POV: Google’s New Ad Formats


Google unveiled a new suite of advertising products at the annual Google Marketing live conference in San Francisco this week. Announcements include a new set of visual ad formats for retailers on Gmail, Google Images, YouTube App, Google Assistant and more.

Details and Implications:  

Google is enabling advertisers to run automated ad formats across all of its Google-owned properties including Gmail, Google Images, the YouTube mobile app and Google Assistant.

These new image-focused ad formats will all allow consumers to shop from the ad and not have to leave the site.

Discovery Ads: Discovery ads are ‘visually rich, mobile-first’ native ads that can be served within the YouTube app’s homepage feed, Gmail’s promotions tab and the Discover section in Google Search. They use what Google calls ‘the power of intent’ – the same signals Google derives from a consumer’s usage history and the same signals used for Google’s in-market audience targeting. With the Discover feed reaching more than 800 million users globally, ads within the new Discover feed are targeted by audience, not keyword-based search targeting and can help brands reach the right audience at the right time. Discovery Ads will be available to marketers globally later this year.

Gallery Ads: New to Google’s ad offerings, Gallery Ads allow retailers to add up to eight images on a swipeable carousel with a 70-character description and up to three headlines that automatically optimized based on performance. Advertisers can serve carousel galleries only on mobile (at least for now) in the top spot in Google’s search result and they compete in the same auction against text ads. “By combining search intent with a more interactive visual format, gallery ads makes it easier for you to communicate what your brand has to offer,” said Prabhakar Raghavan, SVP of Google Ads and Commerce.

Showcase Shopping Ads: This feature brings ‘showcase shopping ads’ to Google Images, Google’s Discover feed and YouTube, allowing consumers to buy sponsored products within those sites without leaving them. “Users can buy the products shown in the video they’re currently watching while the video continues playing,” said Oliver Heckmann, Google’s VP of travel and shopping.

Whilst shopping formats have previously been focused on the lower funnel, Google is now offering marketers the opportunity to reach consumers from the discovery or inspiration phase of their journey all the way through to a consumer considering a purchase.


Though Google raked in $116bn last year in sales and still dominates the online advertising industry, stock prices have recently taken a dip. Google’s new advertising offerings fights back against Amazon and Instagram, which are now becoming hot spots for marketers targeting online shoppers. Just last month, Instagram announced it was making influencer posts shoppable on its platform enabling them to tag and sell products directly on the grid. The renewed focus from Google on commerce enabled ad formats is further proof that the worlds of commerce and media are coming closer together and the consumer journey from discovery to purchase is collapsing in the digital space.

Further Reading:
Search Engine Land | Marketing Dive | AdAge | Google