Ad Tech & Programmatic

Google’s AI search will have more ads than expected

AI Overviews will have ads above, below, and within AI-generated search results.
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Morning Brew

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Advertisers will get a front-row seat to Google’s generative AI search features.

AI Overviews will have ads above, below, and within AI-generated search results, Rachel Melgaard, Google’s director of global search, said on Tuesday at a press roundtable ahead of the company’s Marketing Live event.

The additional updates to generative-AI powered search results stand to bolster Google’s already massive search advertisement business, which is under pressure from AI-powered competitors and a major antitrust case. Last quarter, Google’s search business brought in more than $46 billion in revenue last quarter, beating expectations.

“We've been testing this for a while now and we've actually found that people find these ads really helpful and advertisers can find these ads effective,” Melgaard said.

Google’s AI search tool was always going to have ads. The company said as much last year. What’s new, however, is the inclusion of sponsored answers within the text box. The search ads can be bought through shoppable and search campaigns, as well as campaigns running through Google’s Performance Max tool.

In an example shared at the press event, a Google search of “how do I get wrinkles out of clothes” returned a few different answers, including “hang your clothes in the shower….use a damp towel,” atop a sponsored catalog-style ad for Downy fabric spray. The company also teased a feature that showed someone uploading a photo, like an image of their couch, and then searching and shopping for the right storage unit that could fit said couch.

Flash back: About a year ago, Google introduced a suite of ad products powered by generative AI, tools that could produce instant copy and images. This year, instead of unveiling a major overhaul, the company rolled out updates that fine-tuned such products, like giving advertisers the ability to control the colors and fonts used in AI-generated ads, for example. The generative creative updates are still free to use.

When asked, Google execs declined to say specifically how many clients were using these generative-AI tools, or how many AI-created display banners were currently running.

+1: We recently spoke to Google’s VP and GM of Search Ads about AI-powered search results and its effects on the Search ecosystem.

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