How Might Google Change Online Advertising in 2014?

    December 27, 2013
    Sean Patterson
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2013 has been quite the year for online advertisers, especially those who rely heavily on Google.

During the first half of this year, Google transitioned its AdWords customers to its Enhanced Campaigns. The new campaign management interface met with a mixed reaction from advertisers, though Google provided a nearly endless stream of educational material ahead of the upgrade deadline.

How have Google’s 2013 ad changes affected you? Tell us in the comments.

While Google’s traditional search advertising offerings underwent significant changes, the company’s focus further shifted toward mobile this year. Mobile ads are nothing new for Google, which has been trying out various mobile ad offerings for years. 2013, though, marked a shift in ad priority not just from Google, but from other mobile platforms as well.

Google itself is steadily growing Android into the Windows of the mobile world, with the mobile OS appearing now on a vast majority of the smartphones shipped throughout the world. Though the freedom of Android has enabled the software to proliferate, it could also mean that companies use the OS to support their own marketing. Amazon’s Kindle Fire devices are a perfect example of this, with Amazon going so far as to sell ad space on users’ lock screens. For the most part, though, Google Play and Google Search are front-and-center in the Android experience.

Apple, of course, is still a leading mobile advertiser that takes a major chunk of global ad revenues each quarter. Confident in its mobile success, Apple is rumored to be moving into Google’s search territory as more and more of the world’s searches are performed on Apple’s mobile devices. Signs point to the company soon diving into search, possibly with its own mobile search platform.

Samsung also forged ahead with its mobile ad strategy, though its time may have to wait until it can challenge Android’s mobile supremacy with its Tizen OS, which reportedly won’t happen any time soon.

With the mobile ad landscape growing and taking shape, another of Google’s ad priorities is the world of social networking.

YouTube is still a prominent ad platform for Google, and the site featured more and a larger variety of ads than ever in 2013. Traditional advertisers have certainly come around on YouTube as a legitimate platform for video advertising as Google has taken great strides to accommodate traditional content holders with its shoot-first policy on copyright offenses. YouTube viewers and advertisers can look forward to even more ads in 2014, along with expanded video content offerings.

Though Google has a habit of giving up on even well-loved projects that just aren’t popular (see Reader, which died an untimely death this summer), the company still seems to be leaning hard on Google+ for its social network strategy. In fact, Google seems determined to push Google+ despite outright hatred for the platform from some segments of the internet.

Google+ was a large part of the backlash against the YouTube comments change that rolled out in early November. YouTube users spoke out loudly against the changes, which include integration of Google+ comments, accounts, and circles, as well as a comment surfacing system that seems to bury comments with plenty of thumb-ups.

It is still unclear how Google hopes to use Google+ in its overall advertising plans, though the company might see the platform as necessary to compete with top social networking platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Whether Google+ is up to the task or not, it’s clear now that social media is an El Dorado for advertisers and Google will continue to grab for its chunk of the market. Twitter ads have become more targeted than ever this year, and Facebook has begun competing directly with YouTube for advertisers through its new autoplay video ads.

Will Google ever be able to break into social media in a big way? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

So that’s where online advertising stands for Google at the close of 2013. The trifecta of search, mobile, and social is a lucrative one for advertisers, and Google in particular. With search practically locked-up and the mobile and social realms quickly becoming saturated, however, strong future ad growth will need to rely on something new.

Sure, Google Glass might usher in a new era of Google ads projected directly into eyeballs, Google’s vehicle technology could mean driverless taxi cabs covered in Google ads (inside and out), and Boston Dynamics-created robots could deliver ad messaging up the sides of buildings – but all of these things are still years (if not decades) away. In the short term, there is still one screen beyond the PC, smartphone, and tablet that Google has yet to conquer in the home.

A new report out this week suggests that Google may soon shift its TV strategy more toward its Android platform. Though Google TV can arguably be called a flop, the company’s recently-released Chromecast appears to be a genuine hit. The inexpensive USB/HDMI dongle seems to have finally connected the TV and second-screen devices in a way that resonates with customers.

Google’s quick shutdown of a local video streaming app for the Chromecast shows that Google has big plans for the device, and those plans include keeping Chromecast content securely gated. This could suggest that Chromecast is being groomed as a platform for both banner and video ads – a merger of web and mobile advertising that would seem to flow straight from Google’s current initiatives.

With more content available to stream through services such as Netflix and Hulu, the way that consumers watch television is changing rapidly. Though manufacturers have tried to get ahead of the market in the past few years with set-top boxes, video game consoles, and smart TVs, it could be Google’s small Chromecast dongle that brings streaming video (and ads) to consumer living rooms. That would certainly represent a huge opportunity for both Google and advertisers – and it could begin happening as early as next year.

How do you think Google will change online advertising next year? Let us know in the comments below.

