Google gathered in Dublin earlier this month for its latest Partner Summit. With an emphasis on AI-first marketing, the keynote talks were indicative of the huge shift towards automation in the digital marketing landscape. We have compiled a handy review of the main takeaways from the event, with some insights on how Google views the future of AI and its products.
The tech giant has a big belief that harnessing AI makes computing and information more accessible for users. They also believe that the pivot to AI-first strategies is the most significant shift in digital marketing since the move to mobile. And it’s forecasting that the advertisers who embrace this change, harnessing AI’s full potential, are poised to dominate their spaces.
With multiple channels and touchpoints available to customers today, engagement is becoming increasingly complex. Traditional manual data processing methods are struggling to keep up, which is where AI steps in. Google highlighted the marked improvement in campaign performance when utilising AI – a whopping 20% improvement in results, which jumps to 35% when combined with human expertise on top. They still need us! For now.
Google sees the new frontier as having three main challenges;
Skills – they promise to support their Partners, helping to upskill our teams.
Data quality – Google believes AI is the answer to data quality issues.
Testing – their teams have been busy testing and they noted that the pairing of PMax and Search resulted in an impressive 18% incremental performance boost to campaigns. They see testing on accounts as a major route to success.
There’s a considerable rise in user privacy sentiment, 85% of users want their online activity to be private, but they also want it to be free – with 75% saying they prefer not to pay. And with 75% of the global population expected to fall under privacy laws by the end of this year, the emphasis on privacy has never been higher. Google stressed that consented data is the fuel for AI. there was a particular focus on ensuring user trust and acquiring proper consent. They stressed the necessity for web banners seeking user consent.
The phasing-out of third-party cookies demands a new approach to data collection and measurement. Google will use AI and first party data to fill in the gaps and predict measurement. GA4, and the use of Google Tag (g-tag) offers heightened privacy so this was an important evolution for Google.
The role of social media marketers has become increasingly intricate, balancing new platforms, ad fatigue, and stagnated growth. Feeds have evolved from places to catch up with friends and family, to entertainment platforms and places to discover products. Notably, Google believes that Youtube creators have emerged as a trusted source, with surveys citing 98% more credibility in Youtubers than creators on other platforms.
The changing dynamics of online shopping journeys are redefining how marketers approach marketing campaigns. The messy middle has got really messy.
Google unveiled a new(ish) campaign type – Demand Gen (repackaged Discovery Ads with new features?) . This multi-format product, which serves both images and video in a single campaign type, displays across Youtube, Shorts, Discovery, and Gmail. Google wants to highlight it’s access to well-defined audiences for Demand Gen, utilising search data to leverage specific user intentions. Uploading first-party data into Google to create lookalike groups can significantly enhance audience targeting.
A suite of tools has been introduced to make the ad creation process smoother. Converting landscape videos into portrait format, A/B experimentation for assets and an intuitive ad creation flow with live previews are among the many tools available in the new Demand Gen product. In addition, Max Click bidding strategy is a notable new feature, likely to be a game-changer for many awareness campaigns.
The big takeaway:
The Partners Summit in Dublin was a clarion call from Google for agencies and businesses to lean into the future – a future powered by AI, but with an unwavering focus on privacy and user experience. At Varn, we’ll be working to integrate these insights into our accounts, ensuring our clients stay ahead of the curve in this rapidly evolving AI age.
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