If you are in this business, you’ve heard it too… “I used to have such great results on Google AdWords back in 2006. Why can’t you just roll my account back to those settings. Surely I will get more clicks and activity at a cheaper price!” There is no time machine that can turn back the clock to give you clicks and performance that you used to have in the past on Google AdWords.
Here are a few changes that I have seen in the last eight or so years that have impacted advertisers on AdWords. I will only list ten, but you can leave a comment with the ones you have seen too.
- Introduction of the quality score based on your keywords, ad text and landing page.
- Highly competitive bidding from new advertisers bidding on your keywords pushing up the market price per click. In one year I saw a 33% increase in click costs.
- Increased use of technology to manage bidding from specialized programmer interfaces. AdWords now has many of these tools available to use as rules in accounts, but before only the big companies with special programming staff had access.
- Tremendous variety of ad choices from text ads to video ads. We used to only have one choice text ads on Google.com.
- Proliferation of the publisher network through AdSense. There has been an improvement in the publisher network, but it has been pretty awful and rife with fraud previously before Google wised up to the issue of robot ad clicking.
- Issues of using trademarks in your ad text and keyword list. It used to be you could use them and then trademark owners have gotten very testy of even demanding you remove them from your keyword list in the US even when Google says you don’t need to go that far. In some cases, it has made it impossible for some legitimate businesses to promote their product and service on AdWords. I know of several specific cases.
- Google AdWords providing account set up and management services directly to businesses and putting themselves in direct competition with firms such as my own. Remember when they did this in the early days of certification.
- Instituted a program to certify account managers. I managed AdWords before there even was a certification program. I’ve seen the tests be tough, easy, and they are tough again. I’ve even had people ask to pay me to take the test for them. No I haven’t done that, I am offended to be asked to do so, as it hurts the professional credential I work so hard to keep.
- Introduction of TV, newspaper, and telephone into AdWords. We don’t have the option to buy AdWords ads in print newspapers, but we used to. Telephone started out as a totally different beast and only to a few select advertisers. Remember the green click to call phone icon. I like the new phone integration much better and am getting great success using it for my clients.
- Remember the early days you could create AdWords ads and target your Google Places page all from within the control panel. I liked that much better than AdWords Express. There was better control, but we cannot do that anymore.
These are just a few of the changes that I personally have seen. Each one has had an impact of advertisers as AdWords has matured into the vibrant ad platform that it is today. So sorry, there simply is no going back what AdWords used to be it has morphed over the years into a very cool, high tech valuable tool that will drive sales and website traffic. It is much more complicated but more powerful than it was before. With this power comes significant market acceptance and competition for the available clicks, sorry, but that’s progress.