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Is Google rebranding affecting my campaigns?

Is Google rebranding affecting my campaigns?

In June 2018, Google rebranded Google Adwords. It is now called Google Ads.


Google has also launched simpler brands and solutions for their advertising products: Google Marketing Platform, and Google Ad Manager.

DoubleClick advertiser products and Google Analytics 360 Suite are now Google Marketing Platform. DoubleClick for Publishers and DoubleClick Ad Exchange are now Google Ad Manager.

Google Marketing Platform
Google says: Google Marketing Platform is a unified advertising and analytics platform that enables stronger collaboration for your marketing teams by building on existing integrations between Double Click and the Google Analytics 360 Suite.

Source: Google

Google has introduced the word ‘Marketing’, and stripped ‘words,’ from Adwords to become Google Ads.

Google Ads is more advertising oriented, while Adwords was just keywords search marketing. Google Ads represents other channels you can advertise with, such as the GDN (Google Display Network), YouTube, and Google Shopping.

Keywords and audiences
In April 2017, Google said: There are trillions of searches on Google every year.

In fact, 15% of the searches we see every day is new:

Internet Live Stats shows you how many Google searches per second and how many searches since opening the page.


Click volume is decreasing
Over the years, Google has done several changes to keywords targeting, format and match types.

According to Merkle’s report between Q4 2017 and Q2 2018, click volume is decreasing, while CPC (Cost per click) is rising faster.

Source: Merkle

in 2016, Google removed ads on the right side of the desktop.

The move has contributed to higher CPC (Cost per click), especially for the top two ad positions, which have higher CPCs than those in lower positions.

The falling share of clicks from Google Search Partners is another reason for the volume decrease.

Google Searches Resulting in ZERO Clicks


In September 2018, there were 34.28% no-click searches on Google Desktop, and 61.03% on Google Mobile.

No-click searches are growing steadily, in the last two and a half years, mobile no-click searches have increased by 11%, and desktop no-click searches have increased by 9.5%.

However, a Perficient Digital report found a blended desktop and mobile no-click percentage of about 44%. This stands in contrast to the now familiar Jumpshot-SparkToro chart showing just over 50% no-click results. The Perficient Digital number is 33.5% for the desktop and 54.6% for mobile. Source:

Percentage of no-click results: desktop vs. mobile

Zero click searches is because many searches are answered by Google right in the results.

Does Google want users to stay on their page?

If searches are answered without a click to a website, I suspect, in future, Google will try to get users to click their most profitable keywords and products.

I can envisage Google cannibalise a lot of clicks.

Interesting, the report found out that when ads were present, triggered by commercial queries, the percentage of no-click results declined significantly on the desktop. The majority of clicks came “at the expense of no-click results.” The percentage of organic clicks remained fairly close: 55.5% with and 61% without ads.

The presence of ads impacts no-click results

Optimise for CTR opportunities 
With this in mind, optimise keywords with high CTR opportunities and needing more in-depth explanations and answers to lead users clicking to your website.

For example, long tail keywords.

Searches for long tail keywords represents 70% or more of all searches, and Google can’t provide no-click answers to all these queries.

Optimise your content on all Google’s properties, for example: YouTube, Maps, Images, AMP, Knowledge Panels, and others.

At the early stages of shopping and searching, consumers don’t necessarily know brands, nor have a particular brand preference.

It is therefore very important that your brand is present and useful at every touch point to reach the right audience, at the right moment, and with the right message to build brand and product awareness.

Brands need to be relevant, helpful and personal. This promotes engagement.

Make your brand more searched for than the popular searched keywords in your industry.

A Perficient Digital report shows that for position 1, branded organic CTRs (Click through rates) are nearly 70%. But for first position non-branded queries, the number is significantly less, just under 20%.

Branded queries: dramatic CTR differences in position 1

Audience type targeting
According to Merkle’s report, revenue per click has increased across key segments.

This is due in part to audience targeting capabilities.

37% of Google search ad clicks were impacted by specific audience targeting, including RLSA (Remarketing Lists for Search Ads), Customer match and similar audiences.

Source: Merkle

In terms of share of Ad Clicks, Audience type targeting is outperforming keywords targeting.

