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TPE #95: my take on GML 2024

May 27, 2024

Read time: 6 minutes

As you know, the Google Marketing Live event was last week.

As expected, everything revolved around AI.

 

 

You’ve probably seen tons of news updates on LinkedIn, X, and other channels…

In today’s issue of The PPC Edge, I want to share my perspective on all the announcements.

It’s not a complete news update (you’re better off reading the official documentation) …

Consider this your guide to all the new updates.

So you know what’s actually good, and what’s fluff.

Here’s what I’ll cover today:

  1. My opinion on the opening presentation about AI.
  2. My opinion on the most important updates.

Let’s dive right in, shall we?

 

The Ads Product Vision presentation was all about AI.

Google announced a ton of new features. Everything was about AI, which didn’t come as a surprise at all.

The second presentation was Google’s vision for ads in the new AI world, and how it should help businesses grow. The most remarkable quote came from this presentation (it’s crucial to predict the future of PPC):

 

 

Read that again: “…A future where AI will supercharge the ENTIRE advertising lifecycle [including running your media]”.

Google also mentioned that “GenAI is still early-stage tech, and it won’t do everything right — but it’s evolving”.

And they said: “No matter how much AI’s capabilities improve, it’s not a marketer. There’s just too much that requires a human touch. AI doesn’t have taste. it doesn’t have ingenuity. it doesn’t have your creativity, your strategic insights, or your expertise. These will always be your advantage.”

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What this tells me: if you don’t evolve as a Google Ads Specialist, AI will turn you into a commodity soon (a commodity is a product/service that can be easily replaced and has no differentiating factors).

It also tells me Google understands AI is just technology. A means to an end. Not the end all be all. You will always be needed as a marketer, but your role is going to vastly change (again).

The solution: we should become T-Shaped Google Ads Specialists to future-proof ourselves and stay relevant.

(I won’t dive into this too much, otherwise this issue becomes too long, but here’s a complete guide on how to become a T-Shaped Google Ads Specialist).

 

 

So Google sees AI as “your all-in-1 growth flywheel” — to help with Creative, Measurement, and Media. Most of the new product announcements could fall into one of these categories, so let’s dive in.

 

 

My opinion on the product announcements.

I categorized the most important updates as follows:

  1. AI Overviews in Search (with ads).
  2. Measurement & Data updates.
  3. The Power Pair (Search + pMax).
  4. pMax & Shopping updates.
  5. Creative updates.
  6. Video & visual storytelling.
  7. AI Essentials.

Let’s look at each update and whether it’s good, or fluff.

 

1: AI Overviews in Search (with Ads) — [important].

This is probably one of the most impactful updates: Google is going to roll out ads in AI Overviews in the US and globally soon.

This will change what the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) looks like.

Here’s a quote you can’t miss: “We’re gonna match ads not only to the query context but also to the information in AI Overview.”

 

 

 

My take on this.

What this tells me: contextual data is going to become even more important than it already is. Somehow, Google needs to be able to match the content on your website to user queries and AI Overviews.

My prediction is that the data on your website and in your product feeds is going to be key to get your ads matched to the right user at the right time (which goes beyond just the query).

 

2: Measurement & Data updates — [medium].

Google wants to use AI to make real-time measurement a reality. In their words: “AI will be able to simulate and credit performance pre-launch to help you optimize campaigns before you even put any dollars behind them.”

They also stressed that good AI requires lots of good data. “The more it knows about your business, customers, goals, the better we can deliver for you. Your 1P data drives better results and helps protect your campaign against privacy changes.”

 

My take on this.

Google wants to use AI to make it easier for businesses to forecast results (which would lower the barrier to entry and could see an inflow of small business money into Google Ads).

I think we’ll see more of Google’s new Marketing Mix Models product (Meridian) to help businesses understand the true value of their advertising spend and results across different channels.

My only concern is that Meridian might be too biased towards Google’s own channels — so IMO there’s still a need for unbiased, third-party attribution tools/Marketing Mix Models.

Lastly, this stresses that first-party data is your key to success: the more you can proactively feed the algorithm with insights about your business, goals, market, and customers, the more likely you are going to win.

 

3: The Power Pair (Search + pMax) — [not new].

Google showed a case study of how “The Power Pair” (Search + pMax) can generate 27% more conversions at a similar CPA or ROAS (which has been pushed for a while now, it’s not really new).

They said they’ve significant AI-driven improvements to the quality, relevance, and language understanding of Broad Match.

