When Did Google AdWords Become Google Ads

Ben Tippet

The Google AdWords Brand

Google Adwords was a brand every major business knew and loved for its advertising potential. However, there hasn’t been much talk about it lately. Where did it go? Nowhere, actually. Google Adwords is where it’s always been. It simply rebranded as Google Ads. Is it the same PPC platform? Why did Google change it? When did the rebrand happen? You can find the answers to these questions and more by reviewing the history of Google Ads branding.

The Start Of Google Adwords

Google released Adwords in 2000. At that time, there were few digital ad campaigns businesses could rely on. As a rising search engine, Google had an advantage other ad networks didn’t. The company used this advantage to launch a digital marketing campaign manager. Coupled with the rise of the Internet and online markets, this Google marketing platform was destined to succeed.

Google Adwords Timeline

Past to Present


The story begins in 2000 when Adwords was originally launched as a monthly paid service. Google offered to create and manage campaigns but soon added a self-service feature for businesses to control campaigns themselves.


Adwords switched from monthly pay to pay-per-click.


At this point, Google had become immensely popular as a search engine. It was the only true competitor against Yahoo, which was once the world’s most popular search tool. Google released AdSense, which paid publishers for ads placed on their websites. This provided more platforms for Adwords ads.


Google Analytics was launched. This was a game-changer because it allowed advertisers to view and modify specific metrics of their campaign performance. Google Analytics data was crucial to adapting new strategies that define digital marketing today.


Adwords became integrated with what would eventually become Google Maps. This integration allowed businesses to use keywords to show customers their locations on a local map.


YouTube ads began running within videos. (Google had already acquired YouTube in 2006.) This year, Google also acquired DoubleClick Ad Exchange/Doubleclick Bid Manager. Videos and DoubleClick digital marketing are both parts of Adwords campaign types.


Google launched interest-based ads, allowing advertisers to directly target certain audiences.


The introduction of Dynamic Search Ads allowed businesses to appear in search results based on the content of their overall website, not just a specific webpage.


Showcase Shopping gave retailers the option to select images of their products to display on search results pages. A Google Shopping ad campaign was another feature of Adwords.


Google released Smart Display Campaigns. This made the Google Display Network more accessible to advertisers.


Google Adwords became Google Ads.

The Need for Rebranding

As Google continued to expand beyond Google Search, it acquired more properties. This led to an increase in various advertising products and services. Over time, it became difficult for users to keep track of the numerous programs. Most marketers stuck to one or two without ever experimenting with the others. To simplify Google’s various advertising services, the company decided to rebrand everything into one PPC program. As a result, Google Ads was created. In this process, several other name changes occurred. The main DoubleClick brand and Google Analytics 360 Suite were combined under the new brand, Google Marketing Platform. Despite happening at the same time, Google Marketing Platform is not a part of Google Ads or Google Ad Manager.

The Beginning of Google Ads

The new Google Ads was implemented in July of 2018 alongside Google Ad Manager and Google Marketing Platform. Google succeeded in its mission to simplify its advertising products by compacting most of its services into three main brands.

What Else Changed?

As Google Ads launched, several other advertising programs were rebranded and repackaged. These are the most notable changes:

  • DoubleClick Ad Exchange became “Google Ad Exchange (Google AdX).” Inspired by the beloved DoubleClick digital marketing, Google AdX is the biggest competitor against AdSense, except it is limited to big-time publishers.
  • Google released Smart Campaigns for small businesses to allow them to showcase their products with a set of keywords.
  • The new Google Ad Manager compiled Google Analytics, Data Studio, and BigQuery data into one product interface.

With these major updates, Google also made the new services more compatible with other apps, such as Google Drive, Google Maps, Gmail, and more.

New Google Ads Brand Reception

While some users were initially resistant to the changes, most embraced them. In the eyes of an advertiser, it’s more convenient to have all relevant tools together in one app to quickly analyse data and advertise on the go. Combining everything into one main web platform also allowed marketers to discover new products to incorporate into their PPC strategies. From video to shopping, the world of online advertising was reshaped and redefined by the history of Google Ads. The changes made in July 2018 only furthered digital marketing advancement.

What the Google Ads brand represents

What the Google Ads brand represents is an ongoing commitment to innovation and customer accessibility. From embedding video results on the top of search pages to using keywords to advertise relevant shopping options, Google consistently forms new marketing techniques. The future of Google Ads is a bright one. The easier Google makes matters for an advertiser, the lower the chances of any of these classic advertising services ever going away. Over time, we will likely see more rebranding and repackaging. As Google releases, acquires and adapts more programs, old ones will need to be updated to allow interconnectivity and reduce redundancy. This means there will always be something new to try in the Google Ads timeline while still having access to the basics that made Adwords successful two decades ago.

Want to learn more? Contact the team at Perth Digital Edge to elevate your brand and stay ahead of the competition. Find your digital edge today.

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