The annual Google Marketing Live event is always an immensely interesting affair, offering lots of insight into Google plans and giving a sneak peak of what’s to come.

The 2018 iteration was no different and it was clear from everything Google said and did that the search engine is set to place a significant focus on machine learning going forward. And where Google leads, the rest of us must follow. Here’s what else happened…

Responsive Search Ads for All

As part of its drive to include machine learning across multiple products and business units, Google rolled out responsive search ads for all advertisers on the Google Ads platform.

The aim is to help advertisers create more targeted ads that deliver better performance and a stronger ROI thanks to machine learning. With responsive ads, advertisers supply Google with 15 headlines and four description lines. Google’s machine learning functionality then uses search query data to assess which combination of headline and description will make for the most effective ad.

Smart Campaigns for Small Businesses

It seems that Google is developing a healthy interest in smaller businesses of later with Smart Campaigns designed to make advertising quicker, easier and more effective.

Again, machine learning is central to this plank of Google’s approach, with the new Smart Campaigns driven by automation. The aim is to simplify the advertising process for SMEs by creating automated ads in line with the advertiser’s specified goals. This removes the campaign creation, optimisation and management burdens from smaller teams while also putting powerful machine learning tools at their fingertips.

Local Campaigns

Local Campaigns is the culmination of a half-decade long rise in the number of searches involving “near me.

In response to this user-mandated demand, Google has launched Local Campaigns to help local businesses pull more traffic into their bricks and mortar locations. This is part of Google’s drive to provide a more targeted, personal shopping experience for users.

Again, Google is using automated, data-driven technology to provide this service, with the business providing a location and ad parameters to Google and the platform then extrapolating and presenting optimised ads intended to increase traffic and sales.

Cross-Device Reporting

As mobile device technology has advanced, cross-device reporting and remarketing have become major headaches for many advertisers and businesses.

No business wants to lose a user who engages and then switches from a mobile device to a laptop, and quantifying and measuring these visitors has long been an issue. With the announcement of cross-device reporting and remarketing, Google is hoping to make it easier to more accurately attribute conversions and better understand the user journey.

This data gives marketers more reliable data on which to base important decisions such as overall advertising spend and channel selection. This functionality will also make it easier to develop audiences across different devices, making for much-improved remarketing efforts.