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The name "Google AdWords" has been deprecated for several years. You do still hear google-adwords or just plain adwords every so often tho - mostly out of habit. Those could become synonyms.

Google has also replaced it everywhere (subdomain, logo)

enter image description here

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  • It looks like it was officially renamed to "Google Ads" on July 24th, 2018. I believe our policy is to keep tags descriptivist rather than prescriptivist, so do you know if most people have changed to calling it Google Ads now, or are more people still set in the old ways? Oct 11 at 23:17
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    @MaximillianLaumeister A lot of the time people just say "PPC" and know what each other mean, but overall yeah nobody says "Google AdWords" anymore. When I hear "Google AdWords" it's typically a client or someone who has been out of the industry for a while. Oct 11 at 23:23
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    In that case it sounds like a reasonable tag rename to me! Looking forward to getting input from others. Oct 11 at 23:26
  • @MaximillianLaumeister added screenshot as well showing how it is on the platform nowadays Oct 11 at 23:27
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    What is Google doing? If somebody says "Google Ads" to me I assume they are talking about Adsense. This new name is very ambiguous. I worry that if we rename the tag it will be added to Adsense questions. Maybe the new tag should have "purchase," "buy," or "bid" in it to differentiate it. Adwords was not a great name, but at least it was clearly different from Adsense. Oct 12 at 1:06
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    On second thought, I think @StephenOstermiller is right that users might confuse it with adsense if it doesn't get differentiated somehow. Oct 12 at 1:26
  • @StephenOstermiller I agree that a modifier could be appropriate to distinguish it from AdSense, but I disagree with using a verb. Oct 12 at 16:03
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    Dan made the suggestion of google-ads-for-advertisers in a comment. I like that and put it into an answer. Oct 12 at 16:22
  • It appears we're not gaining much of a consensus here, other than the original tag (google-adwords) should be renamed to better match Google's naming. I suggest we use the name of Google's product as is (google-ads) for now since it doesn't exist as a tag yet, and if there's any apparent confusion later, we can always revisit this discussion and rename it to something else then. With more mods than in-coming questions on some days, it shouldn't be hard to monitor that.
    – dan Mod
    Oct 15 at 4:38
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    @dan Concur. I think we should go with google-ads, then come back and discuss again if it does end up getting misused. Oct 15 at 5:23
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    This was completed, see the "Update" in my answer for the details.
    – dan Mod
    Oct 17 at 1:58
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This reminds me of when Google changed Google Webmaster Tools to Google Search Console back in 2015...

We decided back then to wait a while to see how our community was referring to it, and to also compare the two using Google Trends. After about a year and a half, it became clear from both that google-search-console was being used more than google-webmaster-tools, so we made google-search-console the canonical tag and google-webmaster-tools a synonym of that.

Using that as a precedence, we could compare Google Ads with Google AdWords using Google Trends again, which indicates here that Google Ads is the much more dominant of the two. Currently we don't have a google-ads tag yet, but the tag wiki for google-adwords already states: "Now referred to as "Google Ads". Therefore we really can't compare the tag usage like we did previously.

I think it's good if our site keeps up-to-date with terminology though so we don't appear outdated, and in this case, the name change occurred over three years ago.

Therefore, I think we should create a google-ads tag, and make google-adwords (and its synonym adwords) a synonym of the canonical google-ads tag. When a user types in google-adwords, the google-ads tag will then automatically be populated for them to select. The tag wiki for google-ads should also note that it was previously referred to as "Google AdWords".

To differentiate google-ads from google-adsense, we'll also edit the two tag wikis to note that Google AdSense is for publishers and the Google Ads program is for advertisers, along with other relevant distinctions.

With the consensus of the community, I'll make the above changes and update this answer with details for the tag wikis too.

Update:

(As per the discussion in the comments under the question)

It appears we're not gaining much of a consensus, other than the original tag (google-adwords) should be renamed to better match Google's current naming. I suggest we use the name of Google's product as is (google-ads) for now since it doesn't exist as a tag yet, and if there's any apparent confusion later, we can always revisit this discussion and rename it to something else then. With more mods than in-coming questions on some days, it shouldn't be hard to monitor that.

