Branding is a big part of marketing. A “brand” is that warm and fuzzy feeling you get when you think about a company, product, or service. Imagine a Tesla, and you certainly think of a luxury, quality-built vehicle that is both an electric car and a high-performance automobile. It’s also a status symbol that says not only are you rich, but you’re ecoconscious. You’re having your cake, and eating it too. Driving a big, luxurious vehicle AND saying the planet. That brand, “Tesla,” communicates a lot. (Whether you as a consumer buy into it, is another matter, altogether).
The AdWords Brand
Google is a big brand, too. And Google has it’s own brand image (“Don’t be evil” comes to mind, as does a very sophisticated search engine with a suite of related products such as Gmail or YouTube). Which brings us to AdWords. AdWords brings us something like 96% of Google’s revenues; AdWords is Google’s “cash cow.” And the AdWords brand image, to the extent that it has one, communicates valuable, pay-per-click advertising through one of the world’s largest digital ad networks, that is, the Google search engine, Gmail, YouTube, and the (problematic) Google Display Network. For those who use AdWords on a daily basis (as an AdWords expert), the brand image might not be quite so beautiful. AdWords is powerful, but AdWords can be hard to use, and AdWords can seem at times to be replete with “Gotchas” that make it seem like it is more optimized at making Google money than at making us or our clients money.
AdWords is Now Google Ads
For whatever reason, Google decided to “rebrand” AdWords as Google Ads. Google Ads seems to be the umbrella brand for advertising on Google.com (the search engine), the Google Display Network, YouTube, Gmail, and via remarketing to many other sites and potential new venues. I guess they figured that AdWords was too constrained, as the “words” in “AdWords” conveyed that it was all about “words,” when you can advertise with video on YouTube and on the GDN as well as images. Not to mention App advertising to promote Apps. So blowing through the constraints on the AdWords brand it’s now Google Ads.
As for me, I continue working day in and day out as an AdWords expert, including an AdWords expert witness for legal work. Oops, I mean a Google Ads expert and a Google Ads expert witness. The name has changed but the technical issues, requirements, and marketing strategies have not. In fact, as of this writing, I’m working on my 2019 Google Ads Workbook which -like Google AdWords – will have the mouthful task of saying Google Ads (formerly AdWords) at least in the beginning of the book, and the horrible syntax of saying Google Ads IS (rather than Google Ads ARE). It’s a singular entity masquerading to the ear as a plural, which isn’t going to please English teachers. Nor please people like me who don’t like how it flows in a sentence. But aside from English teachers and people who care about the English language, the rebrand is going ahead full-force.
What does this mean for expert witnesses? For lawyers? For people who participate in litigation and other legal matters which surround online advertising? Well, at a technical level, not much. Just as if Tesla tried to rebrand itself as Quigla Cars (or whatever), the cars themselves would still be the same in the physical world, so when Google AdWords became Google Ads, it didn’t change anything a technical level. Ads still are displayed on Google.com, they have headlines, display URL’s, descriptions, sitelinks, and what not. Changes are still being made a technical level (e.g., the creation of new responsive ads or Smart Ads, etc.). But that’s really separate from the name, Google Ads. A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose as Gertrude Stein said, echoing William Shakespeare.
Google Ads Expert Witness
As for being a Google Ads expert witness, yes, I can still claim to be that, even if technically speaking I used to be a Google AdWords expert witness. And I guess the broader “umbrella” name of this speaks to my knowledge of YouTube, ads on Gmail, the Google Display Network, remarketing, and even ads on apps. I know all of this and can speak to it in a courtroom, no matter what you call it.