Each year, Google host their Google Marketing Live event to share key upcoming opportunities and the latest product ideas for businesses using Ads. This year their main takeaway was clear – AI is the future of digital marketing.

AI is a huge part of digital marketing and is fast becoming one of the most exciting opportunities in our sector. Google Marketing Live alluded to this in their annual event, particularly explaining the benefits that AI can have when it comes to Google Ads - in the three key areas of customer connections, creativity, and confidence.

We’ve pulled together some of the latest insights and changes that you’ll need to know for your shopping campaigns.

What does this mean for me?

With the latest AI technology, new features will start rolling out in the coming months to inform and improve your campaigns. The two main points that will transform the way that we think about advertising are:

  • The Future of the Merchant Centre
  • AI-Driven Campaign Management

The Future of the Merchant Centre

Merchant Centre Next will be introduced to new Merchant Centre accounts from this month, eventually rolling out to all existing accounts by 2024. This evolution is an exciting opportunity for businesses. Not only will it be simpler to navigate but will also contain additional AI-driven features to improve user experience and performance.

This will roll out to existing accounts over the course of this year, with ETAs still to be determined, though more features and further improvements to the user experience are being promised.

How will I know if my account is transitioning to Merchant Centre Next?

When your account is ready to be upgraded to Merchant Centre Next, a banner will appear in the Merchant Centre and a notification will be sent via email to the admins of the account. The user can then choose to manually initiate the transition immediately or for it to happen automatically in several weeks. There will be no change to your existing set up or feeds, and ad campaigns will run as usual.

What can I expect in the new version of the Merchant Centre?

One of the main upgraded features of Merchant Centre Next is that it simplifies Google advertising for businesses. For example, you no longer have to manually input product data (when serving without a Product Feed). With Merchant Centre Next, there is an option to populate product data automatically using information from your website.

All insights reports will now be situated in the Performance tab so that merchants can review performance and competitor information in one location. In addition, businesses that have both online and local stores will be able to view all products in one place, making it easier to manage inventory.

AI-Driven Campaign Management

Since Performance Max became available last year, we have seen more integration of AI-based features appearing around Google ads and campaigns. New features will start to be introduced throughout the remainder of 2023 to improve campaign performance. Here are some of the upcoming features to look out for over the next few months.

Search Generative Experience (SGE)

SGE is transforming the way that we think about Search. Using the latest advancements in AI technology, it will become simpler for users to obtain the most relevant information and pose more complex queries. AI-powered snapshots will start to appear, offering more detail and further links for users to follow. SGE will be particularly helpful with shopping as the snapshot will contain up-to-date information about each product, which makes the purchasing journey easier for your customers.

Smart Bidding

Smart Bidding is continuously improving, with AI features helping to predict which search queries will lead to purchases for your business. The latest advancements will bring language models into the bidding process to understand customer’s intent and will also drive better performance by optimising brand-new search queries. These will help your products to show in more searches and present new opportunities.

Generate new, high-quality assets in Performance Max

Google are launching a new AI-driven asset creation flow in Pmax. With context about your business, it will offer suggestions for text and image assets that could improve your campaigns. You can work collaboratively with asset creation flow to generate more ideas based on your goals and visions. Insights will report on the best performing assets and provide recommendations on where additional assets would be successful. These improvements will become available to desktop advertisers in English-speaking countries later in 2023.

Experiment and unlock insights to see what is driving performance

Experimenting with different configurations within one Pmax campaign can help to highlight areas that might improve performance. Betas for these experiments will become available later this year. More search term categories will be available in the Insights page, including custom date ranges and historical insights to identify customer intent. These can be found through the Google Ads API as well as the Google Ads interface. Change history and auction insights will be two of the insights available in the new performance indicating features. They will be made into one unified view to help improve performance. Recommendations on AI-generated assets or stock assets will be available to improve creative performance.

Drive online and in-store goals with omnichannel solutions

Performance Max was designed to help merchants advertise across a range of different channels. It uses AI to optimise ROI on channels such as Search, YouTube, Display, Discover and Google Maps. To help retailers who are looking to increase online sales, Google are testing customer lifecycle goals, starting with customer acquisition which leads to high lifetime value. Later in 2023, they will also be launching a re-engagement goal to improve customer retention.

And thus concludes our Google Marketing Live summary. With so many new features and insights available, it’s an exciting time for businesses – but it can also be quite confusing.

If you’d like to find out how you can make the most of the latest opportunities surrounding AI for your campaigns or if you’d like further information about how you can optimise your Omnichannel experience for the best performance, talk to the Productcaster team about our CSS and FeedManager solutions today.