Google introduced more automation features and campaign types as part of Advertising Week Tuesday. The announcements speak to what has been a years-long effort to use machine learning to serve campaigns across Google’s properties as well as to the moves it’s made in response to the pandemic.
“We’ve now had a chance to take a step back and figure out what some of the long-term trends are, and we either create a new effort or accelerate existing efforts in order to try to play into those trends,” Jerry Dischler, vice president and GM of Ads at Google, said in an interview Friday.
Insights page in Google Ads
In May, in response to quickly shifting consumer behaviors as a result of stay-at-home orders, Google released Rising Retail Categories, a tool that surfaces fast-growing product searches. Building on that, a new Insights page in the Google Ads UI will bring in data from Rising Retail Categories as well as Google Trends data that is customized to the account.
Advertisers will see currently trending searches, auction insights as well as interest predictions tailored to their account. For example, an outdoor gear retailer might see that “tents” is a trending term, that competitors in the auction are gaining impression share and that “skiing” is predicted to trend in November. It also integrates with recommendations (as shown below).
Insights will be rolling out in beta in the coming months, first coming to the U.S. and UK in the fourth-quarter of this year. Google says it will be adding audience and forecasting data. “We’re hoping that this is just going to be a foundation that we’re going to build on top of in order to offer better business insights directly within Google Ads,” said Dischler.
Automated Performance Max Campaigns
Performance Max is Google’s newest automated campaign type. “We’ve been working on automation for a long time, and COVID really felt like a turning point for a lot of advertisers, because when you have a big shock to the system like this and you’re operating things manually, the load is so high … You’ve got to be focusing on other things like running your business,” said Dischler.
Unlike other automated options — Universal App campaigns, Local campaigns, Smart campaigns, Smart Shopping campaigns — Performance Max run across everything but Search inventory. Performance Max campaign ads will be eligible to serve on the Display Network, YouTube, Gmail, Discover, etc. and are meant to complement standard Search campaigns.
Like the other automated campaign types, advertisers will supply copy and image and/or video assets, and Google’s machine learning systems will automatically serve the responsive ads across those channels and bid using automated Smart Bidding based on the goal the advertiser sets.
The idea is to set up one campaign to reach across all non-Search inventory rather than create specialized ads for specific channels. The new Insights page will also include details on Performance Max campaigns, including recommendations, as shown in the example below.
Advertisers will be able to provide some manual inputs to help inform the machine learning algorithms by specifying audiences that are most likely to convert and using conversion value rules to indicate which conversions are most valuable to the business. You’ll find value rules in the Conversions section under Measurement when it’s enabled in your account. You can adjust values based on location, device and audience. The rules are then applied to Google’s smart bidding.
Performance Max campaigns remain in early testing. More advertisers will be invited to the beta next year.
Automated Video Action Campaigns and direct-response for TV
Google is releasing Video action campaigns to all advertisers in the coming weeks. The performance-focused campaigns run on YouTube and Google video partners.
The company is also testing direct-response video ad formats for TV screens. Google said in May that over 100 million users are watching YouTube and YouTube TV on their television screens monthly. “We’ve got brand advertisers that are doing very well, but direct response has been elusive,” said Dischler. He said they are seeing progress with early direct-response tests. Video action campaigns also show on television screen inventory.