Update 2:

A google-ads tag and tag wiki were created, which states (primarily from Wikipedia):

(Formerly known as "Google AdWords", and different from "Google AdSense") Google Ads is an online advertising platform offered by Google, where advertisers bid to display brief advertisements, service offerings, product listings, or videos to web users. It can place ads both in the results of search engines like Google Search, and on non-search websites, mobile apps, and videos. Services are offered under a pay-per-click (PPC) pricing model.

The google-adwords tag is now a synonym of the google-ads tag, and all of the questions tagged with google-adwords have been updated to google-ads instead.

The google-adsense tag wiki was also updated to:

(Different from "Google Ads") Google AdSense is a program run by Google through which website publishers in the Google Network of content sites serve text, images, video, or interactive media advertisements that are targeted to the site content and audience.

Lastly, the adwords-value-track tag was also made a synonym of a newly created google-ads-valuetrack tag, and a tag wiki for that was created.

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    I generally agree with this, but is there some mechanism to make it so that anyone who tries to tag an adsense question with google-ads gets a 4th-level fireball spell cast on them centered on their position? Judging from experience, not everyone reads excerpts, even if you put all-caps letters at the beginning saying "DO NOT USE THIS FOR ADSENSE QUESTIONS". I'm getting flashbacks to when I tried removing a duplicate tag on Stack Overflow and during the rolling 24hr grace period, Users. Just. Kept. Re-creating the tag. Even when the tag excerpt said "DO NOT USE THIS TAG, USE [OTHER TAG]." Oct 12 at 8:06
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    Since we're all "pros" here, I'm sure they'd know the difference ;-) But I'm not sure there's a way to prevent someone from using the wrong tag, other than making sure the tag wiki is as clear as possible about the difference between the tags. Thankfully, I think we're also a magnitude slower than SO, so we should be able to catch it.
    – dan Mod
    Oct 12 at 8:22
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    I still have a vague nagging desire to make the tag a bit longer somehow to disambiguate it, Stephen kind of introduced that idea above. I don't know exactly what I would suggest though. Oct 12 at 8:36
  • We could use google-ads-for-advertisers and google-adsense-for-publishers, as defined by Google here, but I don't really think that's necessary. If Google's users know the difference, they should here as well - they typically know what product they're asking about. I think this is just one of those things we have to chalk-up as a change that we're not ecstatic about (like removing "webmasters" from their search tools), but unfortunately have to conform to their naming since it's their products.
    – dan Mod
    Oct 12 at 8:47
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    @MaximillianLaumeister just finished wiping down my monitor after "4th-level fireball spell cast on them centered on their position" made me spit out my coffee lmao. Oct 12 at 16:08
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    @dan I think your reasoning is sound with google-ads-for-advertisers and google-adsense-for-publishers though I worry it makes the tags too long, and that they become a tad verbose. Oct 12 at 16:59
  • @MikeCiffone That was my thinking as well.
    – dan Mod
    Oct 12 at 17:01
0

I'm pleased to see that this question has stimulated so much discussion. Stephen mentioned something that got me thinking:

If somebody says "Google Ads" to me I assume they are talking about Adsense.

This is interesting (and quite valuable). The key distinction between Google Ads and Google AdSense is that Google Ads is a platform for Pay-Per-Click advertising (colloquially "PPC"), and AdSense is a platform for Programmatic advertising (colloquially "Display Ads").

That being said, I notice that we do not have tags for either PPC or Display Ads (which are very different things) - I consider these to be of the same type as "SEO", which we do have a tag for.

I think Dan makes a great point about precedent, and I'm personally in favor if his original proposal both because I think that google-ads makes logical sense AND follows historical precedent (yet, all ideas have been great tho). That said, I'd like to take a second to build on this.


I think there is a good argument to be made for the addition of ppc or pay-per-click and display-advertising or display ads to fill the aforementioned gap. That covers both forms broadly. The question then becomes, how should a user add specificity?

