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7 Different Types of Google Ads and How They Work

If you’re one of the 5.6 billion people who use Google each day, then you’ve seen a Google ad – whether you realise it or not. (In fact, 58% of people don’t actually know which links on Google are ads.) Perhaps you were searching for a hotel accommodation in Cape Town, and a discount on Google search led you to make a booking. Or maybe you saw an ad for a face moisturiser while you were reading about skincare online.

In a nutshell, Google Ads is Google’s online advertising program, which allows you to create ads to reach audiences that are interested in your products and services. There are 7 different types of Google Ads to choose from, so let’s break them down individually to understand exactly what they do and how they work.

1. Search ads
2. Display ads
3. Video ads
4. Shopping ads
5. App ads
6. Local ads
7. Discovery ads

1. Google Search Ads

Best for: Getting in front of people who are ready to buy.

What it is: These text ads appear on Google search results pages (SERPs) and attract people who are looking for your products or services. They work by targeting keywords with buyer’s intent. For example, if your company sells hair products, target keywords like “Buy Kerastase shampoo online” and “Buy professional hair products” will attract people who are looking for products like yours. Whether your ad campaign is displayed at the top above the organic results (influenced by a good SEO strategy) or the bottom of the SERPs depends on your bid price. The more you bid, the better visibility you get.

2. Google Display ads

Best for: Generating brand awareness and reaching your potential clients early in the buying cycle.

What it is: Google Display ads are image-based ads that allow you to target people who are likely to be interested in your products but aren’t looking for them yet. You might see a display ad when browsing your favourite website or while on Gmail. To show your ads to relevant people, Google uses the Google Display Network (GDN), which is a network of more than 2 million websites, apps, and videos. It gives you the option to set where or when you want your ads to be shown based on features of your ideal audience such as age, gender, or interests.

google display ad example3. Google Video ads

Best for: Getting in front of your targeted audience.

What it is: YouTube acts like a search engine, and since it belongs to Google, this gives you the ideal opportunity to target your potential customers on YouTube based on what they’re watching, their age, gender and interests. These ads are shown before, during, or after YouTube videos as well as in the search results. In-stream video ads have a 5-second timer before the users can switch to their intended video or choose to watch the ad for its entire duration.

4. Google Shopping ads

Best for: Boosting traffic to your e-commerce store and advertising to shoppers who are ready to buy.

What it is: Google Shopping Ads are product-based image ads that are displayed specifically for product searches on Google. The ads show the shopper all the important info such as product name, price, store name, and reviews, before they even click or visit an online store.

Google shopping ad example5. Google App ads

Best for: Promoting your app installs across many channels.

What it is: If you have a mobile app, you can promote it across Google’s largest properties such as YouTube, Google Play, Search, and the Google Display Network. With app ads, they are automatically designed for you, unlike other types of Google Ads. You simply provide some text, a starting bid and budget, the languages and locations for your campaign and then Google does the rest.

Google app ad example6. Google Local Search ads

Best for: Standing out within the local results section of a Google search.

What it is: Local search ads drive customers to a physical location. For example, if you’re searching for “Artificial grass near me”, you might see ads from artificial grass companies in your area that show their location, phone number, hours and reviews.

Google Local ad example7. Google Discovery ads

Best for: Increasing brand awareness.

What it is: Discovery ads allow you to reach up to 3 billion customers across Discover, YouTube Home, and Watch Next feeds, as well as the Gmail promotions and social tabs. They are similar to display ads, in that they are visual, and allow you to target people who are likely to be interested in your products or services. The key difference between the two is who the ads are reaching and where they are shown. Discovery ads generally reach people who are ready to discover and engage, whereas Display ads are ideal for general awareness.

google display ad exampleAre Google Ads worth it?

Yes! Google is the most popular search engine in the world, and controls 90% of the global search engine market. With over 70,000 Google searches each second (that’s 227 million an hour), your ads can reach up to 90% of its users, provided your ads are using the right keywords and targeting.

google ads data

Which type of Google Ads should you choose?

Now that you understand more about the different types of Google ads, which one should you choose? It all boils down to what you want to achieve. If sales is your goal, then running a search or shopping ad campaign will allow you to target the people who are searching for your product or service. If you’re looking to increase brand awareness, then a video or display ad campaign will help get your brand in front of the right people, at the right time, based on their interests and demographic area.

Still not sure which one to choose? That’s what we’re here for! If you’re keen to give Google Ads a try and start capitalising on the astronomical number of searches that take place on Google daily, get in touch with the SOMS Digital team today for more info on how we can set up a targeted Google Ads campaign to help grow your business.

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