Advertisers haven’t been shy about sharing their thoughts on all the announcements from Google Marketing Live 2024.

There have been mixed emotions around the many AI updates (Boris Beceric used AI to count the number of AI mentions – 101). Performance Max updates fell on the positive end; B2B being overlooked upset others; and lots more emotions fell in between.

Here’s a summary of some of the reaction to GML 2024 from nine experts:

AI and Automation

Amalia Fowler, founder, Good AF Consulting:

“I was confused by the declaration that AI is not replacing the marketer later followed by AI being able to do marketing strategy. The ‘control’ narrative felt like lip service, but a couple updates do speak to hearing advertisers’ concerns.

“We are in an age of automation and AI, and by definition machine learning requires volume to learn, which, in the case of Google Ads, requires budget. This tells me that advertisers with minimum budgets need to wait to use Google Ads or divert more funds to Google Ads and small businesses need to carefully consider their marketing strategies from a holistic point of view.

“A lot of the products mentioned require data from elsewhere – pulling in text examples or leveraging feed creative. Garbage in, garbage out.

“Updates felt like slightly more advanced versions of last year’s GML.”

Jeremy Krantz, director of paid search, Compound Growth Marketing:

“The live Ai prototype felt like a rushed response to ChatGPT 4o and everything else pertaining to ai and pmax was very much expected.

“Overall GML 2024 felt very underwhelming, especially when looking at it from a B2B lens. There were no surprises or anything that was unexpected that was announced.

“Hopefully B2B comes into focus at some point because as of right now we’re once again completely ignored.”

Sarah Stemen, founder, Sarah Stemen LLC:

“AI asset production in Pmax can be incredibly powerful for rapid testing. I believe the real power in this feature will be the combination of AI assets + Asset Level reporting

Ads in AI overviews was inevitable, as overviews occupy significant space and present numerous commercial opportunities.

The delivery came across unclear. It seems like Google doesn’t know how to do this yet.

For turning images into videos when Google creates a video in Pmax, isn’t this essentially what’s happening?

It seemed to me like a variation of an existing process, but perhaps that’s just my perspective. I would love to hear your thoughts on if this is actually new or another spin.”

Navah Hopkins, brand evangelist, Optmyzr:

“There are several updates that apply to B2B/Lead gen: Image to video ads, brand controls, Demand Gen lookalikes needing only 100 users, profit bidding, and ads serving in AI overviews.”

Niki Grant, partner support director, ClickTech Solution:

“I’m sure we all knew GML would be full of AI updates, and features such as brand guidelines are a step in the right direction for advertisers riding the AI wave who still want to maintain some control over their presence. 

“New visual formats will be interesting as Google continues to diversify away from the world of text ads, in particular brand profiles, which offers a fresh way to summarize your brand to customers; it’s nice to see something that looks genuinely different rather than a variation of what we’re used to

“Profit optimization goals in Performance Max sound particularly significant, as advertisers strive to optimize towards real-world bottom line metrics rather than ‘media metrics’; I’m keen to find out how much data these goals will require to function, and whether smaller advertisers will be sidelined as a result.”

Lars Maat (Founder of Maatwerk Online):

“This [Meridian] could be ‘a thing’. In my opinion Meridian is not for all advertisers. MMM is something really ‘difficult’ and complex and I don’t think the majority of the advertisers are ready for this. Agencies, ok. Big advertisers, ok. But the small companies? Not so

About Ads being matched to the content in the AI overview – ‘something that was already known right? This was coming for us at the point SGE was launched.’”

Julie Friedman Bacchini (Founder of Neptune Moon):

This conversational AI grates. Just me?

Advertisers don’t need “democratizing of content creation.” We need ad solutions that let us reach people who want to buy what we are selling.

So, Gen AI still makes mistakes, so don’t get mad when it does in your account…

Google’s Gemini AI cannot generate people or product images, so keep that in mind everyone. The examples do not reflect this.

So if human input is essential, how can the generative AI predict performance ahead of anything running?

Performance Max (PMax)

Fowler:

The list of 100 users for lookalike is the most important one to me here, followed by brand controls in regards to PMax placements. 

Scott Carruthers (Head of PPC at Journey further):

More insights for Performance Max – asset level reporting etc (isn’t this what we’ve all been waiting for?!)

Linking YouTube creator accounts to Ads accounts – being able to promote UGC is huge, and Google have been lacking in this area versus other platforms. YT ads are sure to gain more traction with better links / support of creators.

Bacchini:

Asset level reporting and YouTube exclusions are a welcome addition to PMax.

A 10% improvement for broad match?  That bar was low (check your query reports y’all).

Jyll Saskin-Gales (Google Ads Coach at Learn with Jyll):

While the “Power Pair” proclamation of Search + PMax is a good sales narrative, PMax is very obviously the way forward in this multimodal environment.

B2B and Lead Generation

Krantz:

Overall GML 2024 felt very underwhelming, especially when looking at it from a B2B lens. There were no surprises or anything that was unexpected that was announced.

Hopefully B2B comes into focus at some point because as of right now we’re once again completely ignored

Gales:

Tons of Shopping & Commerce announcements. As Harrison Jack Hepp hilariously posted already, not a single bone for lead generation objectives and/or B2B advertisers

Visual and Shopping Ads

Stemen:

Virtual try on, 3D product images is interesting because, while we already have similar solutions, any enhancement in the shopper’s experience is a net positive, in my opinion.

Interested in virtual try-on and 3D product images enhancing shopper experience.

For turning images into videos, when Google creates a video in Pmax, isn’t this essentially what’s happening?

It seemed to me like a variation of an existing process, but perhaps that’s just my perspective. I would love to hear your thoughts on if this is actually new or another spin.

Gales:

How do you compete against TikTok Shop, Amazon, Pinterest and more? Google Lens Search & Circle to Search.

Grant:

Whilst the developments in Shopping formats sound innovative, it remains to be seen how many advertisers outside of huge brands find AI-driven Shopping formats a help in reducing production cost, or a hindrance with yet-to-be-seen nuance and implications. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to seeing how various brands decide to use ‘stickers’ on their YouTube Shorts!

Bacchini:

Shopping ads are going to start pulling review text into your ads???? Is there any control over this?

Some things from last year acting like they are new too? The image & video stuff specifically.

Overall, the comments reflect a mix of cautious optimism about specific updates and significant skepticism about the broader relevance and innovation of GML 2024, particularly for B2B and smaller advertisers.

Why we care. Advertisers are pleased with some of the new updates, but they are growing tired of frequent AI-driven changes. Smaller brands, in particular, are looking for better updates and a clearer understanding of how these changes will affect their performance. This need has not been addressed yet.