Skip to content

Google Marketing Live 2024 - Two Trees Team Takeaways

“Truly a defining moment for marketing” - Read our take on the biggest Google Marketing event of the year, and what it means for you!

Published on

May 21, 2024

Written by

Sophie Fell


Google News


As specialists and staunch advocates of paid media, and with the sheer monopoly that Google Search has - an unignorable 91.47% market share globally - we need to keep up-to-date with not only the best practices of today, but also the innovations of tomorrow.

That’s why, on May 21st, we all tuned in to Google Marketing Live, streamed live from the Californian Mountain View headquarters.

Read on to learn more about the announcements made at GML, their anticipated future impact on the world of search engine marketing, and our team’s reactions.

What is Google Marketing Live?

Watched by businesses, marketers, and agencies alike, Google Marketing Live is an annual event that showcases the company’s latest ad innovations, product demos, and insights into the future of search. 

GML includes a combination of keynote speeches and presentations, as hosted by those at the forefront of Google’s development; such as Vidhya Srinivasan, Vice President/General Manager of Ads, and Tim Frank, Senior Director of Ads Product Management, both of whom we heard from directly.

Why is GML so important?

Wondering why GML feels like such a big deal? This annual event is the cornerstone of the calendar for announcing new features, giving us an insight into Google’s continued development direction.

Historically, the following key features of Google Search have been announced at GMLs:

  • In 2023, the detail behind SGE (the Search Generative Experience) was demonstrated, along with the announcement of conversational AI being integrated into the campaign-building experience, and the use of generative AI in generating images for campaigns
  • GML 2022 launched critical Performance Max upgrades - such as expanded reporting, in-store goals, and experiments - as well as Video for Action campaigns utilizing YouTube Shorts, and the all-new (at the time) US shopping ad results, blended into the SERP
  • In 2021, we learned about image extensions appearing on the SERP, cross-network attribution reporting (a huge deal in 2021!), and significant enhancements to reporting accuracies across both Google Ads and Analytics.

So, to continue to stay ahead of the curve, marketers and businesses alike must be familiar with what’s next in Google’s grand plans!

Inside Google's Bay View Campus


Main announcements for 2024

With that said, let’s dive into the main announcements we took away from GML 2024. Below, we’ve broken them down into key themes. And, to the surprise of no one, the majority of the announcements were AI-related. But, the hosts were keen to remind us of the following: “AIi is a tool, not a replacement for human touch and marketer’s expertise.”

Advances in AI: “Search beyond answers”

Once upon a time, we used Google to search for quick answers with short search terms such as “men’s running shoes”. Today, both users and search engines have evolved, and so have long-tail keywords, with users instead looking for “men’s running shoes for beginners for feet with a high arch”. The way users use search is shifting away from a single search to a single result, and is transforming into an immersive experience. 

As announced today, Google will begin rolling out these experiences - helping users to explore, discover and become inspired by their search results. Examples shown included searches for “best places to eat with kids” which will shortly generate a custom, ai-organized page to answer their query, packed with rich media such as reviews, video content and other related ideas.

As well as changes to the SERP, an all-new dynamic ad experience was revealed. Google’s example shared the following user journey: 

  1. A customer needed storage services for some of their belongings
  2. Once they’d found a local storage service, they click ‘explore [brand name] solutions’
  3. Then, they’d upload up to 5 images or a description of their belongings
  4. Based on this information, they’d receive an accurate and custom quote for a storage solution that would fit their needs, as well as a list of packing supplies needed!
  5. The user can then complete their purchase journey on the brand’s website, with their requirements already filled in.

While applicable to many industries, this all-new experience is a gamechanger for service-related businesses and B2B brands who offer custom quotes to their prospective customers. For users, this presents a huge opportunity to gain accurate, up-to-date quotes for their needs at speed.

A sharp rise in visual search via Google Lens

Noted to be inspired on by Gen Z’s frequent need for #outfitinspo, Google captured a rising trend in users discovering the latest fashion must-haves via other visual platforms such as YouTube, TikTok or Reels, and utilizing Google Lens for outfit details. This new-age way of searching’ combined with advances in Lens capabilities and understanding means a fresh rework of Google Lens.

As well as an uplift in Google Lens usage, Circle To Search -  launched earlier this year on Android devices - means consumers can search anything they want while circling the screen without leaving the native app, generating immediate native product ads for related or similar content. This is another huge win for retailers, particularly as usage increases after GML!

