Inside Google’s New Advertising Updates and Enhancements

By Rhonda Bradley / 04 September 2018

The latest changes to Google AdWords re-organizes its entire system. Find out what’s changed and why in this guide to Google’s latest online advertising services.

Google recently turned its 18-year-old AdWords platform upside down by re-branding, re-organizing, and adding enhancements to its current system.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the way that Google’s re-branding and enhancements can help marketers with their advertising efforts.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

  1. Why Did Google Reinvent AdWords?
    1. Google Ad Products Now Split Into 3 Categories:
    2. Google Ads
  2. Google Marketing Platform
    1. Google Ad Manager
  3. Google Machine Learning Enhancements:
    1. Responsive Search Ads
    2. YouTube Brand Lift
    3. Local Campaigns
    4. Smart Shopping

Here’s Why Google Reinvented AdWords

The primary goal behind the AdWords shake-up is to make it easier for marketers to use its software to promote their businesses.

When the original AdWords launched in the year 2000:

  • Dial-up was the most popular way to get online.
  • AOL was the biggest ISP.
  • YouTube didn’t exist.

In the same year that Google launched AdWords, the first commercial “smartphone” – the Ericsson R380 – made its debut.

Ericsson R380 photo

Today, mobile devices are a big part of day-to-day life, and this has changed the way we interact online. Users have countless choices of channels, screens, and formats from which to browse. 

The growth of mobile offers endless opportunities for businesses to connect with customers. However, the complexity of it all can be confusing for small business who are making their way through business marketing alone.

In the year 2000, Google helped people to connect on Google Search. Below is an image of what Google’s search page looked like 18 years ago.

Google search page in 2000

On October 23rd of that same year, Google launched its self-service advertising platform “AdWords.”

Now in 2018, Google is reinventing AdWords to cater to a world in which more than half of all online actions take place on mobile devices. 

Google’s new service offers businesses the opportunity to reach potential customers across every stage of the buyer's journey through multiple forms of media and online platforms.

Plus, though it hasn’t been said out loud, Facebook is creating fierce competition in the online advertising space. Facebook Ad Manager’s intuitive marketing platform is ideal for small businesses hoping to focus on targeted audiences, many within specific geographic locations. 

Now, Google also offers services that allow businesses to navigate their way through advertising much the same way Facebook does. 

Let’s take a look at the recent AdWords changes.

Google Ad Products Now Split Into 3 Categories

The first phase of the Google restructure involves establishing simpler brands and solutions for their advertising products. 

Google AdWords no longer exists.

In its place, Google now offers 3 new platforms for advertisers: Google Ads, Google Marketing Platform, and Google Ad Manager.

1. Google Ads Replaces Google AdWords, Offers New Features

Google Ads is the central portal for businesses to purchase all types of advertising from Google. It offers the full range of advertising options for, Google Apps, Google partner sites, and all its owned properties, such as:

  • YouTube
  • Google Maps
  • Google Play

Now, when you search for “Google AdWords,” your result shows the new Google Ads.

Search for Google AdWords

On the outside, Google Ads appears to some to be a simple rebranding. However, there’s more to the changes than meets the eye. 

As part of the restructuring, Google incorporated new solutions to help small businesses get started with Google Ads and to help larger businesses drive greater collaboration across teams. One example of these new solutions is Google’s Smart Campaigns.

Smart Campaigns Bolster Small Businesses

Smart Campaigns caters to small businesses and is a simple, user-friendly tool that allows brands to select campaign goals and target their audience based on geographic location.

For example, if you choose “more calls” as a primary campaign goal, Google will show your ad to people who are looking for a business like yours and allow them to call your business from within the ad.

Alternatively, if you’re a brick and mortar store, Smart Campaigns can give directions to your in-person store.

Smart Campaigns is powered by Google’s machine learning. By analyzing thousands of data points and dynamically optimizing keywords, the new platform attempts to learn what type of ads work best for your audience. Then, it adjusts and tests your ads to make them more productive. 

According to Google, “Advertisers have already seen 20% more conversions at the same cost-per-acquisition (CPA) when compared to their other display campaigns.”

All the information businesses need to get started with Smart Campaigns is included on the platform’s support page. They’ve done a great job organizing and simplifying the process so that marketers spend minutes, not hours, creating targeted campaigns.

2. Google Marketing Platform Offers Tools for Large, Enterprise-Level Businesses

Google Marketing Platform offers enterprise-level businesses a better way to collaborate across teams. According to Google, the platform allows marketing professionals to “plan, buy, measure and optimize digital media and customer experiences in one place.” 

To create a stronger platform for enterprise-level businesses, Google combined their DoubleClick advertiser products with the Google Analytics 360 Suite to form Google Marketing Platform.

Google Marketing Platform helps businesses plan, buy, measure, and optimize both digital media and the customer experience in one place. Find out more by visiting the Google Marketing Platform blog.

3. Google Ad Manager Unifies Monetization Platforms

Google Ad Manager is Google’s new ad monetization platform. 

The platform merges DoubleClick for Publishers and DoubleClick Ad Exchange into one unified platform. This project has taken about 3 years to develop and will help “improve content creation and management capabilities” for publishers.

With all the changes in online activity over the past 18 years - including the fact that people are accessing content on multiple screens - Google Ad Manager aims to help marketers manage their businesses in a way that’s easier and more efficient. 

Google Machine Learning Enhancements Increase Businesses’ Success

Google is in the process of adding machine learning updates that help businesses attain greater success with their marketing campaigns.

Among these new releases are Responsive Search Ads, Maximum Lift, Local Campaigns, and Smart Shopping campaigns. 

Here’s a look at how some of the new features will help marketers:

  • Responsive Search Ads: Google becomes your creative partner by testing out different versions of the headlines and descriptions you provide them. This should help deliver more relevant and valuable ads to your customers. 
  • YouTube Brand Lift: Marketers can use a strategy called “Maximum Lift” to connect with potential buyers who have just seen their YouTube video.
  • Local Campaigns: This feature helps local businesses drive customers directly to their brick-and-mortar stores. 
  • Smart Shopping campaigns: Share your existing product feed, images, and assets with Google Shopping campaigns for fully automated ad publishing across a variety of their networks.

Machine-learning based enhancements will help advertisers get closer to their target audiences, faster. 

Complex Changes Simplify the Advertising Experience

Small and enterprise-level businesses now have new Google features and platforms that simplify and enhance their Google advertising experiences.

The restructuring and enhancements offer something for every business and make advertising with Google quicker and easier to do. 

Only time and data will prove whether machine learning can match the efforts of experienced human marketers. However, for businesses looking to cut corners on marketing expenses, Google’s machine learning may be an excellent opportunity.

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