2019 Google Marketing Live Recap

by | May 14, 2019

Well, it’s that time of year again! Google Marketing Live 2019 – the event of the year for everyone in the Google Ads world – has just wrapped up, and with a bevy of big changes announced it certainly didn’t disappoint.

This year around 3,000 marketers were invited to San Francisco to get early access to Google’s roadmap for the year ahead and talk in-person to senior Google engineers and product managers.

WebSavvy’s CEO & Founder, Mike Rhodes, went to join in on the action and see what’s new with Google’s plans for the year. Read this blog to get an overview of Google’s new product releases and updates at this year’s Google Marketing Live.

In a nutshell, Google’s new product releases and updates are to help us as marketers to anticipate to win. Watch the video below.


Big Picture Changes

Privacy was a big point of discussion at this year’s Google Marketing Live.

Regulatory changes and shifting customer expectations mean that approaches to privacy need to be updated – something that Google talked about a lot. Changes like Apple’s Intelligence Tracking Prevention 2.1 (ITP2) are making tracking for Google (and Facebook) harder all the time.

But don’t panic just yet! Google stressed that they want to help marketers find ways to still measure results while being responsible and respectful of users’ data.

Some other changes announced…


Conversion Tracking

There were a few additions announced to conversion tracking features. Google has introduced Conversion Action sets, which lets you create groups of conversions that you can share across campaigns.

There are also campaign conversion goals, which will enable you to change the conversion type on campaign levels.

Finally, Google is bringing in a seasonable adjustment function for conversion tracking. This means that you can tell your program to ignore particular dates that might skew the data and learning (think ‘big spend’ days like Black Friday!).

It also means you can let the machine know in advance that you’re expecting different conversion rates and targets during sale periods.



Audiences got a bit of attention, the main change being Custom Intent and Custom Affinity are being rolled into just one ‘Custom Audience’.

We’re uncertain about this one, and at first glance aren’t feeling quite sold on the idea of combining the two. Custom intent tends to work well because it has a short time frame, meaning it’s more predictive of intent to buy. Custom Affinity, on the other hand, hasn’t worked well for us in the past.

This new combination will ultimately depend on how effectively machine learning can understand intent, so we’ll be watching and waiting to see if this works out.


Responsive Search Ads Reporting

We were really hoping for an announcement here, but the project manager that Mike spoke to said that, unfortunately, this is probably still at least 6 months away. Keep an ear out for it!


Augmented Reality on Google Search

There was a live demonstration of augmented reality through Google Search, but we haven’t been able to replicate the results. Google are clearly making some big bets on augmented reality though, so watch this space and expect to hear a lot more about it through 2020.

If you sell highly visual products that people would benefit from seeing in their homes or offices, such as furniture, then this could definitely be worth looking into. However, there’s no need to put it at the top of your to-do list just yet.

For the techies, watch this session to get a deeper understanding of how Google’s machine learning works and the Future of Search holds for us.


New Ad Formats

Gallery Ads

These will be similar to Facebook’s carousel ads – 4-8 large swipeable images with 70 character descriptions that appear on top of searches. This feature is currently mobile only, with a desktop version hopefully on its way. The purpose of this new format is to let ads to convey what they’ve got to offer in a more interactive format!

Showcase Shopping Ads

This existing ad format will be expanded to incorporate rich lifestyle imagery into shopping ads. It’s currently available on Google Images and Feed on discover, and will be available on YouTube soon!

Discovery Ads

Similar to the gallery ads, this works similar to Facebook carousel ads. We’ve been told that it will only start charging when someone swipes over three or more images, or clicks through to your website.

Rather than being driven by keyword campaigns it’ll be powered by Google’s AI and driven by targeted audiences. These new discovery ads will be running in the Google discover feed, YouTube home feed and Gmail social/promotion tabs. It’s a big bundle, and we’re betting it’s going to have a big price tag to match!

Local Ads (More Functionalities)

Not to be confused with Local Inventory Ads! Using AI, Google will be enhancing visibility on maps to relevant audiences with automation (rather than being based just on manual targeting). Look out for more promoted pins on maps.

Google Shopping

Google Shopping is Google’s answer to Amazon, and their way of muscling back their market share. Google shopping is a simpler and better user interface to buy from Google Assistant ads, letting users buy from in-store as well as online!

You can even buy directly from the Google results page. This feature is currently only available in the US, with no known timeline to expand to other countries.

So there you have it – another Google Marketing Live done and dusted! There’s plenty to be excited about, so make sure to keep an eye out for all these changes in the coming months!

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