And, with the enhancement of new immersive ad experiences such as Virtual Try-On, and 3D-generated ads, retailers who use Google Ads are being encouraged to go beyond the offer. Today’s consumers are expecting an experience, and an experience they’ll get!

“Shop while you watch” with Video

It’s undeniable that Google (and, by extension, YouTube) are making significant waves in video. At GML, the team announced that YouTube was the #1 most-watched streaming service in the US over the last 12 months. Every day, more than 1B hours of connected TV viewing is consumed via YouTube, with 70B YouTube Short views. Therefore, it’s no surprise that any advancements to search would include Google-owned YouTube, too.

Speaking from Mountain View, Google’s Vice President of Merchant Shopping said, “Google and YouTube are essential destinations for online shoppers”. Online purchasing trends are undeniably changing, and today’s online shoppers are often in discovery mode, no matter their platform of choice. And, with shopping videos on YouTube growing 25% year on year, YouTube is a must-have for retailers in 2024 and beyond.

“The new era of commerce brings the best of video and search  together” - Nicky Rettke, Vice President, YouTube Ads

But, if your business doesn’t have high-quality video content, where can you start to jump in on the video shopping trend? Well, Google are committed to providing additional innovations for creators such as Generative AI in video creation and testing. This opens up the world of YouTube for even more creators: more creators means more content and more opportunities for ROI. Beyond this, YouTube’s own generative AI offer more and more ways to create high-quality content at scale for marketing across the Google network.

As well as this, the YouTube Affiliate Program is now giving the opportunity for businesses to connect their product catalogs to YouTube. This opens up a whole new world of possibilities for creators to create rich user-generated content for your brand and its products. And, some brands have already leveraged this feature, generating a significant 3.5% conversion rate for their products.

The final note on YouTube? YouTube reach is incremental. By being wherever your customers are, staying agile, testing regularly and optimizing performance, YouTube can open up a whole new world for brands of all shapes and sizes.

Use data to “power up” your measurement

Today, marketers and business owners have to keep first-party data, data privacy and data regulations top of mind. With the phasing out of third-party cookie usage imminent, businesses have no choice but to get a handle on their data to preserve their future marketing efforts.

“The earlier you start collecting it, the more you can do with it” - Gaurav Bhaya

Vice President & General Manager, Buying Platforms, Measurement & Customer Engagement, Google

Google Data Manager, as announced at GML, is now available to all businesses. Dramatically simplifying data management for brands, GDM is set to bring all of your data controls into one place without the need for coding, via your current CRM set up such as Salesforce, HubSpot, Shopify or Zoho. GDM promises ‘no more manual organization’, data cleaning, or repeated manual uploads.

One big blocker we’ve seen for clients is a lack of in-house developer support when trying to manage customer data. However, GDM also offers measurement diagnostics to, with step-by-step guides on filling the data gaps. 

Not only does this allow you to capture and manage everything in one place, Google offers insights such as surfacing rising trends, saving the need for manual review. Crucially, this data will help to guide measurement across Google Ads, offering even more accurate insights than ever before. And, with built-in data compliance and customer data safety protocols, data safety will remain at the fore.

A focus on first party data tracks with what we’ve been informing our clients about, now that we live in a nearly cookieless world, targeting can only be effective with solid first party data. This requires a well managed and optimized CRM, like Hubspot, and the flow of data between Google Ads and the CRM has never been a more important thing.

The Google Data Manager being available to everyone is a great move, with a more integrated troubleshooting section within the Google Ads platform to diagnose issues, hopefully the days of non functioning conversions and attribution errors are over.

Team thoughts on what this means for…

Our leadership team

Two Trees CEO and paid media expert, Mike Wisby, said of today’s GML announcements: “AI is at the forefront of innovation at Google, driving efficiencies across the board. Remarkably, 15% of daily Google searches are entirely new, highlighting the unpredictable nature of our future. Google's latest initiative, Gemini, aims to enhance quality and ensure user retention as consumer expectations evolve. As Google strives to maintain its dominance and relevance, user behavior is increasingly shaping new product developments like Google Lens and Circle.

