Google Adwords: What, how, and why?

By Juliette Belfiore
September 14, 2021

Basics of Google Ads would like to get back on AdWords basics. Google Ads is a complex “monster”, the leader of digital advertising (search and display). If you are in this industry, you know how quickly it can change, you should always stay tuned, focused on news, etc.

One thing will never change... History! 🖋

For any savvy marketer or newbie: When you know the background/history of Google Ads, you are better equipped💪 to understand how it works now. When you do understand, you can imagine the future! And for sure, always create more relevant ads and get more conversions on your services and products.

No more chitchat, how did Google Ads start?

  1. A brief history of Google AdWords
  2. Google Ads

What is Google Ads?
What is Ad Rank?
What is the cost?

  1. The Quality Score

What is the Google Ads Quality Score?
How to improve your CTR?
How to improve your landing page experience?


A brief history of Google Ads

Here is a brief, non-exhaustive timeline of the Google Ads history, focusing on major changes in the digital advertising landscape.


- Google Ads was born under the name Google AdWords, two years after the birth of the Google search engine. At first, AdWords advertisers paid for the service monthly, and Google set up and managed each campaign.


- Major AdWords overhaul = introduction of CPC (Cost Per Click) pricing (+ CTR, Click Through Rate over the CPM, Cost Per Mille).

At the time, it had over 300 advertisers. Google wants to reach as many people as possible by starting to translate its services into several languages. 🇩🇪🇨🇳🇪🇸

- Launch of Google AdSense = program specializing in creating and placing banners and responsive ads on websites and blogs based on content and user's geographical location.


- Google allows advertisers to bid on competing brands only for Us and Canada. This policy was expanded to the UK and Ireland in May 2008.


- Google takes user experience (UX) into consideration in the Quality Score in AdWords pricing.

- Launch of the Jumpstart program = companies can thus administer themselves or outsource the management of their Google Adwords accounts and their advertising campaigns by third-party agencies (previously, Google Adwords was itself in charge of setting up and managing its clients' advertising campaigns).

- Implementation of the Google Adwords API = this tool allows advertisers or their partners to develop applications that can interact directly with their Adwords account. 

- Google Analytics is launched, based on the technology behind Urchin (Google acquired Urchin Software Corp. in April 2005).

- Introduction of the first video ads🎥 to YouTube
- Launch of AdSense for Mobile
- Acquisition of DoubleClick (system to display banner ads across a network of websites and track their performance to better target internet users)


- Google Product Search becomes Google Shopping, and transitions from an organic to a paid business model.


- Keyword Planner officially launches, replacing the retired Keyword Tool in AdWords.


- Google confirms that mobile search volume exceeds desktop search volume for the first time in 10 countries, including the United States and Japan.

- Introduction of Smart goals


- Google AdWords app launched for iOS.

- Google eliminates PPC ads from the right-hand side of the SERP, a first mobile approach to AdWords. (See the article on this topic = “Google Kills Off Side Ads: What You Need to Know” by Larry Kim)


- New Google Ads interface. Launch of Smart Display campaigns

Similar audiences for search and display and shopping.


- Branding changes, Google AdWords becomes Google Ads.
- Launch of responsive ads.


- New interface of Google Ads Editor, new keyword planning tool.


- Change of the navigation system of the new interface of Google Ads, launch of easy video creation with Youtube Builder.

- More predictive, more smart, more campaigns to performance, more use of data to better target… New features & announcements by Google here.

History is being written before our eyes.

Google Ads

What is Google Ads?

Google AdWords is a pay-per-click online advertising platform that allows advertisers to display their ads on Google’s SERP (Search Engine Results Page)

In it, you can create different types of campaigns:

  • Search campaigns
  • Display campaigns (Google banners placed on partner websites)
  • Video campaigns (promotion of videos on Youtube)
  • Shopping campaigns (image format and price in Google search results)

What interests us specifically in our article is Search campaigns. It looks like an organic search link, but appear above: 

Here the basics to know about Google Ads:

  • Based on the keywords you want to target, you pay to get your ads to rank at the top of the search results page. 
  • Since the platform works on pay-per-click (PPC), you only pay when a visitor clicks on your ad.
  • Google AdWords marketplaces work like an auction where people bid for clicks. However, the highest bid does not necessarily win. Besides the money, Google takes Quality Score into account to ensure that people who click on ads have the best possible experience.
  • Through this pay-per-click network, you pay Google to target users based on their keyword search, country, and device type. You serve your ad to users interested in your products or services.

What is Ad Rank?

The Google AdWords system is mainly a live auction where the advertiser places a "bid". Depending on the competition and price offers of other advertisers, the advertiser either obtains the desired position😄 or a lower position😬.

Your actual ad position is, however, determined by two factors:

Your CPC Max (or Max Bid) X by Your Quality Score.

If you want to know more about how google determine ad rank works, I invite you to read this article=

What is the cost?

Some prerequisites for Google Ads auctions =

  • You define a daily budget without minimum constraints
  • This budget can be adjusted as you wish, any time
  • You can activate/pause your campaigns and/or keywords whenever you want
  • You are in no way committed for an amount or a period
  • You only pay when someone clicks on your ad

Concretely, the Google Ads auction system takes into account =

➤How much does each person bid 

➤The quality of the experience offered by each advertiser

The mixture of the two determines the price you pay (if you get a click) and the relative position, your Ad rank compared to your competition.

The Quality Score

What is the Google Ads Quality Score?

Keep in mind that Google makes money when people click on ads!

That’s why Google needs your ad to be the most relevant to offer its user the best and optimal search experience possible.

In easy-peasy words, the more clickable your ads are, the more money Google makes. What is in the Quality Score Algorithm?

Google uses these components to determine Quality Score =

  • Expected click-through rate (CTR) 
  • Landing page experience 
  • Ad relevance
  • Speed and mobile compatibility

On your Google Ads account, can find the quality score here =

“Keywords → Search Keywords” view on the left menu

On the right, click on “Columns → Modify Columns”.
You’ll find the quality score metrics at the bottom of the list. 

High-quality ads and well-performing AdWords campaigns are also rewarded by Google with discounted per-click costs, higher ad ranking positions and are more likely to show in top placement above organic listings.

How to improve your CTR?

CTR is the percentage of people who saw your ad and clicked on it.

The expected CTR is a prediction of your CTR based on your keyword's past performance.

Make sure your ad is pertinent, that the ad meets their search intent, and what the clear benefit is to them. 

Here some tips to improve your CTR =

  • Smart bidding strategies
  • Try different ad
  • Use the best ad extensions
  • Highlight pricing in ad copy

If you want to go digger on this subject, check this article by Martin Jones “9 ways to improve Google Ads CTR (click through rate)

How to improve your landing page experience?

What makes a good website? According to Google, a good website is a relevant one! But what is relevant for a Search Engine?

To improve your landing page, you need to ask yourself

  • Is my landing page transparent? Is it clear and honest?
  • What is the loading speed?
  • Is it well responsive? How it appears on a mobile screen?
  • Does the landing page answer the question being asked by the searcher?
  • Does the search keyword present on the landing page?

Google needs to make sure that the page the person lands on after clicking on an ad is relevant and actually meets search intent. The keyword entered by the Internet user must be present on the landing page (or at least a similar variant).

Ideally, the promise made in the ad is also reflected on the landing page.


When you create a site or renew an existing one, it is useful to have this basic knowledge of Google Adwords. When you step into the History and logic of the digital marketing giant, it is easier for you to design your ads and your website in harmony. Because the two are connected, they must be like yin and yang.
A search, an answer.

An advertisement, a product, or a service relative.

Pure logical.🤓