The Big Tech firms continue to change the online advertising landscape with AI. For example, on May 23 at Google’s Marketing Live event, Google announced new ways that the company is incorporating AI into advertising online. Google has been integrating AI into advertising for quite some time, as we have blogged. Google’s latest announcements make AI an essential tool now for any advertiser that works with Google. Here are some highlights:
Simplifying Campaign Management through Conversational Interfaces
Google said that it is introducing a new, natural-language conversational experience within Google Ads. This feature is designed to streamline the process of creating campaigns and to simplify the management of search ads.
The feature works this way: an advertiser adds a preferred landing page from your website, and Google AI summarizes its content. From there, Google will generate a range of (presumably more relevant) elements for your campaign, including keywords, headlines, descriptions, images, and other assets. Before deploying the generated suggestions, you have the flexibility to review and make edits. And, you can engage in a conversation with Google AI to enhance your campaign’s performance.
In the near future, Google says it will enhance automatically created assets (ACA) for search ads, which use existing ad content and landing pages to generate headlines and descriptions.
ACA also applies generative AI to create and adapt search ads more effectively based on the specific context of a query. For instance, let’s say a user searches for “skin care for dry sensitive skin.” With the assistance of AI, Google can analyze the content from your landing page and existing ads to generate a headline that aligns even more closely with the user’s query, such as “Soothe Your Dry, Sensitive Skin.” Google says this approach improves the relevance of your ads while staying true to your brand identity.
Helping Advertisers with Performance Max
Performance Max is a goal-based campaign type that allows performance advertisers to access all of their Google Ads inventory from a single campaign. According to Google, advertisers who use Performance Max have experienced an average increase of over 18 percent in conversions, all while maintaining a similar cost per action. However, it must be noted that at True Interactive, we’ve not witnessed these kinds of returns with Performance Max and remain very cautious about its value. That said, to improve the capabilities of Performance Max, Google is introducing generative AI technology. Google says that this addition will make it easier for advertisers to create customized assets and expand their reach with just a few clicks. Google AI will learn about your brand and populate your campaign with relevant text and other assets. Moreover, Google will suggest unique and tailored images exclusively generated for your brand.
This feature will also be integrated into the new conversational experience within Google Ads.
Introducing Enhanced Ad Experiences through Generative AI
During Google’s recent conference for developers (Google I/O – which is separate from its May 23 marketing event), Google unveiled new capabilities in generative AI that will promise to change search. This feature, known as search generative experience (SGE), uses generative AI to share answers to queries in the form of complete “snapshots” of content instead of providing a few rich snippets and links to websites for more information. Search can unfold as a series of questions and follow-up questions that the searcher refines (similar to ChatGPT prompt).
Earlier, Google had demonstrated how ads would appear both above and below this immersive new experience. On May 23, Google said it will conduct extensive experimentation to integrate search and shopping ads into the AI-powered snapshot and conversational mode. Additionally, Google will explore ad formats native to SGE, using generative AI to create relevant and high-quality ads tailored to every step of the user’s search journey (although how well Google will do this remains to be seen).
For instance, let’s consider a scenario where someone is searching for “outdoor activities to do in Maui” and then further narrows down their search to include “activities for kids” and ‘surfing.” In this case, they may encounter a fully personalized ad from a travel brand promoting surfing lessons specifically designed for children.
When search ads are displayed, they will include ad labels, with the “Sponsored” label presented in bold black text. This ensures a clear distinction between ads and organic search results, prioritizing a user-centric approach.
Three Implications for Advertisers
We advise advertisers to embrace AI (there really is no choice now – Google is bringing AI to your ad campaigns whether you like it or not). But do so carefully.
1. We Need Visibility and Control
Given that this year’s event was focused on artificial intelligence and automation (as expected), I would argue that both things empower advertisers to deliver incremental results, yet we need to have at least some degree of control over these, and more importantly, we need visibility into performance so we can clearly see what is working and what is not (they shouldn’t be mutually exclusive) and adjust our strategy accordingly.
2. Be Careful with ACA
I mentioned earlier that Google is enhancing automatically created assets (ACA) for search ads, which use existing ad content and landing pages to generate headlines and descriptions.
Incorporating generative AI into ACAs can potentially improve the relevance of advertisements. By using data from other ads and landing pages to improve query matching, ads can become more dynamic and effective, provided you are comfortable with relinquishing control to Google’s AI. this technology holds the potential to significantly boost the relevance of your advertisements, yet it may not be the ideal choice for heavily regulated industries or brands that adhere strictly to compliance standards. By fully handing over control to AI, Google gets the final say in your ad’s content. It’s important to remember that advertisements are subject to FTC regulations, and with ACAs, you will not have assurance over the message that will be displayed.
3. Treat Performance Max with Caution
At True Interactive, we are not quite ready to call ourselves Performance Max enthusiasts considering the limited control advertisers have over these campaigns and lack of visibility into performance. Although we would certainly encourage everyone to try it (if they have the money to spare), we would also recommend exercising special caution, as this campaign may cannibalize traffic from other campaigns being run under the same ad account (such as Search Brand campaign), and therefore hurt the overall performance of Google Ads.
Contact True Interactive
At True Interactive, we advocate on behalf of our clients. We are monitoring these developments closely and assessing how to incorporate conversational AI. Contact us to learn how we can help you succeed in all forms of digital advertising.