This blog recaps the most important announcements from Google I/O 2024 and Google Marketing Live 2024, along with our insights on how they impact Google Ads managers. 

Adthena is the leader in Search Intelligence, offering unique search results page insights that Google Ads doesn’t provide. These insights provide transparency, improve spend/budget decisions, and increase performance. We’ll give our opinion on the benefits or potential pitfalls for each release.

In case you missed some of the news from the Google I/O 2024 last week:

Focus on AI

  • Google emphasized advancements in core AI systems like Gemini and DeepMind, introducing new features and tools across various products.

Gemini Upgrades

  • Gemini Nano with Multimodality can handle various inputs (text, photos, audio) and answer questions based on that information.
  • Gemini 1.5 Pro, a powerful cloud-based AI system, is now available globally.
  • New Gemini models: Gemini 1.5 Flash for faster tasks and another unnamed model.

AI-powered Search

  • Introducing ‘AI Discovery’ unit which will replace Search Generative Experience
  • Ask Photos allows searching your Google Photos with text prompts for finding specific items.

AI in Workspace

  • Integration of Gemini AI assistant into Workspace apps (Gmail, Docs etc.) for functionalities like email/document help and summaries.
  • AI Teammate: a virtual coworker within Workspace apps to manage tasks and communication.
  • Gems: automated routines you can set for Gemini to perform tasks.

Project Astra

  • A visual AI assistant that you can interact with through your phone camera to ask questions about your surroundings.

Now onto Google Marketing Live 2024…here is a selection of the innovative releases that impact the search results page. 

Google Marketing Live (GML) 2024 unveiled a suite of features leveraging generative AI to streamline ad creation, personalize experiences, and empower businesses to connect with customers across their information journeys. Here’s a breakdown of the key announcements:

AI takes the wheel in creative production

Gone are the days of struggling to produce enough high-quality ad creatives. Generative AI in Performance Max now creates multiple ad variations adhering to your brand guidelines. This translates to significant time savings and more diverse ad sets, a factor proven to increase conversions (advertisers with “Excellent” Ad Strength see 6% more conversions on average). To ensure brand consistency, advertisers can soon upload font and color guidelines, along with image references, for AI-generated variations.

Adthena’s view: Google supporting advertisers’ need to reach scale, in particular broadening campaign creative reach, is imperative. How these compete, win, and differentiate in live market auctions will still be a blind spot for advertisers.

Supercharge your ads with AI-powered image editing

Performance Max gets an image editing upgrade! Advertisers can now add new objects, extend backgrounds, and crop images to perfectly fit any ad format. Retailers can leverage these editing tools to showcase products directly from their Google Merchant Center feeds. To further inspire creative exploration, Google AI will recommend product placements in different contexts, allowing you to select the visuals that resonate most with your audience.

Adthena’s view: Again, doubling down with GenAI capabilities on photos – not just copy – could be a game changer for Retailers to stand out from the crowd in the Google Shopping unit. The pain for advertisers will be to ensure feeds stay clean, live, and also protected from competitor movements in the market on aspects like price, discount, and availability.

Immersive Ads bring products to life

Imagine trying on clothes or viewing a product in 3D – all within an ad. GML introduced features like Virtual Try-On and 3D ad generation for Shopping ads. Additionally, a new feature lets users delve deeper into an ad by accessing product videos, summaries, and similar items, all provided by the advertiser. This immersive experience fosters trust and empowers confident purchase decisions.

Adthena’s view: Fully immersive buying experience for Google users, this focus on retail segment again shows Google’s intent to scale this channel beyond the standard Google Shopping units we’ve been used to.

Interactive Search Ads: AI recommendations at your fingertips

Google is piloting a novel Search ad format that caters to complex purchase decisions. Imagine searching for “short term storage” and encountering an ad where AI guides you through the process. By sharing details like furniture photos and budget, Google AI can recommend storage unit sizes, packing materials, and even link you to purchase options directly on the website. This interactive format streamlines the customer journey and positions your brand as a helpful resource.

Adthena’s view: The most innovative of the new ad units launched at this event. It keeps the user experience on the search results page for longer but provides excellent lead generation quality for advertisers. Much like the advancements in P-Max campaign build, this will speed up the submission of data to advertisers offering a seamless experience. The amount of engagement with these ads by advertisers will be interesting to benchmark via search intelligence.

AI Overviews with Ads: A match made in marketing heaven

AI Overviews in Search, informative summaries appearing for complex queries, are getting even more powerful. Soon, Search and Shopping ads will be tested within these Overviews, offering relevant purchase options alongside the informative content. Importantly, these ads will be clearly labeled as “sponsored” and only appear if they align with both the user’s query and the information in the AI Overview. Existing campaigns in Search, Performance Max, and Standard Shopping are automatically eligible to appear, taking advantage of this valuable new placement.

Adthena’s view: Only a matter of time before the AI Overview (formerly SGE) would be monetized with integrated ad units. This makes sense as part of the growth strategy to generate revenues from this long term test – now ads will be dropped into units which will increase the pressure for advertisers to know where/when/how their ads are triggered.

Building a strong foundation: Measurement matters

While AI is a powerful tool, it thrives on quality data. Google Ads Data Manager, now available to everyone, empowers businesses to centralize and utilize their first-party data (conversion data, email lists, surveys) for a holistic view and informed campaign measurement. This simplifies data management, allowing businesses, especially smaller ones, to go from weeks of analysis to mere minutes.

Adthena’s view: These updates from Google focus on having ‘good data to make good decisions’ and seamless campaign expansion for advertisers. Adthena’s focus on first-party-data is well aligned with this. We use observed data from Google’s search results pages, and never use Personal Identifiable Data, which eliminates any privacy concerns.

The Smart Bidding update to target ‘Gross Margin’ within the Google Ads interface is a reflection of advertisers’ need for more tangible outcomes from their investments.

The future is now: AI as a marketing partner

Google emphasizes that AI is here to assist, not replace, human creativity and strategic thinking. These advancements are designed to empower marketers to think bigger, produce bolder campaigns, and achieve results faster. Google acknowledges the learning curve for some businesses and remains committed to evolving products with user feedback in mind.

Adthena’s view: This is a big shift in narrative for Google since last year’s announcement. The keynote speech mentioned giving back ‘control’ to advertisers, which is good news for many of our enterprize customers, who currently struggle with a lack of control and visibility into their Google Ads campaigns.

GML 2024 paints a clear picture: AI is transforming the advertising landscape. From creating a plethora of brand-compliant ad variations to personalizing the customer journey, generative AI is poised to revolutionize the way businesses connect with their audiences.

Want to learn more? 

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