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Google Ads is a platform for paid advertising. It gives you access to a huge audience across Google-owned services like YouTube, Google Search and Google Play—making it one of the most powerful advertising platforms in the world.

There are various ad types available on the platform, each with its own set of benefits. In this guide, we'll explore different types of Google advertising, Google ad examples and why you might use them.


What types of Google Ads are available?

When running successful Google ads, you'll want to understand the different ad types and which are best suited to your campaigns.

1. Search

Run ads that reach your target audience on Google Search to promote your products and services.

These ads are displayed above and below organic search engine results when users complete a search in Google.

Your Search ads are based on particular keywords you bid on in an auction-based system. You pay for each click on your ad, which is determined by the bidding system, ad relevancy and the keyword's competitiveness.

With billions of daily searches, Google is one of the most popular search engines, giving you access to a massive audience.

Search ads allow you to target users based on specific keywords. This means you can carefully select the right keywords  for your campaign to reach an audience with high intent to buy or engage with you.

Another advantage of Search ads is the opportunity to promote your products and services directly in the search results of a specific query. If you rank organically for a search term, your listings can still be pushed down on the search engine results page (SERP). Your competitors with Search ad placements may still appear higher in the SERPs than you. That's why Search ads can offer you more visibility.


Best practice for Search ads

Google recommends advertisers create one responsive Search ad per ad group. This can help you understand the combinations of headlines and descriptions that perform best.

It's also a good idea to focus on relevant and specific keywords. Targeting broad keywords may mean Google will place your ads in front of a less relevant audience, which could result in fewer clicks. Monitoring and reviewing your keywords is vital to ensure they align with your objectives and target audience.


When you might use Search ads

Search ads offer visibility and enable you to reach customers precisely when they are looking for the products and services you provide. Let's say you're a plumber who wants to promote your emergency services. You may wish to utilise Search ads when a user searches 'plumber near me' or 'how to fix a leak', for example.


How to measure Search ads success

It's essential to measure the effectiveness of your Search campaigns to determine whether you are achieving your goals.

Some valuable metrics include:

  • Clicks – the number of clicks on your ad.
  • Impressions – the number of times your ad is shown.
  • Click-through rate – the number of clicks your ad receives divided by the number of times your ad was displayed.


2. Video

Advertise on YouTube with engaging Video ads to drive traffic and sales.

Video ads are available in various formats, including skippable in-stream ads, non-skippable in-stream ads and in-feed Video ads. They can appear before, during or after videos on YouTube and other partner sites.


What are the benefits of Video ads?

One of the key benefits of Video ads is brand awareness. In fact, more than half of consumers say online video has helped them decide which brand or product to buy, according to Google.

YouTube is one of the most-visited websites in the world, so Video ads allow you to connect with a large audience.

Another advantage is Video ads are simple to set up, and you can use existing videos from your YouTube account.


Best practice for Video ads

It's essential to include a call-to-action because it encourages viewers to take a specific action after watching it.

You should also consider showcasing your products or services early in the Video ad. This is especially necessary for skippable ads, and you should try to include the most important information in the first five seconds.

Ensure your advertising is optimised for mobile. You may wish to use a vertical or square format and ensure the text is large enough to read on a small screen.


When you might use Video ads

You may wish to use this ad type if you want to use video advertising on and off YouTube.

Video ads can be an effective way to increase brand awareness. You can capture users' attention by showcasing your products or services in a compelling video.


How to measure Video ads success

You can see Video ad performance and make changes to your targeting within your Google Ad campaign.

Key metrics include:

  • View count – the number of times your ad has been watched.
  • Click-through rate – the number of clicks on your ad divided by the number of times your ad was displayed.
  • Cost per view (CPV) – the cost of each view of your video.

It is critical to track the performance of your Video ads to identify and improve what isn't working.


3. Display

Display your ads across millions of apps and websites on the Google Display Network to drive brand awareness, engagement and sales.

Display ads can help you reach a huge audience across the Google Display Network. The network allows you to target precise demographics and use a variety of ad formats, including text, image and video.


What are the benefits of Display ads?

A significant advantage of Display ads is they allow you to reach more users on Google properties.

Another key benefit of Display ads is brand awareness. You can promote new products or services—reaching existing customers familiar with your brand and new consumers ready to discover your products or services.


Best practice for Display ads

Advertisements should be visually appealing and easy to understand. To convey your message, use simple language and clear visuals.


When you might use Display ads

Display ads are ideal if you're looking to promote products or services to a targeted audience. Using specific targeting options can mean your ads will be shown to users who are most likely to be interested in your brand.


