A couple of weeks ago, Jason Swick, Vice President of Digital Marketing, and I had the opportunity to attend Google Marketing Live. Over 2,000 digital marketers from around the world attended this three-day event held at the San Jose Convention Center. We heard about new products, upcoming betas, and the latest marketing insights.


Settling In

When Jason and I first landed in San Jose, we had a few hours to kill before the Networking Welcome Reception, so we opted for a tour of the nearby Winchester Mystery House.

The house, a Queen Anne style Victorian mansion, was the residence of Sarah Winchester, widow of William Wirt Winchester, who inherited her late husband's firearms fortune. The 161-room house was built without a plan over a time spanning nearly 40 years, from 1884 to 1922, resulting in oddly placed rooms and doors and stairs leading to nowhere. The story goes that Sarah, a believer in seances and ghosts, built the house to please the spirits.

Jason used to drive by this all the time when he was younger, but could never convince his parents to stop, so his childhood dreams finally came true as we embarked on the three-hour tour. The house and gardens were quite impressive-if you ever get the chance to see it, you should definitely take a tour!

Once we were back at the Convention Center, the Networking Welcome Reception kicked things off that night. The event space was decked out in true Google fashion with a miniature golf course, bag toss, and picnic tables. Things really got underway the next morning with the opening Innovations Keynote.


Big Announcements

Six Googlers shared the latest and greatest during the morning keynote. The biggest announcement? Google AdWords is now Google Ads.
This change is part of a bigger rebrand with the Analytics 360 Suite and DoubleClick Digital Marketing combining to form the Google Marketing Platform, and DoubleClick Search being renamed Search Ads 360. The good news is, nothing major is actually changing on the AdWords--err, Google Ads--platform, but they are adding some new features.

New Features

First up is page speed. Google has added a mobile speed score to Google Ads, letting you know which landing pages are loading quickly and which ones may need your attention.
Next are responsive search ads. Rather than uploading individual ads, you can supply headlines and descriptions and Google will use its magic to serve a combination most relevant to the query, hopefully resulting in better click-through rates and onsite engagement.
What people were most excited about, however, was cross-device reporting in Google Analytics. Historically, this has been an area that was lacking. Now, we're finally able to see what's happening on each device, allowing us to view the full story of a user's journey from start to finish.
Some other exciting updates are coming to YouTube as well. Form Ads will debut soon, allowing you to collect leads directly on the ad. In addition, a new bidding option called Maximize Lift Bidding will help you reach people who are more likely to consider your brand after seeing an ad, keeping your destination top of mind as they continue planning their trip.
The rest of our time in San Jose was filled with additional sessions, most of which can't be shared--#ThanksNDA--but on the second night, we were also treated to a private concert with none other than John Legend himself. It was an incredible way to cap off Google Marketing Live.