As a self-proclaimed digital marketing nerd, I look forward to Google Marketing Live like it’s a holiday. It’s on my calendar, people — along with hotly anticipated internet events like Prime Day (new 59-inch Sony television, who dis?).
The annual event is a prime resource for surprises and sneak peeks into what new changes are in store across Google’s platforms — and this year’s event, held on July 10, failed to disappoint. The keynote had much to reveal and centered on two main themes: machine learning and collaboration. If you missed this year’s revelations, here are the announcements I geeked out about the most, and what they mean for my fellow marketers.
1. Search ads are now responsive.
Google has allowed us to automate various bidding and campaign management features for a while now, but this new beta offering allows marketers to be more flexible and simplifies ad creation. Goodbye manual A/B testing, hello more time to flex those creative brain muscles: Provide 15 headlines and four descriptions, and Google will automate the highest performing combinations for you. Score!
2. Advertising and measurement will be under one roof.
An analyst’s dream — seamless integration among all platforms. Be still my heart! Google is reorganizing its advertising suite under the Google Marketing Platform, which will encourage integration and collaboration between platforms and teams, respectively.
This centralized hub will enable marketers to plan, buy, optimize, and measure campaigns in one place. Ultimately, this means we’ll be able to deliver more relevant and effective marketing by figuring out what works — or flops — more seamlessly. It cuts out the work of switching between tabs to see what went wrong and instead lets you view data side by side.
3. Analytics will include cross-device reporting and remarketing.
“Measuring in today’s mobile-first world can be a challenge,” Anthony Chavez, Google Ads product management director, said during the keynote. “You need tools that can accurately measure the impact of your marketing across devices to help you run smarter, more precise campaigns. That’s why we’re introducing cross-device reporting and remarketing in Google Analytics.”
At this point, attendees and streamers (me included) broke out in ceremonious applause. Finally, we can take some of the guesswork out of who is interacting with us on their many screens!
“For the first time, you can get a consolidated view of how users behave on your site no matter the device they are using,” Chavez continued. “This may seem like a small change, but it’s a big opportunity.”
And what an opportunity it is. As digital marketing continues to contend with a multi-device, multi-touch-point world, cross-device integration will allow marketers to create more holistic remarketing audiences and ensure accurate reporting across all Google amplification efforts.
4. Four new ad formats will leverage the power of machine learning.
Small businesses, retailers, brick-and-mortar locations, and travel industries — listen up. Google announced four new ad formats that are ideal for these industries and markets, but also are important for all to know:
- Smart Campaigns: Advertisers can use this automated process to build and deliver ads, target audiences, and (soon) develop landing pages based on their overall goal.
- Smart Shopping Campaigns: Ideal for retail, this new ad type will automatically gather online inventory, automate ads, and include new business goals — store visits and new customer acquisition — all integrated within ecommerce platforms, like Shopify.
- Local campaigns: This new campaign type is designed for one specific goal: driving store visits. Advertisers set the budget and Google automatically generates ads and optimizes ad delivery across Search, Maps, YouTube, and the Google Ad network.
- Hotel campaigns: Hotels and travel agents will be able to manage, create, and optimize hotel ads within Google Ads.
Some of the updates teased at the Google Marketing Live keynote are available now, while others are still in beta and will slowly roll out throughout the rest of the year. Stay tuned, and stay strategic.