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Google Marketing Live 2019

Google kicked off Tuesday with their largest marketing conference of the year with some 5,000 agencies and brands in attendance. This year’s keynote was broken into three main themes: “Be There” – a set of new features and tools to help advertisers reach people at all stages of the customer journey; “Be Useful” – focusing on new solutions that make it faster and easier for customers to find the info they need; and finally “Be Responsible” – introducing new ways for marketers to deliver growth while maintaining consumer trust. The latter is arguably the most important, with all the issues of privacy coming out of the ad tech world over the past 2 years.  Let’s take a look at all the announcements:

Key Takeaways

Discovery Campaigns

  • Today’s users are discovering new brands while browsing for something different, and Discovery campaigns are Google’s new solution for reaching these users. Discovery campaigns convey personalized ad experiences across Google’s properties, including the YouTube Home Feed, Gmail, and the Discover feed, all served via a single campaign. The campaigns will allow a ton of reach for advertisers looking to scale across the Google ecosystem. The product is geared toward performance advertisers, with both tCPA and tROAS automated bidding available.

Gallery Ads

  • Despite the relatively underwhelming response to Image Extensions, Google remains committed to providing ad creative outside of lines of text. Gallery ads —rich ads in search consisting of 4-8 images — have been in Beta for a year now but will be rolling out to all verticals in the coming months. The ad format is currently shown in the first ad slot on mobile devices, with plans to expand into desktop and bottom of the SERP inventory as Google attempts to better monetize these spots.

App Deep-Linking

  • As an increasing number of businesses build apps, and users continue to rely on these apps, Google plans to further integrate advertisers’ search ads with their applications and create as seamless of a user experience as possible.
    • Upon clicking an advertiser’s search ad, users will have the option to open the relevant page within their app or continue to the web. In-app conversions will be linked back to the search ad either via Google Analytics or the Firebase SDK.

Smart Bidding Updates

  • Conversion Adjustments
    • Advertisers with multiple conversion events, or goals for specific products or services, have been waiting for the ability to customize the conversion events Smart Bidding uses for a particular campaign. Conversion Adjustments will allow marketers to choose a specific conversion for individual campaigns, rather than rely on everything in the “Include in ‘Conversions” column.
  • Modifications for Seasonality
    • Historically, Google’s Smart Bidding has struggled to adapt to short-lived changes in Conversion Rate and competition. Soon, advertisers will be able to support events like promotions and seasonality by telling the system to expect a different CVR for a certain amount of time before returning to normal. The update should do wonders for advertisers with somewhat predictable, if volatile, conversion rates.
  • Maximize Conversion Value
    • Google continues to use Smart Bidding as a mechanism for aiding smaller businesses with their digital marketing efforts. Revenue-seeking advertisers who maybe don’t yet know what kind of ROAS they can or should be aiming toward will be able to get their program off the ground with the Maximize Conversion Value strategy.
  • Linear and Connected TV
    • As Google looks to move more up-funnel with tactics that entice brand advertisers, they are announcing new inventory availability with Linear and Connected TV available through DV360. We’ll be doing a deeper dive into this ad product in a future post.


  • Shopping will be getting a whole new experience, fully integrated with Google Express, with recommendation powered by previous browsing history and purchases.
  • Google will also be providing a new tool allowing manufacturers to put additional budget behind their products sold through retailers.
  • Advertisers will be able to buy inventory based on sales – where Google will then take a percentage of revenue off the top. The details of the new sales model have yet to  be released, so we’ll provide an update as we learn more.

Local Campaigns

  • As retail traffic continues to move online with no plans of slowing down, it’s more important than ever for local businesses to capitalize on relevant queries in their area. Brick-and-mortar advertisers will be pleased with Google’s plan to revamp Local Campaigns. Advertisers will begin showing ads on Google maps, have the option to set product-specific promotions, and optimize beyond store visits, toward events like phone calls and a user getting directions to a store.

Audience Enhancements

  • Custom Affinity and Custom Intent audiences are effective tools for marketers to advertise to users actively interested or looking to purchase goods or services. These will be merging into “Custom Audiences” with a slider tool to either grow audience reach or restrict to the most relevant users.
  • Similar Audiences have been an excellent tool for advertisers to get in front of users who have similar characteristics to their known customers. Now, they’re about to become more customizable, with a slider functionality to determine how similar to make the new audience to the seed list. This one probably sounds similar to something else in the digital marketing world…
  • Customer Match was a huge announcement on Google’s part several years ago, as it allows marketers to segment their known customers or prospects based on a few different identifiers. Until now (with Beta advertisers the exception), Customer Match has been limited to Search, Gmail, and YouTube campaigns. In the near future, marketers will be able to expand their targeting into Display as well.
  • Audiences will be augmented with contextual signals like browsing history and recency, rather than solely pixel behavior.

Chrome Privacy

  • This is probably one of the more needed things to come out of Google regarding 3rd-party cookie tracking. First announced last week at Google I/O is Chrome’s ability to treat 1st- and 3rd-party cookies differently. Google sees that what Apple and Mozilla has done is problematic for publishers. New labeling of cookies can help that, and Chrome will block 3rd-party cookies that don’t specify what they collect and why. This won’t happen overnight, and this month’s early announcement will help them to get feedback first. We’ll be following up with a more in-depth post about this topic specifically.

Keep an eye out for future blog posts where we will be expanding upon some of these announcements. We look forward to working with our clients on these new solutions! If you have any follow-up questions, reach out to your Account Director or our 3Q SME teams.