AI For Google Ads

AI For Google Ads: What’s Next For The PPC Industry?

In Google’s recent marking keynote, we saw a hands-on demonstration of Google’s new AI. ‘50% of new search enquiries are completely new,’ said chief business officer Phillip Schindler, ‘that number has held steady for over a decade’. This – along with Google’s recent automation and AI overview updates – reflects their changing priorities. Google is hoping to integrate AI to make a more responsive search experience for those fresh enquiries. The question rattling many PPC marketers is simple – ‘how will this affect me?’

As with everything, the answer is multifaceted. Google AI overviews are rolling out across the US, with more countries to be added soon. Google has also announced the integration of ads into AI overviews coming soon. For many search marketers used to text ads, they’ll notice a few things immediately from these new overviews:

  • Featured snippets are the new priority. We’ve already heard from Google before that they intend to place snippets over ads for particular searches. The AI-generated results pages cement this, with maps, FAQs and other forms of snippet occupying that valuable top of the page real estate.
  • Ads will be integrated into snippets. Google’s previews have stressed that sponsored ads and products will appear as recommendations. We’ve already seen an example of how shopping product ads can appear in an overview.
  • Keywords are king again. We’re likely to see a more strident targeting of specific keywords as a result of overviews. If someone searches for ‘plumbers near me’, for example, they’re far more likely to get sponsored ads in their overview. Search intent and long-tail keywords are back in a big way with overviews.

These are the three fundamental takeaways from Google’s AI search direction. But how can marketers start to adapt to each?

Snippets For PPC

The old model of search ads is something you and I are well familiar with. You enter a search, you see three results with a little ‘Sponsored’ in the corner, and then you get what you’re actually looking for. Did you know that recent data showed that the first and second results on search (usually ads) have a CTR of 26%? Compare that to the first organic result’s 62%, and you start to realise why the old model is being phased out.

Enter featured snippets. Those of you that dabble in SEO will already know these as the holy grail of organic search. Snippets identify your site’s content as high quality and relevant to an inquiry. It’s tantamount to a personal endorsement from Google itself. SEO marketers dream of getting them.

Snippets vary from the FAQ boxes that draw from various sites for individual questions to map listings and text boxes. You can picture Google’s overviews as a much bigger version of these. They’re far more likely to feature at the top of the page than text ads.

New Ads Integrations

We can’t be sure how they’ll all look yet. The biggest example of ads integrations so far has been shopping ads. Ads will be integrated directly into the generative AI. The long and short of it is: if your product or ad is designed to be relevant, you’ll be recommended in the overview.

Beyond that, conventional search results will still be here to stay. Overviews will be prominent at the top of a results page. All the usual Google Search results pages will still be below. Any marketer worth their salt knows that top of the page is still a desirable position. Overviews pose a meaningful threat to the old text ad model.

We can likely be expecting smaller-form content made to suit the overview format for PPC ads. Streamlined, sleek presentation of products and services with explicit appeal to the reader. However, perhaps the most important takeaway from all this will be how campaigns are built, rather than the ads themselves…

Keywords Are King

The prevalence of AI overviews is very situational. Specific keywords are going to be more likely to trigger them. Consider more long-tail ones, like ‘fun things to do in Liverpool’. Overviews are very friendly to list formats. If you suspect a keyword is friendly to them, then you should go out of your way to target it with more aggressive bidding. You could well end up on top of the results!

Ads integrations are pending. But Google has said that AI overviews will only show for particular search results. It might do to run a few experiments with your existing PPC campaigns, to help you identify keywords that are:

  • Geographically relevant. These are likely to fall under the category of those unique searches overviews are targeting.
  • Long-tail. These are less general keywords. Consider the difference between ‘restaurants to eat out’ and ‘restaurants to eat out near me’.
  • Queries. Search campaigns are always dogged by the classic ‘how can I’ and ‘where can I’ in their search terms. Overviews are likely to, at the very least, minimise the pain these cause our budgets!

I expect all three of these types of keywords will be affected in some way, shape or form by the new updates to search. Whether it’s positive or negative will be anyone’s guess, but these are definitely the areas to watch.

As the new AI integrations come in, we’re likely to get a clearer idea of the opportunities for PPC marketing within them. For now, bear in mind that this overhaul has major ramifications for the PPC and the SEO space: wise marketers will be reading ahead for more!

And in case you’re worried – no, AI is not coming for your job any time soon.


The integration of AI into Google’s search and advertising platforms is massive for the PPC industry. Marketers will have to adapt swiftly and strategically. Featured snippets will become more prominent, traditional text ads will take a back seat. This evolution underscores the renewed importance of keywords, particularly long-tail and geographically relevant ones. These will be pivotal in capturing search intent within these new AI-driven frameworks.

You should prepare to navigate these changes by optimising for snippets and refining keyword strategies to align with AI overviews. Embracing these changes early will help you stay one step ahead. The precise impact of AI on PPC campaigns will unfold over time, but it doesn’t hurt to make a start.

The advent of AI in Google Ads is not a threat but an opportunity for those willing to evolve with the technology. By leveraging AI-driven insights and optimising for new ad formats, you can keep driving great results through PPC.

How are you preparing for the integration of AI into ads? Do you have any concerns about Google’s new direction?

We are based on Wirral, near Chester and Liverpool. With clients throughout the UK.