During the livestreamed keynote at Google Marketing Live in San Jose, California, on Tuesday, Google executives will announce several initiatives, all of which are powered by machine learning and take automation to another level.
It’s easy to start being glib about yet more mentions of artificial intelligence and machine learning, as just about every product or feature release from Google Ads (the new brand name for AdWords that will be rolling out this month) and Bing Ads over the past year or so has had machine learning behind it. However, we’re entering into a new, more automated phase.
No longer is automation limited to certain aspects of campaign management — such as bidding or dynamic headlines. Now, every facet of a campaign — bidding, creative and targeting — can be automated based on a few inputs from the advertiser.
First there were Dynamic search ads, now there are Responsive search ads. First there were Universal App Campaigns, now there are Local Campaigns. These new campaign types also deliver ads across Google’s broad swath of ad inventory: Search, YouTube, Display, Apps, Maps and so on. A big part of the Google Ads rebranding, after all, was to more clearly put all of those properties under one umbrella.
Here’s the rundown of Tuesday’s announcements. We’ll continue to update this article with more details after the event.
Responsive search ads
We first reported on the Responsive search ads beta in May. Google says this new ad type, which automates ad testing and gives more real estate to advertisers willing to turn testing over to Google’s algorithm, will roll out to all advertisers over the next few months.
For more than a year now, Google has been pushing advertisers to give up manual A/B testing and add at least three ads per ad group and has also made it harder for advertisers to resist choosing automated ad rotation. Several studies have shown advertisers have been slow to put the work into creating and adding more ads to their ad groups, or they prefer to manually test creatives.
Responsive search ads kick in more characters as an incentive to try them. Advertisers can enter as many as 15 headlines and four descriptions, which can be up to 90 characters instead of 80. In the search results, Responsive search ads can show as many as three headlines, instead of two, and up to two 90-character descriptions instead of one 80-character description.
Google automatically serves the combination deemed to most closely match the user’s search query. The more varied the inputs, the more opportunities the ad group has to enter auctions related to the keywords used in those inputs.
A new campaign type called Local campaigns is aimed at driving store visits. Advertisers set a budget, and the ads are generated automatically based on ad creative elements from the advertiser and location extensions. Google automatically optimizes ad delivery across Search, YouTube, Maps and websites and apps in its ad networks.
The use of machine learning and automated delivery across Google properties is similar to the Smart Campaigns type introduced for small businesses a couple of weeks ago.
However, with Local campaigns, the goal is strictly to drive traffic to stores from the ads, and they aren’t designed specifically for SMB, as are Smart Campaigns. Local campaigns report on store visits using anonymized and aggregated data from signed-in Google users who have opted to turn location history on.
Local campaigns will be available globally over the next few months.
Smart Shopping campaign goals & Shopify
Google announced goal-optimized Shopping campaigns in May — what it’s now calling Smart Shopping campaigns. The campaigns automatically optimize ad delivery across Google’s properties and ad networks to achieve the advertiser’s defined conversion goal value, such as revenue or return on ad spend (ROAS).
On Tuesday, Google announced advertisers will also be able to select store visits or new customers as goals.
Bids and delivery are adjusted automatically based on the determined likelihood that an ad click will result in the advertiser’s stated goal.
Google is also teaming up with third-party e-commerce platforms. To start, Shopify users will be able to set up Smart Shopping campaigns from within Shopify.
YouTube Brand Lift
Advertisers will be able to set a new Smart Bidding strategy, Maximize Lift, for YouTube campaigns to optimize delivery to users who are most likely to consider a brand after seeing a video ad. Maximize Lift will be available later this year.