Google Marketing Live 2024 Recap: 6 Crucial Takeaways

min read
Google Marketing Live 2024 Recap: 6 Crucial Takeaways

On May 21st, marketers from around the world tuned in for Google Marketing Live 2024. There was a lot of buzz surrounding the event, as it came on the heels of Google’s new generative AI features in search.

The sessions focused primarily on — you guessed it — artificial intelligence (in fact, there was even a running joke about how many times the speakers mentioned AI). Google announced a slew of cutting-edge AI innovations in Google Ads and its search products. Through several speakers and some pretty incredible demos, 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 Pepsi and Tag Heuer 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.

Takeaway 1: Google Is Using Generative AI to Keep Up with Changing Search Behaviors

During his keynote, Google’s SVP and Chief Business Officer Philipp Schindler described how search behavior is constantly evolving. So much so that it’s actually impossible to fully predict consumer behavior because 15% of Google searches each day are completely unique — they’ve never been run before.

However, he did point out three key search behavior trends that are starting to emerge in 2024:

  • Exactly-What-I-Want Searches: Compound searches composed of 5 or more words grew 1.5x faster than shorter queries. These longer searches occur when consumers look for very specific and detailed information.
  • Visual Searches: Consumers turn to Google Lens when searching for things that are not easy to describe with words. An astounding 1 in 4 visual searches has commercial intent — that’s because the consumer is often looking for a specific product.
  • Search Beyond Answers: Many searches are looking to explore possibilities, rather than gain concrete answers. For example, searches for “ideas,” “inspiration,” and “lists” are exploding in popularity.

To keep up with these changing behaviors, Google is employing generative AI. The AI crawls the first few search results and compiles an overview based on the information. It also serves the searcher a list of related products and websites that could help them based on their intent.

There is an argument to be made that the AI-generated answers will reduce site visits, as searchers will find the information they need directly on the search engine results page without needing to click through. However, Google says its AI overviews will lead to higher quality site visits, as the AI is closely matching the user’s intent and guiding them to relevant websites more effectively. 

Takeaway 2: Marketers Who Use Google Ads AI Features Have Greater Success

A common theme of the event was how Google’s AI features can help marketers increase their productivity and effectiveness. Throughout the presentation, Google announced a ton of new and enhanced features that marketers can use in their Google Ads efforts:

  • Google’s Product Studio uses AI to generate ad images for retailers. Its AI is trained based on high-performing ads to create engaging images.
  • Google Ads’ “Conversational Experience” feature uses an AI assistant to guide users through the Google Ads setup process.
  • Google’s “Profit Optimization” bidding goal helps advertisers generate more returns on Performance Max (PMax) campaigns. Advertisers that use this goal drive a 15% uplift in profit.
  • Google Shopping Ads now offer 360-degree views of products that searchers can navigate.
  • YouTube Reels can now take existing images and turn them into animations creators can use for content.
  • YouTube Reels is expanding its affiliate marketing programs with Shopify.

Not sure where to begin with all these shiny new AI features? Google now offers an AI Essentials Optiscore, which gives you personalized recommendations for your business. Businesses that follow Google’s recommendations see a 15% lift in conversions.

Obviously, Google is banking on the fact that marketers who embrace these new AI features in their strategy will increase their effectiveness in the coming year. To take advantage of these features and keep up with the competition, your organization should adopt a thoughtful test-and-learn mentality and constantly experiment with new approaches.

Takeaway 3: Performance Max + Search Is a Must for Marketers 

In the keynote, the speakers highlighted the value marketers can drive when they use Google Ads’ Performance Max capabilities. They said marketers who use Performance Max drive a whopping 27% increase in conversions.

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 AI automation technologies across bidding, budget optimization, audiences, creatives, attribution, and more. It also helps teams find untapped demand across new channels and audiences they may not have tapped into before.

Of course, to get the best possible results from Performance Max campaigns, you need to ensure you’re fueling them with the right data. To drive more revenue, leading marketers add voice of the customer insights from phone conversations to their campaigns. This allows them to serve callers ads about the products they mentioned over the phone, retarget callers who didn’t convert, find lookalike audiences based on high-value callers, and much more.

Takeaway 4: Google Teases The Future of Search: Project Astra

In perhaps the highlight of the event, Schindler teased an upcoming feature called Project Astra. This is the company’s vision for the future of search: an AI agent that can see, hear, and converse with the searcher in real time. 

In his demo, Schindler showed the AI his bike. The AI engaged in conversation with him about the bike, responding to his questions and prompts in real time. He then showed the AI a flow chart, which it broke down in detail, answering his questions and drawing conclusions from the data (seriously, it was pretty incredible and if you missed it, worth watching the recording).

Google gave no details about when Project Astra will be rolled out to the general public, but the demo did lay out Google’s vision for the future. It won’t be long before we’re conversing with an AI that can hear us, see what we’re seeing, and respond to our detailed questions.

Takeaway 5: First-Party Data Is Critical to Google Ads Success

Gaurav Bhaya, VP/GM of Ads Management at Google said it best: “Good AI requires good data.” Your AI is only as good as the first-party data inputs you use to fuel it. If you aren’t giving it good information, it can’t identify trends and unlock new efficiencies for your team.

To help teams activate the right first-party data they need to fuel their campaigns, Google announced a new feature called “Google Ads Data Manager,” which brings all your first-party data from platforms like Salesforce, HubSpot, and Shopify into one central location. From there, you can use it to enhance your targeting to drive conversions more cost-efficiently.

In addition, Bhaya introduced a new Google Ads tool called “Measurement Diagnostics” which crawls your website and evaluates your data collection practices. It can diagnose if you’re missing data points or if there are additional opportunities you can tap into to capture richer first-party insights about your audience.

These features show the premium Google is placing on first-party data. Capturing these insights is more important than ever, as Google Chrome is deprecating third-party tracking cookies. (Psst! Don’t forget to capture rich first-party data from customer phone conversations!)

Takeaway 6: AI Can’t Replace Human Marketers

There was a lot of talk about how AI is revolutionizing search. But with each new AI innovation it unveiled, Google made sure to hammer home this refrain: AI can’t replace the knowledge or skill of human marketers. There still needs to be an element of the human touch to guide the AI and generate creative ideas.

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 marketers, rather it’s a tool to help them be more impactful. AI can’t replicate your deep knowledge of your products and your consumers, but it can help you save time and unlock new efficiencies in your processes.

Take the Next Step and Supercharge Google Marketing Performance with a Revenue Execution Platform

Invoca and Google have a long-standing partnership that helps our mutual customers drive more results and revenue, powered by our Google Suite integrations, including Google Ads, Google Marketing Platform, and Google Analytics

Leading marketers use Invoca’s AI-powered revenue execution platform 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 can help you take the Google marketing suite to the next level? Check out these resources:

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