Last month (May), Google took to their annual ‘Google Marketing Live’ event to inform marketers and business owners alike about what new products and features are in the pipeline for near release. Last year they unveiled their then-new YouTube Lead Ads, smart campaigns and responsive search ads, with a strong emphasis on transparency and trust found in the keynotes.

While the trends of last year were still influencing this year with machine learning once again being a topic on everybody’s lips, there was a very plain message. Be useful, be present and be responsible. They want their users to experience the right ads at the right times but at the same time, respecting their privacy.

Keeping in line with these ideas, they released a whole slew of new product announcements which will be of interest to marketers, advertising agencies and online consumers in general. These new releases will impact the way that you browse and advertise services online going forward into the future.

News Feed Advertising

While some may argue that Google newsfeed has become all but redundant for digital marketing purposes, others have speculated for a while that Google probably has had alternate plans for the feed.

Discovery ads are their answer to providing advertisers with a visually appealing, interactive gallery that will engage their target audience. They also offer a wider reach than traditional advertising as you can apply them across the YouTube home feed, Gmail promotions tab and even the Google Discover feed itself. All the machine learning aficionados out there will be pleased to hear that they also apply this over the long term to deliver the best advertising experience to your potential customers.

Google discover feed

Discovery ads leverage a person’s short term, impulsive nature, after all, 85% of consumers will make a product-related decision or action within 24hrs. The new Discovery ads use this to show ads to people in the moments when they are most susceptible to exploring new products. Many advertisers have started using these ads to a, so far steady, success. The Discovery ads platform is set to roll out in full later in the year.

Smart Bidding Optimization and Improvement

One of the major three announcements that Google wanted to use this event to make was regarding their ongoing work and development into machine learning. A term which has become a frustratingly ubiquitous term in digital marketing also carries a lot of weight in regards to the future of digital marketing in order to quickly and efficiently find data patterns and apply this information real time to an advertising campaign. One of the ways that Google is looking to implement their findings in the near future is in Smart Bidding.

Also called “auction-time” bidding is the term used for Google Ads use of automated machine learning in order to optimize a campaigns bids in relation to conversions or conversion value. Using such things as Target ROAS, Maximize Conversions or Enhanced CPC will help you become familiar with the concept of smart bidding.

One of the major keynotes of this year’s event were details of three ways that Google will be improving the smart bidding system:

  • Campaign specific conversion goals: Allowing campaigns that are dedicated to singular conversion parameters will be able to optimize bids from that campaign directly in line with your goal.
  • Seasonality Adjustments: Allowing users to temporarily optimize a campaigns bids in order to exploit increases in conversion opportunities, such as a sale or event, before returning them to normal.
  • Conversion action sets: If you want to optimize your bidding technique across several campaigns, you can build a new set of favourable conversion actions.

New Audience Expansion Tool

Now if you discover in practice that a particular custom audience works very well for a particular campaign then you can use Google’s new Audience Expansion Tool in order to expand your reach to new consumers who behave like the people within your current custom audience. If you think this sounds familiar then you are probably also doing Facebook advertising. This is in effect Google’s version of Facebook’s “lookalike audience” tool.

If you are not a social media advertiser the basic concept is a fairly straightforward one. The new Audience Expansion Tool will let users grow the number of potential customers that can see your products and advertisements while making sure that the ads they see are most relevant to them.

Improvements to Google Shopping

One of the dominating trends in the complex world of e-commerce is the development of what’s called “shoppable content”. A few months back, Instagram released a tool on its platform to allow users to shop for products they wanted by using their new Checkout feature. As is a tradition in the world of tech and marketing, Google almost immediately announced a prototype version of their own “shoppable content” features, by using their image search results. The underlying theme which connects these two systems is that they are both designed with the goal of easing the transition between ad and conversion. Essentially they want to make it easy for potential customers to convert.

This is why Google is making it possible for consumers to buy products directly from their shopping interface tool. Naturally, they will still provide the means for a customer to visit your website if they so choose, with Google guaranteeing that all shoppers can rely on top class customer service and rapid returns processes.

More variety in Shopping showcase ad locations

Keeping with the theme of delivering relevant and relatable advertising experiences to its users, the intent of these users was mentioned throughout the keynote. To put it in context, Google has stated the importance of leveraging the visual appeal of your products in order to inspire users whose search terms suggest they are looking for new products. Showcase Shopping ads came about in 2017 and only now are they expanding showcase shopping advertisements to other locations this year (including Thailand).

showcase shopping ads

When a standard, run of the mill shopping ad brings users to a landing page, these new showcase advertisements will instead bring them to a selection of related products with the basic premise being that if these users are searching purely for inspiration then it can be worthwhile for them to view a variety of options.

Soon Google will be further extending the showcase shopping ads to its image results, Discovery search results, and even Youtube. The reasoning behind this expansion should excite both marketers and individual businesses using Google Shopping, and that is because it will allow you to deliver your potential customers discovery based shopping experiences in a far wider range of touch points.

Local campaigns for all!

Now while you may be sick of hearing this, it seems some people still do not understand the importance of this key face. Consumers will research brands, locations and destinations on their smartphones before even planning a visit to the establishment. However, this trend can help you to influence potential customers purchasing decisions before even seeing your storefront. This helps you generate opportunities to deliver highly relevant and high-quality ad experiences that Google seem so keen on.

This is the reason that Google is now bringing local campaigns (which are automated to a degree) that can promote a physical store or other business locations across Display, Search, Maps and even YouTube. Sharing many traits with other responsive kinds of ads, once you have input your physical locations, some high-quality ad copy, some high-resolution pictures, and your obligatory bid and budget, Google can then completely optimize the way it delivers this ad. This is to maximize the number of visitors to your physical location as possible.

Now, this can be a lot of information to take in at once, which is why as a business owner you really want to trust and understand the work that your marketing team or agency do on your behalf. Not paying attention to the newest trends and features released by advertisers could be costing you time, money and potential customers.

It’s more important than ever that the ads you deliver to your customers are the most relevant and prominently placed out of the selection that will be available to them.

Digital Marketing can be a confusing subject, so it is important that you can trust the people behind your marketing strategy and the work that they do. For more information about how Phoenix Media can improve upon your current marketing strategy, please do not hesitate to contact us on +66 2 038 5400 to arrange a one to one consultation.

  • Published on : Saturday June 1, 2019

About the author

As the managing partner for Phoenix Media, Rob brings over 10 years’ experience in digital marketing and running successful agencies in the UK, Australia and Thailand. Starting in a sales role he has covered all aspects of the agency from sales and service to technical ad operations. Reach him directly on

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