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Google ads: types, formats and settings | Digital marketing for digital dinosaurs.

As we have been talking about YouTube and keywords, it is important now we talk about its bigger brother, Google. But before we look at the different types of ads we can create, it is important we look at google from a strategic perspective and what we can do on the platform as advertisers.

We’re all familiar with Google as we use it multiple times a day, every day.

In fact it is estimated that there are 98,000 searches every second, right now. Totalling to approx 8.5bn searches per day.

It’s huge amount of activity we do on this platform, and we search everything from places, to product to buy, to flights, reviews…you name it.

Most importantly, we are on google at all the stages of our path to purchase (online and offline), from awareness to conversion to advocacy. In this respect Google is used to influence through paid advertising every stage of the journey, of course with different type of ads.

Imagine this, we want to support a new skincare cream through video reviews from influencers, then we will probably access Google ads to buy YouTube ads, or we want to support a new chain of fast foods, we might look into Google Maps ads, or we have designed new cool looking sneakers, we might want to tap into shopping ads, and so on…

The point I am trying to make here is that Google is a complex environment in which we are fully immersed and when we want to advertise there, we are directed by its platform to the most suitable types of ads.

For clarity the whole Google (ads) Network is divided into groups:

- The Search Network: Google search results pages, other Google sites like Maps and Shopping, and search sites that partner with Google to show ads.

- The Display Network: Google sites like YouTube, Blogger, and Gmail, plus thousands of partnering websites across the Internet.

In this respect, I will follow Google approach and discuss different types suggested according to the objectives we set for our campaign.

Let’s start from sales, leads and website traffic goals: here we simply want to generate sales of a product that we sell online or generate new leads to collect potential prospects information or generate traffic to the website.

The type of ads suggested by Google for those objectives are the same, obviously the information requested and the mechanic of the ad (Goggle call those elements of the ad “extensions”) will change accordingly (it’s different to drive people to a website from making them buy a product_)

The first proposed type of ad from google is Search ad.

This is the classic type we are familiar with; we see them every time on the top of our Goole page each time we search; is the one with the word “Ad” written on the left side.

How does it work?

The logic is very simple, every time one specific keyword is searched online, we can compete with other brands to take that place we have seen with our message and the link to our website.

Compete means we place a bet, we tell google, i am willing to pay x amount of dollars if you place me there and I get clicked. The result of the auction depends on several factors which I will not discuss here; Google then decides who will appear and we will pay the ad if someone clicks on it (hence the name Pay Per Click).

Obviously Google is interested in being paid (remember pay per click) therefore will assign the space to the competitor that has the highest chance to be clicked, not necessarily the highest bet.

Besides Search ads we can chase sales through the new Performance Max ads type.

Performance Max is a new goal-based campaign type that allows performance advertisers to access all of their Google Ads inventory from a single campaign. It's designed to complement the keyword-based Search campaigns to help you find more converting customers across all of Google's channels like YouTube, Display, Search, Discover, Gmail, and Maps. In conclusion Performance Max gives you access to all of Google’s advertising channels using a single campaign.

Display ads

While the Search Network can reach people while they search for specific goods or services, the Display Network can help you capture someone's attention earlier in the buying cycle.

With display ads you can put your ads in front of people before they start searching for what you offer, which can be key for your overall advertising strategy. You can also remind people of what they're interested in when you use your data segments to reach people who've previously visited your website or app.

With display ads you show a picture, a video and/or a text and it will appear on the whole google network.

In specific now you can create responsive display ads, where you can upload your assets (images, headlines, logos, videos, and descriptions), and Google will automatically generate ad combinations for websites, apps, YouTube, and Gmail.

Shopping ads

If you sell products online or you're a retailer, you can use Shopping campaigns to promote your online and local inventory, boost traffic to your website or local store, and find better qualified leads.

In order to start you need to become Google Merchant and create a campaign in Google Ads. Then, we'll use your campaign to create ads on Google and around the web where potential customers can see what you're selling.

