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May 17, 2019

Google strikes back at Amazon with new ad formats

Written by Ceira O'Neill-Stewart
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One of the most compelling stories in online advertising is the rise of Amazon Advertising. As we’ve discussed on our blog, Amazon’s advertising platform is gradually taking market share from Google and Facebook. As of 2019, Amazon’s portfolio of advertising products accounts for 8.8 percent of online advertising, with Google’s share dropping slightly while remaining dominant. Just as worrisome for Google is that Amazon has overtaken Google as a platform for searching for things to buy. In other words, people with an intent to buy are spending more of their time on Amazon than Google. At Google’s 2019 Marketing Live event on May 14, Google showed how it is fighting back. Google made a number of announcements to make its advertising experiences better. Two stand out:

  • Discovery Ads: these are designed to making advertising more useful when people are not necessarily shopping with intent but are open to discovering new ideas. If a consumer is on YouTube, Google’s Discover feed, or Gmail, they’ll start receiving ads based on what Google knows about their online behavior, including videos they watch and the apps they download. Google seeks to make a business’s ads appear in a swipeable format rendered natively across Google’s vast canvas of digital touchpoints. To get started, advertisers will create a Discovery campaign and upload ad copy and creative assets. Google will use machine learning to optimize the best performing combinations. Incidentally, Google also said that the Discover feed now reaches 800 million people globally, which helps explain the launch of this ad format. (More about Discovery Ads here.)

 Google Shopping

  • Gallery Ads: Google announced that later in 2019, Google will roll out Gallery Ads, a new search ad format that will bring more of an advertiser’s content in search results pages on mobile devices. With Gallery Ads, Google will make it possible for advertisers to display multiple images that people can swipe to discover more (in keeping with Google’s emphasis on making its platform more discoverable as opposed to intent-based). According to a Google blog post, tests on Gallery ads show that “on average, ad groups including one or more gallery ad have up to 25 percent more interactions—paid clicks or swipes—at the absolute top of the mobile Search results page.”

In addition, Google said it will enable app deep linking from Google Ads. What that means is that:

  • If you provide an app, users of your app will be taken directly from your search, display, and shopping ads directly to the relevant page in your mobile app (so long as they have the app already installed).
  • Your customers will be able to complete their desired action (such as booking a trip or ordering food delivery) with a more personalized and faster check-out process (as contrasted with having to enter payment credentials for each purchase).

Google Shopping

According to Google’s blog, on average, deep linked ad experiences drove 2X the conversion rates.

Implications for Advertisers

So what do these changes mean to advertisers? Here are some implications:

  • Upping your mobile advertising game is mandatory at this point. According to Forrester, mobile will drive 86 percent of digital advertising growth through 2022. Mobile advertising is becoming more visual, ubiquitous, and commerce-driven – not just on Google but on Amazon and Facebook, too.
  • Stunning visual creative is no longer optional. As Google’s ad formats show, online advertising needs to adapt to the mobile experience, which means that businesses have milliseconds to capture a user’s attention . . . which also means sharing compelling galleries of swipeable images will make the difference between your ad being considered (sort of like the swiping experience on Tinder).

As Google has demonstrated, the lines between advertising, mobile, and commerce are continuing to blur. And after Amazon and Facebook answer Google’s announcements, the lines will disappear. At Investis Digital, our team of performance marketing specialists help businesses maximize the value of their paid media on digital. We can help you succeed with emerging ad formats such as what Google announced on May 14. Contact us to learn more.

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