What are Google Ads?

Google Ads is an advertising platform where advertisers bid in a pay-per-click or per impression format to appear on search results pages (Search Network) and around the web (Display Network) for relevant audiences. 

Below includes a breakdown of just a few options advertisers have when it comes to building ad campaigns on Google Ads.

Search Network

Search ads are text ads users see at the top and the very bottom of Google’s search results. These ads appear on what is known as the Search Network. These placements are valuable because they are an opportunity to be in front of millions of people every day who are searching for keywords relevant to your business. 

Display Network

Display ads are text or image-based ads that can show on a network of millions of sites that Google partners with. These ads typically show to users based on audience attributes like browsing habits, interests and topics. Advertisers can be charged either by clicks or impressions. Responsive display ads will soon replace old default display ads.

Terms to Know

  • Conversion Rate: This is the number of visitors to your landing page who completed the intended goal divided by the total number of visitors to your landing page. The higher the percentage, the more this is an indicator that your ad is being served to the right audience at the right time.  
  • Click-through Rate: This is the number of views your ad receives divided the number of users who click your ads. The higher the percentage, the stronger the indicator that your ad is compelling and relevant to your audience.
  • Ad Rank: This determines where your ad appears on the first results page. There are several elements used by Google to calculate an ad’s Ad Rank. These elements include your bid amount, your ad’s expected clickthrough rate, ad relevance and landing page experience at the time of the auction and the context of a user’s search. Because this takes into account more than just the bid amount, you have the possibility of appearing above a competitor if you have a better landing page experience or more compelling ad copy. 
  • Quality Score: This metric is calculated based on 1) click through rate 2) relevance and 3) landing page experience. Quality score is measured on a scale from 1 to 10 and the higher the number, the lower amount you’ll pay per click. To increase your click through rate you’ll want to make sure your ad copy includes compelling text and a call-to-action that is relevant to your user’s intent. Keywords, ad text and landing page experience are very important when it comes to your relevance score. Consider structuring your ad groups with very few keywords that are very targeted to a user’s intent for a higher relevance score on the keyword-level.
  • Extensions: According to Google, adding extensions to your ads increases click through rates anywhere from 10-15% and can help improve quality scores. Adding more extensions doesn’t mean they’re guaranteed to always show, however. Google will only show your ads under two conditions: 1) you have a high enough ad rank and 2) Google “thinks” a user will be more likely to convert if the extension is shown. A best practice is to add as many relevant pieces of information about your business as you can from phone numbers and hours of operation to unique selling points and physical location.

Ad Formats

There are several ad formats to choose from within the Google Ads platform. See below for a detailed description of each. 

Text Ads

Since 2017 have advertisers been able to take advantage of the relatively new expanded text ads that have now become the default for all text ads. This format has room for two headlines totalling 30 characters each and a whopping 80 characters for the ad’s description line. One thing to remember is that the second headline will not always show depending on the device, so try to keep the most important information in the first headline of your ad. Text ads are eligible to appear on the Search Network, Display Network and search partners’ websites and usually have an “Ad” descriptor below the headline to indicate that listings are paid.

Responsive Ads

Responsive display ads are the new default ads available on the Display Network for display and smart display campaigns. This format allows advertisers to upload up to 15 images, 5 headlines, 5 descriptions and 5 logos. Advertisers can also choose whether to include video. Google then automatically combines these elements to form several versions of an ad based on the context of user’s particular search. Over time, Google “learns” which combination of elements yields the best performance. Some benefits of using this format include a broader reach because ads can fit several different sizes and reduced time needed for A/B testing.

Image Ads

Image ads can be used to target a wide audience because they can be eligible to appear in several possible sizes, depending on the banner dimensions available on the sites you’re targeting. Advertisers can either make their own static or interactive images or use Google’s Ad Gallery to create ads from a library of templates. Acceptable formats include GIF, JPG, PNG, HTML 5 or Flash which are available to show anywhere on the Display Network, specifically Google partner sites. Aside from creative, there are three elements used to create an image ad: the image’s name (mostly for your own reference), a display URL and a Destination URL.

App Promotion Ads

If your business created an app and you’re looking to increase engagement or downloads, you might create an app promotion ad. These ads send users to download your app from Google, Google Play, YouTube or other Google partner sites. Keep in mind that your app-install ads will only appear for devices that are compatible with your content. Like responsive ads, Google will utilize the assets you provide and find the right combination to engage your audience, showing the best ads more often over time. You can set campaigns to optimize for installs, in-app conversions or target return on ad spend.

Video Ads

According to Google, advertisers who run YouTube video ads with search ads see 3% higher conversion rates and 4% lower CPA than those who only run text ads. Research also shows that consumers often use YouTube to learn more about and compare products before making a purchase decision. Video ads can be skippable or non-skippable in-stream ads, video discovery ads, outstream ads or bumper ads.

Product Shopping Ads

If you have an ecommerce site where you have online inventory, product shopping ads are a good place for you to start. These ads show images, product titles, prices store name and more product details. What’s especially great is that advertisers don’t need to create an ad for every product they have available, but instead, Google pulls this information from your Merchant Center account.

Call-Only Ads

According to Google, 70 percent of mobile searches results in a phone call to a business. If you want to target mobile users only, call ads are the way to go. The elements in a call-only ad or similar to a regular text ad, but with fewer elements: a headline, a display URL and two description lines. One thing to note is that these ads don’t include extensions like regular text ads and they allow you to use a Google forwarding number (GFN) in your headline.

Campaign Types

Search Network Campaign

Campaigns on the search network can appear only on Google search sites such as Google Play, Google Shopping or just plain Google search results. You can also opt for your ads to show on search partner sites as part of a related search on the site itself.

Display Network Campaign

These campaigns are eligible to appear on YouTube, Gmail and a host of thousands upon thousands of search partner sites. Types of ads on the Display Network include responsive display ads and image ads.

Bid Types

CPM – Cost per impression. This means that you are charged only per thousand viewable impressions.

CPC – Cost per click. This bid type means that you will be charged each time a user clicks on your ad. Google is pretty savvy at being able to filter “bad clicks” from authentic clicks.

CPV – Cost per view. This bid type is typically available with video campaigns and means you will be charged per view.

There are several possibilities and options when it comes to what kind of ad campaign will bring the best results for your business. The best thing you can do is explore and experiment with different options that make the most sense for your product or service. Google Ads can be an incredibly successful part of any marketing plan if done right. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or don’t know where to begin with creating and managing your Google ads, contact us now to see what our team of expert PPC pros can do for you and your business goals. 

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