New ad formats coupled with ads running on its Discover feature mark a significant extension of Google’s advertising real estate and highlights the ongoing confluence of advertising and retail with search and social.

Among the announcements at this week’s Google Marketing Live event were the introduction of Discovery ads, which allow brands to showcase products in a swipeable image carousel, in the Google app and the addition of Showcase Stopping ads to the Discover feed.

Later this year, Gallery ads will enable brands to combine search intent with a more interactive visual format, Prabhakar Raghavan SVP, Google Ads & Commerce, explained in a blog.

“We’ve found that, on average, ad groups including one or more gallery ad have up to 25% more interactions – paid clicks or swipes – at the absolute top of the mobile Search results page,” he said.

Alongside these developments, Google is also adding a personalized homepage to the Shopping tab as its redesigns the Google Shopping experience to take account of how people are now discovering and buying: in spurts while watching TV or sitting in the bathroom, said Oliver Heckmann, vice president of engineering for travel and shopping.

“It actually changed with mobiles and what users expect from an online service like Google,” he said in remarks reported by Reuters.

Underpinning this is “app deep linking from Google Ads”, Raghavan advised merchants. “Your app users will be taken directly from your Search, Display and Shopping ads directly to the relevant page in your mobile app, if they have your app already installed.”

In tests, he reported, such deep linked ad experiences had resulted in twice the average conversion rate.

While the new formats sound exciting for advertisers, Abi Jacks, senior director/marketing, Europe, at Rakuten Marketing, wondered about measurement.

“Brands should only be investing where they have a clear idea of the ROI they are happy with,” he said. “This hinges on a good grasp of how the new formats should be measured – what counts as a view is quite challenging when it comes to gallery ads for example.”

Google’s move comes as social media platform Instagram has introduced shoppable influencer posts and as e-commerce giant Amazon continues to build out its advertising offer.

Sourced from Google, Reuters, The Drum; additional content by WARC staff