On May 23rd, marketers from around the world tuned in for Google Marketing Live 2023. There was a lot of buzz surrounding the event, as it came on the heels of Google announcing Bard, its generative AI to rival ChatGPT.
Google Marketing Live’s sessions focused primarily on — you guessed it — artificial intelligence. Google announced a slew of cutting-edge AI innovations in Google Ads and its search products. The keynote explored how the new AI-powered features can help marketers keep up with rapidly changing consumer demands and preferences. In addition, it shared how leading brands like Samsung are using Google’s AI to amplify their results.
Whether you missed the event, logged off early due to Zoom fatigue, or just need a refresher, we’re here to help! Here’s a recap of the innovations Google announced at the event, as well as their implications for the future of search marketing.
Earlier this year, Microsoft developed The New Bing by integrating ChatGPT in its Bing search engine. Shortly after, Google announced Bard, its generative AI competitor to ChatGPT. There has since been a lot of speculation about how Google would apply generative AI in search.
During Google Marketing Live, Google confirmed that it will integrate Bard with its search engine. In what Google calls the “Search Generative Experience,” it will place results generated by Bard on its search engine results pages (SERPs). One of the key benefits is that, with the Search Generative Experience, users can ask follow-up questions. This allows them to go into depth about their wants and needs, and search in a more conversational way.
In addition, the Search Generative Experience will create a new avenue for advertisers, who will be able to promote products in the generative AI’s responses, when applicable.
For first-time users, creating a Google Ads campaign can be a daunting task. To make the setup process easier, Google unveiled its “Conversational Experience” feature. Powered by AI, this assistant guides users through the Google Ads setup process. The user simply inputs their brand’s URL and AI will begin generating campaign elements, such as keywords, headlines, and recommended images. From there, the assistant asks the user clarifying questions about their audience and goals to finely tune the campaign.
In initial testing, Conversational Experience increased ad strength while reducing the lift needed to create campaigns. This is a powerful feature for those who are new to Google Ads, especially small business owners who need a little guidance to compete with larger, more established companies.
For the uninitiated, Performance Max is a type of Google campaign that helps you drive performance based on your specified conversion goals (for example, your CPA or ROAS target). It optimizes performance in real time and across channels using Smart Bidding. Performance Max combines Google's automation technologies across bidding, budget optimization, audiences, creatives, attribution, and more.
At Google Marketing Live, the team announced several enhancements to Performance Max campaigns. The first is that Google will provide more transparency around the AI. In the past, the Performance Max AI was a black box and advertisers were unable to see why it made the optimization decisions it did. Now, with this added transparency, advertisers can understand the logic behind the AI’s decisions and see which creative assets are resonating most strongly.
In addition, Google is offering new AI-powered features to assist with headline creation. When a query is entered in search, Google’s AI will tweak the headline of your ad to better align with it. As a result, the user will be more likely to click through, as it better reflects what they’re looking for. This extra layer of automation will help advertisers further increase revenue generated by Performance Max campaigns.
When customers search for retail products, Google displays a carousel of visuals they can scroll through. Having crisp, eye-catching images is essential for your brand to stand out on the SERP and drive clickthroughs. In fact, Google says brands that include more than 1 image in ads achieve a 32% increase in clicks. But producing high-quality images and editing them to perfection can be a costly, time-consuming process.
To solve this issue, Google is launching Product Studio, an AI-powered image generator for retailers. With this tool, you can easily crop the backgrounds out of your product photos and replace them with AI-generated backdrops. For example, in the product demo, the AI automatically generated a beach background behind a tube of peach moisturizer. In addition to generating backgrounds, the AI can enlarge images, rotate them, and increase their resolution. The feature offers an easy way to give your visuals a little extra pizzazz.
Is your head spinning yet from all these product announcements? Mine certainly is. But thankfully, Google gave some guidance about how to set yourself up for success during this AI revolution. It released an AI Essentials Checklist that reads as follows:
The main takeaway here is that having success with AI depends on feeding it the right first-party data. You need to create a rich foundation of first-party data that the AI can pull from to optimize and refine its efforts. For example, if you can capture data about the value of each conversion, you can use AI to create more efficient bidding strategies to reduce your cost per acquisition. But if you don’t give artificial intelligence the right inputs, it can’t give you the right outputs.
Read Google’s full AI Essentials checklist here
There certainly was a lot to digest this year, but one message rang out loud and clear: performance marketers who embrace AI in their strategy will get ahead. To succeed, your organization needs to adopt a test-and-learn mentality and constantly experiment with new approaches.
Vidhya Srinivasan, VP/GM of Advertising at Google, said it best: “You’re not competing with AI, you’re competing with other marketers using AI.” That’s an important distinction to remember — AI isn’t a replacement for performance marketers, rather it’s a tool to help them be more impactful.
Are you feeling inspired by the possibilities of these new AI features? Then you’ll love Invoca’s integrations with Google Ads, Google Marketing Platform, and Google Analytics.
Leading marketers use Invoca’s AI-powered conversation intelligence technology to derive data-driven insights from conversations between contact center agents and customers. You can then integrate this rich first-party and zero-party data with Google’s platforms to boost your bidding strategy, improve audience targeting, and connect the omnichannel customer journey.
Want to learn how Invoca conversation intelligence can help you take the Google marketing suite to the next level? Check out these resources: