Google is letting retailers include 3D images in AI-generated ads

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Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai during the Google I/O developers conference in Mountain View, California, on May 10, 2023.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Google announced Tuesday that it will be giving advertisers the ability to create immersive visuals in their promotions using generative artificial intelligence, as the company rolls out more AI tools for brands.

Advertisers can take advantage of what Google is calling a visual brand profile in search “that gives richer results” for queries that include the name of a brand or retailer, the company said Tuesday at its annual conference Google Marketing Live. Brands can also include product videos and summaries.

Last week, Google announced plans to change its search results page to prioritize a feature called “AI Overview,” which uses AI to summarize information at the top of a search results page. The move could push organic content and ads further down the page, resulting in a potential shake-up for publishers and advertisers.

Google said on Tuesday there will be ads within AI Overview and that they will be relevant to both the query and the information. The posts will be clearly labeled as “sponsored.” The ads include virtual try-on options, a technology Google rolled out last year with select retailers.

“All a merchant needs to do is provide a handful of high-quality images of their shoes at different angles and we’ll use our advanced AI techniques to create a 360-degree view of their footwear,” Google said in a blog post.

Google did not say how many sponsored spots within AI Overview it will display for each expected AI query or how the company will decide which ones to feature. A Google spokesperson said the company is “starting with a small test in the U.S.”

Alphabet has seen a rebound in Google’s ad business this year following a decline in 2022 and a slow pickup last year. Total revenue climbed 15% in the second quarter, the fastest expansion since early 2022. Executives said at the time of the report last month that they saw increased customer conversions from ad clients using generative AI tools in its “Performance Max.”

The company said it is giving advertisers more image editing tools and said Google AI will generate more visual options and “context” for their ads. For example, Google said if a user searched for “short term storage” and clicked an ad for a storage facility, Google AI could recommend a storage unit size and packing materials while providing links to the websites.

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