Google Marketing Live 2019 took place in May of this year; at this invite-only affair, Google shares the most significant developments and announcements with their top partners. We were invited to attend again this year, and as you would expect, we’ve skimmed down two days’ worth of news and innovations into three takeaways that you have to implement in your law firm’s Google Ads strategy.

Feature #1: Custom Audiences and Audience Expansion

In the era where machine learning plays a role in basically everything that has to do with digital marketing, being able to predict your audience based on behavior is extremely valuable. Nicky Rettke, the Director of Product Management in Video Ads at Google, shared that custom affinity and custom intent audiences will be merged to create “Custom Audiences.” This new type of audience will allow your law firm to target an individual based on shared interests and behaviors, and if you need to grow an existing audience that has been converting well, Google can now create a “lookalike” audience option to expand your reach.

Tip: Custom Audiences and Audience Expansion are available across all Google Ads platform, which means that you can use them for Search, Display, and even YouTube ads. Wouldn’t it be great to show a display ad of your law firm to a user who has searched for a chiropractor and visited your body shop recently? That is precisely what custom audiences can do for you.

Feature #2: Gallery Ads

If you thought advertisers were already taking over the entire top of the Google search results page, think again. Sissie Hsiao, VP of Mobile Apps at Google, introduced Gallery Ads; these are search ads that will show up at the top of the mobile search results page, combining text and images. Think of this as a visual “extension” in the form a scrollable gallery that combines text and images. Yep, organic results have been pushed farther down.

Tip: Creative law firms will find ways to use this new ad format to stand out and convert users by incorporating engaging and informative pictures (minimum of four, maximum of eight, with up to 70 characters per image). But be aware, the moment a user swipes to the next image, it will count as the click, whether they complete a call-to-action or not, so we’d better get used to the term PPS: pay per swipe.

Feature #3: Bumper Machine

One thing we have seen happen over and over again is law firms spending thousands of dollars on high-end video production for promotion. The problem is that most of the time, the expensive video content ends up buried somewhere on a website that only gets limited and branded traffic (try to run an ROI on that . . .). 

Well, if you are one of those firms, we have good news for you! At this year’s Marketing Live, Google introduced Bumper Machine, a YouTube tool that will take your video content that is 90 seconds or less and, using machine learning, convert it into engaging six-second bumper ads. The best part of bumper ads is that they are unskippable. Furthermore, studies by Google have shown that 9 out of 10 brands that used them have seen an average ad recall lift of 30 percent.

Tip: Use your video content to generate leads and brand awareness. Here is how: When Bumper Machine becomes available to you, use it to convert your video into bumper ads, then set up a YouTube campaign using Custom Audiences. Now, you can showcase your law firm to high-intent users that could turn into new clients.

As Google SVP of Ads and Commerce, Prabhakar Raghavan suggested during the main event keynote that we are entering the era of predictability, where automation and machine learning can anticipate a user’s next search query and make relevant recommendations based on other signals than keywords. To keep your law firm ahead of your competition, you need to be an early adopter of new tools and always know the best practices for using them.