Why Keyword Matter Less and Less With Your Marketing Agency

why keyword matter less and less with your digital marketing agency

The Evolution of Google Ads: Why Keywords Aren’t the Only Focus Anymore

In the ever-evolving landscape of online advertising, strategies and approaches undergo constant transformations. One notable shift that has taken place in recent years within the realm of Google Ads is the diminishing importance of keywords. This change can be attributed to Google’s innovative approach to advertising campaigns, particularly the introduction of Google Performance Max. In this episode we explored the historical context behind this shift, the rise of audience targeting, and how Google Performance Max is changing the game.

For a considerable period, keywords played a central role in Google Ads campaigns. The concept was simple: advertisers would select keywords relevant to their products or services, and their ads would appear when users searched for those keywords. However, over time, several factors led to the reconsideration of this keyword-centric approach.

1. Escalating Costs and Hidden Data

As the popularity of certain keywords grew, so did their costs. Advertisers faced steep competition, resulting in higher costs per click and a reduced return on investment. Moreover, Google’s decision to hide certain search term data made it challenging for advertisers to understand precisely how their ads were performing and which keywords were driving traffic.

2. Audience Targeting’s Ascension

While the keyword-focused strategy was undergoing challenges, audience targeting was gaining prominence. Google pivoted towards refining audience segments and their behaviors, providing advertisers with insights into users’ interests, habits, and demographics. This approach allowed for more precise targeting and an opportunity to connect with users who were genuinely interested in their offerings.

3. Google Performance Max Campaigns

Amidst this shift, Google introduced the game-changing Google Performance Max campaigns. These campaigns utilize audience targeting as the core strategy, aiming to place ads across multiple Google-owned platforms, including Search, YouTube, Google Display, Gmail, and Discover. Instead of solely relying on keywords, Google Performance Max focuses on identifying and engaging with relevant audiences.

Harnessing the Power of Audience Targeting

In a Google Performance Max campaign, audience targeting takes center stage. Advertisers must consider several factors to ensure their campaigns are effective:

1. Audience Segmentation

Advertisers have an array of audience segments to choose from, including affinity groups, demographics, life events, in-market audiences, custom segments, and more. This comprehensive set of options allows advertisers to refine their audience targeting based on various criteria.

2. Creative Excellence

Creating engaging and visually appealing creative is essential. Advertisers can utilize up to 15 images, graphics, or photos that resonate with their chosen audience segments. Keeping the creative simple, yet impactful, is crucial, as Google may overlay text or logos on the ads.

3. Video Integration

For video content, integration with YouTube is key. Advertisers can either use their own videos or leverage Google’s selection. Simplicity and animation are favored qualities for videos, ensuring they align with the campaign’s goals and maintain brand consistency.

4. Preventing Fatigue

To counter creative fatigue, advertisers should frequently update their creative assets. Similar to social media campaigns, fresh and diverse content prevents ad fatigue and keeps audiences engaged.


The era of Google Ads solely revolving around keywords has evolved into a more nuanced landscape. The introduction of Google Performance Max campaigns has propelled audience targeting to the forefront of advertising strategies. Advertisers now have the opportunity to leverage precise audience segments and engage creatively across various Google platforms. By adapting to this shift and mastering the art of audience targeting, advertisers can create campaigns that resonate with their desired audiences and achieve higher levels of success in the dynamic world of digital advertising.

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About the Author

Jennifer Denney

Jennifer Denney has been in digital marketing since 2006 and has seen a wealth of changing landscape in digital marketing. She has seen the rise and fall of many marketing tactics.  She is deeply rooted in understanding the metrics that showcase the value of certain types of digital marketing. She produces weekly live shows with Lorraine Ball, solocast with Elevated Marketing Chats, and conducts a weekly podcast called Elevated Marketing Dot Podcast.