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Google held their annual Marketing Innovations Keynote this week, where they provide an update on trends and insights affecting Google products, and introduce new Google products and features.

You can watch the keynote below, or skip below for my highlights summary.

Hot tip: watch the broadcast at 1.5 x normal speed, and it sounds regular. Those Google people know how to talk slooowwwlllyyy.

Google AdWords is becoming Google Ads

The most repeated statement was “Google AdWords are becoming Google Ads”, reinforcing the recent news that Google AdWords is becoming Google Ads.

As per Google’s official blog post regarding the update’s, this change is to reflect Google’s comprehensive Ads offering.

AdWords launched 18 years ago – can you believe it!? – with the Search Campaigns (text ads) that we still know and love, and is synonymous with the name “AdWords”.

For many years AdWords has offered display, remarketing, shopping and video ads, so the new, simpler name is a better reflection of this offering.

Google are also consolidating some of their other products:

  • DoubleClick advertiser products and Google Analytics 360 Suite will be known as Google Marketing Platform
  • and DoubleClick for Publishers and DoubleClick Ad Exchange will be known as Google Ad Manager

These roll outs will occur globally by the end of 2018.

Want to create and manage effective Google Ads campaigns? Check out our training courses here.

Google Ad’s new interface is now permanent

Not mentioned during the keynote, but important for Google advertisers to know, is the new interface we have been getting accustomed to this year is now permanent and the old interface has been retired.

If you’re still unsure about it, here’s how to navigate the new interface.

Advertising at it’s best always puts people first

Google always begins these keynotes with a summary of trends and insights that have informed the changes, and provide useful insights for marketers and advertisers.

Highlights from this portion of the keynote include:

While we may be marketing to many, user interactions are digital are one-on-one, so think about the individuals you are communicating with.

This reinforces the importance of having clear personas for your target audience, and considering how individuals will relate to your messages and online presence.

Ads should add value.

What do valuable ads mean in a mobile first world?

  • Providing more help at the moment
  • Deliver the most useful message based on context, at home researching or on the go

Impatience continues to rise.

Expectations continue to increase.

People expect:

  • Helpful
  • Personal
  • Frictionless

experiences. They want more than answers, they want meaningful assistance.

And advertisers want to save time and money, so many of Google’s new features are using machine learning and data to ease and automate the ads creation and management process.

Machine learning has been used for a while on Ads features such as:

  • Optimised ad rotation
  • Smart bidding

Google Ads are introducing responsive search ads

This new feature allows advertisers more flexibility, allowing automated mix and match of multiple headlines and descriptions to find and show the best combination.

Advertisers can provide:

  • 15 headlines (30 characters each)
  • 4 description lines (90 characters each, an increase from the current 80 characters)

Google then uses:

  • 3 headlines
  • 2 description lines

To automatically generate the best ad combination based on what is most relevant to the user.

Responsive search ads will be come available to English-language users over the coming months.

While this is a great feature, it still requires writing effective headlines and descriptions in the first place. So best practices for writing effective ads is still important.

New mobile landing page speed score

The best ads may not perform if you landing pages aren’t delivering, especially on mobile = dramatic impact on results.

The new Google Ads will include a new column on the Landing Pages page report for mobile ads.

This will assist advertisers and managers to prioritise which page speed issues (or pages) to tackle.

Cross device reporting and remarketing in Google Analytics

*The crowd goes wild!*

We’ve known for a while that individuals use multiple devices, and can change devices during interactions with the same website.

Google Analytics will now allow us to measure engagement across devices, by combining data from multiple sessions across multiple devices.

This information will only be from users who agree to share it, and Google reinforces that personal data is never shared.

Introducing Smart Campaigns

Another feature rolling out to advertisers this year are Smart Campaigns.

These campaigns are touted to be:

  • Simple
  • Save time
  • Deliver real results

Allowing advertisers to set up a campaign in minutes, by creating sample ads based on content from the website and then use machine learning to optimise.

Again, while a great, simple feature, this means it’s important to firstly have an effective website with great content, AND have a clear understanding of your business goals, to measure results against, rather than putting all of your eggs in the automated Google basket…

Another cool feature though is the ability to Crete and auto-optimise landing pages for Smart Campaigns in Google Ads, which will be great for businesses who don’t have a website (though seriously, it’s best to have an own your own, mobile responsive website).

Smart Shopping Campaigns

Google are making further use of machine learning to create simpler experiences for advertisers, including automated feeds for product shopping feeds, which means no more complex set up required! (and have set up a few Shopping campaigns in my time… this is a welcome addition!)

New offline goals

Another interesting feature to roll out is the ability to measure more “offline” goals i.e. things that don’t happen online, but occur in real life, like foot traffic or physical customers to your brick and mortar store.

There wasn’t much detail given about how this will work, but I’m looking forward to checking it out.

Improved Google My Business management with Local Campaigns

And the highlight I’ll finish with is part of the new Local Campaigns rollout, which is improved ease of finding and linking Google My Business accounts. *Hurrah!*


There were a few other highlights in the keynote, but this list is an exciting summary of what we can expect to see across Google AdWords – oops, I mean Google Ads – and Google Analytics over the rest of the year. I’m excited!

What do you think about the updates?


Erica Stacey

Erica is a Google Analytics and Google Ads certified professional, so you’re in qualified hands. Erica has had over a decade of experience – working for agencies and a wide range of clients – in digital and social media marketing strategy, website development, search engine optimisation (SEO) and marketing (SEM), content marketing, inbound marketing, online advertising and so much more. A professional in the field of design, branding and marketing, she is a trusted name in the South Australian and online community to help an array of businesses sort out and achieve their marketing objectives.

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