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20 Years and Counting: The Evolution of Google

For those who like their stats and landmarks, we’re now up to and beyond 20 years of a world with Google in our lives. The exact date the company was founded is up for debate, but you can either choose to celebrate the 4th September, when Google Inc was incorporated, or 27th September, when the internet giant celebrates with an annual ‘Doodle’ in true Google fashion.

Google’s marketing portfolio has expanded beyond belief since 1998… AdSense, Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords), Search Ads 360 (formerly DoubleClick for Search) and Google Analytics are just a few of the media-buying platforms and analytical tools available to companies and agencies worldwide in 2018.

The Evolution of Google
If you were to take a trip down memory lane and glance at the search result pages from way back in 1998, you would see links for other big-hitting search engines at the time such as AltaVista, Excite, HotBot and Lycos… remember those guys?

Despite the launch of its internet search engine in 1998, the formerly-named Google AdWords (now Google Ads) launched in October 2000. A mere 350 advertisers were involved from day one of Google AdWords, compared to the millions who use their products nowadays.

The introduction of cost-per-click (CPC) pricing wasn’t brought in until February 2002, whilst Google Analytics followed in November 2005 after Google acquired Urchin Software Corp and developed / rebranded its web statistics program Urchin.Video Ads on YouTube were launched in August 2007 before the ad serving management platform DoubleClick was bought by Google for more than $3 billion in March 2008. DoubleClick has now of course been rebranded as the Google Marketing Platform.

It was June 2013 that we saw Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA) come into play for everyone following a year in closed beta. As Google has transitioned towards a focus on targeting the right user at the right time, not just those who searched for the right keyword, this was a landmark time for advertisers looking at cost-effective, joined-up methods to reach their target market. 2013 also saw Google make advances in mapping, purchasing Waze for $966 million, following on from the introduction of Google Maps in 2005.

In recent years, the biggest PPC landmarks revolved around the elimination of PPC ads from the right-hand side of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) in February 2016, whilst the much-heralded Expanded Text Ads came into play in July 2016.

All Response Media viewpoint
So… what’s coming over the next 20 years for Google?

There continues to be a drive towards machine-learning and automation, helping to make the user journey easier in a world of shortening attention spans, but we can’t just rely on computers and algorithms to do the work for us. GDPR has also come into play this year, forcing all tech providers to rethink large areas of their business, and the digital landscape may yet change again in the aftermath.

Advertisers need to ensure they have a level of control, as the true experts in media performance, to maximise return on investment whether that is through leads, online sales, revenue or website traffic. Google will continue to test, test and test again, but we as leading media agencies still need to keep the leash taut. After all, Google stated recently that they ran more than 200,000 experiments that resulted in 2,400+ changes to search in 2017 alone…and not all those tests will have worked.

Like Google, at All Response Media we have years* of collective experience and expertise across digital. However, to achieve success for both ourselves and our clients, our sole focus will always be on utilising appropriate Google tools for effective direct response and customer acquisition campaigns tailored to our clients’ KPIs and objectives.

*Footnote: Google may be celebrating 20 years, but All Response Media was formed over 23 years ago!

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