Five Google Campaign Types and When to Use Each


Google has one of the world’s largest advertising platforms, allowing you to reach billions of people with the click of a mouse. Most importantly, it offers extremely narrow targeting options that ensure you can engage with prospects who are most likely to contact your business locally.

But which type of ad is best for promoting your business and what factors should you consider when building out a new campaign? Let’s take a closer look at the five major types of Google campaigns and how to leverage each to bolster your marketing efforts.

Search network campaign

AdWords is built on its search network campaign capabilities, allowing advertisers to select keyword phrases and bid for ad placement alongside organic results in Google’s search engines. This is the origin of mass-market pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and by far the largest network with which you can run such ads.

Search network campaigns can be designed around one of several goals, including:

  • Sales
  • Leads
  • Website traffic
  • Product and brand consideration
  • Brand awareness and reach

What you select will ultimately determine the bid structure your account uses and the recommendations the system provides for optimization. While there are endless nuances to a successful search network campaign, the core comes down to the following three things:

  • The search terms you identify that your target audience will be using to find your services. These are frequently multi-word phrases related to the problems you resolve and the services you offer
  • The phrases used in your text ads that appear in the organic search results, as well as extensions and additional links to relevant content on your website
  • Your targeting and bid structure — which can include location, basic demographics, and pinpoint precision on the exact amount you are willing to spend per click for both keywords and individual ads

Entire libraries have been written about how to leverage Google’s PPC search network campaigns. When done properly, these can be immensely impactful.

Display network campaign

Using the same structure and ability to target based on keyword intent, the display network leverages the millions of websites that display ads from Google’s display network inventory. Through the display network, you can run ads in several formats:

  • Lookalike targeting to specific types of websites with visual ads that represent your brand or products
  • Retargeting to an existing audience that you upload into Google AdWords. This can include your current website visitors
  • Website-specific ads that target based on particular types of sites. For example, you might run different ads on a how-to blog than on a hardware review website

Display ads are traditionally broader than search network campaigns, but with the tools Google provides, you can narrow your approach significantly and generate a better quality of click.

Video campaign

By combining access to Google’s display network and YouTube, advertisers can run robust video campaigns. These come in several formats depending on the goal of the video you are promoting, including:

  • In-stream ads – These appear before, during, or after YouTube videos as well as in apps, including games on Android devices (and in iOS apps that leverage Google’s ad networks). These ads offer the five-second skip button for users who are not interested. Non-skippable in-stream ads are also available but must be kept short. They are only 15 seconds or less.
  • Video discovery ads – These videos can only be run on YouTube and are shown in the discovery feeds of users who are searching for content on the platform. There are several formats, sizes, and lengths you can choose from depending on placement.
  • Outstream ads – These are shown on partner websites on mobile devices. They are often used for brand awareness building due to their placement and how they play.
  • Bumper ads – Bumper ads are short clips of six seconds or less that appear within other content. They are designed to be memorable and replayable at scale.

There are several video options, but it’s important to have a strategy in place not only for placement but for generating a return on your distribution spend.

Shopping campaigns

For local businesses, Google’s shopping platform offers a way to promote your products and goods for both online sales and local brick-and-mortar availability.

These ads leverage the Google advertising networks but do so in a different format than either text or display ads, dynamically showing products that are relevant to the user on partner websites. There are several benefits of this platform, including:

  • Product information within the ads to improve the viability of the individuals who click and ultimately contact your business
  • Targeting based on product attributes instead of keywords, allowing you to reach people who are looking for goods that match what you sell
  • Expandable presence in search results, partner sites, and display network positioning

Shopping ads are a powerful way to expand your reach if you offer physical goods either online or locally.

Local campaigns

For most small businesses, the above four campaign types will be used in tandem with or in addition to a local campaign. Google offers two ways to advertise your business locally, including:

  • Local service ads – Local service ads can be run by service providers who have been approved by Google to showcase their services. People who search for a particular service locally will see ads that have options for direct outreach to qualified individuals, including trust badges from Google that your business has been verified.
  • Local search ads – Local search ads allow you to promote your listing in Google’s Map results. This ensures your business appears when someone does a local search in your geographic area, even if there are other listings in the area that might otherwise show up above yours.

In addition to both types of local search ads, there are precise geographical targeting options in all of Google’s advertising tools, allowing you to only show ads to people who meet your service area. For brick-and-mortar locations and service businesses, this is an important tool to ensure ad spend is only going to people who could become customers.

Leveraging Google advertising to grow your business

If you operate a small or medium-sized business that relies on a specific audience to generate new business, Google ads are a powerful way to reach them at scale quickly. Whether you want to target people who have already visited your website, local business owners who are searching for your services or want to boost your brand visibility with video and display materials, there are several options available to do so.

The key is to have a carefully constructed strategy in place that leverages each of these tools to match your business goals. Done right, Google Ads can have a profound impact with positive ROI.

It’s easy to get going with Pronto.

Click here to contact one of our experts who’s been there, done that to drive sales for your business.


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