Google Ads Evolution: Rise of Audience-First Strategies For Your Business

Google Ads Evolution: Rise of Audience-First Strategies For Your Business

26 June 2023 |

Media and Advertising Industry

We’re going to dive into Google Ads’ history to unlock the secrets of our industry’s future. In this article, ADMATICian and Managing Partner NZ, Rod Russell shares how its transformation offers a roadmap for crafting winning strategies for your business. 

But first, let’s start by sharing the history of the start of Google AdWords, and how as Digital Marketers, we can uncover audience-first strategies in 2023. 

From the Beginning to the Automation Revolution

In 2000, Google AdWords emerged, granting a select group of specialists the power to run ads. Technical expertise was essential and most things were done manually. Between 2000 and 2015, apart from the launch of Google Shopping, most changes to the platform were aesthetic in nature.

Between 2015 and 2016, the first steps towards automation were taken. Most importantly, smart bidding was introduced where algorithms took over tasks previously performed by humans and provided an initial glimpse into what was to come

The Automation Revolution Unfolds

From 2016 to 2020, machine learning and automation became the standard with Google Ads. The pace of change towards automation was kicked up a gear with the introduction of automation campaign types like Smart shopping and local campaigns.

Fast forward to 2021, when Google unveiled the groundbreaking Performance Max campaign type, taking automation even further with a huge reduction in control from humans. Reliance was now on only creative and audience signals inputted to Google, rather than the traditional keyword that search marketers had relied on for the last 20 years.

Show me the money

If you look at Google’s increasing revenue over the years, there seems to be a direct correlation with the launch of automation products and updates.

The introduction of Performance Max in particular, coincides with a substantial increase in revenue, even amid the challenges posed by the COVID pandemic. No surprises really as PMAX is designed to reach your target audience no matter where they are on Google’s properties (search, display, YouTube, and discovery).  This is a great feature for advertisers, but it’s even better for Google as it helps them to better monetize previously untapped advertising spaces and increase their yield.

As Google’s financial gains continue to multiply, the solidification of automation products like PMAX within their tech stack becomes increasingly apparent.

The Audience-First Shift & Preparing for an Automated Future

Transitioning towards and embracing audience-first strategies becomes increasingly important in an automated future. Use these three pillars to guide your strategy:

  1. Leveraging Reliable First-Party Data: With audience-based targeting taking centre stage, the significance of reliable and accurate first-party data cannot be overstated. The quality of data fed into Google Ads directly impacts the quality of results achieved.
  2. Investing in Compelling Content: Creating high-quality ads, images, and videos, and establishing a robust online identity to effectively captivate the target audience. This empowers automation by providing multiple options to test and identify winning combinations of message and audience. Additionally, the content on your website now plays a crucial role too in guiding Google’s smart bidding to target the right audiences for your business.
  3. Upskilling on Automation Products and Updates: Embracing and taking the time to master new automated campaign types becomes essential to maximize our results and drive cost efficiencies.

So, there is no stopping our current trajectory to an increasingly automated future, but that doesn’t mean just letting algorithms run riot. The right strategy and the quality of input into the platforms will make all the difference.

Reach out to an ADMATICian today to discuss an audience-first strategy for your business.