Episode 10: Google Marketing Live 2019 - the big PPC changes

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What's in this episode?

What's in this episode? Mark Williams-Cook and Rob Lewis will be discussing the Google Marketing Live 2019 event announcements including:

Discovery ads Google's new native ad format appearing over many properties

Gallery Ads Coming out of beta to the top of a SERP near you

New Google Shopping experience Is Google finally gearing up to go toe to toe with Amazon?

Podcast transcription:

Show note links:

Google Marketing Live: Building for the new consumer journey:

Google SEO Mythbusting:


MC: Welcome to episode 10 of the Search with Candour podcast recorded on Friday the 17th of May 2019, my name is Mark Williams-Cook and today I'm lucky enough to be joined again by Rob Lewis!

RL: Hello!

MC: We're going to try and make your lives a bit easier with some Search news. May the 14th was the Google marketing live event, aired a lot of information about coming features in Google and a lot of content around the Google Ads platform so that's why I've got Rob with me so he can fill me in on those things. We're gonna be talking about what you need to know.

One of the things announced in the Google marketing live this week on Tuesday was ‘Discovery ads’ so there was a few things they announced - Discovery ads, some changes to Shopping, some Gallery ads that we've spoken about before and there was a whole theme of changes that we'll discuss as we go on. But discovery ads, Google said:

So I've got some images in the show notes here to give some demonstrations of what they're talking about. As I understand it, basically these Discovery ads are native ads that are going to appear across multiple Google feed-type environments because that's one thing I've noticed Google's doing with a lot of its properties and apps, is creating these feeds now rather than users having to necessarily go in and search for something. So these discovery ads are going to give you real estate in these feed environments and it's essentially using the same signals Google uses for in-market audiences. So this is when Google is saying ‘with our understanding of intent’, so what's your initial reaction to that Rob?

RL: Well Google's been looking to new ad formats and targeting methods outside of its normal search results recently, and they've ramped up quite a lot on introducing new ad formats. One of the reasons for this is because the cost per click on the Search Network is becoming increasingly competitive. Google is trying to find a solution to find cost-effective traffic solutions for advertisers. So I see this as another extension of introducing a new ad format using in-market intent targeting which are two things that Google promises to be the future of its advertising: reaching people based on their intent rather than what they're actively typing in.

I find these new ad formats interesting, particularly how they might perform in the Google feed. I don't know about you Mark but I use the Google feed a lot on my phone, I find the content suggestions a normally pretty spot-on - apart from recently where I've been getting spammed by Google about the new John Wick film which I have no interest in whatsoever. Other than that it's normally pretty spot-on. I guess the only doubt I have really is the in-market intent targeting that Google has introduced is still quite hit and miss so I'm hoping that all of this is just a precursor to them investing more time, more technology in being able to target people who are actively searching for your product and your service and being able to capture them based on the various signals that Google can capture about them.

MC: Yes I actually don't really use any of those Google products with feeds or discover or anything, I think I'm slightly paranoid about the whole tracking thing but I need to know how it works so I've always sat on the fence. I hope I wouldn't get any suggestions for John Wick, I've seen the first John Wick film and they kill a puppy at the beginning which to me is just “put that film in the bin and put the film in the sea.” I did watch it but I almost switched it off after the puppy death.

RL: It makes me wonder why they're targeting me then, I've never seen a John Wick film and I like puppies but there you go.

MC: Cool, yeah I think as you say, it's interesting with more people jumping into Google advertising it does mean that the Search Network costs get disrupted. The thing I saw that's really interesting actually, at the beginning of Google marketing live - they had a case study that they've got on their blog where they tracked a lady over, I believe it was 70 days and 200 different touchpoints, for her purchase of a pair of jeans. So they were highlighting that with seemingly a simple intent of “I'd like to buy new jeans” that it took this particular customer over 2 months of research of reading reviews online, looking at videos, exploring different websites, doing different searches, before she finally came to a decision. I think that's something maybe we’re almost guilty of when we're explaining Search advertising to people or oversimplifying it - “hey someone does a search, you can have your ad here and then you get the sale” when actually maybe some of these ads Google are making now are trying to get you space earlier on in that journey.

