Google rolls out ad tools to aid with 'discovery'

Search giant has unveiled three new ad formats designed to aid product discovery.

Google: new tools will roll out globally this year
Google: new tools will roll out globally this year

Google has rolled out a suite of tools designed to help businesses cut through as the customer journey to online purchases gets wider and more complex.

At Google Marketing Live, the search giant’s annual ad product event, the company unveiled three ad formats, the capability for app deep-linking and a redesigned shopping experience, all designed to aid "discovery", the theme of the first day of the event.

"Today, mobile phones allow people to engage more often, in more ways, and from more places than ever," Prabhakar Raghavan, senior vice-president of Google Ads and Commerce, said. "This means the once linear path from discovery to consideration to purchase has not only evolved, but is always evolving. In a world where we have less time and more options, it’s crucial for brands to anticipate what consumers need in order to stand out."

Discovery ads are mobile-first swipeable image carousel ads that can appear natively across the YouTube home feed, the Gmail "promotions" and "social" tabs, and the Google Discover feed.

The Gallery ad is a mobile-only ad format that offers a scrollable gallery of four to eight images. It will appear at the top of mobile search results.

The products will roll out to all advertisers globally later this year.

Meanwhile, Showcase Shopping ads, which offer retailers the opportunity to "showcase" a list of products around relevant search queries, has been rolled out to Google Images and the Discover feed, and will soon be available on YouTube. The format was first introduced for search in 2016.

Elsewhere, Google will now enable brands to "deep link" from Google Ads, directing users to a specific location within a mobile app rather than simply launching the app, provided the user already has the app installed.

The functionality, which in early tests drove twice the conversion rate of non-deep-linked ad experiences according to the company, will be available over the next few weeks.

The search giant has also redesigned its Google Shopping service. Shoppers will now have a personalised homepage in the tab where they can filter based on features and brands, read reviews and watch videos about the products. They will be able to purchase products directly from Google for the first time, as well as with online or physical stores. 

A version of this story first appeared on Campaign Asia-Pacific