Google’s business model is evolving
Is Google shifting its focus on audiences? Does Google want to appeal to a larger number of advertisers who want to do online advertising as well as direct marketing?

The CPC (Cost per click) is high for most advertisers, and if click volume continues to decrease, Google may diversify its business model using different methodology to show ads not only based on matching keywords and searches.

For example, Google could show ads to searchers that advertisers have not matched well with their keywords, audiences, remarketing campaigns, or where these ads are predicted to improve performance.

Or, furthermore, is Google becoming everyone’s competitor?
“In September, 7.5% of all searches resulted in a click to an Alphabet property,” said Rand Fishkin. “Google is the biggest beneficiary of Google Search today. Nobody else comes close to that 7.5% number.”
These clicks are taking business away from some advertisers, for example, Skyscanner and Kayak in travel, Eater and Yelp in local results, U.S. News and FiveThirtyEight in the college rankings, Wunderground and, MetaCritic and PC Gamer, and basically everybody but Alphabet when it comes to a lot of popular culture and media stuff. as Fishkin is correctly pointing out.

Voice search
Voice search is also expected to grow steadily to play a big part in the future of search.

Google says that 20% of searches in the Google mobile app in the USA are done by voice.

Keywords in Voice search are differently than keywords on Google Search, and in general, are longer tail phrases and specific questions, such as who, what, when, where, why, and how.

Smart Bidding

Google Ads is progressively moving into AI (Artificial Intelligence) with Smart Bidding, a set of machine learning automated bid strategies designed to optimise your campaigns for conversions, conversion value, ROAS (Return on ad spend), CPA (Cost per acquisition) and Impression share in each and every auction.

Smart Bidding strategies are as follows:
Target CPA (Cost per acquisition)
Target ROAS (Return on ad spend)
Maximise clicks
Maximise conversions
Target search page location
Target outranking share
Enhanced CPC (Cost per click)
Target impression share

Smart Campaigns
For 90% of small business owners, the main goal of advertising online is to get customers to call, visit a store, or make a purchase.

Google says: “With the introduction of Google Ads, a small business can now use Smart campaigns, our new default ads experience. We built Smart campaigns by tailoring the innovation and advertising technology available with Google Ads for small business owners.

Smart campaigns are machine learning campaigns, for example, Smart Display Campaigns and Universal App Campaigns.

You can now create ads in minutes and drive real results-like making your phone ring, sending leads to your website, or bringing customers to your store.

The ad creative, targeting and delivery are mainly automated, and are designed for small businesses that don’t have the time or resources to manage complex digital advertising campaigns.

When you use Smart campaigns, Google Ads asks for your goals to fine-tune your ads in order to get the results you care about most.

Machine Learning
Sridhar Ramaswamy, Google Senior Vice President, Ads & Commerce says:
“Today we are introducing simpler brands and solutions for our advertising products: Google Ads, Google Marketing Platform, and Google Ad Manager.

These new brands will help advertisers and publishers of all sizes choose the right solutions for their businesses, making it even easier for them to deliver valuable, trustworthy ads and the right experiences for consumers across devices and channels.

As part of this change, we are releasing new solutions that help advertisers get started with Google Ads and drive greater collaboration across teams.

For small businesses specifically, we’re introducing a new campaign type in Google Ads that makes it easier than ever to get started with online advertising.

It brings the machine learning technology of Google Ads to small businesses and helps them get results without any heavy lifting so they can stay focused on running their businesses”.

What should you focus on?

Intent of search and behaviour and less on keywords.
Data feed rather than keywords. “Selecting 250 million keywords can be painfully time-consuming, but if you can just upload a feed,” says Dischler, Google’s VP of Product Management.
Audiences, interests, and people based targeting.
Useful information and quality content marketing.
Brand awareness. Build your own brand to create demand, and make it more searched for than the popular searched keywords in your industry.
AI (Artificial Intelligence) and Machine Learning.
A unified marketing platform for search, social, mobile, display and video ads.
Voice searches and featured snippets as users want to find answers quickly.

Read this great article: The prisoner’s dilemma for brand. Do I optimize for zero-click searches, for providing these answers, for marking my results the way Google wants them — and potentially losing traffic as a result?

Extract from my Book ‘Making Google Ads Work’.