RL: Yeah I agree 100%. A lot of the activities that we carry out on paid advertising are multi-tiered anyway which factors in that there are multiple touchpoints and I guess as you say we try and be as simple as we can when discussing this, but actually it's a lot more complex because people have these multiple touch points. You need to ensure that your product or your service remains visible at each available touchpoint that's relevant.

MC:: Okay, Gallery ads! So Gallery ads are actually something Google spoke about in Google marketing live but we mentioned these, I think it was in episode 5, so we highlighted there was a new beta for Google Ads in show called Gallery ads and I think that the example we had was something like holidays or flight. I think it's holidays to Croatia or flights to Croatia, and it was basically these ads that were appearing at the top of Search and they were images which was quite a big new thing having image ads in search - they had the swipeable slidable boxes.

So Google is now saying that these Gallery ads are going to be rolled out and they've said:

We've had some more details since we spoke about this in episode 5 which is that we know now Gallery ads function on a pay-per-click and pay-per-swipe basis. We know that you can include four to eight images in Gallery ads and you can have up to 70 characters for each image. It's interesting I find it almost slightly misleading in a way when they say they've got up to 25% more interactions, so I'm sure that interactions includes swipes as well as clicks which obviously doesn't put it as maybe a fair comparison to other types of Search ad. But I'm not really surprised because those gallery ads were huge, right?

RL: Yeah!


They weren't like the little ads we get the top they have massive images so yeah I'm not really surprised they've got more interactions because we're sticking a huge thing at the top at the top of Search. I mean it's good for Google because more interaction with ads is going to give them more revenue basically. I mean what are your thoughts on this Rob? Have we got access to these now, last time we did not.

RL: We've just been given early beta access to the ad format and we've just finished a process of setting those adverts up for a client actually so I'm excited to see the results. My thought process here is that this is Google's attempt to merge social Instagram-style content to its Search results similar to what Baidu do for example, the Korean search engine. In terms of paying for swipes and micro-interaction - I think as long as the total cost per acquisition for leads or sales is low enough to drive a return on investment in my opinion it's all good.

But as with all paid search activities don't just look at the micro metrics such as click-through rates because really click-through rate is irrelevant. I mean it, you could spend £1,000 on these ads and not generate a single penny in revenue. So look at the interaction rate by all means but also take a look and see what impact it has on your bottom line.

MC: I guess then people swiping through these gallery ads is like they're looking through your website anyway because you're still introducing them to your range of products or services right?

RL: Yeah!

MC: I mean we've seen a lot of 0-click stuff happening with Google where they're really pulling content of websites out for better or worse onto their search engines so that’s interesting.

Okay, so that was that was Gallery ads, so Gallery ads are kind of coming to everyone now and it will be interesting to see what they do.

Something else that came up in Google marketing live was ‘Showcase Shopping Ads’, so hopefully you've heard of Showcase Shopping ads. They've been around for a while now and Google's announcement said:

So Showcase Shopping Ads are similar to Gallery ads in that they offer the ability to include multiple product images that are scrollable from left to right, and the ads can also offer an easy way for consumers to click through to product pages and then commerce and checkout. So this seems again like another way Google is trying to get your ads higher up I guess in the research process because I imagine quite a lot of research is done on places, I know a lot is researched on places like YouTube for products. I've put some images again in the show notes - the show notes are on and you can you can see mock-ups of what these ads look like now on these different surfaces. So Rob you know we've been using Showcase ads for a while, what do you think - do you think it's going to be worthwhile opening these ads up to different places?

RL: I think as with all things, until you try it you just don't know. I've had mixed results with Showcase ads and they haven't been available for every industry, they become available once multiple advertisers start utilizing them. So they work quite well at the moment in fashion although due to the way you're charged you should expect a lower return on investment with these types of adverts, and that's literally because you're charged per interaction. So for example someone could swipe along and browse multiple products but not actually click through to your website so you need to bear that in mind, factor that into your cost per click or cost per interaction, as it is on this case. Just like with how video advertising on YouTube, you could generate potentially thousands of views but not generate any clicks to your website so it's just worth bearing that in mind using it, perhaps consider it more as a form of product awareness that initial touchpoint if you will - the first tier of advertising and as with all things just monitor it, don't overspend make sure you're actually generating a profit from it.

