Google Marketing Live 2019 took place from 13 to 16 May in San Francisco and more than 5 000 attendees from over 68 countries convened to discuss the future of the digital marketing industry.
Over the course of the conference, Google announced several live and planned features that will change the digital marketing landscape.
Discovery Ads and Gallery Ads
The newly announced Discovery Ads are native ads that reoccur in various Google feed environments like the Google discovery feed, on YouTube, and the Gmail Promotions and Social tabs. These are dynamic ads that adapt to where it displays with the ability to have multiple ad elements for testing.
With the Google discovery feed alone reaching 800 million people around the globe, this will open up massive reach for brands. This new feature will allow brands to leverage powerful Google audiences across multiple environments through visually appealing native ads with relative ease. Discovery ads follow a fairly automated approach in the sense that the advertiser creates the ad by uploading assets, adding headline variations and other elements, and Google’s machine learning technology will deliver the best combinations to your audience across the best-performing environments. This process makes reaching new intent-driven audiences at a large scale simple and accessible to brands.
Discovery Ads will be released to all advertisers on the Google Ads platform later in 2019.
Industries that sell physical products like travel, experiences or food will be able to benefit from the search giant’s new Gallery Ads, the first Google Search Ad type that includes a visual element, that will be released later in the year. This new ad format will include a gallery of photos that expands into its own full-page experience.
The great thing about Gallery Ads is that the new visual ad unit can be added to the advertiser’s existing search campaigns. There is, therefore, no need to build out additional campaigns for brands that want to make use of this new feature. Gallery Ads will appear in the top slot of search rankings and due to its expected high engagement rate, these ad units are expected to achieve high-quality Google scores. This means that, as more brands use the ad type, it will become pertinent to have this ad unit in your brand’s search strategy if you want to remain competitive.
Changes to conversions and Google Ads smart bidding
Four major changes have been announced in terms of the Google conversions and the bidding process. Advertisers can now set conversions at campaign level, they can make seasonal adjustments with smart bidding, a new smart bidding strategy that will maximise conversion value, and conversion value rules.
Setting conversions at the campaign level will allow advertisers to, for example, have campaigns in which a download is the aspired conversion action and others in which a demo request is the conversion intent. Brands will be able to select clear goals to the appropriate campaigns to inform conversion-based smart bidding strategies and conversion reporting.
Seasonal adjustments will offer an alternative and allow you to fine-tune your campaigns based on your own promotional timetable.
Unlike the maximise conversions bidding strategy that was focussed on generating the highest possible conversions within the set budget, the maximise conversion value bidding strategy is set to aim at a maximum conversion value within the set budget. And this is where the new conversion value rules come into play. Advertisers will now be able to set conversion value rules based on aspects like location, device and audience.
These changes in the bidding process will give advertisers more control over their Google campaigns.
‘Bumper Machine’, the future of video ads
This a tool that will automatically create six-second “bumper ads” from longer form YouTube videos. Research shows that running three six-second ads had 107% higher ad recall and 134% higher purchase intent than the single longer ad.
This is a huge time and resource saver for brands. Particularly for smaller brands with budget constraints. Advertisers no longer need to cut down their longer form videos to run bumper campaigns.
Changes to Google Ads Audiences
The search giant is developing a more enhanced automatic targeting function in their display advertising and will publish it as a new tool on the audience side. Rather than just being able to choose between conservative and aggressive, Audience Expansion allows you to select degrees of specificity. There is even a special forecasting mechanism that predicts the change in ad spend, clicks, and conversions.
This allows brands to focus on audience segments that work for the brand and incrementally increase the reach while still being able to control campaign performance.
Major changes to Google Shopping
Google Shopping will no longer only concentrate on search, but will start with a personalised page based on your interests, purchases, and recent commercial searches.
One of the biggest changes made to Google Shopping Ads is that brands can now share budgets. You will shortly be able to support local retailers’ campaigns for your products. This functionality enables much closer co-operation in digital advertising, without having to plan out and agree months in advance.
What does this mean for brands? Consumers can now purchase directly from their search results. When consumers click on Purchases On Google-enabled ads, they’ll be taken to a page hosted by Google where they can make a purchase using payment criteria stored with Google. The orders are then passed through to the retailer for fulfilment and any customer service follow up. This ultimately removes one step in the customer journey and eliminates the potential of another drop-off point.
Craig Wight is head of digital growth at Hoorah Digital. He has over 20 years’ experience building brands, having started and sold Graffiti before heading up Primedia Unlimited in the Middle East for seven years. On the digital front, he was sales director at Popimedia, Africa’s leading Facebook Partner for five years. He has a passion for social media and driving performance across all digital channels utilising creative content and data to work together in unison.
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