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Looking Back: How AdWords Changed in 2016

Adwords launched in 2000 with a press release about the new product. "AdWords 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," said Google CEO Larry Page, at the time.


Since then, AdWords has changed a lot. In more than 15 years of ever-changing iterations, new launches, and feature requests, the product has grown into a full-service tool beyond its original basic search capabilities - and we’re not done making changes yet.


Here’s a look at some of our favorite ways the product has changed in 2016 alone. Tell us in the comments below, what are some of the things you would want to see in future AdWords products?

  • Deprecation of Flash: We kicked off 2016 by deprecating flash ads in AdWords to drive a better user experience for our ads. Since then, advertisers have converted thousands of ads to HTML5 using internal tools.
  • Drafts and Experiments: Previously in beta, drafts and experiments let you test different variables for your campaigns. An ask from advertisers, these experiments can be very helpful for driving ad strategy.
  • AdWords Editor: This bulk tool came a long way in 2016, with the help of AdWords power users and feature requests. Some new features include HTML5 ads, call out extensions, better support for video, display app installs, frequency caps, universal app campaigns, Gmail ads and more.
  • Multiple Accounts on One Log In: Gone are the days of creating multiple e-mails for AdWords accounts. 2016 brought the advent of multiple accounts on one log in, making things significantly easier for our advertisers.
  • Customer Match: The launch of customer match out of beta allows advertisers to target user data they collected externally. We treat the data very carefully at Google by asking that these lists are “hashed” so they’re not viewable internally, but they’re still an excellent targeting tool on the display and video networks.
  • Local Search Ads on Google Maps: We began to realize the potential of ads on maps in 2016, with this launch. Quite popular for stores looking to drive foot traffic these ads are available on mobile and desktop.
  • Bumper Ads: Bumper ads, now integral to many advertisers, launched in 2016, dubbed by the Google team the “haiku of video ads,” were a new opportunity for the creative community.   
  • In Display Ads Relaunched as In Discovery: We doubled down on YouTube and improved our In display product to better fit advertiser needs.

We’re looking forward to a big year in Ads developments in 2017 - and we can’t wait to hear your thoughts on how we can continue to make things easy for our advertisers.