Transforming Advertising with AI: 10 Takeaways from Google Marketing Live 2024

By Tinuiti Team

Google Marketing Live 2024 showcased the latest advancements in AI and generative AI (genAI), heralding a new era in advertising. The event focused on real-time measurement, advanced creative tools, enhanced visual search, and seamless data integration, all designed to enhance efficiency, effectiveness, and personalization in marketing. 

We spoke with Michelle Merklin, VP of Search Innovation and Growth at Tinuiti, and her team to gather the top 10 standout highlights from this year’s event.

Michelle Merklin, VP of Search Innovation and Growth at Tinuiti

1. AI in Advertising: A New Era

The event showcased the transformative power of AI in advertising. Google’s Gemini models, still in early development, are already enhancing search intent understanding and ad effectiveness. 

Key search trends included:

2. AI-Driven Campaigns and Real-Time Measurement

AI-driven advancements are turning real-time measurement into a reality. Campaigns can now be launched and optimized in real-time, with AI predicting performance before any spending occurs. While AI enhances campaign management, human creativity and strategic insights remain crucial, with AI assisting in complex tasks and unlocking new opportunities.

3. Generative AI in Google Search

Generative AI is refining Google’s search capabilities through AI overviews in search results, providing more accurate matches for user queries. Google is testing search and shopping ads within these AI overviews in the US, aiming to make ads more relevant and actionable. This approach promises seamless user experiences, such as instantly finding solutions to travel problems.

According to Merklin, Google isn’t giving advertisers much visibility into performance based on the type of SERP the ad showed on (in other words, an AI-Overview vs. the standard search results pages).

“For now, the best way advertisers can prepare for these changes is to lean into Google’s AI-powered solutions so their ads are eligible to serve in as many relevant SERPs as possible. Broad Match, PMAX, and value-based bidding will only become more important,” she says.

(Source: Google)

4. Innovations in Visual Search and Video Campaigns

Google introduced a redesigned visual search results page featuring diverse content types from images to videos. Shopping ads will now appear at the top of visual search results. Additionally, AI-powered video campaigns on YouTube will engage viewers with interactive elements like stickers and double-tap likes. YouTube’s Demand Gen campaign type will expand to include display, video, and Search Ads 360, enhancing visual storytelling.

(Source: Google)

5. Advanced Creative Tools

Performance Max campaigns now include even more genAI creative tools, allowing for the rapid creation of tailored ads. This data enhances measurement and optimization, enabling marketers to respond quickly to performance insights. However, will AI-generated content fully replace manual content? 

According to Merklin, not necessarily:

“We’re excited about the potential of AI-generated creatives, especially around the time savings and next-level creativity they can generate. But based on what we’ve seen recently with other Google AI-powered creatives, like video enhancements in YouTube campaigns, I don’t expect that manually created content in ads will be overtaken by AI-created content any time soon. Our data shows that the system tends to prefer and serve the manually uploaded creatives far more frequently than the AI assets. That dynamic may change as the technology improves, and it’s something we’ll keep a close eye on in the coming months.”

6. Profit Optimization Goals

Advertisers will soon be able to optimize towards profit goals via smart bidding, using data from cart-level conversions or cost of goods sold (COGS). They can switch between revenue goals (max conv value / tROAS) and profit goals without disrupting performance.

“I’m most excited about the new profit optimization goals that will allow advertisers to finally bid on their true business goals. This will be a game changer, especially for retailers who have historically felt limited to optimizing toward more marketing-centric KPIs,” Merklin says.

7. Partnership Ads

Brands can now leverage creator videos as ads in a co-branded format. New or existing collaborations with creators can be promoted, and Google can highlight videos where creators have mentioned a product or brand, allowing these videos to be used as ads.

8. Expanded YouTube Affiliate Program

YouTube is expanding its affiliate shopping program to include all Shopify Plus and Advanced merchants in the US. This allows brands to connect their product catalogs to the program, enabling verified creators to tag and sell products directly in their videos, Shorts, or livestreams. Brands will receive detailed insights on which creators and content drive sales.

9. AI-Powered Measurement Tools

AI-powered tools can identify valuable audiences, better measure customer lifetime value, and predict trends. For example, The North Face utilized AI to adjust product naming based on customer search terms, tripling overnight conversions and revenue.

10. Engaging Creative and Media Strategies

AI tools can expedite the creation and optimization of marketing assets. For instance, a migraine medication campaign integrated real-time weather data to target ads, resulting in a 2.9% increase in prescriptions. Google’s Media Lab doubled their creative assets in search campaigns, improving ad strength and performance.

Bonus Highlight: Special Insights from Shaquille O’Neal

Shaquille O’Neal, an early investor in Google, shared his perspective on AI’s potential to simplify and enhance business and education. He emphasized the importance of embracing AI to stay competitive and discussed how AI can aid in making informed investment and business decisions. 

Key Statistics [Google]

Next Steps

In conclusion, Google Marketing Live 2024 illustrated how AI and genAI are revolutionizing the advertising industry, offering enhanced efficiency, effectiveness, and personalization for marketers worldwide. Ready to learn more?

Tinuiti’s team will be following up with Google partners to discuss product attributes in greater depth. Curious how your brand can benefit from the latest advancements? Contact us today to speak with a specialist!