Those are Shopping ads that appear in a different, more visual format. In contrast to a text ad, which displays text only, Shopping ads show users a photo of your product, plus a title, price, store name, and more. These ads give users a strong sense of the product you're selling before they click the ad, which gives you more qualified leads.

Each time someone searches a specific keyword for which Google understand it is a shopping opportunity, you will notice on the top of the page those shopping ads or next to search results (separate from text ads), and Google Images

As usual you’re charged for Cost per click

Moving on to Brand Awareness objective, reach and product and brand considerations, Google ads suggests Video Ads which are discussed to a good extent in the YT section above.

Let’s look at the last two objectives: App promotion and local store visits.

When it comes to make people download an app, install, engage with it or even pre-register Google suggests Google app campaigns that basically advertise the app across different google platforms, the most important being Google Play but also including Search, YouTube, Discover on Google Search, and the Google Display Network

With App campaigns you don’t need to create an actual ad but instead google uses your ad text ideas, images, videos, and assets from your app’s store listing to design a variety of ads across several formats and networks.

The ad is then automatically adapted to the platform and showed in the different placements.

Lastly lets look at campaigns that promote local store visits.

You are probably familiar with Google maps and Google Business profile, that page where you can check the reviews of a restaurant you’re looking for, the directions, whether they’re open or not, menus, prices and so on. Where you can even book it.

In fact, it is estimated that 46% of the 8.5bn searches everyday are local search, meaning people are looking for local info, the ones I described before.

If your business fits this type of local ads, it can be quite important to use this type of google ads.

Please note, both app and local ads will flow into Performance Max type of ads very soon, however I believe it is very important to understand how they work

With local campaigns you help the business to provide to its potential customers the information that they need to decide when and how to visit the stores.

Just like in other cases, Google helps you simply create a Local campaign by defining the store locations you want to promote linking your Business Profile or selecting affiliate locations.

Once done this you fix the campaign budget, and ad assets. Using these inputs, Google’s machine learning technology will automatically optimize bids, ad placements, and asset combinations. The campaign aims to maximize store visits, call clicks, and/or direction clicks as well as promote your locations across Google properties and networks.

Your ads will be eligible to appear across Google's properties. This includes the Google Search Network, Google Display Network, Google Maps, and YouTube.


When looking at KPI for google ads, you can really become creative as we have seen there are many types of ads for several different purposes

Let’s look at some of them.

  • Number of impressions and its Cost per Mille (CPM): How many impressions our ad got How high is the CPM for specific placements?

  • Impression Share: How well do your ads perform on GDN?

  • Number of Clicks: Which keywords generate the highest number of clicks?

  • Click-Through-Rate (CTR): how many people click through / for the number of times the ad appears (impression) this gives an idea about How appealing do the advertisements appear?

  • Number of conversions: this depend on the type of actions you planned for. You want to know how many leads you generated or how many sales or how many requests for address or calls

  • Quality Score: this is a metric that Google adwords provide and it is an estimate of How relevant are the advertisements based on the expected CTR, the the ad relevance and the user experience with the landing page. As google wants ad that convert (because it is paid when this happens) the quality score is very important and it has a role in determining the success of an auction

  • Cost-per-Click (CPC): considering how much you paid for the ad and how many clicks it had generated, this metric tells you How much does a click on the ad costs?

  • Ad Position: As there are different positions you can reach when auctioning for the ad, understanding how you ranked and how does the ad position affect the CTR is another important metric

  • Conversion Rate: How much did the ad convert, meaning how many of the planned actions did we get? Which campaigns convert the best?

  • Cost per Conversion / cost per acquisition: Given the budget we spent and the conversions we got, how much did we pay per each conversion? If we compare with others, average or the past, Which campaigns are most effective?

  • ROAS: a crucial metrics to calculate if you have data is Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) that compares the revenues generated (Conversion value) to the cost of the campaign.

Sources: above material is mainly taken from Google, I will post a series of links to useful sources towards the end of the series of those blog posts.

For now if you want to learn more about Facebook ads I suggest you to study here

Hope you're enjoying those posts, please get in touch!


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