Google Ads, previously known as Adwords, rebranded on July 24th, 2018. We look at the history of Google's paid search program and how it became the centerpiece of the company's business model. Paid search advertising is more than 20 years old. Before Google had decided how to monetize its technology, there was the Goto.com search engine. Goto.com established the PPC auction system with advertisers bidding for ad position on keywords and ads ranked by bid value. After the dotcom crash, Goto.com rebranded as Overture and sold itself to Yahoo for $1.63 billion. Google continued to evolve its business model from AdSense and impression CPM billing to AdWords and CPC billing. Google invested heavily in improving the fraud control and relevancy of its offering and outgrew Yahoo handily. Google has grown to over $110B in revenue with nearly 90% of Google's revenue coming from PPC and AdWords.
Following that, Google bought DoubleClick, a digital display advertising company, for $3.1B in 2007, which at the time seemed like a great deal of money, as the paid ads business was still recovering from the dotcom crash. It also made huge investments in the Chrome browser and Android operating system which allows it to stay involved in nearly every area of digital media. The major investments that Google made at the time paid off. Mobile ads now account for 67% of digital ad spending and mobile video spending will exceed traditional TV spending in 2018, according to eMarketer.
Rebranding of AdWords
I received this email message from Google:
Hello, You're receiving this message because you currently have an active AdWords account. Earlier this week, we announced that Google AdWords is becoming Google Ads. The new Google Ads brand represents our full range of campaign types across Search, Display, Video, App and more. These help you connect with more consumers as they're turning to Google, and our partner sites and apps, to find information and get things done. Starting July 24, 2018, you will begin to see the new Google Ads brand — including the new name and logo — reflected in the product interface, Help Center, billing documents, and more. Our URL will also be changing from adwords.google.com to ads.google.com. There is no action required on your part, and changes to the Google Ads branding will not impact your campaign performance, navigation or reporting. If you have any questions or would like to contact us, please visit the Help Center. Sincerely, The Google AdWords team (soon to be Google Ads)
According to Google, the rebranding is part of a campaign to simplify the company's paid advertising platforms. As part of that initiative, the full set of rebrands is as follows:
- AdWords to rebrand as Google Ads
- DoubleClick and Google Analytics 360 Suite unified as Google Marketing Platform
- DoubleClick for Publishers and DoubleClick Ad Exchange unified as Google Ad Manager
In contrast to AdWords, Google Ads will have more automated campaign development features that use machine learning and AI to help marketers launch campaigns with less administrative and platform knowledge.
As part of the Google Marketing Platform for larger customers, Google also announced Display & Video 360. "Display & Video 360 brings together features from DoubleClick Bid Manager, Campaign Manager, Studio and Audience Center to allow creative, agency, and media teams to collaborate and execute ad campaigns end-to-end in a single place."
Aligning Google Ads to the Industry
This move combines the Google DoubleClick and Google Analytics 360 Suite platforms under a single brand. Similarly, DoubleClick for Publishers and Ad Exchange will be merged into Google Ad Manager. This move towards branding consolidation, as well as some actual platform consolidation, aligns Google's paid advertising programs with other advertising platforms in the space. For example, Facebook has a similar offering it calls Facebook Ads. Adobe Cloud also enables cross-platform and cross-channel campaign setup and management. So, it is a battle of the titans in advertising, each offering huge inventory, and more breadth and convenience that will make it harder for independent networks to secure ad dollars.