Google Marketing Live: Automated Advertising is Here

By: Madison Johansen

Updates from the Annual Google Marketing Live Conference

Pico was lucky enough to be invited to the annual Google Marketing Live conference again this year, which continues to be one of our favorite marketing events. San Jose was filled with advertising and marketing experts from all around the world, excited to learn what Google has been up to.

The first update was to the overall brand name and image – Google AdWords will become Google Ads, DoubleClick advertiser products will be rolled under the new Google Marketing Platform and DoubleClick for Publishers and DoubleClick Ad Exchange will be integrated into the new Google Ad Manager platform. The products themselves will not be changing, besides some feature updates. The new branding under the three buckets is supposed to create an easier starting point for advertisers new to the Google Advertising product suite.

Updated branding was, of course, not the most exciting update – at least not to most of us advertisers. As they revealed in just the keynote portion, most if not all of their initiatives had some element of automated advertising and using machine learning to run and optimize campaigns. 

Automated Advertising in Google Ads

Most product updates released from Google or Bing in the past year or so have had something to do with machine learning and artificial intelligence. We have seen automation come into play in certain aspects of campaign management, like bidding or dynamic ad headlines, but Google is moving past just those capabilities to more complete automation initiatives.

Automated advertising at its core is supposed to help marketers unlock more opportunities for their businesses by automatically delivering helpful, frictionless, and customized experiences for their consumers. Outside of automated bidding and dynamic keyword insertion, we really haven’t seen much automation or machine learning in search campaigns yet. As we mentioned in a previous Google AdWords blog post, and as was also addressed in detail at Google Marketing Live this year, Google is introducing responsive search ads. These new ads don’t take away all the marketer’s creativity and control, but rather use the power of machine learning to help deliver the most relevant and valuable ads to end users based on their search queries. It is as simple as entering several different headlines and descriptions and leaving the rest up to the machine. Google learns which ad creative performs best for any search query by testing different combinations of headlines and descriptions. If there are certain headlines that must appear or that should appear in a certain order, it will let you “pin” that headline so that it is always in that position. It is really a no-brainer to test out, especially if you are spending a lot of time implementing A/B tests or constantly making manual updates to ad copy. Responsive search ads are currently in beta but will be rolling out to all advertisers in the coming months.

Outside of adding more elements of automation to standard search campaigns, Google is also releasing machine learning initiatives for local strategies, shopping campaigns, and YouTube campaigns. Smart Shopping campaigns use machine learning to help hit revenue goals without needing to manually manage and bid to individual products, by introducing new business goals. You will also soon see the option for a new smart bidding strategy in YouTube campaigns – called Maximize Lift – which was created to maximize the impact your video ads have on brand perception.

The new Local campaigns, rolling out soon, are aimed at driving in-store visits. Ads are auto-generated based on creative elements from the advertiser and location extensions. Google automatically optimizes ad delivery across Search, YouTube, Maps, and websites and apps in its ad networks. In-store visits have always been a priority for brick and mortar businesses, however Google made it their own priority to help these companies after seeing that searches for “near me” have grown 3x in the past two years.

These smart bidding and smart campaign product innovations are meant to put automated advertising into the hands of every advertiser, big or small. Assisting smaller businesses in general was a huge focus at Google Marketing Live this year, which is encouraging to see. We plan on implementing these new initiatives for our clients and are excited to see automation in action!

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