Showcases a continued focus on machine learning and mobile-first innovations to not only improve user experience, but to help advertisers navigate the digital revolution happening all around us
Machine Learning. Privacy. Rich Content. These three phrases have become buzz words of the industry and have shaped a number of new updates announced at Google Marketing Live. There is a growing need to deliver results in advertising while also keeping user privacy top of mind as the world further digitizes.
These new products and updates from Google are aimed to help uncover actionable insights for advertisers using machine learning, and to deliver engaging content for users using new tools, all while keeping user privacy at the core. There is a special focus on mobile as the world continues to digitize and the expectation of relevant results in the palm of your hand continues to grow.What is New and Changing?New Machine Learning ApplicationsAs the industry shifts to machine learning, a ‘black box’ effect is created due to a limited view into how the algorithms work. The following updates showcase Google’s focus on exposing actionable insights in an increasingly automated world.

  • Smart Bidding
    • Google introduced the new ‘Maximize Conversion Value’ bid strategy which enables brands to optimize toward conversions that hold the most value for the business. This is achieved as advertisers can now set conversions at the campaign level, apply conversion value rules to audience lists, and optimize campaigns to online sales and store visits. Smart Bidding will also feature seasonality adjustments which will optimize bids during designated dates to support seasonal sales. Through machine learning, Smart Bidding will help maximize the impact of your advertising with your business goals in mind.
  • Bumper Machine
    • Previously, advertisers needed to create their own 6-second video cut-downs in order to run bumper ads across YouTube. Google’s new Bumper Machine can create multiple 6-second cuts from a brand’s existing 90-second or less videos already on YouTube. This allows brands and advertisers to cut down on production costs and the turnaround time involved in creating 6-second video assets. Using machine learning, key moments are pulled from the longer form video and turned into bumper ads. Advertisers are then able to adjust the new videos before they are put into market.

New Creative Formats

User expectations for relevant and engaging creative are higher than ever. But creating an experience to meet these demands at scale is a time-consuming and difficult task. Google has released the following updates to help transform your creative assets into beautiful and relevant experiences at scale.

  • Discovery Ads
    • A new, easy-to-use native ad unit that utilizes rich images such as carousel formats to display additional information in a high-quality presentation. This ad format, previously only available within the Discover Feed, is now available in YouTube Feed & Gmail in order to be discoverable in the multiple platforms in which a user may be scrolling . Google leverages a number of signals based on browsing & online behaviors to help personalize the right message to the right user at the right time.
  • Gallery Ads
    • Google’s new mobile Search ad format that now allows advertisers to feature up to eight swipe-able carousel-style images in the search results. The ad format will also consist of text assets to couple with the images for an overall positive user experience. Gallery ads will boost engagement as a clickable asset, as well as giving brands a chance to show appealing images from the site directly in their ads.

Shopping & Local Updates

Google is focusing on creating useful experiences for users while shopping, and opportunities for brands to connect with those users. Every day millions of shopping-related searches occur across Google services. All of these services are becoming integrated for a more holistic shopping experience.

  • Google Shopping Homepage
    • Google is making strides to improve the consumer shopping experience. Today’s shoppers have the option to purchase in-store, online, and now through Google. Users will be able to compare millions of products from thousands of stores, purchase directly from retailers, read reviews, and manage returns in a simple UI. The focus of this update is about positive user experiences, helping consumers find the products they need quickly and all in one place, backed by a Google guarantee.
  • Showcase Shopping Ads
    • Consumers enter shopping-related search queries on Google each day looking for ideas and inspiration. Because of this, Google is providing new inventory on Showcase shopping ads. Showcase shopping ads are a highly visual ad format that incorporates images into your shopping ads and offers retailers the opportunity to “Showcase” their products. Google announced today that Showcase shopping ads will launch in the coming months on Google Images, YouTube, and the Discover feed.
  • Shopping Campaigns with Partners
    • Retailers can now accept additional budgets from their brand partners to support their shopping campaigns. Shopping campaigns with partners improves performance by increasing traffic to e-commerce sites, as well as increasing scale by extending digital ad partnerships to all brand partners. Brands will also be able to choose which products or categories of products they would like to support with additional budget.
  • Local Campaigns
    • Users still prefer to check out products in person either to try before they buy or to help decide between products. Last year, Google launched Local campaigns that helps businesses drive phone calls or visits to their stores through Google Search, YouTube, Maps & Display. Google is expanding Local campaigns by enabling advertisers to showcase in-store products to give users a preview of what to expect before they get to the store. Additionally, Google Maps will now show relevant promoted suggestions in their search suggestions, and also show promoted pins as they plan a route or navigate to a destination. Local campaigns are now open to all advertisers to optimize towards local actions like store visits or phone calls, helping boost in-store engagement for users who prefer to shop locally.

What Does This Mean for Advertisers?

The digital world is experiencing a fast-paced change, high expectations for relevant, rich content, and the need for higher privacy standards. Today’s average user relies on leading brands to give them what they want, when they want it. They expect relevant answers to their questions or relevant results for their needs on demand. How can we, as advertisers, effectively reach consumers in relevant and meaningful ways across their journey when users have more choices than ever before?

Google is addressing these key pivotal changes in the industry with several feature updates and new releases. A major focus was placed on gathering the right insights, ease of management for campaigns, creative excellence and improved measurement with user privacy at its core.

These latest updates from Google are striving to make advertisers’ lives easier while connecting the right user with more engaging content. As advertisers, utilizing these new updates will help boost engagement by delivering rich, tailored content to users while also protecting the privacy of those users who have opted out of personalized advertising. We encourage testing these new features to understand their effect on user engagement, which we believe will ultimately lead to stronger performance for our campaigns and a better experience for users in this ever-changing digital revolution.


Additional reporting by Tara Lyons, Bryon Mirto, Kelvin Estevez, Justin Colbert, Matthew Brown, Sara Hernandez, and Tori Levenson of Digitas Search Capability.

Author: Steve Bartholomew, Associate Director, Search Marketing, Digitas