How Google Ads Works

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Google Ads is a powerful tool for online advertising, but how does it work?

Google Ads is a powerful tool for online advertising, helping businesses reach potential customers exactly when they're searching for what those businesses offer.

How Google Ads Works

This quick and helpful guide will explain how Google Ads works and how it can help your business grow.

Google Ads allows businesses to display high quality and relevant targeted ads across Google's vast network, including Google Search results, Google Shopping, YouTube, and even on other websites through Google's Search Partners and Display Network.

Building your Ads campaign on the Google platform allows you to reach customers across all of these different touchpoints across the internet. Let's dive in and examine the main parts of that network, and the type of Ads that are served on it.

Google's Network

Search Ads

Google Search Ads

Search Ads appear next to Google search results when people look for the products and services you offer. For example, a search ad might display at the top of the Google search results page for 'women’s gym clothes'.

These search ads often appear at the top of search engine results pages for relevant search terms and are marked with 'Ad' or 'Sponsored', providing prominent visibility for advertisers.

'Classic' search ads like these are what often springs to mind when people think of Google Ads. Supplementary call outs such as deep links or highlights can be included with the Ad.

Google Shopping

Google Shopping Ads

Google Shopping allows users to search for products, and find and compare prices directly on Google. A shopping ad will show a product image, price, product rating and important store information for someone searching for 'Google Pixel Phones' for example.

Used by Retailers who sell physical goods online, Google Shopping is particularly useful for e-commerce businesses serving Ads across a large catalogue of products which can be uploaded to Google as a data feed.

Creating a high quality Google Shopping feed is a topic of it's own, but think of a spreadsheet containing all of your products with their attributes (colour, price, descriptions) neatly in columns, as the structured data used.

YouTube Ads

Google YouTube Ads

These ads are versatile and can show up in different ways on YouTube. You might see video ads that you can skip after a few seconds before the main video starts, or banner ads that pop up while you're watching videos.

For example, imagine you're about to watch a movie trailer on YouTube, and before it starts, there's a skippable video ad for Shopify. The first 5 seconds must play before you can skip past it.

This ad targets entrepreneurs and business owners, showcasing how Shopify's platform can help their business, right before your selected video plays. It's a great way to serve engaging content about your brand.

Display Ads

Google Display Ads

These are visual ads that can appear on websites within Google's Display Network. For example, a display ad for a fitness trackers might appear on a site when researching about the best fitness trackers for 2024.

Google has a wide variety of standardised ad formats for it's display network. These include leaderboards, MPU's and skyscraper ad formats which can be created and uploaded to the Ad platform in advance.

Publishers on the Google Ad Network provide ad placements on their websites, into which the ads are served and tracked. As an advertiser you can pick placements that match with your target auidience, such as serving fitness tracker ads on a fitness website.

Search Partners

Google Ads also appear on non-Google websites and products that are part of Google's Search Partners, extending the reach of your ads beyond Google Search.

For example, Google search ads might be displayed on AOL's search results pages or within Amazon - extending the reach of your advertising. Search partners evolve and change over time.

Which Industries can Benefit from Google Ads?

Extensive Industry Applications

Google Ads is highly versatile, making it a valuable tool for a wide range of industries.

  • Retail: To drive sales and traffic to online and physical stores.
  • Services: For professionals like lawyers, plumbers, and marketers to reach local and global clients.
  • Technology: To promote software, gadgets, and tech services.
  • Travel & Tourism: To capture the attention of potential travellers planning their next trip.
  • Hospitality: For hotels, restaurants, and event venues to attract more guests and reservations.
  • Manufacturing: To generate leads, showcase products, and reach new markets.

By leveraging Google Ads, businesses in these and other sectors can connect with their target audience, whether they're searching on Google, browsing websites, shopping online, or watching videos on YouTube.

Google Ads Reach

Google Ads simplifies reaching out to potential customers wherever they spend their time online.

From search results to YouTube videos and beyond, it provides a versatile platform for businesses of all sizes to increase their visibility and drive more traffic and sales all whilst giving the business owner complete control over and how much you want to invest into google ads marketing.

Understanding and using Google Ads can effectively set your business on the path to online success.

by PPC Consultant Mike Walker

Mike Walker

Mike is a Paid Search expert with over a decade of experience in digital marketing.

Managing PPC budgets of 6-figures per month, Mike is used to structuring and managing large campaigns on a global scale.

Continually developing his knowledge, Mike is at the forefront of trends in the PPC industry.

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