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A Complete List of All Google Ad and Campaign Types

One of the largest advertising channels is Google Ads. And it’s consistently profitable for businesses.

Within the Google Ads platform, there’s plenty of different campaign types and ad formats. Campaign goals are objectives you want your business to achieve which can be done through campaign types (strategies) and the use of advertising (tactics you use to execute a strategy).

In this blog post, I’m taking you through all the Google Ad and campaign types so you can determine which ones align with your business. Then you can begin building your campaign to get your brand out there.

Google Ad and Campaign Types: An Overview

Google Ads show up primarily in the Google Search Network (GSN) and the Google Display Network (GDN).

The GSN is the primary advert network where advertisers pay for ad placements in Google’s search engine results pages (SERP). Sponsored ads at the top of the results page are search ads. Display ads, however, are separate from Google Search. They’re visual-based and serve on other Google properties (YouTube) and even non-Google websites.

The 9 types of campaign are:

  1. Search
  2. Display
  3. Video
  4. Shopping
  5. Application
  6. Local
  7. Smart
  8. Performance Max
  9. Discovery

The type of campaign you choose will be determined quite heavily by the marketing goal(s) you have. Some of the most common marketing goals are:

  • Sales
  • Web Traffic
  • Lead Generation
  • Brand Awareness
  • App Promotion

Let’s take a more in-depth look into the campaign types.

Search Campaigns

Though Google doesn’t share exact numbers, it’s estimated that there’s well over 3 billion searches every single day.

So for businesses, it’s easy to get lost in the many, many pages of results. Especially if your site has been taking a hit in the ranking. Therefore, a businessowner may invest in paid advertising, paying for the top slot on Google through search ads.

Search ads target intent-based searches. If someone is showing interest in your product, or something similar, that’s your audience. Paying for search ads helps increase your presence and could help to bring re-awareness to your brand to past visitors.

Display Campaigns

Those banners, images, and video ads that you see across different websites and apps are display ads. They appear more widely across different content types in comparison to search campaigns.

By design, they are quite intrusive so you’ll find that quite a lot of people ignore them. They have quite a low click-through rate when compared to some of the other campaign types. However, CTR is not the be-all, end-all of how successful an ad is. After all, even though someone may not click your ad they may remember your site and visit it at a later point.

Display ads don’t appear for specific search terms. Rather, they appear while someone is just surfing through content online or in-app. Brand awareness and remarketing are usually the campaign goals for businesses that choose the display ads campaign type.

Video Ad Campaigns

YouTube, believe it or not, is the second largest search engine (after Google, of course). And it makes sense.

Think of how many visitors YouTube gets a day, with all the different forms of content available. There’s how-to guides, advice and guidance, and multiple entertainment options – music, gaming, vlogging. It’s no surprise that approximately 2.3 billion people use YouTube daily. I mean, look at the amount of views on some of those music videos!

But the good thing about YouTube ads is that advertisers have a lot of control over their audience targeting. They can choose where their ads appear and the types of people that will see them. Of course, you need to have exceptional creativity and design resources in order to make your video ads impactable.

It’s because of this control that makes video ad campaigns perfect for businesses that are aiming to remarket, market aesthetic products, or bring more awareness to their brand.

Shopping Campaigns

These campaigns pertain mostly to e-commerce businesses – businesses that have products to sell. In fact, it’s likely that shopping campaigns make up the main marketing budget for e-commerce businessowners.

When you search specific product terms, shopping ads will show your product in the Google SERPs. If people click on your shopping ad, it takes them through directly to the product page on your website.

You can check out Google’s documentation for specifics on how to set up shopping ads. Once they’re approved, they require minimal additional management as your Google Merchant Centre (GMC) account sends the data to Google Ads to process and review.

App Campaigns

App campaigns involved using automated ads in order to drive mobile application installations and in-app purchases.

The most obvious choice for companies the sell apps. Who would have thought?

These ad campaigns are dedicated just to app promotion and they’re much easier to set up. Google automatically creates formatted ads from the information it gathers from your app. Basically, you don’t actually need to do any of the weightlifting and you’ll still reap the benefits.

With app campaigns, most brands’ goals are to get more app installations and to re-engage existing users to complete in-app actions like updating or purchasing.

Local Campaigns

With those 3+ billion searches per day on Google, quite a hefty portion of those are local. And when people search locally, the conversion rates are higher because most mobile searchers are looking for something immediately.

Creating a local campaign means that your GMB (Google My Business) account needs to be linked to your Google Ads account. Upon creating a local campaign, a businessowner may have to cut their focuses down to one goal only:

  • In-store Visits
  • Telling people what you offer.
  • Letting people know how to find your business.
  • Click-to-call
  • Users discovering your business & directly calling the phone.
  • Direction Clicks
  • Setting users’ navigation to your business’ location.

Smart Campaigns

Setting up your Google Ads account, you may notice two control modes: Smart Mode and Expert Mode.

Smart Mode is what every created campaign starts in to give novices a step-up in the advertising market. So technically, every campaign is a smart campaign which is a campaign type. Google creates each campaign for you within a campaign builder (Thank You Google!). These builders are simplified and automated, using AI to make decisions on everything. All the user has to do it upload the assets and choose a campaign goal.

A very popular campaign choice for those who have to manage campaigns alone, or don’t have enough time or resources to choose another type. That’s why they’re such a great choice for new advertisers who are just starting to dip their toes in the deep end.

Performance Max

The newest campaign type! That will be replacing local and smart campaigns come July this year.

(As it’s not yet July, I thought I would still include local and smart campaigns in this blog.)

Considering it’s replacing two types of campaigns, that makes performance max campaigns the improved version of both. So basically, it’s still the same process as smart advertising with AI-driven choices within all-in-one campaign builders.

The major difference is that your ads will appear across more placements in more formats.

Discovery Campaigns

Firstly, these ads are very similar to display ads. They’re visual-based and have a standard targeted audience.

Different to display ads is that discovery campaigns have different formats available and a difference in where the ads are shown. Discovery ads appear across the GDN, intending to show audiences what Google thinks they need.

For that reason, discovery campaigns are ideal for creating brand awareness, and remarketing.

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