An AdWords Romance: Why I Fell In Love With Digital Marketing
Any good love story has these elements: passion, time, and complications. My relationship with Google AdWords definitely has all three.
1) I have a passion for it. 2) I’ve been working with it for over ten years. 3) Let’s be honest; AdWords is a pretty complicated tool.
Let me walk you through my AdWords love story–and how I’ve seen the tool grow and change over the years.
The “meet cute”
In 2005, it all began. I met Adwords for the first time. In other words, I started managing the AdWords account for my family’s business, SouvenirChicago. I quickly fell in love. When I made changes to the account and saw immediate results, I got a rush. I think I got lucky.
Soon after this experience, I started interviewing for jobs in digital marketing. Can you blame me? I was hooked. During one interview, I was asked to take a quiz and one of the questions referenced a conversion. Here’s an embarrassing secret: despite my AdWords success for my family’s company, I had no idea what a conversion was.
I learned that AdWords could not only track clicks but sales as well. So much data at my fingertips! I became even more passionate about paid search.
The inevitable love story montage
My AdWords experience grew. (This is where the montage part of the story takes place. If you want more details on my career, check out the Perfect Search company history page.) I managed PPC for Dell, Armani, Lowes, and even created the first long-tailed keyword account for FedEx. There was nothing I couldn’t do with AdWords by my side.
Fast-forward to 2016. Recently, Google came to our team to discuss the importance of tracking ad clicks to–get this–in-store visits. Just imagine how amazed my younger self (who didn’t even know what a conversion was) would be. From tracking clicks to in-store visits, AdWords has come a long way.
While I don’t actively manage accounts in a hands-on way like I have in the past, I’m close enough to notice the impactful trends that have transformed AdWords over the past 10+ years. Here are a few of the big changes that I’ve really taken notice of–and appreciated AdWords even more for.
When I first began managing accounts, there was no mention or setting for mobile devices. I mean, it was 2005. Remember how cell phones used to be like back then? Flip phones everywhere.
Then, as mobile searches became a force to be reckoned with, Google adapted. AdWords allows you to set a campaign for a specific device, be it desktop or mobile. This made it clear that mobile-specific campaigns could be incredibly powerful. However, soon AdWords no longer allowed mobile-only targeted campaigns.
Today, mobile and desktop targeting are housed in the same campaigns. Still, AdWords does allow for mobile-specific bids and mobile-specific ads. Plus, it’s in the process of rolling out tablet-specific bids.
2) Keyword match types
When I first started working with AdWords, there were three types of keyword match types: exact, phrase, and broad. It originally made sense to use all three to collect more data.
When I was working at FansEdge, something stood out to me in the search query reports. Google would match searches for sweatshirts with jerseys and T-shirts. In the old Google mapping world, this might have seemed relevant. However, in our world, it wasn’t. Issues like these brought about the need for a fourth match type. Thus, the broad match modifier was born.
(Feeling lost? No worries. Learn more about what keyword match types are and what each kind is here.)
3) Ad extensions & ad placement
Just like cell phones, ad text has come a long way over time. Google has always been looking for a way to increase the value and the click-through-rates (CTRs) of paid ads. The move towards ad extensions has been a big part of this goal. From site links to reviews to click-to-call (and even click-to-text!) extensions, the complexity of what ad text can include has truly grown.
These extensions try to get the user to the information that they’re looking for–and the outcome they want–more quickly than traditional plain text ads.
As for ad placement, the updates to the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) layout in February 2016 were a big shift. The elimination of right-side ads and the addition of a fourth ad at the top of the page is a big deal. Not only did it cause a ripple effect in the SEO world, but it also demonstrated just how important mobile search experience was to the future of AdWords.
The story isn’t over
AdWords has changed in so many ways since I started dabbling in it in 2005. To discover just how dynamic Google and its advertising platform, AdWords, has shifted, I highly recommend taking a look at Moz’s Google Algorithm Change History timeline.
I’m so glad that I discovered a passion for AdWords way back when–and I’m excited to see how AdWords continue to grow in years to come.
What are some of your favorite (or even not-so-favorite!) ways AdWords has changed over the years? Tweet us at @Perfect_Search.
Ajay Pattani is a lifelong resident of Chicagoland and is fiercely passionate about his white wine. If he could be a spokesperson for any product, it would have to be white wine. Ajay says if he could be good at one thing, it would be reading minds. If you could read his now, he’d most likely be thinking about white wine.