Each year, Google hosts an event where executive members from the Google team announce the latest product releases and features coming to the platform. This year, the presenters focused on showing how much easier they have made it for advertisers and business owners to run Google ads and drive results. Every aspect of Google’s presentation included how their machine learning and automation tools help business owners large and small.

What was really nice to see this year was Google’s focus on small business owners. We typically see large corporations focus on enterprise-level companies because they bring in the most revenue, but this focus on small business is encouraging in that it helps owners get a campaign off the ground easily while still having time to focus on their business.

Google also announced that AdWords will be rebranded to become Google Ads. They are bundling their DoubleClick and Google Analytics 360 products under the Google Marketing Platform name, which will become a central platform where marketers can plan, measure, and optimize their campaigns. Let’s review the highlights and break down the new features rolling out this year. 

Helping Small Businesses Grow

As a small business owner just starting off, it can be difficult to focus on your core business if you’re busy trying to launch and manage campaigns, especially without a marketing staff on hand. 

●    Smart Campaigns

In order to help small businesses with their marketing efforts, Google developed a way to automate almost the entire process. It works by setting a campaign goal and advertising geo-targeting, then Google pulls data from its products like Google Maps, YouTube, and Google My Business listings to optimize your campaign. Business owners without a website will also be able to create optimized landing pages with their editor so they can send paid traffic to the landing page. Smart campaigns will be rolling out and available to all advertisers by the end of the year.

●    Grow with Google

On top of the support that Google is providing to new advertisers, they have released a program called Grow with Google which offers free training for small business owners. This is all part of Google’s goal to “Drive Better Results” and provide free training to help new entrepreneurs learn how to grow their business, career, and digital skills. 

Additional Campaign Types for Google AdWords

Along with Smart campaigns, Google will be rolling out a few more campaign types:

●    Smart Shopping Campaigns

Previously known as goal-optimized shopping campaigns, Smart shopping campaigns now has an e-commerce integration with Shopify and ad delivery is automatically optimized across Google’s display network. Advertisers will now be able to buy Google Ads directly in the Shopify platform to streamline efficiency and drive online revenue. Two additional campaigns goals were also added including store visits and new customer acquisition.

●    Local Campaigns

When people search online, they expect personal, relevant results more than ever. “Near me” searches have increased as people use them to look up specific places near their location and get local information quickly. Local campaigns are designed to help businesses drive in-store traffic to their physical brick-and-mortar locations. Local campaigns connect with Google My Business information to deliver local ads to people searching in the area. 

●    Hotel Campaigns

People look for travel information and recommendations on mobile more than they do offline. Google saw this trend and launched new hotel campaigns inside Google Ads to help increase reservations for hotels and accommodations. This will help hotels and/or travel agents deliver ads to customers at-scale.

●    Responsive Search Ads 

Responsive search ads will make it easier for advertisers to run the most valuable search ads for their clients. They will be powered by machine learning which works by mixing and matching ad copy to generate the optimal ad. Advertisers will be able to provide 15 different headlines and 4 descriptions that will be used to create different variations automatically. While it’s still in beta, it’s something to keep an eye out for as it will be rolling out to advertisers over the next few months.

YouTube Ads

According to Google, 91% of smartphone owners consider buying a product after seeing a relevant ad and over 70% of campaigns drive a lift in store sales. Google will be releasing a new ad objective for YouTube ads to help drive performance and gain new leads: 

●    TrueView for Action

TrueView for Action helps drive conversions on their website and includes a branded banner with a call-to-action button that is shown throughout the video. The call-to-action banners and end card are now available. Releasing later this year will be the video ad end card with a form that enables businesses to get submissions directly from YouTube ads. Google shared that TrueView for Action can be extremely powerful when combined with custom intent audiences to reach a specific audience. 

New Reporting Tools

●    Cross-Device Reporting

Something that got the audience very excited was the announcement of Cross-Device reporting and remarketing in Google Analytics. This gives advertisers the ability to see how users behave on a website across each touchpoint which helps form a holistic view of the customer journey. With Cross-Device reporting, a person buying $300 worth of products on mobile and $300 on desktop, is going to be equally as valuable as someone spending $600 on mobile.

●    Mobile Landing Page Speed Score

According to Google, half of all web traffic now comes from mobile devices, and half of all mobile users won’t make a purchase if the site takes too long to load. In order to help website owners with mobile speed improvements, Google introduced a new mobile landing page speed score tool. It will use a 10-point scale based on page speed and potential conversion rate. The nice part about it is that it updates daily, so you can track your progress.


With a handful of new ad formats and features, Google is giving advertisers the tools and resources they need to drive better results and increase performance by utilizing machine learning and automation. 

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