Amina Iqbal

Director of Paid Media

Google Marketing Live 2024: Key Highlights

4 mins read

The spotlight of this year’s Google Marketing Live was, unsurprisingly, on AI and the products Google plans to roll out over the next year. Here’s a summary of the key takeaways from the talks and what it means for charities:

1. Google Ads and AI Overviews

Google unveiled several AI enhancements during this year’s Google I/O conference, and Google Marketing Live provided further insights into what we can expect. According to Vidhya Srinivasan, a Google VP, initial tests show that users find ads appearing above and below AI Overviews helpful. Soon, Google will be carrying out further tests with Ads and AI by testing Search and Shopping Ads directly within AI Overviews (in the US first). These ads will be clearly labelled as “Sponsored,” similar to current search ads. We knew Ads were going to continue to play an important role in Search but it was never clear what this might look like, so it’s good to hear about the tests being carried out.

What does this mean for charities?

For charities in the UK and Europe, there won't be an immediate impact since these changes are currently being tested only in the US. Google has assured that advertisers won't need to make any changes to their campaigns, as ads will appear in AI Overviews when relevant.

However, it's crucial to be prepared for the broader roll-out of AI Overviews. To stay ahead, we have been conducting experiments since the launch of SGE last year. These experiments aim to understand how our SEO and PPC strategies need to adapt to these new changes. We will share more insights and data from our research soon.

2. Introducing Google Ads Data Manager

With Google phasing out third-party cookies, starting with a 1% restriction for Chrome users in 2024 and aiming for 100% by the end of 2025, this year’s Marketing Live introduced the Google Ads Data Manager. This new feature allows you to import your (consented!) first-party data directly into Google Ads, providing a seamless integration, allowing you to utilise your data more easily within your campaigns.

What does this mean for charities?

This will significantly improve workflows for charities, especially when working with agencies. By importing usable first-party data directly into Google Ads, it reduces the difficulty of sharing first-party data.

3. Optimising for Profit with Google Ads

In the upcoming months, Google Ads will introduce a new optimisation goal in Performance Max and Shopping ads: Maximise Profit. This will complement the existing options of Maximise Conversion Value, allowing us to optimise for very specific profit goals. During the event, Google experts suggested testing Maximise Profit alongside Conversion Value based bidding strategies to understand what drives the best results.

What does this mean for charities?

Where charities have appropriate tracking in place, such as cart-level conversions for Shopping campaigns, then Google’s new Smart Bidding feature will optimise for placements that will help you drive the profit you’ve set. This will be particularly useful where you may have clear KPIs focused on ROI (return on investment).

4. Brand-focused creatives in Google Ads

Generative AI features in Google Ads are evolving. While our initial tests have shown some promise, they could also be way better, especially for charities who must think carefully about their creatives and messaging. Google announced improvements that will allow us to provide brand guidelines, including colours, fonts, and reference images, to help the AI generate more on-brand creatives.

What does this mean for charities?

This is an interesting one. The current AI-generated creatives are fine and can be beneficial for small charities with limited resources to produce their own creatives. These tools can provide a valuable starting point. If your campaign isn't centred around telling real-life stories of the people you're supporting, you might consider incorporating AI-generated images into your strategy.

However, despite the advantages, it remains challenging to use these AI-generated creatives to effectively tell the authentic stories of the individuals that charities aim to support, even with advanced brand-sharing capabilities. Real-life narratives require a personal touch that AI might not yet fully replicate.

5. Enhanced Reporting in Performance Max

Several enhancements to Performance Max reporting are on the horizon:

  • Improved placement reporting on YouTube, allowing you to see where your ads are shown.
  • Asset-level reporting, enabling you to identify which creatives are driving clicks and conversions.

What does this mean for charities?

We’ve been asking for improved Performance Max reporting since its launch! So it’s great to see these reports are being launched. Asset-level reporting will really help in understanding what creatives work for Performance Max, allowing you to feed back into your creative process.

6. Generate reports directly from Google Ads

In the next couple of months, Google Ads will introduce a new prompt feature within Google Ads. This will allow you to ask questions about your campaign’s performance and quickly surface the information you need for reporting.

What does this mean for charities?

We see this being beneficial for those quick questions or queries you might have on the performance of a campaign, leaving final campaign reports and wash-up meetings for identifying trends and opportunities.

7. Creative preferences for Demand Gen

Soon, you’ll be able to pin video assets to specific Demand Gen campaigns, giving you better control over where your ads appear and ensuring they are shown in the most effective contexts.

What does this mean for charities?

This will really help with personalisation and allowing you to have better control over where your ads appear with the Demand Gen inventory.

Get in touch if you'd like to chat about any of the updates above.

Get in touch