Google Marketing Live 2019

Jenna Lamb, online marketing analyst at Ontario SEO
Jenna Lamb
May 16, 2019
Google Marketing Live 2019 Highlights

On Tuesday May 14th, 2019 Google held its annual Google Marketing Live keynote address where it announced many of the major new initiatives in the works for Google’s suite of paid advertising products. In total there were 12 major announcements of new products & services that will be available in the coming months.

Google Marketing Live 2019 Highlights

New Google Ads Product Announcements for 2019

  • Discovery Ads
    An entirely new campaign type that will allow advertisers to run image-based ads in Google feeds such as YouTube and news feeds on Android devices (Google Discovery)
  • Gallery Ads
    A new ad format that will allow advertisers to show an image alongside text in search results
  • Deep Linking in Apps for Google Ads
    This new feature will ensure when users already have an app installed, they are directed to the app, not the website.
  • Maximize Conversion Value
    A new smart-bidding strategy that allows advertisers to optimize for higher-value conversions, rather than more conversions
  • Campaign-Level Conversion Optimization
    Conversions can now be assigned at the campaign level, allowing for more precise conversion optimization
  • Bumper Machine
    A new tool that will allow advertisers to automatically generate 6 second bumper ads for YouTube by uploading existing video creative
  • Merger of Custom Affinity and Custom Intent audiences
    Custom targeting will be merged into a single custom audience list that targets both affinity & intent
  • Google Shopping
    A new hub where users can review products, watch videos, connect to retailer websites or purchase directly through Google.
  • Showcase Shopping Ads
    A new ad format available for shopping ads that allows advertisers to incorporate more imagery. They will be eligible to display on both YouTube and the Google Discover feed.
  • Shopping Campaigns with Partners
    Retailers can now connect brand partners within their campaigns
  • Expansion of Local Campaign availability
    Until now local campaigns have not been available in Canada. Later this year they will be rolled-out world-wide.
  • Google Travel
    A new hub focused on travel bookings where users can explore trip ideas, things to do, book flights & hotels, and read reviews.
  • Increased focus on data privacy
    Advertisers were cautioned in the growing climate of data protection that some data will be lost as users are provided with more options to opt out of ad personalization.

Our Key Takeaways from Google Marketing Live

Google is positioning itself for a big year, announcing a number of products that are clearly designed to regain some of the ground that has been lost to Facebook and Amazon in the past years.

Google Takes on Amazon

The new features in Google Shopping ads, as well as the announcement of Google’s own shopping platform take direct aim at Amazon’s growing dominance in the ecommerce sector. As the battle of the home assistants continues, Google must keep pace with Alexa’s built-in purchasing power if it wants to keep a foothold in the ecommerce sector.

We are excited to see what new advertising possibilities may arise from this new platform (such as buying directly from a search ad or YouTube video). It seems promising that Google will allow purchases directly from retailer websites without taking a 15-30% cut of sales (as Amazon does).

Google’s New product announcements to take on Amazon in the ecommerce sector

Google vs Facebook – the Battle Continues

Facebook is still a clear winner in our mind for audience targeting capabilities and visual ad content. The announcement of Discovery ads and Gallery Ads has got us very excited about the new possibilities to improve display ad performance on the Google network.

We hoped to see more announcements about expansions in audience-targeting capabilities in Google Ads, but it was clear from the presentation that data privacy has won the day (for now), and ad personalization is not the topic anyone is celebrating this year (thank you Cambridge Analytica & friends).

Google’s new ad features seek to compete with Facebook’s dominance in visual ad formats

Campaign-Level Conversion Optimization

This is the new feature we are most excited about. This is a bit technical, so stay with me for a minute.

Before now, all conversions in Google Ads were counted evenly across every campaign in an account. This made us very judicious about what we count as a conversion in Google Ads. Usually we only include actual leads and purchases as conversions in the accounts we manage to ensure we are always optimising for what is driving actual revenue.

The downside to this is that some types of campaigns (YouTube, display ads) rarely lead directly to a lead or purchase. Best practice to optimize these campaigns is to use “micro-conversions” (or website actions that indicate a future interest in purchasing). The problem with micro-conversions is that they could only be applied to all campaigns or none.

Now that we (finally*) have the ability to assign conversions at the campaign-level, we can now optimise our campaigns that drive real ROI for only the conversion actions we select. By using micro-conversions, we can start to get a much better handle on what top-of-funnel campaigns are driving real purchase interest, and which are not performing well.

And, just so I don’t write a blog that doesn’t mention machine learning, this new feature will likely be critical in expanding the adoption of smart bidding. Conversion data is an essential component to many smart-bidding strategies. With expanded capability to use micro-conversions and control conversion attribution at the campaign level, we may start to see improved performance of some of the smart-bidding features we generally have not been that impressed with. Stay tuned on this one.

*shameless promotion that we have been asking our Google representatives for this feature for years now. Campaign-level attribution was a key announcement for advertisers at Google Marketing Live 2019

Privacy is the Word of the Day

Perhaps not surprisingly given the trials and tribulations of Facebook in the last year, or Google’s own ongoing battle with the European Union. A lot of lip-service was paid to the importance of protecting user data and being transparent in advertising efforts. It is clear that the wild west of user data is coming to an end. But Google assures us they have their best engineers working to solve the (colossal?) dilemma of personalization vs privacy.

Data Privacy was a key topic at Google Marketing Live 2019

The Google Marketing Live event was chock full of exciting new opportunities for advertisers in 2019. We hope to leverage our Google Partner status to get early access to some of these features (most are still in beta testing) so we can start testing their effectiveness.

If you need some assistance keeping pace with all of these changes in Google Ads, give us a call. Ontario SEO is a team of marketing experts that excel at keeping pace with Google and the constantly evolving digital marketing landscape.