AdWords is Dead, Long Live Google Ads: Google Simplifies its Marketing Brands

By Mary Hartman | @PPCHartman | Account Manager at Hanapin Marketing

Google announced yesterday (June 27, 2018) that it is rebranding its advertising suite of products, consolidating some services and revising others.

The reasoning behind the change, as Google’s official announcement of the consolidated networks points out, is multi-fold:

…marketers have more opportunities to reach consumers across channels, screens and formats.
Advertising on Google has evolved too—from helping marketers connect with people on Google Search, to helping them connect at every step of the consumer journey.
As the opportunity to engage consumers has grown and become more complex, we are simplifying our products for advertisers and publishers of all sizes so they can more easily reach consumers anywhere, at any moment and on any channel.

CNBC would have you believe that the brand revamp is due to desktop traffic dying, but the change is more nuanced than that. Marketing has become increasingly multi-touch across not only devices but ad types, and one can see that Google’s first priority is to keep all its products collaborative and immersed in every step of the customer’s journey.

When an old-school marketer hears the name Google AdWords, most of us think about search ads. We think about text ads. We think about keywords. The modern AdWords has become so much more than just the singular traffic type defined as “search” or “search engine marketing (SEM)” – who uses the acronym SEM anymore? It was all the rage when I started my first SEM (now PPC, soon to be Digital Marketing) job in 2012.

With the increasing shift to target audiences (Affinity, In-Market, Life Events, Custom Intent, you name it!), display ads, and increasingly popular video ads on YouTube, the brand name change makes complete sense. It isn’t strictly about the words anymore. It’s about intent and persona, audience and brand imagery.

Here is the long and short of how the big brand changes break down:

1. AdWords is rebranding to Google Ads

Google Ads is almost a purely cosmetic change. Like its predecessor, the new brand will still house all the search, display, YouTube, Gmail, and app campaigns, as well as location listings for Google Maps.

As Sridhar Ramaswamy, the Senior VP of Google’s ad efforts, puts it, “This is a primarily a name change, but it is indicative of where we have been directing the product”

Our Hot Take on the change:

  • The initial thoughts from the team here at Hanapin are that this cosmetic change is indicative of Google steering their ship toward increased marketing automation and multi-channel advertising.
  • The platform appears to be transforming into a hybrid of Facebook and AdWords Express. Smart Campaigns, where advertisers select an objective (conversion action) and let Google Ads determine which images and text to show to drive those actions, is becoming the default campaign type. There is no word yet on whether any current campaign types will be sunsetting down the road.
  • Google may be turning their focus to using DoubleClick within Google Ads. It’s a sure sign that Google wants to be used not just as an ad placement leader, but as a planning, buying, measuring, and attribution leader. And as programmatic advertising gets more and more popular, Google may be seeking out their slice of the pie. A first step is obviously helping marketers to easily access all the tools, including programmatic, that are available in Google’s suite of products.

Twitter’s Hot Take on the change:

Some are nostalgic:

Others see it for what it is: Google’s new hairdo:

And of course, the friendly folks on the #ppcchat hashtag are already joshing each other about the change – I wouldn’t have it any other way.

2. The DoubleClick brand and Google Analytics 360 Suite is being retired.

Those services will be merged into the brand-new Google Marketing Platform.

The second dramatic piece of news is three years in the making: Google Ad Manager will unify DoubleClick for Publishers (DFP) and DoubleClick Ad Exchange (AdX). This is Google boldly moving forward to consolidate and re-brand not just it’s multi-faceted ad types under the new Google Ads brand, but to include DoubleClick technology in a central suite of products: The Google Marketing Platform. Analytics 360 will be bundled into the new suite, thereby organizing digital media buys under a single umbrella of allocation and data measurement. The Google team made this move because they saw other advertisers integrating the two products with success, and decided to finish the work their customers had started.

As Dan Taylor, managing director of platforms, has stated:

“Marketers have an increasing need to work across teams…and making that possible is both an organizational and technology challenge…We had built integrations between analytics and the creative planning and buying products, but now that will be much easier”

Analytics 360’s integration into Google Marketing will allow marketers can analyze results as well as create and activate audiences without having to navigate a sometimes hairy process between the two Google products.

The Google Marketing Platform comes with an intriguing new product called Display & Video 360. Tis product marries Google’s enterprise display ad products: DoubleClick Bid Manager (DBM), DoubleClick Campaign Manager, and DoubleClick Studio. DoubleClick Search is becoming Search Ads 360.

All these changes will allow more integrations across the platforms such as:

  • Display & Video 360 + Analytics 360
  • Google Ads + Analytics 360
  • Analytics 360 + BigQuery

Enterprise clients are going to get a bigger change than those merely working in AdWords.

But without doubt, the re-branding signals the official end of an era dominated by search ads. We all know that the era of pure search died more than a few years ago, but this is the final curtain call on old-school search engine marketing. The audience era, the AI era, and the integrated data era, is here!

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