Google Ad Campaign Types

There are a wide variety of campaign types you can take advantage of in Google Ads. Most of us think of Google’s search engine, but there are TONS of different opportunities at your disposal.

This article will cover the following Google Ad campaign types and how you can use them to achieve your marketing goals:

  • Search campaigns
  • Performance Max campaigns
  • Shopping campaigns
  • Display campaigns
  • YouTube campaigns (video campaigns)
  • App campaigns
  • Smart campaigns
  • Discovery campaigns

Search Campaigns

This is obviously Google’s bread and butter. You have the ability to advertise on search terms that your potential customers are searching. Search is intent because it shows a level of active interest in a particular product or service.

Before search, nearly all marketing campaigns were focused on targeting people that might have some interest in your products. With search, you can target people looking for things like “flower shop” and show them an ad for your local flower shop.

Here are some important use cases for search campaigns:

  • YOU choose which keywords you want to target.
  • Only pay for clicks, not impressions. That means you can get someone to your site or get free exposure.
  • Show up in meaningful moments during a customer’s purchasing process.
    • They could be doing initial discovery to see what they need first
    • They could be comparing different options
    • They could be ready to buy from your competitors (and you can show your ad to get them to buy from you)

You’re able to get really specific about which terms you want to bid on as well. Instead of reaching an audience of people that may or may not be interested. You can choose to get people searching for active terms like “flower shop near me” or “finding a local florist” to get people actively searching for your services.

Learn more about setting up search ads in our article on how to do keyword research.

Performance Max Campaigns

Most businesses are laser focused on the bottom line. We’re doing marketing on Google to make more money.

That’s one of the great things about Google’s Performance Max campaigns. Instead of choosing a marketing channel, you give Google your creative assets, audiences, and conversion goals. Then Google uses its algorithm to maximize your performance (hence….Performance Max).

Seeing how effective this has been for our clients, I wrote an article on this Google Ad campaign type specifically. This campaign type is very useful to say the least.

The one thing to consider is that you need conversion data first. Without conversion data, Google is left guessing at how to find the right leads, calls, orders, etc.

This means that your conversion quality could be lackluster or you could have a higher cost to acquire orders. 

Shopping Campaigns

This is probably one of Google’s most underrated campaign types. Shopping campaigns allow you to show your products on Google’s shopping network. People can browse for your product based upon their different search queries.

Besides Amazon & other third party sites like Walmart, there isn’t really anything like it. Especially because Google is so widely used.

Basically take the same concept regarding search intent and consider shopping intent. I can easily search for a leather jacket that fits my price, style, use cases, and so forth.

Here are a few things to consider with Shopping campaigns:

  • You will need to set up a Google Merchant account and connect your shopping feed to your Google Ads account.
  • You should know your value proposition and make sure it’s displayed in your product feed.
  • Google Shopping is very competitive. Most shopping networks are comparative unless it’s vocal search. That’s because people can directly see pricing, material used, and images of the products that you and your competition offer.

The ROI can be great for your business and easy to understand with shopping campaigns. That’s because you can see how much you pay per click vs how much revenue you make.

Display Campaigns

Google is known primarily for search, but it also has a TON of websites you can advertise on. There are over 2 millions sites and 1 million apps where you can show your ads.

Here are a few use cases you should consider if you want to use display campaigns:

  • Display can help increase your exposure. Either to develop awareness with brand new users or retarget previous website visitors/consumers.
  • Display is primarily a soft conversion driver. You can get purchases from remarketing to past customers or website visitors. Though its best use case is to develop awareness so people are more likely to consider your business when they are searching for options later on.

A good example of this is Coca Cola’s advertising efforts over the years. They have been absolutely everywhere!

People aren’t always drinking Coke though and they might not even be drinking soda at the time. The point of their advertising is to raise awareness so when you are thirsty, you consider having a Coke vs any other beverage.

The same thing applies for display campaigns. This Google Ad campaign type is a great top of funnel campaign to raise awareness or get people back to your site to purchase.

YouTube Campaigns

YouTube campaigns are very similar to Display campaigns. Except for a few important differences that amount to one thing…..YouTube is more engaging and less disruptive than display.

Taking a step back – YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world being Google and there are billions of hours of videos watched per day.

YouTube has a similar level of intent to search because people can search then watch videos related to their inquiries. 

There are quite a few different ways you can show ads on YouTube as well. One example above is being able to show your video ad with some search components in YouTube’s search engine. 

Another example above are YouTube’s skippable ads. YouTube gives you the option to show your 15-30 second ads before a video. Either as skippable or non-skippable content.

Last example is being able to show shopping feeds on YouTube (example above). This is done through other campaign types like shopping and performance max. However, it’s important to note this because there is value in showing your shopping feed on YouTube.

App Campaigns

This Google Ad campaign type is pretty straightforward. They allow you to promote your app across Search, Google Play, YouTube, Discover, and Display. 

You can get people to either install, engage, or pre-register for your app. Depending upon what you want to do. The best feature of this campaign is that you can advertise to people looking for apps in Google’s App Store (Google Play) and show app extensions on your ads in Google’s other networks.

Smart Campaigns

This is a good campaign type if you’re just starting out with Google Ads and don’t have an expert to manage your account.

I would recommend taking the time to either set up a search campaign or talk to an expert like myself. If you don’t have the time or money, this is a good place to start for a few reasons:

  • Smart campaigns have a very easy walk through guide to help you set the campaign up.
  • You just need to write an ad that describes what your product or service does and pick keyword themes. Then Google shows your ads across all of its network (similar to performance max but without the automation and with fewer targeting options).
  • This is great for people new to Google Ads because it’s one campaign which is easy to set up and easy to manage.

Google Ad campaign types like this one are limited vs the other campaign types mentioned. You could be losing out on new customers or leads as a result. This campaign type also isn’t great at scaling vs the other campaigns. So even if you do get results, it can be hard to increase your lead or order volume.

Discovery Campaigns

The purpose of this Google Ad campaign type is to reach your ideal customer at scale in a single campaign. Two things discovery campaigns are known for are:

  • Reaching people in YouTube’s video feed – in a similar manner to Facebook/Instagram/Tik Tok. You can show ads while people scroll to look for different videos to watch.
  • Showing ads in Gmail – this is the new campaign type you can use to show ads when people are looking at their emails in Google.

This can be a good campaign for brand awareness or remarketing similar to display campaigns. We recommend starting with YouTube or Performance Max in terms of Google Ads campaign types first. 

Then if you have the budget to expand, use discovery campaigns.

Final Thoughts

This article should give you everything you need to know about Google Ad campaign types. If you need more help or additional insights on picking different Google Ad campaign types, we’re here for you! Book a free consultation with us today and we’ll go over how to get started on Google and how to get better results.

Centaur Consulting Group

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