Big news! After nearly 2 decades of the AdWords brand, Google has decided it’s time to make some changes. The AdWords brand and experience we’ve come to know and love (and sometimes hate) is coming to an end – and in its place the newer, sleeker ‘Google Ads’ brand has been released.
The branding update comes with a complete overhaul of the AdWords (now Google Ads..) user interface and experience.
Changes went live on July 24th and can be seen across all AdWords accounts.
SEMs around the world have started getting familiar with the new AdWords Google Ads user interface over the past couple of months. PDM’s own Ryan Larkin – a Google Advertising veteran – wrote up his own take on the new Google Ads UI. It took me a while to get my “sea legs” so to speak, but once I felt comfortable I became a big fan of the new layout. There are still a few things that have been frustratingly moved around, but overall I feel that it’s an improvement!
Google Ads wasn’t the only update that Google made this week. Doubleclick and Google Analytics 360 – powerhouse tools for large accounts – have now been united under the single brand Google Marketing Platform.
Google made some updates to the ad serving side of the equation as well. DoubleClick for Publishers and DoubleClick Ad Exchange have been merged into Google Ad Manager.
Our team has been discussing Google’s reasons for making these updates – and a few things stand out.
- The move from Google AdWords to Google Ads
- Emphasis on mobile experience
- Inclusion of more automated insights, new graphs, etc.
AdWords → Ads
For years, Google has been the masters of all things online search. They still are, but that association may have actually done some harm in the last few years. The online user experience (especially the mobile experience) has moved away from text-based content and advertising and toward high-quality image and video.
Google’s always been a powerhouse in the video space with YouTube, but in recent years, Facebook has taken a huge part of that market. Facebook implemented a native video hosting functionality years ago which has allowed content creators to choose between YouTube or Facebook instead of hosting YouTube on Facebook.
Facebook has been the undisputed champion of image-sharing and UX for years, and only further cemented their reign on top with the acquisition of Instagram in 2012.
Remember Google+? Yeah… neither does anyone else. Google’s attempt at making their way into the social media market has now morphed into a Pinterest-Reddit-Facebook mash-up now called Discover. They tried and they failed.
Google’s one foothold in the image-side of the market has been their dominance of the Google Display Network (GDN). The GDN is ~70% of the internet’s online display inventory, but the rise of Programmatic Display Advertising in recent years has started to cut into Google’s market share.
So what does all this mean?
Google’s rebrand is an internal effort to shift the focus of their strength away from text based advertising and toward the image and video experience.
GDN and YouTube advertising functionality and targeting have taken some big positive steps in the last few years – the rebrand is an external reflection of that
Mobile Above All
This one is super straightforward. It’s no secret to anyone (not even your grandparents) that mobile internet use has absolutely skyrocketed in the last 5 years. Mobile technology has improved almost exponentially and with it the online mobile experience.
Humanity now has an almost undefinable amount of information out our fingertips. We can learn almost anything or talk to almost anyone in an instant. As incredible as that is.. it’s what we as people have come to expect from companies like Google, Amazon, Facebook, and others. Anything less is insufficient and will be quickly pushed to the side.
It’s no different on the advertising side. You’ve come to expect more from the internet: more content, better videos, higher-quality imagery.. and all of this on a smaller device. Google has definitely taken notice.
Outside of their engineering team, no one really knows what actually drives the Google Search and Ad algorithms. Here’s our take: the algorithms are Google’s best expression of what we as people have come to expect from an online user experience. We expect smarter, faster, and more mobile – Google’s algorithm has shifted accordingly.
Something else I’ve noticed with the update – Google’s now implemented more automated graphs and insights into their advertising platform. You can see an example of what I’m referring to below, directly from the campaign overview in Google Ads.
Biggest campaign changes, new words used in search terms.. that’s just scratching the surface. In addition to pushing for a more mobile visual experience, Google’s trying to make their platform smarter.
They’re the guesswork out of advertising to lower the barrier to entry. Smart move on their part I think. It allows SEMs to focus more time on overall strategy and less on analysis.
In that same vein, Google recently released the Google Data Studio – an automated reporting platform that connects to Google Ads, Analytics, and more.
I’ll be testing this out on my own reports over the next few weeks – I think it’ll be a great addition to the Google suite of marketing tools.
All of this is just the beginning. Google has been gearing up for a big shift in the market and we’re in the midst of it. The pendulum has finally swung over to mobile and the tech has improved to the point where 90% of the insights we need can be automated.
Smarter, faster, more mobile.
Expect to see some big stuff from Google, Amazon, Facebook etc. over the next year or so!