Google Ads, formerly known as Google AdWords, launched back in 2000 and has experienced many evolutions over that 20-year time period. Today, we are seeing more and more automation and machine learning being introduced into the Google Ads product and we, as digital marketers, must adapt.

Where are we in today’s Google Ads landscape, and where will we go in the future? Read on to learn about our predictions for this paid search product!

Wooden tiles spelling out the word keywords

Google Ads Today: Keywords,Targeting, and Auctions

Keywords are still the foundation of Google Ads search campaigns. If you tell Google which keywords to target, text ads can appear for searches that match the keywords. So adding regular and negative lists of keywords are still two of the best, basic practices to reach your audience

Of course, there are currently many other options for narrowing down targeting in the search ads format. These include:

  • Keyword Match Types – Broad, modified broad, phrase, and exact are available keyword targeting options.
  • Location – You can adjust targeting depending on where your users are physically located, or if they show interest in the area.
  • Device – You can adjust bids for certain devices that your ads appear on.
  • Audience – This is based on if your audience is interested in specific topics or for remarketing.
  • Ad Scheduling – Bid on when your ads show, or choose to not show them at all during certain times. More information on ad scheduling can be found here.
  • Demographics – These are based on age, gender, and more.

All of these can be adjusted to help achieve your desired marketing outcomes.

Currently, Google Ads is also auction-based, with the option of manual control. This means you can set and adjust bids to increase the chance of success. If you want a glimpse of how you stack up against your competitors, you can check out the Auction Insights report. Learn more about Auction Insights, particularly search impression share.

As you can see, there are many levers that can be pulled in Google Ads, historically by humans. In many of the PPC account audits we have completed, we can still see that humans sometimes are not the greatest at this. It can result in unfortunate results, such as:

  • A significant amount of wasted ad spend
  • Redundancy with keywords and more
  • Overall poor performance

In recent months and years though, we have begun to scratch the surface of automation and machine learning in Google Ads. We can tell Google our goal, and the machines do the heavy lifting with bid adjustments, targeting changes, and more.

Sometimes the machines work well, sometimes they don’t. One thing is for sure, the machines are not perfect…yet.

Google Ads’ Future: A Keywordless Tomorrow

The Keyword: this is the name of Google’s very own Google Ads blog. As mentioned above, keywords have traditionally been the foundation of search ads, with assistance from targeting and auction bidding. But some questions as we move toward the future are:

  • Will we need keywords for Google Ads anymore?
  • Are bids for Google Ads going to become completely automated?
  • How will we reach our target audience if not by targeting what users are searching for?

The foundation of search is changing. Today, automated bidding strategies are more prevalent than ever before. The machines are learning and improving as more advertisers adopt automated bidding technologies. It probably won’t stop there.

So where is Google Ads headed? What will the new foundation look like? We think a keywordless future might be what we see moving forward. This would be a future where advertisers no longer need to put in keywords, use match types, review search terms, or add negative keywords.

Landing Pages

Instead of focusing on keywords, the focus will shift to the landing page and website. Google has always focused on the user first. Give the user the best experience possible, and good things will happen. These include positive results such as:

  • More sales to increase profitability
  • Quality leads which build a lucrative consumer base
  • Great user experience, which results in happy customers.

Having a landing page and website that Google can seamlessly crawl and easily read will become even more important than it is now for a successful Google Ads account. It will increase the connection that search engine optimization and paid search have even more.

We predict that entering your landing page will be a new way to determine which search queries your ads appear for. Google won’t bother to obtain a human’s input on keywords for ads, as Google likely already knows what keywords you would have entered.

Your landing page, along with your goals and Google’s profound historical data from billions of searches will be enough to eliminate the need for keywords.

So what might set up look like? All that would need to be done would be to simply enter your landing page, goals, and budget, then click launch. This could be the new Google Ads experience, with machines knowing what to do from there.

And as we move forward, we at WTM Digital will adapt with Google Ads in order to keep moving forward.

Whether you need help preparing for the future or want to fix present-day problems, our SEO, PPC, and Web Dev teams can help. Begin a conversation with us today to start getting results!