|Initial release||October 23, 2000|
Google AdWords is an online advertising service that places advertising copy at the top or bottom of, or beside, the list of results Google displays for a particular search query. The choice and placement of the ads is based in part on a proprietary determination of the relevance of the search query to the advertising copy. AdWords has evolved into Google's main source of revenue. Google's total advertising revenues were USD$42.5 billion in 2012. AdWords offers pay-per-click, that is, cost-per-click (CPC) advertising, cost-per-thousand-impressions or cost-per-mille (CPM) advertising, and site-targeted advertising for text, banner, and rich-media ads. The AdWords program includes local, national, and international distribution. Google's text advertisements are short, consisting of one headline of 25 characters and two additional text lines of 35 characters each. Image ads can be one of several different Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) standard sizes.
Sales and support for Google's AdWords division in the United States is based in Mountain View, California, with major secondary offices in Ann Arbor, Michigan and New York. The third-largest US facility is in Mountain View, California, headquarters. Engineering for Google AdWords is based in Mountain View, California.
Google has an active official public Help and Support Community maintained and frequented by highly experienced Adwords users (referred to as "Top Contributors") and Google employees.
- IP address exclusion
- In addition to controlling ad placements through location and language targeting, placements can be refined with Internet Protocol (IP) address exclusion. This feature enables advertisers to exclude specified IP address ranges where they don't want their ads to appear.
- Up to 500 IP addresses, or ranges of addresses, can be excluded per campaign. All ads in the campaign are prevented from showing for users with the IP addresses specified.
- Location-based exclusion is also offered as a method of narrowing targeted users.
Placement-targeted advertisements (formerly Site-Targeted Advertisements)
In 2003 Google introduced site-targeted advertising. Using the AdWords control panel, advertisers can enter keywords, domain names, topics, and demographic targeting preferences, and Google places the ads on what they see as relevant sites within their content network. If domain names are targeted, Google also provides a list of related sites for placement. Advertisers may bid on a cost-per-impression (CPM) or cost-per-click (CPC) basis for site targeting.
With placement targeting, it is possible for an ad to take up the entire ad block rather than have the ad block split into 2 to 4 ads, resulting in higher visibility for the advertiser.
The minimum cost-per-thousand impressions bid for placement-targeted campaigns is 25 cents.There is no minimum CPC bid, however.
All AdWords ads are eligible to be shown on www.google.com. Advertisers also have the option of enabling their ads to show on Google's partner networks. The "search network" includes AOL search, Ask.com, and Netscape. Like www.google.com, these search engines show AdWords ads in response to user searches, but do not affect quality score.
The "Google Display Network" (GDN) (formerly referred to as the "content network") shows AdWords ads on sites that are not search engines. These content network sites are those that use AdSense and DoubleClick, the other side of the Google advertising model. AdSense is used by website owners who wish to make money by displaying ads on their websites. Click-through rates on the display network are typically much lower than those on the search network and quality score for Display Network is calculated separately from Search network.
Google automatically determines the subject of pages and displays relevant ads based on the advertisers' keyword lists. AdSense publishers may select channels to help direct Google's ad placements on their pages, to increase performance of their ad units. There are many different types of ads that can run across Google's network, including text ads, image ads (banner ads), mobile text ads, and in-page video ads.
In 2010, Yahoo formed a partnership with Microsoft, giving Microsoft the control over powering the Yahoo search marketing ads. Both accounts are now run through Bing Ads. When ads are displayed on Yahoo now, it is powered by Bing Ads and is run through the Microsoft software interface.
AdWords account management
To help clients with the complexity of building and managing AdWords accounts, search engine marketing agencies and consultants offer account management as a business service. This allowed organizations without advertising expertise to reach a global, online audience. Google started the Google Advertising Professionals program to certify agencies and consultants who have met specific qualifications and passed an exam. Google also provides account management software, called AdWords Editor.
Correct choice of keywords is very important because the targeting of ads by Google is totally dependent upon the keyword selection. Keyword choice is also a very large factor in determining the level of exposure the Google ad receives, and to a large extent, who sees the ad.
Another useful feature is the My Client Center available to Google Professionals (even if they have not yet passed the exam or budget parameters) whereby a Google professional has access to a dashboard summary of several accounts and can move between those accounts without logging into each account.
The Google Adwords Keyword Tool provides a list of related keywords for a specific website or keyword.
Google Click-to-Call was a service provided by Google which allowed users to call advertisers from Google search results pages. Users entered their phone number and Google would then call them back and connect to the advertiser. Calling charges were paid by Google. The service was discontinued in 2007. For some time similar click-to-call functionality was available for results in Google Maps. In the Froyo release of Google's Android operating system, certain advertisements include very similar functionality, where a user can easily call an advertiser.
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (January 2011)|
The original idea was invented by Bill Gross of Idealab who, in turn, borrowed the idea from the model of the Yellow Pages. Google wanted to buy the idea but a deal could not be reached. Not wanting to give up on this form of advertisement, the company launched its own solution, AdWords in 2000. AdWords followed a model that was significantly similar to Bill Gross' creation which led to legal action between the two parties. Eventually the dispute was settled out of court.
At first, AdWords advertisers would pay a monthly amount, and Google would then set up and manage their campaign. To accommodate small businesses and those who wanted to manage their own campaigns, Google soon introduced the AdWords self-service portal. Starting in 2005 Google provided a campaign management service called Jumpstart. Google's Jumpstart program offers free telephone support from a Google specialist to help users start their online advertising campaign.
