During the conference call on the results of the fourth quarter of 2018 head of Google’s Sundar Pichai described the main areas of focus for the company in 2019.
1. Search functions based on AI
Discussing the penetration of artificial intelligence into everything that the company is working on, Pichai mentioned activity cards in Google search, which allow the user to see their previous queries and make working with the search even more convenient.
Google Finance Director Ruth Porat , responding to a question from one of the analysts, said: “We are also investing in more visual ways of finding information.” Google Lens, for example, can currently identify over a billion products. In addition, this technology is able to select similar products and provide other user-friendly information, such as reviews.
2. Shopping at Google
In areas such as product searches and product listing ads, Google is facing significant competition from Amazon, whose business continues to grow rapidly.
Google did not provide data on the effectiveness of specific shopping campaigns, but Pichai noted that during the holidays, the daily number of active Google.com users making purchases doubled compared to last year.
One analyst asked about the status of the Google Shopping Actions program , given the fact that Walmart, the largest US retailer, refused to participate in it. Pichai replied that the company is seeing strong growth in this direction, and the number of participating retailers has increased 7 times since launch.
According to Pichai, in 2019, Google plans to strengthen its focus on shopping in search.
3. Smart campaigns
Currently, the smarter Google Ads campaigns launched last year are used by over 20,000 small businesses.
These campaigns work with Google My Business. As in universal campaigns for applications, in them all processes – creating an ad, targeting and delivering ads on Google resources, and soon creating landing pages – are automated based on goals set by the advertiser, such as making phone calls, visiting the site or requesting map of travel.
4. Google Home Hub
According to Pichai, one of the seven Google Home devices activated during the holiday season was the Google Home Hub smart display. This device, unlike other products from the Google Home line, has a screen, which puts it on a par with other screen devices and, accordingly, makes it significant for search marketers. The scale of distribution of this device is still small, but this is the area to which Google intends to pay active attention this year.
5. Increase in click volume with lower CPC According to the financial report , the number of paid clicks on Google resources, including Google.com, YouTube, Gmail and other company-owned sites, in the fourth quarter of 2018 increased by 66% year on year. At the same time, cost-per-click (CPC) continues to decline.
In previous conference calls for analysts, Google executives pointed to YouTube as the main driver for lowering CPC. These metrics were not discussed during the last conference call, but topics such as YouTube TV and YouTube’s performance marketing have been addressed several times.