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A History of Google Ads

A History of Google Ads

What is Google Ads?
Google Ads is an online platform through which advertisers can pay to display advertisements within Google’s advert network to its users. It uses a pay-per-click (PPC) pricing model, meaning the advertiser pays Google for each time the ad is clicked. Google Ads includes adverts for products, services, video content, or to promote mobile application downloads. This platform constitutes a high proportion of Google’s revenue: in 2017, it accounted for $95.4 billion of Google’s advertising revenues. The combined contribution of Google’s advertising platforms to their total revenues is 86%.

In the Beginning
Google Ads launched in 2000, and at that time it was known as Google AdWords (until July 2018). It launched with a month long beta and had approximately 350 users. In fact, it was not Google’s first advertising platform: Premium Sponsorships had launched the month before. However, within a few years, Google AdWords had subsumed this initial venture.

Upon the launch of Google AdWords, Google’s founder and CEO, Larry Page, said that it “offers the most technologically advanced features available, enabling any advertiser to quickly design a flexible program that best fits its online marketing goals and budget.” His optimism was well founded, as this program was to become very successful, very quickly.

Changing Landscapes
It’s important to remember at the time at which Google AdWords launched, the technological landscape was much different than it is today. Whilst “to Google” has now become an almost universally understood verb, back in the early 2000s, Google was only wracking up about 20 million searches per day. Think that already sounds like a heck of a lot? Well today, Google users search a staggering 5.6 billion times per day.

A major factor in this incredible upswing of searches is the devices available these days. Whilst back then almost all searches were being conducted on desktop computers, users now have tablets, mobiles, and laptops at their disposal. In fact, more than half of Google’s daily searches come from mobile devices.

Another big change has been the increase in competition from companies such as Facebook, which has now overtaken Google in terms of revenue from display ads. However, Google remains the front runner for searches, accounting for 64% of desktop searches and 90% of mobile searches. Search advertising continues to account for around half of internet advertising expenditure. In the first half of 2018, ad revenues reached $49.5 billion. This includes other search engines such as Bing and Yahoo, but Google comfortably takes the lead.

Then and Now
As noted, Google AdWords had only 350 users when it began, and now hosts in excess of a million users. The reason for its success has been quite simply that it gives businesses the growth they wish to see. An example of this is, which was among the initial users of Google AdWords. When the business began, it was a small operation, working out of someone’s home. Thanks to the traffic it gained from Google AdWords, it is now one of the USA’s biggest suppliers of customisable products. Randy Wells, its COO, said, “Google is our largest and most reliable source of new customers. Online marketing is the heart of our business and drives our growth.”

From 2003, Google AdWords began to expand globally. Users in 218 countries began connecting with businesses through the platform. For example, an Italian furniture manufacturer in business since 1970 has seen a 300% increase in employees and revenue since 2002, thanks to Google AdWords driving online sales and site visits.

Whilst in 2002 Google AdWords was already available in an impressive 72 languages, today it can be accessed in over 150 languages – including Klingon!

The platform has adapted quickly to keep up with the demands of a mobile culture. The enormously widespread use of mobile devices has meant not only that users are searching increasingly from mobile devices, but that the nature of their searches is different. For example, a huge growth area has been in searches for “near me” recommendations whilst on the go (e.g. bars and restaurants). Likewise, 82% of smartphone users will search for a product they are looking at in a store, to check reviews and price comparisons.

The very nature of Google searches has changed dramatically with the mobile culture, and Google Ads is changing all the time to adapt and help their clients to maximise success in an ever-changing online world. The history of Google Ads demonstrates that it excels in anticipating and responding to consumers’ wants and needs so that businesses can get the most out of their services.

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