There is no doubt that Google has been one of the greatest innovators in advertising history for quite some time. Now, businesses who want to be found online are looking to Google, either to showcase their work organically through natural SEO, or through the wide variety of advertising formats available. From PPC to YouTube video ads, from maps to business listings, they have created and then dominated a world of search engine based advertising. And now, they have rolled out yet another innovation for us. This time, it’s in the form of a new ad format It’s called conversational display ads, and it’s set to change the way users interact with advertising and search forever.


What Are Conversational Display Ads?

To put it simply, conversational display ads give users the ability to engage with a chat feature directly within a display ad, through a platform called AdLingo. So as well as having your standard ad, a chatbot feature will appear, which your customers can ask questions and receive answers, without having to visit your website. Since chatbots are on the rise and social media sites have made messaging a common medium, Google is looking to help brands increase their engagement with customers through their own messaging platform. But instead of a person at the other end, there will be a chatbot.


How Does It Work?

Here’s the catch – you can only use conversational display ads if you already have a conversational assistant or chatbot built and in place. It also needs to be built through one of the following platforms in order to work:


  • Dialogflow
  • Microsoft Bot Framework
  • Blip
  • LiveEngage


We do expect this list to grow, but right now this is the limit. If you have a chatbot built, you can integrate it into the AdLingo platform, programme its responses and start building a campaign in a similar fashion to Google AdWords. Oh, and for those worried about privacy and GDPR, AdLingo doesn’t store transcripts. So if you want to review what is said to your bot, you’ll need to programme the bot to collect that information and store it.


How Do I Set Up A Conversational Display Ad?

Conversational display ads created through AdLingo will show via the Google Display network, utilizing CPM bidding. Businesses will be able to see clicks, impressions, review communications and view engagement metrics on each ad. At the moment, you will need to go directly through the AdLingo platform to request access and start a campaign, but we expect this to change in the future. If the first implementation phase goes well, we expect this feature to become an integrated part of the main Google Ads interface.


How Will Conversational Display Ads Impact Online Advertising?

That right there is the million dollar question. Off the bat, they will new, engaging and eye-catching, so they are likely to stand out from the standard format ads you see on Google every day. This can be a huge plus, and draw in a lot of new enquiries from users who find the novel approach compelling. But then, you have the audience who will get annoyed at a chatbot constantly trying to engage them in conversation when they aren’t ready for it, and they might be put off by the whole thing.


Ultimately, the performance of this new ad format doesn’t rely on algorithms and bids, but the quality of the conversational chatbot that the business has put in behind the scenes. If it’s a successful and fine-tuned assistant, then brands can use them to narrow down the product a person is looking for based on a set of simple criteria, helping drive sales quickly and easily. For this kind of thing, around 50% of users are happy to use a chatbot, and will willingly engage with the ad to find the exact product they’re looking for.


But when we get down to more complex customer service questions, then the cracks start to show. Only around 30% of users want to engage with chatbots on complex questions, preferring to speak to a human who will understand the nuances of their situation or requirement. So if you’re, for example, a B2B software provider with a complicated product that has lots of options, a conversational ad might not work for you. It’s just too complex to do right, and you could end up driving away sales instead of attracting them.



In reality, the success or failure of this type of advertising is all down to how customers interact with it. On paper, conversational display ads seem like a fantastic idea and something that will help brands get on board with the voice search phenomenon for ads in an easy to understand way. But unlike other forms of advertising on Google, there is a higher bar to entry here – the ability to build a chatbot. If you don’t already have this in place, then it could end up being a pricier option for you. So while conversational display ads to give customers more than one way to contact your brand, it could swing either way, and we’ll have to keep an eye on how it performs in the market before we can decide which side the public comes down on.


If you have an opinion on Google’s new conversational display ads format, or you’d just like to know more about advertising on Google, we’d love to speak to you. Feel free to get in touch with us using the information here, and book in your free consultation (with tea and biscuits provided).