The recent Google Marketing Live event revealed a number of new opportunities for brands and retailers. There are new ad formats, extensions of existing - even old - formats, and plenty of new tools and insights. Yet there was one key takeaway that seems to be making far more headlines than the new advertising opportunities: Google continues to make big changes to take on Amazon. Coming on the heels of a notably poor quarter, and talk about growth deceleration, Google is taking aim in a combination of expected and unexpected ways.
First, the ad formats. New ad formats are always exciting.
Discovery ads help you reach the Google Discovery feed’s 800 million users
That’s right. 800 million people you can reach, using clickable image and text ads. The Google Discovery feed spans a number of locations, including the YouTube home feed, the Gmail promotions and social tabs, and the Discover feed (previously called simply “Google Feed”). This new ad will be available to all Google Ads advertisers later this year.
The term "discovery" here isn't being used just because it's an exciting name. It references the fact the a user can discover products and information without having to enter a query. This kind of touchpoint leverages intent data related to a user and then surprises them with products they didn't know they needed.
Visuals are said to be processed 60,000 times faster than text. Maybe that's why many marketers already recognize that the future of ads will rely heavily on image and video. Shoppable ads are just one example of that. But what if your Google Search ads could be visual? Gallery ads do just that, and they’re the first Google Search Ad type that includes a visual element.
Plus, these ads feel huge compared to some others. They will include a large, swipable carousel of images that will only be eligible to serve as the top search result in Google, and only on mobile.
Google Shopping gets Google Express (and a makeover)
Two things are happening with this update. First, there’s an exciting, shiny new personalized Google Shopping homepage. This not-so-surprising page is a clear effort to bring together all the information a shopper could want and store it in one, beautiful location. Instead of only being able to search for products, users now get a unique page targeted toward their interests and recent searches. In other words, it creates a small world of options the user may never have considered - which should keep users scrolling and scrolling through images, which seems to be the theme of ecommerce this decade.
Second, this seems to be Google Express’ new home. This “rebranding” and complete merge is meant to help Express fit in with the entire ecosystem Google is creating. (Consider the new Discovery ad. Google can serve you query-based ads, unexpected intent-based ads, and even offer you a one-stop-shopping experience!)
Products of current Shopping Actions merchants will be automatically included in the new Google "experience."
Showcase Shopping ads coming to Google Images (and more)
How important are visual ads? Important enough that they get two mentions. Google’s Showcase Shopping ads are already popular for showing a variety of products associated with the search term. Now Google is expanding this format to Google Images, the Discover feed, and (later this year) YouTube. That means shoppers will be able to buy products within these channels. No clicking to another site required. It will be interesting to see the results from both Images and YouTube as shoppable images and video seem to be prime real estate for advertisers today.
On top of this, this immersive, suggestive, and visual style of shopping (or advertising) may help Google compete with platforms like Pinterest and Instagram.
Traditional television advertising gets Display ads
Digital ads and traditional ads are very, very different at their core. However, in recent years, they have begun to overlap. The five minute commercial break isn’t so different from a YouTube bumper video. The large promotion at the bottom of the television screen are much like digital display ads. They’re even written similarly.
Google is making that overlap even more powerful by bringing Display ads and Video 360 ads to smart TVs, national TV channels, thousands of local channels, and Google Play Music and Spotify audio ad slots. This program will go live later in the year, giving advertisers the chance to extend their Google ads across so many more touchpoints.
What else did Google Marketing Live tell us? Get a complete summary from Google here.