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Google Marketing Live: From Responsive Search Ads to Smart Shopping

Every year, Google unveils new advertising initiatives at its Google Marketing Live event to empower businesses and digital marketers with Valuable, Transparent and Trustworthy advertising. This year, they perfected the way digital advertising is constructed and optimised. Through machine learning and innovation, Google managed to build upon its key media objective: to provide unique, useful and relevant ads for digital advertisers. In this blog post, we will summarise the main ad features and tools announced by Google that are relevant to PPC advertising. We will also discuss the importance of the unveiled initiatives on paid search and the impact these have on driving more effective and efficient ads. 

1. Response Search Ads 

PPC Machine Learning 

One of the key updates from the Google Marketing Live event was Responsive Search Ads (RSA). Essentially, RSA are a more flexible ad format than the standard Expanded Text Ads. This format allows advertisers to enter up to 15 headlines and up to 4 description lines. Altogether, this variety of headlines and descriptions can be arranged in thousands of combinations, meaning that testing possibilities are nearly unlimited. Once the ad is created and approved, Google will then test multiple combinations of headlines and description lines to learn which message performs most effectively for a specific search term, device and other user touch points.  

Various advertisers have already tested RSA and reported increases in CTR of up to 20%. Not only are RSA likely to bring higher click volumes, as a result of increased CTR figures, but they will also allow advertisers to save valuable time on ad creation and testing. On top of this, advertisers have a great chance of achieving better Quality Scores due to improved relevancy and CTR figures. 

2. Local Campaigns

PPC Local Campaigns

Another main update from Google came in relation to local businesses. Whether you manage a grocery chain or a retail fashion business with multiple stores around the UK, your aims might be to drive online conversions and increase visitors to your local store. The introduction of Local Campaigns should greatly help brands achieve this goal. In essence, Local Campaigns are a new type of campaign where advertisers set a campaign budget and the ads are automatically generated based on the existing ad elements and location extensions. Google can then choose where your ad appears on their ad network. Whether it’s Search, Maps, YouTube or various websites, through machine learning, Google will optimise ad delivery to drive most store visits for your budget. 

This is one of the great tools released by the search giant that aims to arm advertisers with the ability to more effectively respond to increased number of local searches. Indeed, as Search Engine Land mentioned in 2016, there has been a higher focus on mobile audiences which has led to a constant increase in hyper-local searches. Considering the larger market for localised searches, it is definitely the right time for local businesses to enhance store visits and ultimately, sales through more efficient advertising. 

3. Smart Shopping 

Smart Shopping 


Gone are the days when advertisers had to optimise Shopping Ads manually through a manual review of product performance and a manual set up of product bids. This is where Smart Shopping campaigns come in handy as they help advertisers optimise Shopping campaigns towards a specific business goal.  

Whether it’s increasing revenue, new customers or ROAS, Smart Shopping automatically optimises ad delivery and ad networks to maximise the conversion goal within the budget set for the campaign. Think traditional bid strategies, but for Shopping! Bids are adjusted automatically based on the likelihood that an ad click will lead to a conversion. Not only is this is likely to lead to a more efficient and effective campaign, but it can also help digital marketers save time on optimisation. It’s a win-win situation. 

4. Other announcements 

  • Automated feeds for Shopping: with this feature, Google will crawl your website and search for your online inventory to automatically build a Shopping feed. This tool should save time in updating the feed but also limit the potential for error when manually updating the feed. Advertisers using third-party feed management providers should start saving some money if this tool proves to be effective.  
  • Hotel Ads: this is a big feature for the hospitality industry as these ads will allow advertisers to showcase their hotel on Search and Google Maps, allowing businesses to gain extra exposure and better targeting whenever potential customers are actively looking to book a hotel. 
  • Landing Page Speed Score: this update represents a new metric in Google Ads which measures the speed of a landing page from a score of 1 to 10. This feature will help advertisers quicker identify the web pages that result in high load times, bounce rates and ultimately lower conversions.