Google Marketing Live 2024: What small business owners need to know

Google Marketing Live 2024

Google just dropped their Marketing Live Keynote for 2024. It’s basically a conference where they announce what’s changing in their ad products for the year ahead.

Yes it’s big, yes it’s juicy – and there’s a lot of big feature announcements that are going to change how you advertise.

Here’s exactly what small businesses (and bigger ones too) need to know about what the Google Gods have just announced, buckle up:

  1. AI (and it’s hype) isn’t going anywhere

Expect AI features to continue to become more prominent across Google Ads products. Google’s ‘AI essentials’ score and suggestions is similar to the recommendation score that was rolled out a few years ago, and is a gentle way to nudge advertisers towards Google’s latest AI features.

We don’t recommend blindly accepting all recommendations, but these suggestions should give an idea of where Google is going with its search advertising products.

We’re already seeing AI prompts for writing copy and auto-generated creative features in Performance Max. Google will continue to roll out AI features across campaign types to support the advertising process from end-to-end. 

Think enhanced creative development with AI (Google’s auto-created videos and image assets are usually terrible, so lot’s of scope to improve here!)

Gemini, Google’s answer to ChatGPT is being integrated into the Google search experience. You’ll probably have seen Google’s AI answers alongside the traditional search results. And while these have been the butt of many jokes since launch, they’re improving week-on-week. 

For advertisers, Google has promised that more choice in the search results will improve the user experience. The promise is that more options for searchers, will result in more opportunities for advertisers.

One of the features that’s being tested is shopping ads in the AI overview section of the search results. But the jury’s out on this one for now. It’s still a relatively new change, so time will tell how this new placement will impact results.

  1. Google is betting big on visual search

As computer vision models become more sophisticated, visual search is becoming more and more effective. Recognising this, Google is now putting shopping ads for related products at the top of visual searches.

This could be a huge unlock for ecommerce brands, who can now serve ads to people searching for products that match the appearance of the products in their inventory.

  1. Love it or hate it – you’ll need to start running Performance Max ads soon

As predicted, Performance Max is slowly but surely becoming Google’s preferred campaign type. In what it’s dubbing as the ‘Power Pair’, Google is now pushing running both search and Performance Max at the same time, as the best way to maximize conversion volume and advertising ROI. 

Google seems to be encouraging advertisers to warm up to Performance Max by suggesting they run these newer campaigns alongside its well-known and loved search campaigns.

While we don’t expect it to happen soon, we suspect that Google will at some point stop offering traditional search campaigns, and only offer Performance Max.

  1. Google’s auto-generated creative is going to become a little bit less terrible

New controls for auto-generated ad creative should hopefully help to make things more ‘on-brand’ and less ‘oh-no’. Google is rolling out a mini creative brief-style functionality to it’s AI asset generation features.

This will allow advertisers to upload reference images for Google to generate images from. Google’s promise is that this will make for more effective ad creative, and boost performance across display and video inventory.

  1. Performance Max might give us more insights

Since launch, it’s been hard to identify what assets in a Performance Max campaigns are performing well, and why. The new campaign type is a bit of a black box when it comes to reporting.

We’re excited about this one. If it’s delivered as promised, this should help us better understand what assets are performing well for our clients. And claw back some more of the data that Google seems so keen to hide. Time will tell.

  1. YouTube should be part of your ads strategy

Don’t sleep on YouTube ads. We’re seeing impressive results for both B2B and B2C clients. 

And now, Google is coming after TikTok and Meta ad inventory with their vertical video ad product. This places advertisements alongside YouTube’s vertical videos that are less than 60 seconds (and incredibly addictive).

This could be a great test for B2C advertisers, and eCommerce plays. We’re excited to see how these perform when compared to Facebook and Instagram ads

When it comes to video content – UGC is still killing it, and Google is now making it part of it’s ads ecosystem. New ‘Partnership Ads’ will allow for brands to team up with prominent YouTube influencers to build brand and drive engagement with trusted creators.

  1. AI will make Shopping ads more engaging

Remember when 3D glasses at the cinema were all the rage? Us too. Well, Google is channeling some of that excitement into their shopping ads. Starting with shoes (because who doesn’t love a good pair), Google will allow advertisers to publish 360 degree views of their products, that shoppers can spin around. 

Additionally, with it’s new image to video processing, Google will soon take static images of products, and turn them into eye-catching full motion videos.

  1. First party data is key, and Google is making it easier to use it

To get better results, you need to feed Google’s algorithm quality data. And the best data is first party data (think customer data from your CRM, ecommerce, sales and marketing automation tools). 

Google’s new Data Manager is going to make connecting these siloe’d, disparate systems easy. Allowing you to connect them all from one interface, with a ton of native integrations supported on launch, this should make building a strong data foundation much easier for all advertisers.


It’s a brave new world. Search advertising is changing at a faster pace than ever. What worked last year may not work now, and with Google giving us less and less data, it takes a lot of trial and error testing to figure out best practices for new ad products.

Struggling to keep up? Partner with a Google Ads agency that’s innovating at the speed of Google. We test new ad features at scale across many industries, so we know what works.

Get in touch for a free consultation today. We’d love to chat.