What Happened at the Google Marketing Live Event?

By Matthew Robson
22nd May 2024

In case you missed it, Google hosted the Google Marketing Live last night and with 30 new announcements, there was a lot to get through!  

Unsurprisingly, the word of the night was AI and as we move into this new era of digital marketing, it’s time to embrace the new tool or get left behind in the dust. There are so many new AI integrations and innovations, from generative fill in the search, to overviews in response to search queries, and even image and content creation. 

Most of these announcements seem to be focused on US audiences at the moment and some still seem to be in testing phases rather than total rollouts, but we are expecting them to be available in the UK by early 2025. 

Here are our top 10 picks from the announcements: 

1. AI Overview 

By design AI Overview will summarise information quickly and efficiently since, as its name suggests, it will use AI to provide a quick overview answering the search. This may reduce clicks to websites if all the information is readily available within Google itself but could be a great tool for increasing brand awareness. 

This particular update is the perfect example showing how paid and organic strategies can, and should, work hand-in-hand. 

This will be more relevant for informational sites over ecommerce, however if your products are solutions to commonly searched for problems, then it’s entirely likely that your creative and ads may be pulled into this. 

For example, users searching for ways to prevent weeds in the summer might have ads for weedkiller treatments pulled into the AI overview.  

Keep your eye on this one, it’s sure to change the way people use Google and search in general. 

2. Complex Search Made Easy 

According to their reports, more people are using Google’s image search function – but not to find images.  

You can now take photos and put them directly into Google’s search function and see a number of different results. There have been 12 billion visual searches using Google Lens so far. 

If you were to search a picture of trainers you might be able to find similar looking products, and if you search a photo of a plant you don’t know you could find the name of it. 

3. Product Studio 

Google has caught up to Photoshop’s generative fill function with the new Product Studio. This will make producing creatives for ads much easier for marketing teams and small businesses.  

It also goes a step further beyond just generating more backgrounds for images – you can also prompt it to turn static images into 3D videos. 

The biggest bonus here is that there doesn’t seem to be an associated additional cost to use it! 

4. Power Pair 

We all know that Google has been trying to encourage the use of PMAX campaigns and there seems to be no signs of stopping any time soon. The new Power Pair encourages you to combine search and PMAX campaigns by using smart bidding and broad match search campaigns, and then running standard PMAX campaigns with all these applicable assets and targeting. 

It will be very interesting to see how this works as there are already some drawbacks to both PMAX and using broad match keywords. We have seen high levels of traffic for this, but unfortunately not all of it is high-quality and often it will return irrelevant audiences to the campaign. While it can be helpful, unfortunately it will not be best suited for every brand or every campaign.  

5. Updates to Reporting 

Following on from the Power Pair updates, there are also updates to the reporting format for PMAX.  

Traditionally analysing and reporting on the efficacy of different creatives in PMAX has been difficult at best, but now the updated reporting should allow us to have more control and a much more granular view of reporting, including asset reporting with conversions which is a fantastic development to give us visibility of campaign performance to determine next steps and opportunities. 

On top of this, there will be Gen-AI in Google reports, making it much easier to break down insights into different audiences. For example, you could ask the AI how your campaign has been performing in London vs Leeds, and it will pull together a quick breakdown. 

6. Search Beyond Answers 

Sometimes people don’t want fast answers, they want to explore the market such as when looking for rainy day activities or outfit inspiration for this year’s summer aesthetic.  

Soon there will be more than an AI overview when users search – there will be a full AI page custom made with ideas and suggestions. This will change how products are viewed and emphasises the need for a seamless user experience. 

7. Expanded Brand Profiles 

More than 40% of searches on Google include a brand or retailer name. Although we currently see Google My Business Profiles, there will now be expanded brand profiles. 

These will showcase the brand ethos and can contain images, videos and reviews. 

8. Immersive Ad Experiences

Some brands have been using virtual try-on tools to improve user experience, and visual try-on is a new feature that Google will be soon introducing.

Starting with tops, Google will now show different the clothes in different shapes and sizes so that users can find one who is most like themselves. This relates to enhancing the customer journey and creating a ‘window shopping’ experience.

9. YouTube Shorts

With over 40% view-through rates, YouTube Shorts and vertical assets should be a key part of campaigns.

Google is now introducing stickers for shorts to drive more interactions. They will come from existing elements in your account.

You can also double tap to ‘like’ Shorts now, as well as swiping left to go to the lander page without leaving YouTube, creating a more seamless user experience.

Additionally, you can now promote user generated content where your brand has been mentioned as paid ads.

10. Creative Controls & Customisations

You can now set customer colours and font to align with the brand to enhance your campaign creatives within Google. There will also be the option to click on a current image and select ‘generate more like this’ where AI will then generate a collection of creatives with similar aesthetics and visuals for your use.

This will grant more flexibility with automating assets and ensuring that they are all tailored to your brand.

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