Google Ads vs Google Adwords – What’s Different, What’s the Same, and What’s Predicted to Come?

For several years now, Google’s online advertising platform was known as Google AdWords. The internet giant announced late this summer that it was rebranding the Google AdWords platform, along with other services, in a move designed to make its advertising platform less confusing. In announcing the change, senior vice president of Google ad efforts Sridhar Ramaswamy said the rebranding was the result of “consistent feedback from the best few years that a plethora of ad products and brands were confusing for advertisers.” Though he said it was mainly a name change going from Adwords to Google Ads, that doesn’t mean the move is without changes.

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What Stays the Same?

As Mr. Ramaswamy announced, the change from Google AdWords to Google Ads is largely one of rebranding the name. Over the course of time, Google has acquired several different ad products and platforms through buyouts and merged those into Google AdWords. These new formats, ad products, and measurement solutions have become too vast and complex for advertisers, and made it too difficult to select the right Google product to meet marketing needs.

Google AdWords launched in 2000 running text ads on desktop searches with roughly 350 advertisers participating. Today, Google Ads will replace it with the same platform that AdWords eventually evolved into. AdWords currently, and will continue to, support a variety of ad formats from text, shopping, and video to display and app installs across Google Search, YouTube, Gmail, and Maps.

Read More: Harnessing the Power of Google Search

What’s Changing with Google Ads?

Google Ad products are being divided up into three different brands for the future. AdWords, as mentioned above, will now be known as Google Ads. According to Mr. Ramaswamy, it will serve as the first step through the door into Google’s advertising universe. Users will still interact through this platform to bid on and buy ads for all Google platforms, from search and display to YouTube.

However, Google Ads will now have something that Google AdWords did not have in its arsenal. A new tool known as Smart Campaigns will be available as the default mode for small business advertisers and available as an option for large ad buyers. Smart Campaigns enables users to identify consumer actions and prioritize them based upon value. Those actions could range from phone calls to store visits and purchases. Google Ads integrates machine learning into Smart Campaigns to optimize the text, images, and targeting of ad campaigns generate more actions.

The other two brands in the new setup include Marketing Platform, which helps marketers see different options for connecting their various Google tools, and Google Ad Manager. The latter combines monetization tools for publishers.

What Does This Mean for the Future?

The rebranding of Google AdWords as Google Ads is, as Google suggests, mostly a change in names. With that said, it does also represent a reorganization of its tools available to marketers and advertisers into more logical groupings. Many analysts do see one factor in this change that suggests continuing changes to come in the future for Google Ads.

It has been pointed out that the loss of “Words” from Google AdWords to Google Ads signals the beginning of a shift away from heavy keyword emphasis in ads. Dynamic search ads, introduced by Google in 2011, marked the first time advertisers could serve up search ads in their campaigns without keywords. The shift toward Google Ads could signal a continued move toward ads that rely less upon keywords.

Read More: 7 Google Adwords Mistakes to Avoid

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