When Google AdWords started in the year 2000, it was nothing less than a disruption of the media-buying market.
Stubborn gatekeepers and middlemen guarded a complicated process back then – especially in online advertising. Small businesses found themselves (largely) limited to offline advertising. Traditional flyers – and classified ads in local magazines – reigned supreme.
But then AdWords happened, and even the most parochial business owner could advertise online. Everyone could buy keywords, summoning enormous reach while paying on a per-click basis.
At least in theory.
Fast-forward eighteen years and Google Ads – formerly known as AdWords – delivers on its promise to make advertising for small businesses easy in practice. And without dedicated marketing specialists.
Its recently-announced campaign types, like Smart Campaigns, don’t even require businesses to have a website. Or they integrate directly with Shopify: enabling online shops to run Smart Shopping Campaigns without expert knowledge or dedicated support.
Larger players in online retail will seek expertise (for example to help them invest growing performance budgets more effectively). But Google bets on small-business owners swapping tactical choices for simplicity.
Owner of agency Red Cup Stephen Klein – who advises SMEs as a Google Premier Partner – agrees: “Many of the problems that bigger online retailers face, like aligning on Customer Lifetime Value, measuring the incrementality of campaigns and deducting bespoke performance budget decisions are not as relevant for small business owners. A simplified approach – with fewer configuration options – can help small business to get started with less hassle.”
With SMEs accounting for a significant part of economic activity, Smart Campaigns surely represent a smart move by Google.