Generative AI is revolutionizing search behaviors, and AI Overviews are offering more choices, creating greater opportunities for advertisers. In the US, search ads can now be featured in AI overviews, presenting a significant advantage for advertisers who leverage the latest technologies available on the platform.

This means we are able to offer much more powerful solutions for advertisers. By continuing to embrace new technology and be at the most responsive agency to new developments, our clients will truly win.”

Two Trees Vice President, Lexi Collins feels that Generative AI is a game changer for the digital marketing industry. "It is setting the tone for a new industry standard for search behaviors that will be used as a baseline across the many different digital platforms. As a marketing agency, it's truly exciting to be able to provide potential customers with an experience that is tailored to their specific needs and wants. This will help not just make the creative process more efficient for agencies but also helps create more of that personal experience and connection to the target market. This is a big win for any advertiser or agency.”

Our paid media team

Two Trees Marketing Specialist James Candito notes, “Generative AI has the potential to make the buyer’s journey a lot more seamless. Getting thorough, relevant answers followed by precisely tailored product recommendations that solve the user’s exact problem, that they can click through to right there, is going to have a big impact.”

Sophie Fell, our Director of Paid Media says, “Generative AI for ad content and ad creative is going to be a big win for our clients. If what they said today is true - that Generative AI in the campaign build process leads to a 63% increased likelihood of an ‘Excellent’ ad strength, this will quickly become a must-have tool in our wheelhouse.

I was also super excited to hear about the ‘Power Pair’ of Google Search with Google Performance Max and the potential for +27% more conversions. Once we can nail down the creative - potentially using Generative AI as a solution - I’m looking forward to shifting even more of our clients over to the powerhouse that is Performance Max.”

Our clients

It’s fair to say that our whole team is excited about these new, developing, and exciting updates from GML 2024. But what does this mean for our clients?

Ashley Nolivo, Two Trees’ Director of Client Success thinks, “I am excited about the transformative power of AI and the Gemini model in advancing our search capabilities and refining our customer targeting! The introduction of innovative ad formats and immersive experiences, such as interactive YouTube Shorts and virtual try-ons, provides dynamic and engaging opportunities to highlight our clients' businesses.

AI-driven campaign optimization and smart bidding are poised to significantly boost conversion rates and profitability. Additionally, effective data management tools empower us to harness data more effectively, enabling impactful, data-driven advertising strategies. 

These advancements underscore our commitment to delivering exceptional customer experiences and driving success for our clients.”

While Hannah Howell, Client Success Manager notes, “It feels like today’s announcements are all about bringing that in-store shopping ‘feel’ online. This feels mutually beneficial for customers and advertisers alike: giving consumers confidence when making an online purchase while giving our clients the opportunity to compete with some of the big-name players.” 

Our future clients

As well as our current clients, our future clients can look forward to reaping the benefits of these exciting new developments.

Kayla Bryant, Two Trees’ Director of Sales says, “YouTube is one of my favorite advertising strategies for my clients despite the fact that I am the only human in the universe who doesn’t watch YouTube. The exciting new creator tools inside YouTube will be truly be a game changer for creators, small businesses, and larger brands as well! 

Another fun fact is that inside YouTube, having a vertical video increases view-through rates up to 40% as it can run optimally on YouTube Shorts! It’s great to hear they’ve added the capacity to run creator content made for a brand as a paid ad. I personally adore the marriage between paid ads and influencer/user-generated content.

The new organized search results pages are a fun development and I can see them bringing far more relevant search results to users and providing more opportunities for advertisers. I am excited about this development for winery, restaurant, travel, and retail clients. 

I LOVE that AI creates variations of ads to drive relevance per the context of each individual user, really cool and can’t wait to see this play out as both a marketer and consumer.

I liked how Vidhya said “AI is not a marketer” and explained that AI doesn’t have taste or ingenuity, but can help bring new opportunities to marketers to transform your business - our jobs are safe for now!

I  found it intriguing that 1 in 4 Google Lens (visual) searches have buyer intent, and now, the results page for visual search will start with shopping ads and will make a huge impact for our e-commerce clients!


In summary, the whole team really enjoyed (virtually!) attending GML2024. We’re definitely excited to see how some of these announcements and new innovations unfold over the coming months, and are looking forward to continuing to keep our clients stay ahead of the digital marketing curve in 2024 and beyond.

We'd love to chat with you about how you can get started using these new features for your business. Let's chat!!

Resource Categories