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The big picture from Google Marketing Live: With multi-channel campaigns, Google aims to own the funnel

The big picture from Google Marketing Live: With multi-channel campaigns, Google aims to own the funnel

The company introduced new and expanded ad surfaces for campaigns that run across multiple channels, and Search becomes a spoke in the wheel.

SAN FRANCISCO – A trend that has been building for several years came to the forefront this week at Google Marketing Live, the company’s annual conference for advertisers. The initiative? Automated campaign types that deliver ads across multiple Google properties.

What started with Universal App Campaigns (now App campaigns) in 2017 to automate app promotion ad delivery and creative messaging across multiple Google properties has become the model for new Google Ads campaign types.

App campaigns are held up as the model for this approach, but if we go back even further, Google’s relatively short-lived mouthful Search Network With Display Select campaign type — which launched in 2013 and used an algorithm to extend Search campaigns to GDN placements predicted to perform well for its small budget advertisers — could be seen as the original harbinger of where we are today.

The idea of running Search and Display together in one campaign will still make many advertisers shudder. But most of the new campaign types don’t give advertisers the option to opt out of channel inventory. That, Google will say, was a tactic necessary in a pre-machine learning powered world. Machine learning may be overhyped, but it underpins nearly every aspect of campaigns and will continue to grow in importance.

Where Search was once the hub of AdWords, it’s becoming just one of the spokes in Google Ads.

One campaign, multiple channels

This is the latest rundown of campaign types and ad formats that can (or will soon) run across multiple Google properties:

  • App campaigns, launched in 2015. Google announced last week at I/O that App campaigns can now run on YouTube — on the YouTube home feed and in in-stream video inventory — in addition to Search, GDN, YouTube, AdMob and Google Play.
  • Smart campaigns, launched in June 2018, it was the first new campaign solution under the Google Ads branding. Designed for small businesses, ads run across Google.com, Google Maps and the Google Display Network (GDN).
  • Local campaigns, introduced in 2018. Ads run across Search, YouTube, Maps and GDN. Last week, Google announced new inventory on Maps for Local campaigns.
  • Discovery campaigns, announced this week, will launch later this year (read our coverage of the new discovery ads). Announced Tuesday, Discovery campaigns will run across the YouTube home feed, Gmail promotions and social tabs and Google Discover on mobile, the content feed on Google’s homepage. Google has been testing the ads in Discover for several months.
  • Showcase Shopping ads, launched in 2016. These multi-image Shopping ads run on Search and, announced this week, will soon extend to Google Images, YouTube and Google Discover, Google said Tuesday.
  • Shopping campaigns. Standard PLA formats have run in Google Images since 2016. As with Showcase Shopping ads, these ads will also be eligible to appear on YouTube and Google Discover beginning the week of July 15, 2019 when opted into the Search Network.
  • Google Shopping Actions, launched in 2018. Shopping ads from retailers that enable users to buy products via Google’s universal checkout through the Google Shopping Actions program can already surface on Google Assistant and Search. Soon their ads will show on Images and YouTube as well.


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