What Google announced at this year’s ad event

Connected TV, shopping and performance ads took centre stage at Google Marketing Live.

On Tuesday, Google held its annual Marketing Live event, giving advertisers and developers an advance look at the new features it plans to roll out in the year ahead.

During the announcements made in the morning keynote, a couple big themes emerged: the value the company provides retailers both online and in-store, and the opportunity in extending its well-developed audience data to the next big realm of digital ads.

Google brings its audiences to connected TV

One of the big announcements was that Google audiences in both Google Display and Video 360 platforms could soon be used for connected TV.

In effect, this means that advertisers will be able to use the same interest-based, in-market and demographic audiences they use for digital ads on other platforms within connected TV campaigns. Demographic and in-market segments will be available on CTV devices by the end of the quarter. Some affinity audiences are already available and more are planned for launch in the summer. The company has not indicated when these features would be made available in Canada.

The presentation was highly focused on U.S.-based streamers like Peacock and Hulu, but with good reason: according to Comscore data, Google’s Display and Video 360 ad products already reach 93% of ad-supported connected TV households in the U.S., and provides access to nine of the top ten most-watched ad-supported CTV apps in the U.S.

Plans for more engaging, shopping-focused ad formats

In an attempt to bring more trial to online shopping, Google says it plans to introduce AR ad formats in the near future. Merchants will be given the option to have 3D models of products included within search results, giving users the ability to take products like furniture and, using a device’s camera, see how it might look within a particular room.

Later this year, Google also plans to launch new, more visual shopping ads within the results for a search page, featuring larger images and the option to include multiple product shots users can scroll through.

Rounding out the commerce-focused announcements was the addition of promoting loyalty program benefits within shopping ads. Available within the company’s Performance Max ad format, advertisers can drive sign-ups for loyalty programs in ads running on YouTube, Display, Search, Discover, Gmail and Maps.

New performance-focused features

Speaking of Performance Max, Google also announced a slate of new features that will be coming for advertisers using the tool for performance marketing. They include A/B testing, more campaign management support in Search Ads 360 and the Google Ads mobile app and the ability to include in-store goals like sales or visits as goals. The company also plans more additions on the data front, with more insights on attribution, audience and auction, plus automated recommendations to optimize and improve campaigns. Finally, Performance Max campaigns will have the option to run as a “burst” over a set time period to help meet in-store goals during things like seasonal events or promotions.