Google Marketing Live is the advertising giant’s way of telling advertisers, marketers and business owners - and everyone in between - about up and coming products and ad formats.

Last year’s conference saw plenty of talk about AI and machine learning, YouTube and the Google Marketing Platform. And while some of those themes continued into this year’s presentation, Google’s focus for 2019 clearly revolves around discovery and relevancy.

For instance, yesterday saw the announcement of Discovery Ads, Gallery Ads and additional inventory for Google Shopping Ads. Also announced were improvements to Google Shopping, a new way to (easily) produce YouTube Bumper Ads and several smart bidding enhancements.

Below we take a look at a number of the new formats, upgrades and features announced at Google Marketing Live 2019. But if you’d like to catch the entire keynote yourself, you’ll be able to find all the videos from the 2 day event available to watch on-demand here…

Google Marketing Live 2019

Discovery Ads

Two years ago came the Google feed - a place to help us find relevant content, even when we weren’t looking. Last year, that feed became Google Discover. And now, Google has announced a new native ad format for the feed environment.

Once created, your highly-visual ads will appear across the Google Discover feed, the mobile YouTube feed and in the Gmail promotions tab. Google will also, over time, use machine learning to serve the best ads to the most relevant audience.

Beyond a fancy new ad format, the new Discovery Ads demonstrate that Google is looking beyond search intent to cover the entire funnel. Given the visually impactful nature of Google Discover, this native format is closer to what Facebook has been doing to great success (for itself and brands) in recent years.

Gallery Ads

Clearly, Google is going visual. And that trend continues to the new gallery ad. Sitting at the top of mobile search results, Gallery Ads will, like Discovery Ads, make use of a carousel format offering advertisers a scrollable gallery of 4-8 images with 70 characters available per image and up to 3 headlines.

Rolling out later this year, Gallery Ads mean that advertisers now have access to a more compelling creative ad format backed by the reassurance of search intent. According to Google, Gallery Ads campaigns have been shown to increase user interaction by up to 25%.

New Showcase Shopping Ads Inventory

Moving on from new formats, Google also announced that it would be releasing new inventory for its Showcase Shopping Ads. Released back in 2016, these ads can be used by advertisers to “showcase” products together with lifestyle images for non-branded searches.

The example given by Google is “backpacks”, where upon searching the user would be served a “catalogue” of relevant product ads.

Over the course of 2019, Google will be making new inventory available for these ads across Google Images, the Discover feed and YouTube feed. Again, this is a situation where Google is covering off a broader area of the funnel.

Google Bumper Machine

Google released its 6-second “Bumper” ad format way back in 2016. According to Google, 70% of bumpers campaigns the surveyed drove a “significant lift in brand awareness”. On average, businesses running those campaigns saw an “average lift of 9%”.

Furthermore, bumper ads drive ad recall to even greater heights. According to the same research, over 9 in 10 bumper campaigns “drove ad recall globally, with an average lift of over 30%.”

Great! You should use bumper ads. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple with creative production and creative a significant barrier standing in the way of many businesses jumping on board. But Google now has an answer - Google Bumper Machine.

Many more businesses have 1-2 minute video creative already at their fingertips, than purpose-made 6 second video. So, Google’s new tool - available in the Google Ads interface - is there to turn video shorter than 90 seconds into a number of 6 second bumpers. It’s free of charge and even gives you some editing features.

Smart Bidding Enhancements

Machine learning, AI, smart bidding - all things Google loves to talk about rather a lot. Of course, Google Marketing Live wasn’t left out in the cold in that regard. Smart bidding is one of the most prominent topics discussed by any advertiser in 2019. In fact, we write about it all the time.

In short, smart bidding is Google’s way of saying that it’s using machine learning algorithms to optimise you bids to achieve a given objective. This year’s presentation included 3 big improvements to get excited about:

1. Campaign-level conversion goals

This one’s fairly self-explanatory. You’ll now be able to set up campaigns that have bids optimised toward one conversion goal.

2. Conversion action sets

Sometimes you might want to optimise bids across campaigns. Well, you can now do that with conversion action sets.

3. Planned seasonality bid adjustments

You’ll now be able to tell Google’s algorithms that you’ve got an upcoming sale or period of seasonality. Google will adjust your bids accordingly, returning them to normal after the set period.

You can expect to see swathes of improvements to smart bidding on Google in the coming months and years. These new features are great to see, and we’ve seen some remarkable improvements to campaign performance after switching clients to smart bidding optimisation.

There we have it; our roundup of Google Marketing Live 2019. Of course, there’s much more to see and learn from all the presentations and videos coming out of this two-day goliath. Don’t let us stop you learning more and truly getting to the bottom of everything.

As mentioned above, you can access all of the on-demand video from Google Marketing Live here. If you have any questions or want our take on a specific announcement, please just get in touch...