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9 types of Google Ads explained

9 types of Google Ads explained

Google Ads are a great way to get your brand out there and meet your target audience when they're actively searching for your products and services, but did you know that there are different types of Google Ads you can use to appear in different places? We'll explain more in this blog.

Google has a market share of 86.31%, so it makes sense that you’re considering investing in Google Ads. However, with so many different types of Google Ads, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed immediately.

We’ve broken down the nine main types of Google Ads, covering how they work and what they can achieve for your business. So, you can easily decide which type of Google Ad is best to help you achieve your business goals. 

How do Google ads work?

Google Ads is a paid advertising platform part of the pay-per-click (PPC) marketing channel. This is where you pay every time a user clicks on an ad (PPC), every time a user sees an ad (CPM), or every time a user performs a specific action (CPE). 

Many businesses use Google Ads to drive users to their websites, searching for the same products and services you offer. Businesses make maximum bids (the maximum amount of money they’re willing to spend on that ad). If Google calculates that the cost per click for that ad is lower than a business’s maximum bid, they win that ad placement. Or businesses can set a maximum daily budget, ensuring you never spend over that amount on that ad per day. 

There are nine Google Ads campaign types, each working slightly differently. 

1. Search ads

When you think of Google ads, you probably imagine search ads. This is where you bid on relevant keywords so that when potential customers search for these (or similar) keywords, your site shows up at the top of the search results on the Google Search Network.

This ad campaign is commonly used to drive leads or purchases by bidding on relevant keywords with high commercial intent. 

There are 3 types of search ads, responsive, dynamic, and call-only.

Responsive Search Ads (RSAs)

If you choose this type of search ad, you can upload multiple different headlines (up to 15) and descriptions (up to 4). Google’s machine learning then optimises the ad versions to increase the click-through rate (CTR). 

Over time, Google will customise and adapt the version of the ad shown based on the user’s search behaviour and other signals. This ensures each user is shown the most relevant and effective ad version. 

Dynamic Search Ads (DSAs)

DSA campaigns automatically analyse your website, identify relevant keywords, and generate targeted ads. The headline and landing page will be automatically generated to match the search term. 

This is a great way to quickly scale your campaigns and run search ads for keywords that your other campaigns have missed. 

Call Only Search Ads

These ads are designed to encourage users to call your business. They only appear on devices that can make phone calls. When users click on the phone number in the ad, their device will automatically call your business. 

2. Display Ads

Unlike Google search ads which are entirely text-based, display ads are entirely image-based and appear on websites in the Google Display Network. Rather than solely targeting keywords, you can target specific sites or sites related to particular topics or keywords. You can also target specific audiences or demographics. 

Although Google search and display ads are very similar, one key difference exists between them. Search ads are shown to users already searching for your products, while display ads are shown to specific audiences who might be interested in your products. Read our blog 'Display vs search advertising' for a more detailed breakdown.

Because display ads achieve high impressions, they’re primarily used to build brand awareness. There are 2 types of display ads: single image and responsive. 

Single Image Display Ads

You have complete control over uploaded or single image display ads. This is great if you have the design resources to create your own ads. You’ll need to create different-sized versions of all your ads, as different placements have different size specifications. 

Responsive Display Ads

This is the default ad type for display campaigns. You only need to provide Google with some visual assets and ad copy for responsive display ads. Google will then automatically test different variations to see which performs best. These ads will also automatically resize to meet the size specifications of different web pages. 

3. Video ads

These are ads that show video content to users on Youtube or other websites. Video ads work similarly to display ads: you can target specific videos, sites, or audiences. 

Like display campaigns, video ads are usually used to drive brand awareness. They’re beneficial for businesses with visual or hard-to-explain products or services. 

There are loads of different types of video ads. We’ve compiled the 3 main types below. 

In-stream (skippable and non-skippable)

These video ads appear before, during, or after streaming YouTube video content within the context of the video. They can be skippable (after 5 seconds) or non-skippable (maximum of 15 seconds).


Unlike in-stream video ads, these ads are placed within the display ad units on the webpage. These are shown irrespective of any other video or non-video content on the page. 


