Google Marketing Live 2023 and Its Implications for Local Businesses

Here's a recap of Google Marketing Live 2023 and how new features will impact the Local SEO community and local retailers.


Google Marketing Live 2023, one of the most significant events in the digital marketing world, recently took place, leaving marketers and business owners buzzing with excitement and questions about new products and AI advancements. The annual event is where Google unveils its latest tools, features, and insights for marketers to help brands engage, connect and grow their businesses.

But what about those businesses with a focus on local customers? This article dives into the most significant takeaways from Google Marketing Live 2023 and the implications for companies with brick-and-mortar locations. 

We've broken the updates into three major categories:

  1. New Features in Performance Max and Search Ads
  2. Sales Innovation with retailers top of mind
  3. Data updates

New Features in Performance Max and Search Ads

1.) Search Generative Experience (SGE)

Status: Coming soon and will launch to users in the U.S. through Search Labs. 

What is SGE?

Google is currently testing SGE. This upcoming search results approach will leverage machine learning to give users more personalized outcomes. The results will be tailored based on the user's search history and contextual cues to enhance the search journey experience.

Ultimately, this will keep users on Google longer, and queries will allow Google to do the heavy lifting.

How does this impact local retailers? 

Ads will still appear in SGE results. Therefore, users start their search at the top of the marketing funnel, gaining awareness and interest in a topic or product. In the session, SGE will guide the user from general awareness of a product or business to specific decision-making information while serving ads. 

In the example below, the user researches options for their commute to work. Search results return e-bikes as a potential option. The user can explore the best e-bikes and view online or in-store pricing and availability.

Search Generative Experience (SGE) on Google

Screenshot from Google, May 2023

 2.) Conversational Experience in Google Ads

Status: Testing begins in July 2023, and is expected to have wider availability in late 2023. 

What is Conversation Experience in Google Ads? 

This new natural language feature allows advertisers to interact with Google Ads more conversationally. It enables users to ask for ideas or suggestions, like how one might consult a colleague, to generate effective keywords, headlines, descriptions, images, and other assets for their Search campaigns. This conversational approach aims to facilitate campaign creation and optimization by combining the expertise of advertisers with the assistance of Google's AI capabilities.

How does this impact local retailers? 

The Conversational Experience provides retailers and agencies that manage retail locations with an AI expert. This feature uses AI paired with the user's expertise to enhance campaign results, generate keywords, and streamline ad creation and creatives. 

Overall, the Conversation Experience in Google Ads empowers local retailers and advertisers to create more targeted, relevant, and successful campaigns, enabling them to better connect with their local customers and drive business growth. 

Google Ads image of the Conversation Experience powered by Google AI

Screenshot from Google, May 2023

Pro-tip: Check out Google's Performance Max playlist

Sales Innovation with retailers top of mind

1.) Merchant Center Next 

Status: The rollout has begun for new users, and the global rollout is expected to complete by 2024. 

What is Merchant Center Next? 

Merchant Center Next is a new, simplified platform for online and local retailers to manage their products and how they appear across Google surfaces. 

How does this impact local retailers? 

The goal is to make it easier for businesses to list on Google while keeping the features that larger retailers rely on. Here are a few improvements that will help local retailers of any size.

  • Simplified product feed setup
    • Google will detect and pull inventory directly from the website (don't worry, retailers can edit what gets pulled and turn this off completely if they wish). 
  • Centralized insights
    • View all insights in the performance tab, including best-selling products and how shoppers are engaging with their local business on Search and Maps.
  • Online and in-store products
    • All products will show in a centralized view making it easier to manage online and in-store listings at once.

Google's New Merchant Center Next Platform User Interface

Screenshot from Google, May 2023

2.) Product Studio

Status: Users can start accessing Product Studio inside Merchant Center Next in the next few months.

What is Product Studio? 

Product Studio is a new feature that is housed in Merchant Center Next helping businesses to create imagery for product listings by utilizing generative AI.  

This feature will take existing imagery and help to create new and improved versions. Product listings can have one image; however, by adding additional, high-quality, imagery, businesses can see an increase in both impressions and clicks.

How does this impact local retailers? 

On top of time savings, here are some of the noteworthy features that will help merchants. 

  • Add custom product scenes
  • Quickly increase resolution
  • Remove a distracting product background

Google's Product Studio's Increase Resolution Generative AI Feature

Screenshot from Google, May 2023

Pro-tip: Check out Google's Retail & Apps playlist. 

Data Updates 

1.) Google Analytics 4 

Status: All businesses must upgrade to Google Analytics 4 by July 1st

What is Google Analytics 4? 

Google Analytics 4 is an updated version that offers enhanced privacy controls and adapts to changes in the digital landscape.

Google AI plays a central role in empowering Google Analytics 4 to uncover pertinent insights, forecast probable future consumer actions, and autonomously enhance campaign effectiveness. It achieves all of this while adjusting to the constantly changing privacy and technological environment. During Google Marketing Live 2023, Google unveiled its efforts to simplify first-party data management, maximize the potential of Google Analytics 4 audiences and insights, and seamlessly modify conversion values for improved outcomes.

How does this impact local retailers? 

Privacy is top of mind for users and businesses. GA4 will make it easier to manage and control the following: 

  • Manage first-party data more easily
    • Connect data sources, translate data insight insights, and improve measurement accuracy.
    • Additional updates coming later in 2023. 
  • Build and use Google Analytics 4 audiences directly within Google Ads
    • Easily pull in relevant GA4 audiences as you create and mand Google Ad campaigns. 
  • Simplify how you set up enhanced conversions
    • Enhanced conversions Search Ads 360 and Google Ads
    • Utilize first-party data by creating conversion-based audience lists using Customer Match.

  • Use offline conversion adjustments to drive higher ROI
    •  Update the value of an online conversion up to 7 days after it was recorded.
    • Smart bidding will use offline conversion information to optimize based on set goals. 
    • Testing is currently in beta. 

Pro-tip: Check out Google's Measurement & Privacy playlist.

Next up is familiarizing yourself with these new programs and features, and testing them as soon as they become available. Access the full show and post-show Q&A on the Google Marketing Live site. Additionally, Google created an Ads News & How-Tos page which will help you dive deep into each feature and how to use it for your business.

We will update this blog and send out a larger release in our monthly Local SEO newsletter. Make sure to sign up! 

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