We were delighted to be one of a small number of Google UK Premier Partners to be invited to Marketing Live 2019 in San Francisco. Google uses the annual event to highlight what features and products they will roll out in the near future.

There was a range of new product announcements and whether you’re an advertiser or an agency, you will want to wrap your head around how these changes are going to impact your business.


Voice in image out will be key to e-commerce businesses looking to expand in the coming months. Google are working closely with online stores to create a more immersive and engaging experience. For example, if you are searching for an “iron man costume” the intent to buy can be questionable, as is the prospects position in the buying cycle? Instead Google will begin to show images in the search results. However, even though the images are served these images will now be shoppable!!

With that being said, retention is always a key part of any eCommerce strategy. (if it’s not it part of yours, it really really should be!) There were some great case studies from global businesses which had conducted analysis to understand when customers are just about to churn. Examples included :

  • If they switch their automated billing off
  • Have not logged in to their account
  • Not used the app in a period of time

You can then create an audience based on these parameters and run a bespoke campaign to increase engagement. For example giving a 5% discount to existing customers if they switch back to automated billing or free next day delivery on purchases made through the app.

There will be a new Google shopping beta to be released this year and will be somewhat personalised based on your behaviour. This is (drumroll please!)

Showcase Shopping Ads

Say you search for ski boots, rather than being shown the traditional search page, you will see a catalogue style page showing information on nearby stores for you to purchase the products, other information about skiing (where to ski, lessons etc) in addition to being shown reviews and videos! You can then purchase directly from Google without leaving the page or reserve to pick up in store (can also purchase and then pick up!) This is currently running in France and the US, but is set to be released in the UK  this year so watch this space 🙂 Over 80% of showcase shopping ads to website are from entirely new searches.

The Google experience is becoming more immersive than ever with several actions being taken directly rather than you having to leave Google at all.

To enhance this Google has launched Grow my store on Think with Google. A great way to gain lots of insights and recommendations for your online store and website. Have a go! It gives a comprehensive report with a breakdown of the following

  • Product information
  • Store details
  • Personalisation
  • Security
  • Frictionless shopping
  • Flexible fulfilment
  • Customer service
  • Mobile

75% of mobile users expect immediate information with users not expecting information within 2 seconds. (We aren’t a patient bunch are we!).

Google Travel

This will essentially act as your online travel agent when searching for hotels and flights you can compare rates and also be alerted to any increase or decrease in pricing. But let’s not forget efficiency! Any initial searching you do can be saved, shared or sent to yourself so you can come back to it later. No more spreadsheets comparing prices (yaaaay!)

This is then stored on your travel page. You can view pics from the hotel website and from others using Google reviews. Bear in mind there are over 1.5 billion active Gmail users globally so great reach through this tool. It takes Google Hotels to a whole another level.

It will show all relevant information if you are logged in to your Google account the tool will retrieve any emails about a flight, hotel and excursions plus create a timeline.

Google Discovery Ads

These ads appear in what was formerly the Google home feed now Google Discover (don’t have an Android? Hard times for you as you may not know what i’m talking about but it is available on iPhones, promise!)

This is essentially feed-based advertising for shopping campaigns.

This acts as a news feed and shows relevant content even when you’re not searching! Users use the feed to stay up to date with current news and get up to date information about their interests.

So imagine If a prospect has just moved home and their discover feed is filled with articles about the fabrics, furniture and local news for their new area. You could insert an ad which highlights a product from your store or service of course. This is arguably very similar to native advertising. Essentially article style ads. This is a great way to engage with prospects at a time that is most relevant to them…without them making a search!

Google has seen a 25% decreased cost per lead when discover campaigns are live. Using assets from your social media activity for quick adaptation is a key recommendation and using this method ensures a better a CTR in most cases.

A couple of things to note :

  • 4-8 images
  • 70 character tagline
  • 3 headlines

Again, this is set to be released this year!

The year of smart bidding

Maximise Conversion value based on the conversion type is one of the most exciting releases of the year. We always have feedback that a certain type of conversion point is more valuable than another. For example, being able to get someone on the phone tends to see a higher conversion rate than a callback from a form. So imagine if you could optimise a campaign to drive calls! Without just having click to call ads or amends on your site.

You can assign a value of least day £5 for forms and £10 for calls. When you choose the optimise for conversion value the smart bidding strategy will work towards a return on ad spend model. This is particularly powerful as this will be great for e-commerce but could be game-changing for lead generation.

For example you can assign a value to calls vs forms then use the maximise conversion to focus on one conversion type!!

Talking of target ROAS, a real bugbear for the team has been the lack of control. We spoke about how important retention is and yet with target ROAS you are not able to optimise or include audience data when optimising.

With the increased use of machine learning across the Google stack quite often we will have requested from customers to add keywords, ad groups or campaigns. The new version of the performance and forecasting tool will allow account managers to add an ad group to an existing campaign it will feedback the expected uplift needed in budge. It will consider the already active campaigns and consider historical performance in the account to give a better forecast of performance and expected spends.

To further support this Google have made it even easier to define your ideal audience. The new audience slider which will allow you to increase or decrease your audience reach. Say you have 100k users in an audience but feel this is too large. You can use the audience slider to decrease this. Google will use its signals to determine which users in that audience are most likely to convert on the first click. Please bear in mind you still want a strong audience to make this lucrative. I usually look at the volume of users in the all users list and try to match this! You can also increase the volume of users in the audience. This considers a look-alike approach and results have seen a 50% increase in conversions at the same cost. BUT consider when you increase the audience it will become less relevant so testing should be done here!

YouTube Ads and beyond

6-second bumper ads are the key recommended format by Google. They have seen a 10% ad recall and 134% increase in intent vs other YouTube formats. Pretty impressive right? But trying to cut creative down to 6 seconds is challenging to say the least, not to mention it can be expensive. So Google have introduced bumper machine.

If you already have video assets available and YouTube is linked to Google ads it will amend the video down to 6 seconds….Essentially it will create a 6-second number ad for you! No excuses now 🙂

You can edit the audio and final message but amends are quite limited.
Bumper Machine will create multiple versions of the 6-second ad so that the tool Google ads can optimise and test. I think this will be most powerful when looking to implement a video ad sequencing campaign.

Considering that 73% of US households will be connected to a smart TV by the end of the year, people are consuming online content through big screens!


As you can see there were lots of great new initiatives we discovered in San Francisco that can help us all optimise and grow together. Google are certainly listening to our feedback by adding more flexibility in key areas such as smart bidding.

Please speak to your Push account manager for more in-depth information.

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