ads, this visual, interactive new ad format facilitated 25% more interactions than other search ads.

The visual, swipeable qualities of both Discovery and Gallery Ads are very similar to Facebook’s carousel ad format. It seems that Google wants a slice of the visual pie that Facebook is serving to it’s users.

New Ways To Guide Google’s Smart Bidding

Like past years, an emphasis was placed on Google’s machine learning and smart bidding, including three new ways to guide Google’s current smart bidding models.

Campaign-level conversions

Gone are the days where a conversion must be determined throughout the entire account. The introduction of campaign-level conversions allows you to determine what constitutes a conversion on the campaign level instead of the account level, assisting in smart bidding for optimizing for particular results on a single campaign. 

This new feature is particularly exciting for those who are operating different campaigns for different stages within the sales funnel, like most of us do! 

For example, let’s say that you’re a small university and you’re using your Google Ads account to reach two different marketing objectives: To raise awareness of your school’s programs and to reach student enrollment targets. For each objective, you have created a separate Google Ads campaign.

This is a situation that measuring different conversions on the campaign level will be necessary. Using Campaign-Level Conversions, your Awareness campaign may record a download of your “Learn More” pdf as a conversion, whereas your Enrollment campaign would count a student paying their application fees as a conversion. Conversions will more accurately reflect the goals of each campaign and allow for more accurate business results.

Conversion Value Rules

The next new bidding feature enabled is Conversion Value Rules. This feature allows you to record different conversions as different values, which makes sense if there is a difference in price in products and services that your business provides. It also allows for bids to more accurately reflect the value of each conversion.

Let’s take it back to the university example. An application fee for your undergraduate program is $100; however, the fee for a master’s program is $200. With Conversion Value Rules, Google Ads is able to track how much each conversion is worth to your company, while perhaps bidding slightly higher on clicks that have more of a chance to result in a student applying to a master’s program.

Seasonality Adjustments

The final bidding feature announced at Google Marketing Live was the ability to add seasonality adjustments to campaigns. If aspects of your business fluctuate throughout the year, Google Ads will use your supplied Seasonality Adjustments to anticipate a change in results and optimize bids for the expected flux in traffic.

So when that university has a period of high-enrollment, seasonality adjustments will adjust bids as students are applying at higher volumes, and automatically decrease bids during periods that are not open to enrollment.

These new bidding features allow your Google Ads’ bids to have better alignment with the impact and value that each conversion and promotion has on your brand.

Bumper Machine

There was also an exciting prospect announced for those who are interested in video ads for their business; a new YouTube advertising tool called Bumper Machine.

Bumper Ads, first introduced in 2016, are unskippable ads that play at the beginning of and often throughout YouTube videos that last only six seconds. Bumper Machine takes brands’ existing YouTube videos that are between 60 and 90 seconds long and uses Machine Learning – there’s the buzzword of the day again! – to create a variety of bumper ads that brands can then approve to play on YouTube.

Bumper Machine represents an exciting opportunity for brands who previously had not used video advertising to easily experiment with reaching new audiences through YouTube. The implementation of Bumper Machine, as well as Gallery and Discovery ads, represent a turn towards the visual within the Google Ads suite.

Notable Omissions

There were three notable omissions from the keynote that were discussed at our group roundtable.

First, Google seems to be moving away from an emphasis on search ads and keywords, and more towards visual ad types and audiences. At Snaptech, we’re keeping a close eye on what Google is doing with keyword match types and close variants. The introduction of two more visual ad types and discussions around audiences lend support to this theory.

Second, while privacy was mentioned early on in the keynote, Google also mentioned mining user data for things like Gmail’s smart reply and watching user behaviour for it’s automated machine learning. It is unclear how Google plans on balancing user privacy and the need for it’s algorithms to have user information to work. As the machine learning and automation systems learn, they are going to need information to continue to grow, and the user privacy issue is one we will keep a close eye on.

Finally, although brand safety was a large topic over the past year, it wasn’t addressed at the keynote or throughout any of the other publicly available information. As marketers, keeping the brands of our clients safe is important to us, and we’ll be looking for these controls to help us manage placements both on YouTube and the Google Display Network.

Of course, this isn’t everything that Google rolled out over the two day event; you can watch the entire keynote for yourself right here. You can also contact us today if you want to see how Snaptech can help drive your business’ Google Ads campaigns in a new direction.