Google Is Retiring DoubleClick and Rebranding Its Entire Digital Advertising Suite

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Google is rebranding its line of advertising products, retiring mainstays like DoubleClick while streamlining a new suite of services for media buyers, publishers and small businesses.

This month and next month, the company plans to introduce three new brands for advertising products and platforms. Replacing Google Adwords, Google Ads will become the “front door” for advertisers to buy ads across Google’s platforms. The company is also debuting what it’s calling the Google Marketing Cloud—the combination of DoubleClick and Google’s Analytics 360—as well as Google Ad Manager for publishers.

According to Sridhar Ramaswamy, Google’s svp of ads, the rebrand is based on several years of “consistent feedback” from advertisers and publishers. The tech giant wanted to make its complex line of advertising tools more easily understood while also aligning the services to where there is demand.

“As you can imagine, if you want to go talk to an advertiser about buying ads to run on YouTube, you go in there and say, ‘Hey go into the AdWords interface,’ and they go ‘What?’” Ramaswamy said at a press event in New York on Tuesday. “There is truly some confusion with respect to that.”

It’s been 18 years since the online advertising giant debuted its first AdWords, a product that it promised would allow marketers to display effective messaging alongside search queries. After that came AdSense for website monetization. Then there was Google Analytics in 2003, DoubleClick itself in 2008 and TrueView for YouTube in 2010. Over the years, some of these products began more deeply integrated while others remained in silos.

Indeed, user habits—and the ways advertisers reach those users—have changed over the past few years since Google introduced mobile advertising in 2013 and app-based ads in 2017. According to Google, mobile searches for “things to do right now” have doubled in the past two years, while mobile searches with the combined words “open,” “now,” and “near me” have increased more than 200 percent.

Within Google Ads, marketers can buy ads across all of Google’s properties as well as partner websites and apps. That includes both search as well as YouTube, Google Maps and Google Play. The updated suite will also have new features specifically for small businesses. According to Kim Spalding, general manager and product lead for small business ads, 51 percent of small businesses don’t even have a website. One new feature, Smart Campaigns, will help SMBs optimize their website with images and other information, as well as buy ads if they’d like. Landing pages will be designed to drive business objectives, such as phone calls, foot traffic or business leads. Google says automatic optimization of websites will start later this year.

“We’ve often had customer requests to help us match ad creative with the products and services on their landing page,” Spalding said.

Google’s advertising rebrand comes at a time of heightened scrutiny of digital advertising companies’ privacy policies, such as those at Google and Facebook both in the U.S. and in Europe. Yesterday, a California initiative that would change the way online information is collected and used qualified for the state’s November ballot. (A similar bill in the California legislature could replace the ballot initiative if it’s passed by state lawmakers by Thursday.)

Google and several other tech companies have opposed the initiative, with Google donating $200,000 to a group fighting the referendum. Asked why the company is opposed, Ramaswamy said both the bill and ballot initiative are part of “an incredibly fast-moving space.”

“Our worry with the ballot measure, as well as the bill that’s going through the legislature right now, is it has a set of unintended consequences—not just on online advertising, but on many other areas of commerce,” he said.

The overall digital advertising landscape in the U.S. is changing as well. According to a report released today by eMarketer, U.S. digital ad spend will increase 18.7 percent this year to $107.3 billion. Leading the way is retail, which eMarketer expects to grow to $23.5 billion this year.

“Retail brands spend far more than any other industry on digital advertising because, in retail, it’s increasingly about winning in search,” eMarketer senior analyst Patricia Orsini said in a statement about the report. “If you’re a retailer, you want to make sure that your store, commerce site or page within Amazon pops up in Google’s search results. That competition is driving the rates for search.”

@martyswant Marty Swant is a former technology staff writer for Adweek.