20 years ago this month Google Adwords was launched to help businesses get more exposure in search results. Before that, search engine optimization was the only way to appear at the top of the search results. Google Ads helped a new business appear at the top for a modest per click fee. At the time, we were using GoTo.com which was a firm that offered paid search ads for Yahoo, which Yahoo later bought. Back in 1997, when we first started selling products online we relied mostly on search engine optimization and paid search using GoTo.com. We didn’t signup for Google Ads right away as we were doing so well with Yahoo and GoTo.com. Yahoo was the top search engine back then. Also, we did very well with search engine optimization on Google as not many firms were optimizing for Google at the time so it was quite easy to rank for free.
We’ve been using Google Ads for almost 19 years!
We did watch it though and as Google got more popular and more firms were optimizing for Google over Yahoo we got on board with our first Google Ads account at the beginning of 2002. Back then Google Ads was fairly simple to use with basic search ads being the main if not only option. Later, they added display which got a great boost in exposure when Google bought DoubleClick. At some point Google Shopping was created and ads for that was created. Initially Google Shopping was completely free. At some point they charged and that actually improved our exposure/conversions as many retailers didn’t get on board right away. Google Shopping is to this day our primary way to get sales for all retail websites we either run ourselves or manage for clients.
They also have video ads and one my favorite options, remarketing ads, which allow you to show ads to visitors that have already shown interest such as adding a product to a cart, filling out a lead generation form or visiting certain pages on your website. This is very powerful with higher than average conversion rates.
Google Ads has been an extremely powerful way for small business to thrive and compete with larger players over the years, especially in the beginning when the larger firms were reluctant to go online.
With clients we put together a combination that fits their needs, test it, keep what works and discontinue what doesn’t and try new options against proven campaigns.
Below is a tweet from Google Ads about their 20th birthday…
Happy birthday, Google Ads! 20 years ago, AdWords was first introduced to “make it easy for anyone—even those who have little or no online advertising experience” to promote their business online. 20 years later, your stories continue to inspire the industry! #20stories20years pic.twitter.com/c53vlEk1NP
— Google Ads (@GoogleAds) October 23, 2020