Written by Sam Yadegar on Oct 1

Major announcements and integrated tools filled this year’s Google Marketing Live, an annual event highlighting the best of what’s next when it comes to marketing and the search engine platform.

Here, you’ll find:

  • the latest changes Google has made to their ad platforms
  • how to maximize the ROI of Google Ads
  • a breakdown of the newest Google Ads tools
  • benefits of video bumper ads

Not only was privacy front and center, but Google Ads news included several features that will allow advertisers to increase conversions and run campaigns across multiple channels faster and easier — two words marketers love to hear.

Whether you’re neck-deep in advertising on a daily basis, just getting started, or working with an agency, these 5 new Google Ads tools and updates can remove a lot of the guesswork, jumpstart your productivity, and help campaigns better address your business goals.

1. Gallery Ads

Visual content entices users, increases engagement, and drives conversions. Interactive Gallery Ads, located at the top of mobile search engine results pages (SERPs), feature swipeable image carousels and a display URL.

Gallery ads feature 4 to 8 images, a headline, a tagline, and a landing page link. With the option of up to three different headlines, you can test several combinations of value propositions and CTAs.

Research shows that images are more memorable than text. Travel agencies, restaurants, car dealerships, hotels, and virtually any retail business can drive traffic to their website by adding high-quality visual content and inspiration to targeted keywords in ads.

HawkSEM blog: Google Ads Tools

Google Ads news revealed three new Smart Bid tools that allow advertisers to improve the overall performance of Smart Campaigns. (Image via Unsplash)

2. Smart Bid Controls

Smart Bid strategies take advantage of machine learning to automatically set bids based on the high and low seasons in your industry.

To have more control when using Target Return on Ad Spend, Target Cost Per Action, Enhanced CPC, and Max Conversion, you can apply specific adjustments for Display and Search campaigns.

A few Google-touted benefits to Smart Bidding include:

  • The ability to personalize bids based on context such as browser, language, remarketing lists, device, day, and location.
  • Flexibility to direct bidding performance and set targets on particular goals.
  • Reporting and status updates that tell you which ads perform the best, and tips that can help you improve.

While Smart Campaigns are often faster to set up than manual campaigns, letting Google take the reins may not be beneficial for everyone, particularly for small businesses or those with a highly specific target audience.

Customizations are needed to maximize conversions, such as defining exclusions, budgets, and conflicts of interest. Human interaction takes a campaign from generic to laser-focused on the right specialty or industry niche.

Recent Google Ads news revealed three new Smart Bid tools that allow advertisers to improve the overall performance of Smart Campaigns by manually adding data that enables them to refine the targeting.

  • Seasonality Adjustments: Google’s AI claims to save advertisers time by applying seasonal trends to bids, which also maximizes the budget. However, your business goals will determine if this is the right avenue for you. You can now apply your own expected conversion rate to the Smart Bid, essentially overriding Google’s automated seasonality trends. Use this tool when you run a promotion, similar to one you’ve run in the past, that boosted regular conversion rates. Simply enter a date range, the adjustments, and campaign specifics — Smart Bidding takes it from there.
  • Data Exclusions: You can now select past time frames to exclude from Google’s algorithm when you set up a new ad. You may want to do this if you had previous promotions that boosted conversions. By removing them from consideration, you can achieve a more realistic conversion rate.
  • Campaign Level Conversions: When bidding manually, Google Ads count every type of conversion. However, you may want to optimize for a specific conversion, such as CPA, ROAS, or enhanced CPC. If you have an online store, for example, you track whenever a customer puts items in their cart and also when they purchase. When optimizing your bids, you want to focus on purchases, not the shopping cart action. Campaign level conversions now let you do this.

3. Google Shopping, Reinvented

From the beginning, Google was a way for searchers to find the products they wanted and for businesses to attract new customers. Now, Google has upped the ante by merging Google Express into Google Shopping, creating a unique browsing and purchasing experience.

Consumers now have a customized homepage with personal recommendations and ads for products they may like. With these updates, shoppers can find new products and purchase directly on Google.

With smart shopping campaigns, ad placement and bids are set automatically at a general baseline, dependent on your chosen bid strategy. (However, to get the most out of your ads, they’ll likely need to be tweaked.)

While it’s faster and easier to set up than in the past, campaigns still require tuning based on your budget and specific products. Not only must you meet Google’s requirements for Shopping campaigns, but conversion tracking and a variety of other setup tasks must be completed.

Once set up, Google’s machine learning is combined with your assets and product feed and shown across networks. It tests different combinations of text and images, then displays the most effective options. Your ads can be shown on the Google Display Network, Search network, Gmail, and YouTube.

HawkSEM blog - Google Ads Tools

Discovery ads are targeted based on audience data such as affinity and interest, not search intent. (Image via Unsplash)


4. Discovery Campaigns

Google’s Discover was previously known as Google Feed and originally as Google Now. It’s a highly visual, curated feed that mobile users can see when they open the Google app on their Android or iOS device, or when visiting the Google.com homepage.

Users can customize the content seen on their Discover page by selecting topics that interest them. Otherwise, it’ll serve up content it thinks is relevant based on “power of intent,” which they glean from things like your past sites visited, apps downloaded, map searches, and more.

Discovery ads also display in this feed. They’re targeted based on audience data such as affinity and interest, not search intent.

The way users see ads depends on their account settings, including:

  • Location history
  • Home location
  • App and web activity
  • Device

Discovery campaigns let users reach consumers with the right content at the right time. You can create rich, relevant ads and reach millions of consumers across channels, from YouTube and Gmail Promotions to Social tabs.

HawkSEM blog - Google Ads Tools

Bumper Machine takes an existing video ad and generates a short-form, unskippable video. (Image via Unsplash)

5. Video Bumper Ads

Bumper ads are short video add-ons to the standard Google Preferred or TrueView campaigns. They’re not skippable and they extend the reach of campaigns.

Google launched a Bumper Machine tool that makes these ads faster and easier to create. It takes an existing 90-second or shorter video ad, identifies the most critical pieces (such as human faces, logos, and motion or contrast) to generate a short-form video. Bumper Machine is flexible, easy-to-use, and lets advertisers get more mileage from existing content.

The Takeaway

With increased transparency and the power to stay relevant across channels, Google’s new tools give advertisers the opportunity to change the way they see their target audience. The increased interaction and focus provide the personalization searchers want.

For advertisers, access to machine learning can change the way you see your target audience, how you market your brand and the way you engage the consumer at every stage.

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar is the co-founder and CEO of HawkSEM. Starting out as a software engineer, his penchant for solving problems quickly led him to the digital marketing world, where he has been helping clients for over 12 years. He loves doing everything he can to help brands "crush it" through ROI-driven digital marketing programs. He's also a fan of basketball and spending time with his family.

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