How to measure Display ads success

To measure the effectiveness of your Display ad, you should take into account various important metrics, including:

  • Impressions – signifies the number of times your ad is displayed to users.
  • Click-through rate – represents the number of clicks on your ad divided by the number of times it was displayed and measures how many people clicked.
  • Cost per click (CPC) – the cost for each click on your ad.
  • Reach and frequency – how many people were shown your ads and how frequently the same people were shown them.

It's essential to monitor your ad performance to identify what may not be working and how you can improve it.


4. Shopping

Increase visibility, traffic and sales by displaying your products to a relevant audience searching for them on Google.

These ad types enable you to display your products at the top of the SERP, Google Shopping pages and other Google-owned properties.

Shopping ads feature product images, titles, prices and the retailer's name.


What are the benefits of Shopping ads?

Shopping ads are visible to users looking for products, potentially increasing clicks to your website. You can target specific demographics, meaning you're more likely to connect with users interested in the products or services you sell.

They can also be a cost-effective advertising method. Shopping ads operate on a pay-per-click (PPC) basis, which means you only spend budget when a user clicks on your ad.


Best practice for Shopping ads

Your images are a vital part of your Shopping ads, so make sure they are clear, high-quality and showcase your product.

Your Shopping feed should feature product information such as colour, size and material. It's also critical to check your product names, descriptions and prices are correct, and whether the products are in stock.


When you might use Shopping ads

Shopping ads are ideal for ecommerce businesses.

You can use Shopping ads if you want to reach potential customers who are actively searching for products like yours.

These ad types can be especially effective during peak shopping seasons, like Black Friday and back to school. You can increase traffic and sales by creating targeted campaigns and optimising your ads for these times.


How to measure Shopping ads success

There are several metrics you can use to measure the success of your Shopping ads, including:

  • Impressions – the number of times your ad is displayed to users.
  • Clicks – the number of clicks on your ad.
  • Click-through rate – the number of clicks on your ad divided by the number of times your ad was displayed.
  • Cost per click – the cost for each click on your ad.
  • Sales – how many conversions your ad has driven.
  • Revenue – the total revenue you've earned from your ad.

Regularly monitor your campaigns and make changes as needed to improve performance. Reviewing your data to identify trends and areas for improvement and adjusting your bids and targeting are part of this process.

5. App

Promote your apps across Google's network of channels, including Google Search, YouTube and more.


What are App campaigns?

These campaigns use machine learning to automate ads' creation, management and optimisation, making it easier for you to reach your target audience and drive app installs and in-app actions.

App campaigns use various formats, such as text, image and video ads.


What are the benefits of App campaigns?

There are several benefits to using App campaigns, including:

  • Increasing your visibility and brand awareness
  • Tracking the performance of your ads via the Google Ads platform to understand your customers' behaviour.
  • Using cost-effective advertising as you only pay for ad clicks and app installs.
  • Increasing your app installs through highly engaging advertisements.


Best practice for App campaigns

Consider your campaign goals before creating an App campaign. This will help you identify your target audience and optimise your ad.

It's also important to optimise your app store listing, so users are compelled to download your app when they click through.

When you might use App campaigns

These are great for businesses who want to drive app sales and awareness.

If you launch a new app, App campaigns can be an ideal advertising method to help you increase awareness and reach a wider audience.

You can also use App campaigns to acquire new users through targeting options, such as audience interests and demographics.


How to measure App campaigns success

You can use various metrics to measure the performance of your App campaign, such as:

  • Installs – the number of times users installed your app after clicking on your ad.
  • In-app actions – the number of times users complete an action within your app, like a purchase.

Similarly to other ad types, monitoring your ad performance is vital to identify what is and isn't working.


6. Smart

Simplified and automated ad campaigns across different Google channels that can help you drive more traffic, engagement and conversions.

These Google ad types are easy to set up and have various target options so you can reach your audience.

These campaigns are automated. All you need to do is write an ad that describes your business, select the keyword themes you want to target and set a budget.

Google runs your ads based on your campaign goal, like increasing website sales, visits to your location or video views on YouTube.

Smart campaigns are available in various formats, including text-based ads, display ads within the Google Display Network and local ads that appear on Google Maps and other location-based platforms.


What are the benefits of Smart campaigns?

These ad types are intended to be simple, making them a good choice if you don't have the time or confidence to manage your campaigns. Plus, the automated optimisation functionality allows you to make the most of your budget with minimal effort.

Best practice for Smart campaigns

Set clear campaign objectives you want to achieve through advertising. This can help you determine audience targeting and ad formats.