Could it be the case that simply adding the "Google" tag along side solve the problem? I ask this because Bing and other big tech also have ads platforms (e.g. Pinterest, Wayfair, Etsy). This approach would future proof the taxonomy for additional types, but it opens up the possibility to confusion; usage would have to be communicated very well. I think it's too error prone, and generally makes less sense.

Alternatively, the addition of these top level tags might not change things - to me they're not mutually exclusive. We could go with Dan's proposal to add google-ads yet also add ppc and display ads.

The tagging of a question about Google Ads would look like this:

ppc google-ads

And the tagging of a question about AdSense would look like this:

display-ads google-adsense

This would control for future additions as well. google-adwords naturally still becomes synonymous with the new canonical - there's also the (unused) adwords tag, which seems like a clear candidate for deletion regardless.

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  • I think the conversation about ppc and display ad tags is somewhat orthogonal, since each tag should stand on its own. When you start trying to build up a bigger picture by combining tags (like google + ppc), things can get lost in translation. And ppc + google-ads doesn't really address (my perceived) issue, which is that users are likely to misuse the google-ads tag for adsense. On a separate note, I think a ppc tag is overly narrow, as at face value it seemingly excludes algorithmic ads that are metered by other means, like price-per-mille or other more exotic pricing. Oct 12 at 20:07
  • I'm not sure how pay-per-click would help. PPC is a a pricing model. It doesn't imply that ads are purchased or that ads are displayed on a site, only that the payment is per click as opposed to by action or impression. Similarly for display-ads, you can buy display ads, or you can put display ads on your site. Oct 13 at 11:40
  • @StephenOstermiller my point is that they while they are things, they are also disciplines. There are professionals that are "PPC specialists" or "Display ads specialists". The two are categories of digital marketing. Oct 13 at 12:57
  • I don't think I get it how this could be useful. You could tag google-adsense ppc if you wanted to talk about getting paid per click from Google AdSense. Oct 13 at 13:00
  • @StephenOstermiller this is exactly why you'd also want display-ads tho, display and PPC are seen as different things. So your tag example would not make sense. Pay-Per-Click (PPC) – Paid links are shown on search engines and are ranked according to a variety of factors including but not limited to bid, keyword, landing page, and age of account with search engine. Display ads – Paid advertisements are shown on websites based on a specific theme of keywords that are matched to the hosting website’s topic. Display can be text, image, and video ads. Oct 13 at 13:07
  • I see PPC as a pricing model for display ads. How are the totally different things? Oct 13 at 13:42
  • Display ads are served programmatically via display networks - it is synonymous with Programmatic Advertising. It is not limited to a CPC pricing model - CPM stands for “cost per mille” aka "cost per thousand impressions" - which is arguably a more popular way to do display. Many display ad networks exclusively operate on a CPM basis. Oct 13 at 13:52
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I agree that should be retired, but replacing it by google-ads would be a mistake. If somebody says "Google Ads" to me I assume they are talking about Adsense. This new name is very ambiguous. I worry that if we rename the tag to google-ads will be added to Adsense questions. We have more than 100 questions tagged "adsense" that use the phrase "google ads".

I like Dan's suggestion of google-ads-for-advertisers for the new tag.

I don't think it would be necessary to rename the Adsense tag to google-adsense-for-publishers at the same time.

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  • I agree with this, I like google-ads-for-advertisers. And adsense can stay adsense. Oct 12 at 16:39
  • Couldn't this have been a comment in response to my comment instead of a separate answer?
    – dan Mod
    Oct 12 at 16:55
  • It is useful to have separate ideas in different answers so that voting can work. Oct 12 at 17:08
  • I think it confuses things a bit for the community because my answer was in response to the OP's question, and this appears to be a partial answer in response to my comment.
    – dan Mod
    Oct 12 at 17:13
  • I'm intending it to be a full answer, give you credit for coming up with a workable tag, and head off the question about whether the adsense tag would need to be renamed as well. Oct 12 at 17:18
  • I see you edited it to fill it out. I still think that could have been done in the comments so that we'd be more likely to reach a clear consensus after that discussion.
    – dan Mod
    Oct 12 at 17:21

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