In 2005, Google launched the Google Advertising Professional (GAP) Program to certify individuals and companies who completed AdWords training and passed an exam. Due to the complexity of AdWords and the amount of money at stake, some advertisers hire a consultant to manage their campaigns.
In 2008, Google launched the Google Online Marketing Challenge <http://www.google.com/onlinechallenge/>, an in-class academic exercise for tertiary students. Over 8,000 students from 47 countries participated in the 2008 Challenge, over 10,000 students from 58 countries took part in 2009, about 12,000 students in 2010 and almost 15,000 students from 70 countries in 2011. The Challenge runs annually, roughly from January to June. Registration is at the instructor rather than student level.
In April 2013, Google announced it will add enhanced campaigns for AdWords to “help advertisers better manage their campaigns in a multi-device world” The enhanced campaigns will “show ads across devices with the right ad text, sitelink, app or extension, without advertisers having to edit each campaign for every combination of devices, location and time of day,” and will include “advanced reports to measure new conversion types.” This move has been controversial among advertisers.
AdWords has generated lawsuits in the area of trademark law (see Google, Inc. v. Am. Blind & Wallpaper Factory and Rescuecom Corp. v. Google Inc.), fraud (see Goddard v. Google, Inc.), and click fraud. In 2006, Google settled a click fraud lawsuit for US$90 million. March 2010, Google was involved with a trademark infringement case involving three French companies that own Louis Vuitton trademarks. The issue at hand was whether “Google should be liable for trade mark infringement for allowing third party advertisers to purchase keywords which are trade marks, or whether advertisers should be allowed to choose and purchase keywords freely from Google,” Ultimately, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that Google Adwords were “not a breach of EU trade mark law, but that the content of some advertisements that are linked by Google keywords may well be in breach depending upon the particular facts of the case.” Additionally, in some American jurisdictions the use of a person's name as a keyword for advertising or trade purposes without the person's consent has raised Right to Privacy concerns. 
Overture Services, Inc. sued Google for patent infringement in April 2002 in relation to the AdWords service. Following Yahoo!'s acquisition of Overture, the suit was settled in 2004 with Google agreeing to issue 2.7 million shares of common stock to Yahoo! in exchange for a perpetual license under the patent.
In May 2011, Google cancelled the AdWord advertisement purchased by a Dublin sex worker rights group named "Turn Off the Blue Light" (TOBL), claiming that it represented an "egregious violation" of company ad policy by "selling adult sexual services". However, TOBL is a nonprofit campaign for sex worker rights and is not advertising or selling adult sexual services. In July, after TOBL members held a protest outside Google's European headquarters in Dublin and wrote to complain, Google relented, reviewed the group's website, found its content to be advocating a political position, and restored the AdWord advertisement.
In June 2012, Google rejected the Australian Sex Party's ads for AdWords and sponsored search results for the July 12 by-election for the state seat of Melbourne, saying the Party breached its rules which prevent solicitation of donations by a website that did not display tax exempt status. Although the Sex Party amended its website to display tax deductibility information, Google continued to ban the ads. The ads were reinstated on election eve after it was reported in the media that the Sex Party was considering suing Google. On September 13, 2012 the Party lodged formal complaints against Google with the US Department of Justice and the Australian competition watchdog, accusing Google of "unlawful interference in the conduct of a state election in Victoria with corrupt intent" in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
The AdWords system was initially implemented on top of the MySQL database engine. After the system had been launched, management decided to use Oracle instead. The system became much slower, so eventually it was returned to MySQL. Eventually, Google developed a custom distributed Relational database management system (RDBMS) known as Google F1 specifically for the needs of the Ad business, which requires strong consistency, high scalability across data centers and powerful SQL queries. The interface has also been revamped to offer better work flow with additional new features, such as Spreadsheet Editing, Search Query Reports, and better conversion metrics.
Ad content restrictions
As of April 2008 Google AdWords no longer allows for the display URL to deviate from that of the destination URL. Prior to its introduction, Google paid advertisements could feature different landing page URLs to that of what was being displayed on the search network. Google expounds that the policy change stems from both user and advertiser feedback. The concern prompting the restriction change is believed to be the premise on which users clicked advertisements. Users were in some cases, being misled and further targeted by AdWords advertisers.
As of December 2010 Google AdWords has decreased its restrictions over sales of Hard Alcohol. It now allows ads that promote the sale of hard alcohol and liquor. This is an extension of a policy change that was made in December 2008, which permitted ads that promote the branding of hard alcohol and liquor.
Google has also come under fire for allowing AdWords advertisers to bid on trademarked keywords. In 2004, Google started allowing advertisers to bid on a wide variety of search terms in the US and Canada, including the trademarks of their competitors and in May 2008 expanded this policy to the UK and Ireland. Advertisers are restricted from using other companies' trademarks in their advertisement text if the trademark has been registered with Advertising Legal Support team. Google does, however, require certification to run regulated keywords, such as those related to pharmaceuticals keywords, and some keywords, such as those related to hacking, are not allowed at all. These restrictions may vary by location. From June 2007, Google banned AdWords adverts for student essay-writing services, a move which was welcomed by universities.
Google has other restrictions, for example the advertising of a book related to Facebook was restricted from advertising on AdWords because it contained the word "Facebook" in its title — the rationale being that it was prohibited from advertising a book which used a trademarked name in its title.
- List of Google tools and services
- Click fraud
- Search engine marketing
- Dynamic Keyword Insertion
- Central ad server
- Performance-based advertising
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