Similarly to other Google ad types, you should use high-quality and high-resolution images and videos to improve the performance of your campaign. Engaging assets can capture your audience's attention and encourage them to engage with your brand.

It's also equally important to optimise your landing pages. Make sure your content is clear and includes a call-action that sparks customer interest and engagement.

When you might use Smart campaigns

These campaigns are suited to companies with clear ad objectives, such as promoting a product or service. Other ad types may suit your campaign better if you have more complex goals, like building brand awareness.

Smart ads are also effective for local businesses looking to drive awareness and sales. For example, if you want to increase traffic to a physical shop, you can use automated targeting to reach users in your area using in-store sales or new product launches.

How to measure Smart campaigns success

There are several metrics you can use to measure your ad's success:

  • Impressions – the number of times your ad is displayed to users.
  • Clicks – the number of clicks your ad receives.
  • Click-through rate – the number of clicks on your ad divided by the number of times your ad was displayed.

7. Performance Max

Designed to perform across a range of channels, Performance Max ads are automated campaigns that allow you to access all the Google Ads inventory.

What are Performance Max campaigns?

Google auto-generates ads across all available placements based on the information you provide, like your campaign goals, creative assets, products and services.

These campaigns can run across every Google property, including Search, YouTube, Gmail, Display and Discovery.

Performance Max has replaced Local campaigns and can offer the same advertising options, such as call clicks, shop visits and directions.

These ad types typically have a visually rich format, including video, imagery and text.

What are the benefits of Performance Max campaigns?

Performance Max can simplify your advertising because you can create, manage and optimise ads across every Google property in a single campaign. This can save you time and increase budget efficiency, too.

Another significant benefit is that this campaign combines all your assets to create relevant, customised ads across channels.


Best practice for Performance Max campaigns

Performance Max allows for various ad formats, including image and video ads. Consider experimenting with different formats to identify which work best for your goals and audience.

Optimising your landing pages is critical to providing the best user experience and increasing your chances of a return on investment (ROI). Ensure your landing pages are relevant to your ad messaging and include a clear call-to-action.


When you might use Performance Max campaigns

Performance Max campaigns may be suitable for you if you have specific conversion goals.

Because you can reach a broad audience across multiple platforms, these ads are ideal for large campaigns with a significant budget. 

How to measure Performance Max campaigns success

You can measure your campaign's performance through several metrics, including:

  • Clicks – the number of clicks on your ad.
  • Click-through rate – the number of clicks on your ad divided by the number of times your ad was displayed.
  • Conversions – the number of times users complete an action, such as a newsletter sign-up or a purchase.


8. Discovery

Reach up to three billion users with Discovery campaigns that allow you to run your ads on YouTube, Gmail and more.

Discovery ads are personalised campaigns that help you reach audiences ready to find new products or services.

With Discovery campaigns, you can advertise across the YouTube app, the Google app "Discover" feed and the Gmail "Social" and "Promotions" tabs with a single campaign.

Discovery ad campaigns are often visually appealing with images, a headline and a description.

What are the benefits of Discovery campaigns?

One key advantage of Discovery ads is the ability to run a single campaign across Google's feeds—saving you time and effort.

Best practice for Discovery campaigns

Use high-quality and high-resolution imagery to spark user engagement. Consider reusing existing high-performing campaign imagery to save time and effort.

Because your campaign will appear in various ad placements, taking advantage of all ad layouts and image aspect ratios will help your ad have the most significant impact.



When you might use Discovery campaigns

They're ideal for companies looking to reach audiences at scale with a single campaign. In fact, you can connect with up to three billion users across Google feeds.

You can use these campaigns to connect with potential customers who are yet to discover you but want to learn about new brands. You can also reach existing customers, motivating action—whether you want to increase sales, traffic or newsletter sign-ups—from people already familiar with your business.

How to measure Discovery campaigns success

There are several key metrics to consider when measuring the success of your Discovery campaigns, including:

  • Interactions – the total of all ad clicks within YouTube and Discover, and the first click on your ad in Gmail.
  • Clicks – the number of clicks that send users to your website.
  • Click-through rate – the number of clicks on your ad divided by the number of times your ad was displayed.
  • Average cost – the average price you pay for interactions with your ad.

Track the metrics most aligned with your marketing objectives to understand your ad's performance.

How to choose the right Google ad types for your business

To determine the right ad type, you need to first understand what you want to achieve with your advertising. Do you want to increase brand awareness or website traffic? Different ad types on Google are better suited to different business objectives. For example, Search ads are typically more effective for increasing sales, whereas Display ads may be your best option for increasing brand awareness.

Because different ad types' costs vary, consider your budget when deciding which ad type is right for your campaign.