After 18 years of ruling the glorious realm of online advertising, Google AdWords is no more – the victim of a brutal and unflinching re-branding exercise.

Put more prosaically, Google have announced some major changes to the way that their advertising products are branded and structured, with the aim being to better reflect the service that they offer and the way in which the products can be integrated with each other.

This isn’t simply an idle change in branding for branding’s sake. Taken together, the changes are a clear signal of intent from Google as to the direction in which they want to take online advertising and what advertisers and agencies will have to do to keep up in order to flourish.

The re-brand comes in three parts:

‘Google Adwords’ replaced by ‘Google Ads’

AdWords has not been just about search ads for a long time and, even where it is about search ads, it is becoming less and less about words.

Display and Video ads are of ever increasing importance to Google’s bottom line, while the success of Shopping Ads, Audience targeting and Dynamic Search Ads means that the traditional “keyword” now plays a much-reduced role in campaigns run through the platform.

Dropping the “Words” shows where Google’s focus already is and, more importantly, where it will be in the future. Importantly, a new campaign type – the Smart Campaign – is designed to deliver an incredibly high degree of automation for small business owners, covering everything from ad creation, through targeting and optimisation.

‘Google Marketing Platform’ to encompass Doubleclick (for advertisers) and GA 360

Here at SearchStar, we’ve always known that advertising and analytics need to go hand-in-hand to get great results. The creation of the Google Marketing Platform reflects our experience, with Google looking to make it easier for advertisers to integrate the two.

The various display media buying, creative development and ad management capabilities of Doubleclick Bid Manager, Campaign Manager, Studio and Audience Center are being rolled into a new, single platform: Display & Video 360.

In turn, this will sit within the wider Google Marketing Platform, alongside Search Ads 360 (currently Doubleclick Search), Analytics 360, Data Studio, Optimize 360, Surveys 360 and Tag Manager 360. Do you get the idea they want to be seen as providing “all round” visibility?

Doubleclick for Publishers and Doubleclick Ad Exchange to become “Google Ad Platform”

On the other side of the advertising fence, Google are looking to streamline how they service content producers and publishers (those with ad space to sell). Doubleclick for Publishers will be renamed Google Ad Platform, which will then subsume Google Ad Exchange.

So what?

Three things:

  1. Google want advertisers to look beyond search.

  2. Basic (and not so basic) Search campaigns are rapidly becoming fully automated.

  3. Google are providing better, more integrated solutions for sophisticated, full-funnel digital ad campaigns that run across multiple channels, in multiple formats.

By dropping Adwords as a brand, and introducing Smart Campaigns, Google are sending a clear message that advertisers and agencies that run simple, unimaginative search activity are not doing enough. The machines have arrived to do more and do it better.

On the flip-side, by creating the Google Marketing Platform, Google have shown that they will support advertisers and agencies who want to move beyond the basics; those who can take advantage of the data that’s available to them to deliver new strategies, greater levels of innovation, and a better advertising experience for consumers. Essentially, those who can add real value and do what the machines can’t.

We’re excited by this because we’ve always gone beyond basic search. We already push for constant innovation in our search offering, and integrate our display, video and analytics services.

The latest updates from Google only help us provide clients with even better campaigns, analysis, strategy and, ultimately, results. The question is, if you or your agency aren’t going beyond the basics, what value is being added over and above what a machine could do?