Google Marketing Live – the search giant’s annual conference for advertisers – took place in San Francisco on Tuesday, May 14, 2019, with an additional 8+ hours of content streaming after its conclusion that night. With over 5,000 attendees, the event was represented by digital marketers from all around the world (68 countries, to be specific).

Announcements revolved around around artificial intelligence, machine learning, and user privacy, as well as more mobile-friendly experiences (for both consumers and marketers). As Philipp Schindler (Google Senior VP and Chief Business Officer) pointed out in the keynote, the importance of “staying close to the evolution of mobile” is only growing, and Google made sure to highlight this throughout all of their product announcements.

The débuted ad products and units also focus heavily on automation, discovery, and top-of-funnel conversions.

Overall, the new ads innovations aim to help digital marketers in four main areas:

  1. Insights that marketers can act on – at a huge scale
  2. Campaign management allowing marketers to plan by campaign, not just channel
  3. Creative ways to test and tell stories using assets marketers already have
  4. Quality marketing measurements that still protect user privacy

How do the unveilings from #GML2019 impact you, your business, and your target audience? How will the changes rock the boat for your day-to-day? Let’s dive a bit into what exactly was announced and see how you can make sure you’re using everything Google has to offer to your advantage.

New Ad Types: Discovery & Gallery

Discovery ads will allow Google to monetize its Discover feed for the first time by inviting advertisers to target users based on search history, web activity, location, and more. Optimized with machine learning to advertise to specific audiences, the ads will appear on the Google Discover feed, YouTube, and Gmail.

Google discovery ads
Google’s new discovery ads on YouTube, Google Discover, and Gmail (source)

Google also announced gallery ads, which allow users to scroll between 4-8 images with 70 characters of copy each that show up at the top of their mobile search results. Google has already found that gallery ads can boost interactions (measured by paid clicks and swipes) by as much as 25%.

Improved Ad Type: Showcase Shopping

Showcase Shopping ads are another heavily visual ad type that allows retail brands to advertise high-quality visuals of their products based on simple, broad queries like “credenza.” First introduced ahead of the 2016 holiday season, Showcase Shopping ads take advantage of the fact that “40% of shopping-related searches on Google are for broad terms.”

With this update, Showcase Shopping ads will be extended to Google Images and the Google Discover feed, as well as YouTube later in the future.

Showcase Shopping ads
Showcase Shopping ads on Google search results page, Google Discover, and YouTube (source)

Google Ads App Updates

Google also announced some general improvements to its Google Ads app. As the world continues to evolve for mobile – as mentioned in the GML Keynote, over half of the trillion yearly Google searches come from mobile – it’s only sensible that the Google Ads app would follow.

With the new updates, users will be able to both create and edit responsive search ads from directly within the app. There will also be improvements to keyword recommendations, performance improvement suggestions, and notifications.

Google Ads will also implement deep linking and improved reporting, which drove 2x higher conversion rates in early testing. Deep links point to the location of specific content in an app using uniform resource identifiers (URIs). A user browsing a Google Search, Shopping, or Display campaign will be taken into a marketer’s app directly from the campaign, which will allow Google Shopping to provide those easier, expedited experiences.

These updates will help marketers “be there, be useful, and be responsible,” which the Keynote pointed out as increasingly important characteristics for meeting heightened consumer expectations.

Google Shopping + Google Express = Gamechanger

The best of Google Express is meeting the best of Google Shopping with a redesign of the ecommerce platform. This is going to make Google Shopping a more direct competitor of Amazon with more personalization and a quicker, easier purchasing experience.

Google Shopping will also capitalize on users who are browsing Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, and Google Images – a huge competitive move for a market that’s changing how it shops.

The changes will further help promote a more consistent, unifying shopping experience across platforms. Google will manage all transactions performed through Google Shopping, whether they take place on the retailer’s website, the physical store, or Google itself.

Keeping Things Local With Local Campaigns

Additionally, Google will be improving the accessibility and effectiveness of their local campaigns, a move that will help merchants increase return on ad spend (ROAS) by influencing purchase decisions earlier on in the buying lifecycle. By utilizing user location, retailers can prompt mobile messaging before the consumer even arrives at the store. Specifically, the changes will:

  • Allow advertisers to promote particular offers or product-specific information
  • Make it easier for consumers to get directions to or call a business
  • Give users more notifications when they are near a retailer’s location

The Importance of Inclusivity

Another major theme throughout Google Marketing Live 2019 was inclusive marketing. Inclusivity, equality, and the celebration of differences have all become important in our day-to-day lives and this obviously spills into the worlds of consumers.

Brands need to show that they fully recognize and accept others. Transparency, diversity, and honesty have become important in all aspects of marketing, from product placements to crisis management.

Fostering diversity and becoming culturally aware are essential steps to accepting people into your brand and supporting an inclusive environment.

Making Privacy a Priority

Last but not least, a common theme throughout Google Marketing Live was privacy. Users are increasingly wary of providing brands with their personal data and trusting that their information is secure.

The key to a free and open web will be getting key information about users without sacrificing their privacy.

This can be done through federated learning, a machine learning tactic introduced by Google that “allows for smarter models, lower latency, and less power consumption, all while ensuring privacy” by not needing user data to be stored in the cloud.

Brands will increasingly need to focus on user privacy through methods like federated learning and consider why they collect the data that they do in order to retain user trust.

Google Marketing Live 2019: Wrapping Up

Google Marketing Live brought lots of exciting announcements around AI and machine learning, mobile experiences, personalization, and privacy. Through their new discovery and gallery ads, improved Showcase Shopping ads, updated Google Shopping experience, Google Ads app revisions, local campaigns, and a fresh outlook on both inclusivity and user privacy, Google is leading digital marketing into the future.

Want to hear more about the announcements and biggest news from the event? We’re hosting a special webcast recap of Google Marketing Live 2019 on Thursday, May 23 at 4 pm ET so that you can get all the highlights in just 45 minutes. Sign up now to attend!