As someone who has worked in SEO for over 10 years, I’ve seen more blog posts titled ‘SEO is Dead’ than I care to recall. I’m thrilled therefore, to finally be able to announce that AdWords is dead.

Google’s advertising platform is no longer.. called AdWords, it’s been rebranded to *checks notes* Google Ads. Catchy name that – how I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall in the meeting where they dreamed that up.

New Brands

As Search Engine Land reports, there will now be three main brands:

  • Google AdWords is now Google Ads.
  • DoubleClick advertiser products and Google Analytics 360 Suite are now under the brand Google Marketing Platform.
  • DoubleClick for Publishers and DoubleClick Ad Exchange are integrated into a new unified platform called Google Ad Manager.

The rebrand was conceived as a way of simplifying the process of getting started with the products and, presumably, to make them more appealing to the novice advertiser. The changes are also a response to the way in which Google has broadened its Ad offering beyond Search Ads:

“With Google Ads as opposed to Google AdWords, it is moving the imperceptible default opinion that you get as an advertiser when you hear ‘Google AdWords’ … you think, ‘Oh, Words. Search.’ It’s basically a slight cognitive dissonance to all the other great things that we are doing in terms of both the format and surfaces these ads can show. And so, Google Ads, in our opinion, is a much more straightforward representation of what Google advertising can provide. It’s that simplicity and alignment of the core message from the first instant you hear the name, which is the goal.”

Smart Campaigns

In addition to the change in branding, there will also be changes to the way in which AdWords Google Ads works for small business advertisers. These users will now use Google’s new Smart Campaigns functionality. This allows them to identify the actions (basically Conversions) they want and let Google use machine learning to optimize the images, text and targeting to achieve these.

If, like me, you’re a fan of controlling your own ads then this description will set alarm bells ringing. If you’re an advertiser who currently uses AdWords Express and trusts Google to “optimise” your ads for you then perhaps you’ll enjoy Smart Campaigns.

What Does This Change?

It seems that Smart Campaigns will be the default mode for small businesses beginning in July. It’s easy to see why Google would be keen on pushing this option – the complexity of AdWords is off-putting to beginners and there’s a lot of potential spend Google are missing out on. I’d argue that Google’s machine learning may not have the best interests of the advertisers in mind and that Google’s priority will always be making more money. That’s not to say that it won’t work for the advertiser but, based on the automated recommendations we see in AdWords, Google might not yet be ready to run campaigns in niche verticals.  How can Google out-smart the competition when they’re also running ads for them?

The rebrand makes good sense – AdWords isn’t a great umbrella brand for things like Display Advertising and Video Ads. DoubleClick is also a slightly old-fashioned brand name given the rise of mobile.

RIP AdWords, long live Google Ads!


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