In-feed video ads appear next to YouTube content that is likely to be viewed by your target audience. These ads appear in YouTube search results, watch next, and users’ home feeds.

4. Shopping ads

These are the ads that appear when you search for a product on Google. Shopping ads are visual, unlike most of the other search results. They usually combine a high-quality product image with the price and a star rating to generate engagement. Because they appear above other search results, they can be particularly effective for generating sales for e-commerce businesses. 

Shopping ads are fairly similar to regular Google search ads. However, one of the main differences is that the keywords you target for shopping ads are automatically generated based on your product information. For more information, check out our blog 'Google shopping vs text ads'.

Product Shopping

This is the standard shopping ad that appears in SERP results. 

Local inventory

These ads are the same as product shopping ads, but these are shown to nearby searchers if a particular product is in stock at a nearby store. 

5. App ads

These ads are designed to encourage app downloads or engagement. They can appear on Search, Google Play, YouTube, and the Google Display Network.

App ads are created using assets in your app store listing. However, you can choose your budget, starting bids, and location. Google will automatically generate relevant app ads based on your app listing to show the best ad variation at the best time. You don’t need to provide keywords because Google will take these keywords from your app listing. 

6. Local services ads 

This is a relatively new type of Google ad. Google local services ads help local businesses collect leads through phone calls or message requests. They appear right at the top of search results if your business is relevant to the search query. These ads display detailed information about the local business, such as their name, ratings, location, opening hours, contact information, and more. 

Unlike search ads, where you pay per click (PPC), you pay per lead for local service ads. Businesses must also go through a verification process to receive a badge or checkmark. For blue-collar industries, like plumbers, this will say ‘Google Guaranteed’. For white-collar industries, like lawyers, this will say ‘Google Screened’. 

7. Smart ads

These are fully automated campaigns that are created and managed by Google. You just need to provide some initial information while setting up your smart ad. They can be in the form of search or display ads. 

Smart ads are great for small to medium-sized businesses that don’t have much time to invest in advertising. 

8. Performance Max ads

This is another type of automated Google ads campaign. Google will generate ads based on the assets provided by the business. Performance Max campaigns can run across all of Google’s network. This means your ads could show as search ads, display ads, video ads on YouTube, and more.

Performance Max campaigns are goal-based, and you’ll be asked to choose an objective when you set up your campaign. You’ll also be asked to provide assets and information about your business. Google will then automatically determine the best combinations of assets and placement through its machine learning. 

9. Discovery ads

This is another automatic campaign designed to get users to discover your products or services. These highly visual and personalised ads appear on YouTube, Google, and Gmail apps. Like Performance Max ads, you’ll provide Google with your business assets, such as copy and images. Then Google uses machine learning to determine the ideal placement, frequency, and time to show it to users. 

Discovery ads are commonly used to increase conversion, target new customers, or reconnect with existing customers. 

How can Google Ads help you advance your business goals?

Google Ads can be an incredibly powerful tool to help you advance your business goals. They can help you increase your brand’s visibility by offering your products and services to users actively searching for them. According to a Google study, online ads increase brand awareness by 80%

Investing in Google ads can help increase qualified traffic to your website and ultimately increase conversions. According to Hubspot, 65% of people click on Google search ads when searching for a specific product.

Using Google ads also allows you to show targeted ads to highly specific audiences. You can target based on users’ demographic information, search history, and interests. Google Display Network reaches over 90% of consumers. This can allow you to expand your customer base and target new customers who might be interested in buying your product or service. 

When to get help with Google Ads

If you’re struggling to know where to start with setting up your first Google Ads campaign or your current campaigns aren’t where you want them to be, it might be time to seek specialist help. 

At Logica Digital, we have over 15 years of experience running various successful Google Ads campaigns. After a free initial audit, our team of PPC experts will help determine the best type of Google ads to achieve your business goals and start seeing real results.

Contact the team today to learn more about what we do and how we can help you excel with Google Ads. Or take advantage of our 100% free digital marketing audit for a breakdown of your current Google Ad performance and what you can do to improve!‍

Blog written by

Mark Skinner

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