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  • http://www.backwaterstudio.com Kathleen Johnson

    1. Everything Google does, it seems always to be way way too complicated. Takes a rocket scientist to function i.e. Adwords – you absolutely had to have the assistance of one of their representatives to even get started, let alone phathom out what “keywords” would work

    2. Google and the SEO, again, complicated and every article you read makes more outrageous claims about what, we, as webmasters, need to do or not do.

    3. Google Plus – good grief, I have tried to mesh into Google Plus but my flailings are as lost as everyone elses there. Only Google is “finding” us and, as a result, for those of us who are pushing websites on Google Plus, we are, finally, at least getting to page one even if it is no where near the top.

    Want to thrive on “Google” – the message is loud and clear. You have to be a Techie Geek to understand and “survive”.

    Change the advertizing, wont make a difference – it will still be way over the heads, and out of reach, technically, of the common user.


    • http://www.Disneyland.com Rides at Disneyland

      Thank God. I thought I was the only one. They are leaving a HUGE WINDOW open for BING. I know I left using Google about 4 months ago. I’m not going back. It’s too much of a time investment and I just don’t trust Google anymore with my information. I’m getting all these calls from companies they said they got my information from Google, etc. I’m done. Just done.

  • http://www.mindconnection.com Mark

    It’s not that Google’s ad policies have affected our company’s advertising. It is that Google’s organic policies have caused us to ask, “Why are you supporting such an unethical company with your ad dollars?”

    That, and the fact that because of Pandageddon and Penguingeddon we have had to divert resources from managing AdWords to managing our online marketplace efforts and finding other outlets not reliant upon what used to be a search engine.

    The only reason we went to the online marketplaces was Google made a hash of what used to be a search engine and we had to make up for a 90% drop in revenue by going to where Google was not a factor. Google drove us to where we are now–away from Google, and about as far as we can get.

    We stopped AdWords participation dead cold for quite a while. After Google repeatedly contacted us offering to help us with AdWords, we did agree to a very limited effort that would require extremely low cost conversions with no effort on our part. Our ad spend is about 2% of what it used to be.

    We pay zero attention to any changes in AdWords, because we really do not care about Google anymore. Google destroyed Google organic for no good reason, so we can’t rely on that. Since Google “search” provides a poor user experience and managing Google AdWords is a time-intensive proposition, we don’t rely on AdWords either.

    If Google went out of business an hour from now, our revenue stream would barely be affected. Reaching that point of “Google proof” should be a primary goal of any e-tailer, IMO. I just wish we’d have done it before Google decided to adopt its “Do more evil” policy via Panda and Penguin.

    Penguin is especially evil, because what did Google expect small e-tailers to do when Panda stopped their sales dead and Google gave zero explanations? Turn to SEO companies, of course! In our own case, there were some simple things that we didn’t know would bring down our whole site (mostly affiliate program content); we didn’t generate spammy pages in the rest of our site. Google could have just ignored the types of pages it didn’t like, but instead chose to make itself a Weapon of Mass Destruction to small e-tailers.

    Not getting any clue from Google, we and thousands of other small e-tailers turned to SEOs for help. And what would those Spam Emitting Organizations do? Massive linking, of course! Shame on Google for not applying simple logic to anticipate this and then doing the right thing.

    Note that your IQ must be in the upper 1% to be hired at Google, but to become a member of Mensa (the international high IQ Society) it has to be only in the upper 2%. So it’s not as if Google didn’t have anybody smart enough to see what was going to happen. They did, and look how they behaved.

    We should all take note of this and respond accordingly.

    • http://www.Disneyland.com Rides at Disneyland

      Wow…is there a theme here? I thought I was the only one.

  • http://www.pinkmail.org Pinkmail

    Google is not the place to advertise they are to strict and complicated there is always something that is wrong with my ads so i switched to Bing and yahoo and let me tell you….. easy to use and phenomenal response from a simple text ad for pinkmail.org our free email system and auction 4 breast cancer awareness! We have double our amount of user signups and the conversion rate is through the roof so no to google and YES to YAHOO & BING for online ads!!!!!!!

    • http://www.Disneyland.com Rides at Disneyland

      Yeah…I stopped using Google about 6 months ago when I could tell them were leaving organic. All my clients told me they weren’t using Google anymore too. Most are reporting Yelp or Bing. I think Google is scared and that’s why they are attempting to make things more complicated with Adwords. The truth is, now newer companies are giving Google all their money, but people use search engines as they want to find good companies for their needs and wants. I’m going to enjoy watching that lion die. People have finally caught on to Google Tricks and that’s why for the first time Bing and other search engines are taking over. I don’t think Google will be able to win people back because once you go DISHONEST on people, you can’t really go back. Remember, AOL. Once people were over AOL, people were OVER AOL. I’m not going back to Google. Why? So they can call me 5 times a day and beg me to come back to advertise? Why would I get on a ship that’s sinking?

