Google Ads News – AI, AR, and VR Enhancements

February is the month of abbreviations when it comes to Google updates, as we look at new AI, AR, and VR enhancement,

Google announced three exciting updates in February. In this post we take a look at:

  • AI enhancements to improve search ads
  • New AR and VR features to help you engage shoppers and capture sales this spring
  • More durable bidding strategies for Hotel Campaigns.

Let’s get started!

Drive performance from AI-powered Search ads with new asset changes

First up we have a number of improvements to responsive search ads.

What are responsive search ads?

Responsive search ads are an ad format that are created from a batch of headlines, text, and assets you provide when setting up your ads. These assets are then combined in different ways to better match user search intent.

To make this work Google uses its AI technology to identify the best combinations of headlines and text that adapt to user behaviour.

As well as headlines and text you can use assets like images and sitelinks to further enhance your ads, giving people more information about your business and making your ads more engaging.

So what’s being improved with responsive search ads?

More flexibility with headlines

Firstly, Google has introduced more flexibility to how it handles headlines.

Typically when Google AI creates your ad it includes a minimum of two headlines. However, it has found that in some instances showing one headline can deliver better performance.

So from now on responsive search ads will show one headline when it’s predicted to improve ad performance.

As part of this change, headlines will also have the potential to show at the start of description lines. This allows you to get the key attention grabbing ad text into your ad in a less cluttered way.

Image source

Making it easier to add headlines and descriptions

Recognising the need to apply the same headlines and description across all ads in a campaign Google has introduced the ability to create campaign level headings and descriptions.

Going forward, you’ll have the option to use up to three headlines and two descriptions at the campaign level.

You’ll also be able to schedule a start and end date for them, which is great if you’re running sales or date specific campaigns.

You’ll also have the option to pin the headlines and descriptions to certain positions in your ads

Showing the best performing assets for each query

By default if you manually created assets (things like images, sitelinks, and callouts) they would always take precedence over anything automated

With this new change, if you’re opted in to account level automated assets, Google AI will create assets on your behalf and show them with your ad if they’re predicted to improve your performance.

It’s a nice way for you to bring more ad creative into your campaigns with minimal effort, and possibly discover some high performing ad creative that you wouldn’t necessarily put in manually.

Capture sales and engage shoppers with AR & VR features

This Spring Google is stepping up its offering for brands selling products, especially those selling beauty products.

Help shoppers virtually try on your products 

First up let’s take a look at it’s new AR functionality that lets you try on products virtually.

Why should you care about this update?

Through internal research, Google has seen that after interacting with AR beauty on Google, shoppers are more likely to spend more time on the beauty brand’s site.

Image source

To take advantage of these new opportunities you can incorporate AR features in your free listings or shopping ads by partnering with a data provider, like Perfect Corp. and PulpoAR.

They will upload the AR assets for you. No additional setup or configuration is required.

Let customers interact with your products with 3D Images and Augmented Reality

Alongside the more beauty specific updates, Google has also launched new features that let you showcase your products in 360.

Image source

This new feature allows shoppers to spin and zoom 3D images of your products while shopping on Google.

You can try this new feature out by adding 3D image assets to Merchant Center.

And the good news is, if you don’t have 3D imagery, Google can create 360 spins with the right input of at least five hi-res 2D images at different angles.

You can also transform and create high-quality product images with Product Studio: a suite of free, AI-powered tools within Merchant Center Next and Google & YouTube app on Shopify.

Build more effective bidding strategies for Hotel Campaigns

Travelers are taking trips again. International tourism ended 2023 at 88% of pre-pandemic levels, according to the World Tourism Organization, an agency of the United Nations.

In response to the increase in tourism, Google is providing new features to help tourism businesses capitalise on this opportunity.

It’s also worth noting that in response to third party cookies being phased out Google is sunsetting both Commissions (per Stay) and Commissions (per Conversions) bid strategies for Hotel Ads in October 2024. 

So that travel advertisers are left without effective ad tools, Google has introduced the following changes:

  • It has introduced target Return on Ads Spend (tROAS) for Hotel campaigns and expanded Performance Max for travel goals solution.
  • tROAS for hotel campaigns brings improved bidding accuracy against your performance goals, with additional product improvements to come later this year.
  • Additionally, in 2023, Google launched Performance Max for travel goals.

While it’s important to change your approach as soon as you can, you can still use Commissions bid strategies until the sunset date.

At the same time, you can start exploring the benefits of tROAS for Hotel campaigns or Performance Max for travel goals.

After that, Commission bid strategies will gradually transition as follows:

  • Starting now, February 2024, Commissions (per Stay) will no longer accept new allowlist requests.
  • Starting April 30, 2024, Commissions (per Stay) and Commissions (per Conversions) will no longer be available bid strategies within Google Ads.
    • Campaigns that have active Commission-based bid strategies will continue to serve until the sunset date.
  • Starting October 31, 2024, campaigns with Commissions (per Stay) and Commissions (per Conversions) will no longer be available. You will continue to have access to historical reporting data for the campaigns in question.
    • It’s definitely worth shifting bid strategies before this date to ensure your campaigns continue to serve normally.

Have questions? Get in touch

As always, if you have any questions about the updates in this blog post or anything else related to improving your online advertising, give us a shout any time.

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