The History of Google Adwords

This week Google Ads turned 20! In celebration, we've taken a look at the history of the game changing platform.
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23 October 2020 was the 20th birthday of Google Adwords. When the platform first launched, it was one of the first search engine marketing platforms in the world. 

Now, in 2020, it has evolved into one of the most indispensable platforms for digital marketers and businesses.

Photo by Solen Feyissa on Unsplash

20 Year History of Google Adwords (Now Google Ads)

October 23, 2000 — The birth of Google Adwords.

23 October, 2000 — it’s a date etched into the mind of digital marketers. This date marks the birth of Google AdWords. Google began testing the revolutionary paid search format in 1999. After much success, the platform went public the following year. 

Back in the year of the new millennium, Google Ads did look a little different than they do now. Initially, ads only appeared on the right-hand side of Google’s search results and existed on a pay-per-impression basis. Those wishing to sign up for the platform would do so on a completely self-serve basis, setting their monthly bids, with the highest bidder receiving the optimal ad position.

2001 — Success in the million. 

In the first year of its launch, the Google Adwords platforms returned more than $70 million. Interestingly enough, it was beaten in revenue by then pay-per-click platform Overture in its initial year. They didn’t let this stop them though.

2002 — Relevance-based rewards.

In 2002, popularity was growing around pay-per-click advertising. Seeing this demand, Google introduced pay-per-click advertising and a world first — rewarding positions based on relevance as well as bid value. This had great potential and meant businesses sitting towards the top of the search results soon became trusted Google users and a favourite amongst their customers.

2005 — Addition of the display network. 

Only five years into its inception, Google added site-targeted ads to its list of advertising options, commonly known as the display network. This new function allowed users to show ads on websites, which were signed up for the Google Adsense program of their choice.

Display ads created a whole new ballpark for digital marketers. Advertisers got creative with their ads using formatting like Gifs and videos to entice users. It also brought a whole new world of problems, but with many benefits too.

2006 — Experimenting with the Adwords app.

2006 saw the addition of a closed-beta version of Adwords Editor; a downloadable account management tool. Adwords Editor allowed users to quickly and easily make changes to their ads without using a browser. 

Google Adwords also began to offer businesses the ability to advertise locally via the Google Local Map. This would later develop into Google My Business.

2011 — Dynamic search ads are born. 

As Google Adwords grew, so did its ad types and demographic segmentation abilities, including the introduction of the Google Content Network. In 2011, further targeting options were released allowing advertisers to target users based on preferred locations. 

October of 2011 saw the introduction of Dynamic Search Ads. This combined the power of web-crawling technology and Google’s knowledge of website inventory to automatically generate an ad as well as a destination URL.

2016 — Sidebar ads removed.

2016 saw the removal of the Google Ads from the right side of the search results. This was one of the first moves toward a mobile-geared approach.

The ads would now appear as the first four search results. Google switched the colouring of ads from yellow to green, making them almost impossible to identify.

2018 – Goodbye Google Adwords, hello Google Ads.

In 2018, Google officially changed the name of Google Adwords to Google Ads. The re-branding came with a fresh new logo and look.

The Google of Now

Since its inception 20 years ago, Google Ads (formerly Google Adwords) has had many competitors, advancements and highlights. In 2019, Google’s ad revenue reached a whopping USD $134.81 BILLION, staking themselves as a critical element in the success of businesses in 2020.

However, Google Ads is still unknown or too complicated for most. They even admitted it themselves. So, people like Localsearch exist. We bring calm to the chaos of Google Ads, helping you achieve the best return on investment as possible. Contact us to find out more.

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