If you’re a business owner, marketing professional or let’s be honest, anyone who has taken a breath, you’ve likely heard of Google AdWords. After operating under that name for 18 years, the Google service that’s enabled brands to reach online consumers with paid search ads has rebranded to a simpler moniker – Google Ads.
The change is a part of an effort to “help businesses of all sizes connect with relevant customers across all of our channels and partner sites,” Kim Spalding, Product Management Director at Google, said in a recent blog post.
The change from Goole AdWords to Google Ads is largely just a name change and somewhat of a reclassification of Google products. However, the update does include the introduction of Smart campaigns, the new default Google Ads experience.
The new Smart campaigns in Google Ads
Using Smart campaigns, your business can select goals and location, and let technology (i.e. “machine learning”) begin automating creative, targeting and delivery. Keywords are dynamically optimized and ads are fine-tuned based on how the campaigns are performing against your goals.
It’s important to note, however, that you can still manually manage your ad programs if you so choose instead of using the new automated features. Although, ideally, automation will complement human efforts, thereby increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of advertising dollars.
Campaign parameters such as budget, location and language will still require a manual setup with Smart campaigns, but these are unlikely to change often so they don’t require much hands-on management after the initial launch.
As explained in a recent article from Search Engine Land, Smart campaigns will join other Google services already leveraging automation including:
- Universal App campaigns that drive app installs and conversions.
- Shopping campaigns that aim to meet a specified return on ad spend (ROAS).
- Automated bidding and dynamic search ads (DSAs).
Using Smart campaigns to stand out from your competition
An upcoming component of Smart campaigns is Image Picker, which allows you to select three images that showcase your unique brand (or of course, Google can suggest them for you). Along with your ad copy, this feature can test different combinations of text and images, which optimize automatically based on performance.
Leveraging data to improve the search experience
It’s no secret that Google collects a wealth of consumers’ personal data including behavioral information like websites visited, searches conducted, ads clicked, physical location, device information, email activity and photos sent; in addition to basic demographic information like name, birthday, gender, etc. For the consumer, this data is used to improve their user experience, such as autocompleting a search phrase, recommending YouTube videos, rerouting a trip in Maps and, of course, delivering relevant advertising.
For consumers and advertisers both, this data usage is a win-win relationship. Brands get their desired visibility and consumers see ads that are increasingly more relevant to them. This ability to optimize both campaign performance and user experience based on data will only accelerate with the introduction of Smart campaigns. In fact, according to Google, Smart campaigns are three times better at getting ads in front of the right audience.
Other changes to Google’s advertising products
As Google has expanded its ad offerings over the years, advertisers like you have been more challenged in determining which product is right for your business. The new branding of Google Ads, along with two other primary brands – Google Marketing Platform and Google Ad Manager, aim to simplify product categories and make it easier for advertisers and publishers to choose the appropriate Google products for their needs.
Google Marketing Platform
The Google Marketing Platform will combine DoubleClick Digital Marketing and the Google Analytics 360 Suite. According to Google, the goal of this move is to help advertisers “plan, buy, measure and optimize digital media and customer experiences in one place;” as well as helping you “deliver more relevant and effective marketing, while ensuring that you respect your customers’ privacy and give them control over their data.”
Google also introduced Display & Video 360 as part of the Google Marketing Platform as a single place for “creative, agency and media teams to collaborate and execute ad campaigns.”
Google Ad Manager
Google is also rolling DoubleClick for Publishers and DoubleClick Ad Exchange into a single programmatic platform called Google Ad Manager. The new unified experience was designed to help publishers manage their business and ad inventory more efficiently.
You’ll start seeing these brands introduced over the next month, and there’s no doubt that future products will be more data-driven than ever before.