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AI & Advertising: The Updates From Google Marketing Live

2023 marked the 10th annual Google Marketing Live and, when reflecting on the previous decade, we’re left wondering if anyone could have predicted that there’d be such a disruptive new presence in the digital world. Or maybe that’s what digital’s all about?

We are, of course, talking about AI. As Search Engine Land so succinctly put it: “The core component of this year’s Google Marketing Live (GML) event can be summed up with just two letters: AI.” While we’re going to use a few more letters to summarise, no one can disagree with the pivotal presence that AI had at this year’s version of Google’s annual conference.

Google themselves remarked on how, as an industry, we find ourselves at “a transformative moment”, and highlighted the power of artificial intelligence to strengthen paid activity in three core areas: customer connections, creativity, and confidence.

We asked our in-house PPC experts to give us their take on some of the key highlights, from the Google Search Generative Experience (SGE) to privacy-preserving signals.

A knock for organic performance?

Callie Che, PPC Manager, said:

“Google has released an insight into how AI will work with Search ads in their new snapshot of the Google Search Generative Experience (SGE). Soon, users will be able to speak to Google’s AI, and the AI will respond with both Search and Shopping ads integrated directly into its response.

“These ads are still clearly marked as “sponsored”, but may take precedence over organic answers. This is a step forward for Google in their AI innovation and may result in exciting upcoming updates to ad formats for PPC advertisers while simultaneously negatively impacting organic performance.”

Regulations for good

Google announced that its ads teams are “building for an AI-powered and privacy-first future”, incorporating new privacy-preserving signals from the Privacy Sandbox to help advertisers measure conversions, reach relevant customers, and drive revenue.

Our Senior PPC Manager, Ashley Lalfam, believes that more regulations are a good thing for all involved.

“We’re seeing new laws across the world focused on locking in comprehensive data privacy laws, designed to give control to internet users, and to protect user data,” he explains. “This comes in the aftermath of the GDPR wave, but we see it as a good thing – allowing brands and advertisers to respond to consumer needs, while receiving the information necessary to grow.”

There’s no escaping AI

When it comes to the overarching themes of the event, no one can deny that AI underpinned all of the big new announcements – with the tech now influencing almost everything about running paid ads through Google.

Our Senior PPC Executive, Jamie Leckie, spotlighted two of the announcements as ones to watch.

“One of my two favourite things that Google unveiled”, he details, “was the conversational experience feature that can be used within the interface. In simple terms, you can use AI to help you build your accounts”.

“You’ll do this by having a ‘conversation’ with the ‘AI God’, providing your URL and answering some questions before it generates a fully built campaign – with headlines, descriptions, and even keywords.”“My second, and favourite, announcement was that of Google Product Studio & Automatic Asset Creation. If you’ve worked with clients before you’ll know that getting assets is not always an easy feat.

“These new features will remove the latency from this. We’ll be able to lean on AI to help us generate highly relevant, high-quality assets for our clients. In Google Product Studio we’ll also be able to create a large number of shopping assets for our client’s products.”

As Jamie points out, these two features will unlock unlimited split testing opportunities while enabling advertisers who can’t afford full teams of people to create and edit assets for their accounts, leaning on AI to be able to enhance, improve, and test different options.

Want to know more?

Missed the conference, or want to know more about the highlights? Google Ads kindly gathers all the highlights up into playlists, meaning you can watch everything from the EMEA Keynote about how “the latest in ads innovation will power results for your business, now and in the future”, to a playlist all about data strategy, measurement & privacy. Whatever floats your boat.

One thing’s for certain, AI is not going anywhere – and actually, we shouldn’t want it to be going anywhere. But if you’re not keeping up to date with how AI is changing the way that we do our jobs – from AI powered tools to, essentially, an extra “robot” team member to bounce ideas off of – you’re likely to get left behind.

Back in April we wrote a message to content writers who may be concerned about ChatGPT taking their job – and even since then, things are ever-changing. Fortunately for you (and us) it’s not quite at the job-stealing-stage just yet. How long till the robots take over, though? Your guess is as good as mine.


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