  • http://www.blissweddingsupplies.com marcie

    As a small business website owner “The Find” works just as good as Google did and its free! As a consumer I hate searching through all of the name brand stores to find unique items so I have started using Bing search, its way better for finding what you are looking for. I just think that Google will lose their status as the number 1 search engine if they are always pushing the same corporate businesses up in the visitors face, its like saying you have searched for this? first let me show you this and the thing is no one forgets that Macy and Amazon exists they are already household names, so give us something new and at least limit the ads!

    • http://www.Disneyland.com Rides at Disneyland

      I’m going to go check it out. Thanks! Why am I actually happy to see Google sinking?

  • http://www.Disneyland.com Phonebooks

    I left Google Adwords when I learned that Bing/Yahoo Network gets more traffic. I feel that Google has become a dishonest company and is only changing things in efforts to turn the entire search engine into a pay model. I have personally started using BING and YAHOO searches because I feel the “natural” results are more reliable. I’ve clicked on many of the links on Google now and I’ve found that many of the PAID results as NEWER COMPANIES attempting to compete with more established companies which is not why I originally started to use “search engines.” I turned to search engines to find the true leaders in a market place. I’m also using YELP for reasons I use to use Google. I feel Google (if anything) is going to lose a large market share in 2014. This is why I’ve moved my advertising to Bing/Yahoo. I’m finding more and more people BINGING too. I’m finding more and more people UNCOMFORTABLE with how Google is using our information and attempting to become more and more intrusive. I wouldn’t want Wal-mart knowing all my secrets, why would I want Google to know all of them. It’s just too much and people are starting to smell the rat.

  • http://www.gbepackaging.com bob teal

    Google who hahaha the first post said it best if Google went out of business today we would not see much of a difference in traffic as Google has stopped sending us traffic. We have some of the lowest prices on line for packaging supplies yet Google will not send us traffic unless we pay them a cut. Sounds like a criminal enterprise to me but you all keep paying them money for traffic. Good thing we have steady customers and word of mouth about our low prices or we would have closed long ago. Google will send you traffic if you pay them and spend thousands of dollars on your site but what about the customers that need the low pricing. Where do they come in to the picture. Why pay 35 cents for a bag that costs 14 cents just so we can pay Google their cut. Its not rocket science its plastic bags and cardboard boxes. Do you rally need huge amounts of science and technology to sell boxes and bags at the lowest price. No. Most of our customers will not even click on our like button but they will order from us a few times a week because our prices are lower than other packaging distributers. Should be interesting to see what google buys for 2014 they are big enough to buy the internet but that would not make them any money. Better to control us and raise prices on the consumers so they can have a piece of our business.

  • http://www.gbepackaging.com bob teal

    One more post I forgot to mention that more and more of our customers are coming to us from bing and not Google. Our new website http://www.productpackagingsupplies.com is all set up for google but yet more customers are coming to us from bing. I think google is losing viewers as time goes on.

  • http://www.gbepackaging.com bob teal

    One more post I forgot to mention that more and more of our customers are coming to us from bing and not Google. I think google is losing viewers as time goes on.

  • http://gr8cookware.blogspot.com/ mike

    For one thing quiet banning people from adsense over stupid reasons. at lest give one warning. your to strict shit ease up alittle. just because google is a million dollar company doesn’t mean we are. give us little dogs a bone. every once in awhile.

  • http://www.adovationz.co.nz Digby Geen

    Any one who says that Bing or Yahoo is better for sending clicks is delusional.

    But a bigger worry would be the number of people using Ad blockers.

    I gave up using Adwords as its too complicated and too expensive.
    Internet ad bids are WAY too high unless you are selling expensive cars or legal services…

    And the crazy pop up and pop unders etc that people hate.

    Google has to decide what they are…..

  • http://agri-kala.com mostafa ataollahi

    the ferst page of google

  • Jackie Mackay

    Bye bye Web Pro News
    Have a boringly predictable year like all the other robots being herded as per Ed Bernays into one coral or another.

    Do you REALLY think you have a choice in anything? Dream on. You and all your regular readers will be bored literally stiff by the end of this year. And who cares? Google? No. Nor any of the same old Corporate giants you always discuss. Has anybody on this list read Brave New World? If so you should definitely reread it. Nietzsche’s dream come true.

    I have tried to unsubscribe with no success. So ill try again. Trouble is I’m talking to a robot I fear. :-)

    Do Robots have Happy New Years? If so go right ahead.


  • http://www.ivehadenough.com John

    I am SO sick of Google forcing Google+ down our throats! NO ONE LIKES IT. And here I am trying to convince my customers they need to use it. I feel more like a prostitute than a marketer!

  • http://realquickleads.com/ Advertising For Small Business

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  • The truth

    I started to read the comments and realized most are spam. So much for reader input. If the moderators cannot spot the obvious spamming, or don’t care, then I take this site seriously.