MC: I'm waiting for the day, rather than actually say “use the data” you're just going to start making wild recommendations, wild maverick recommendations.

RL: That day may yet come!

MC: So we're kind of rattling through these now because there's a lot to get through and you know I want to cover these things. One of the announcements that I think really interest me I saved it to last, is Google have announced what they're calling the new Google Shopping experience so I'm going to just read through what Google said to make sure I get the detail on this right. So Google announced this year:

Again I'm including a mock-up in the show notes, might be easier if you have a look at this. When they're talking about having the transactions in one place, this is referring to the bringing together of Shopping and Google Express. Google Express is the delivery service Google's been running where now they're going to integrate Google Shopping with Express, meaning that you can buy directly from Google Shopping.

So they're saying:

So I think there's two things happening there:

Firstly they're changing Google Shopping from being basically just this list of products into a more intelligent experience that includes everything we've just spoken about, which is this higher up-in-the-funnel research kind of stuff - so reviews, videos, things that influence people into making purchase decisions and they are including the ability for some retailers to directly transact via Google Shopping. This seems like kind of a big deal.

RL: I think for me, I think it's game-changing. It could completely change the way that people shop online because they're merging Search through Google with e-commerce, so I'm more excited about the potential for suppliers here and for businesses. So customers can buy something through their Google account, they can buy your product and the data benefits of that are just immense.

Whereas many suppliers may have invested thousands of pounds in trying to get their website perfect to increase their conversion rates to maximize the chance of a sale. All of that to some extent may soon become potentially irrelevant if you were purchasing directly through Google. I'm not saying that's true - just the extreme end of it, I don't think it will ever become that way. I think you know websites are always going to be important but it's going to completely change the way that sales are generated and recorded by advertisers.

MC: So interestingly when I've heard people talk about Google competitors it is not maybe what you initially expect which is other general use search engines. So I've heard many people say Google's biggest competitor is actually Amazon, so a big slice of the potential revenue Google could generate with commercial intent searches is snatched because people will go straight to Amazon when they want to buy something. So they think “okay I want to buy something I'm not going to do a search on Google, I've got an Amazon account, I'll go right there and search.”

RL: Well I'm afraid to say I'm one of those lazy consumers and I always buy everything from Amazon and I wonder if I'm now going to become a lazy Google consumer and just purchase everything through my Google account.

MC: I think this is an interesting point because it's coming back to this path of least resistance which is, whether it's good for retailers or not. User behavior does tend over a long enough time period to gravitate towards the things that are the easiest to do, take the least time and least effort. So I mean think it's pretty obvious that's the move Google's making which is to become this more intelligent one-stop retail destination so I'd be really interested to see how that pans out.

RL: It's possible as well that Google might consider moving away from a cost-per-click model. If this becomes huge and most advertisers see the benefits of this kind of Shopping-Google Express form of purchasing then maybe Google will offer a commission basis. So perhaps rather than paying-per-click you pay a percentage of the revenue that's generated through Google, it's just things that may happen in the future.

MC: Okay that's everything we wanted to cover on the Google live event, one thing I did want to just pop on to the end of this podcast was a new series of videos that Google are releasing. So some of the people that have spoken to me about the podcast are saying “oh it's interesting but it's pretty technical”, we're still finding our way with it you know we’re on episode 10 now. Really pleased if you've got any feedback, do let me know. This set of videos you'll be able to find them - I'll put a link in the show notes that’s, but Google are releasing a series of videos called SEO Mythbusting and they're by Martin Splitt who's been doing quite a few Google videos recently. The first one came out I think a week or so ago, and it goes through some really basic SEO 101 stuff and I think it's great for business owners, for developers, who maybe haven't thought that much about SEO before to have a listen to it, again I'll put a note in the show notes for you.

But that's everything for this episode, I'll say goodbye from myself and on behalf of Rob, and we'll be back in one week on May 27th with episode 11. As usual you can find the show notes on

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