 

My take on this.

I don’t care too much about the 27% conversion boost for “The Power Pair”…

  • What types of businesses did they test it on?
  • What are the goals and KPIs?
  • Are they measuring brand through pMax?
  • How do the overall accounts perform?

As you can see, this case study in itself doesn’t mean much to me.

However, I do find the “AI-driven improvements” to Broad Match very interesting. They didn’t elaborate too much on this, but it proves that Google is constantly working on improving how Broad Match works.

Like it or not, Broad Match works very well in Bob and my accounts and Google will continue to push it, especially after making “AI-driven improvements”.

 

4: pMax & Shopping updates — [nice].

Google announced a few very nice pMax & Shopping updates. I’ll share them below including my take.

 

Profit Optimization: decent.

Soon, we’ll be able to use Smart Bidding to optimize for gross profit. It’s a decent new feature to experiment with. You need to set up Conversions with Cart Data in Google Ads and Cost of Goods Sold in Merchant Center to use this.

I still recommend to use a tool like ProfitMetrics because it uses more than just Google Ads data.

 

Loyalty Promotions: decent.

With Loyalty Promotions, you can highlight exclusive members-only deals on your Shopping/pMax ads. Quite nice!

 

3D spin ads: awesome.

If you add product images from different angles, Google can show a 3D model in the Shopping Ad of your product. This looks awesome and will certainly make your ads stand out. For now it’s only available for shoes but I belive it’s gonna be available for other product types soon too.

 

Virtual try-on: game-changer.

Google will soon release the virtual try-on feature which will change the Shopping game forever.

You can now see how clothes fit on different models and body sizes, giving shoppers the confidence to buy the right product. This can significantly lower return rates too — so I’m excited to try it out soon.

 

 

New pMax insights: always good.

Who doesn't want more pMax insights?! Soon, we’ll have:

  • YouTube placement report.
  • Asset-level reporting (finally).
  • See conversion uplift of text, video, and image assets.

I'm most excited about the asset-level reporting and conversion uplift for each asset!

 

5: Creative updates — [great].

Google is gonna make it easier for businesses to create solid creatives for pMax and Demand Gen:

  • Variations of your best-performing assets.
  • Animated images.
  • New backgrounds.
  • Product Studio updates (to enhance your product feed with GenAI).

 

My take on this.

So far, these updates look fantastic. I’ve played around with GenAI within Google Ads and it’s not as bad as I expected it to be, and it’s only getting better. In the end, it’s all about your prompts.

Just don’t expect GenAI to magically create tons of conversion-optimized videos and images, but you can use it to create variations of your best performers at scale. That’s why I like most about this tech!

 

6: Video & visual storytelling — [decent].

Google announced tons of updates for video-based campaign types:

  • Demand Gen: Lookalike Segments thresholds goes down from 1.000 users in a list to 100 (making it available for nearly every advertiser).
  • YouTube Shorts are getting some updates (swipe left to go to the landing page without leaving YouTube, and clickable stickers for more interaction).
  • We will soon be able to make animated ads from images in our accounts.

 

My take on this.

Can’t say anything bad about these updates. It’s gonna make Demand Gen more powerful because of the lower Lookalike Segment thresholds, and YouTube (Shorts) more engaging.

 

7: AI Essentials in Optiscore — [a total joke].

All in all, GML wasn’t bad. You can now see “AI Essentials” as a new category in the recommendations tab (nobody cares πŸ˜‚).

And then they finished with the following statement:

 

 

This is not a joke. They really said “advertisers who increased Optiscore 10 points also saw an average 15% conversion lift”.

Come on Google… 🀑

 

And that’s it!

So there you have it: my breakdown of Google Marketing Live 2024. For a complete overview of the announcements, I recommend studying the official documentation.

I’m most excited for the new Shopping features, and will start playing around with the new GenAI for creatives soon. In a few weeks, I’ll report back in a future issue of The PPC Edge (hopefully my experience will be positive).

 

As a last note: AI is just technology. A means to an end. Not the end all be all. You will always be needed as a marketer, but your role is going to vastly change (again).

If you want to stay relevant in the Age of AI, I think you should become a T-Shaped Google Ads Specialist. That’s how you future-proof yourself and thrive when others will struggle.

Here’s my complete guide on how to do that.

 

 

Thanks for reading. Have a great week and see you next week!

Cheers,

Miles (& Bob)

​



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