What campaigns are available to you on AdWords?

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AdWords is Constantly Evolving:

Google AdWords is constantly evolving, with several noteworthy feature updates each month. Indeed, here’s an outline of the key new features recently added to AdWords. Long gone are the days where AdWords advertising is limited to text ads on search results pages. More and more change has come recently, so I thought it was worthwhile giving an overview of the core campaign types available through AdWords.

Search Text Ad Campaigns

Search text ad campaigns are the standard campaign that is associated with Google AdWords. These are the text ads that appear on the top and right side of the search engine result page (SERP). See below for an example, for the search query, ‘striped sofas belfast’.

striped sofa search


Display Campaigns

These are advertisements that consists of images throughout the Google Display Network (GDN). The GDN is a collection of websites that have agreed to host image ads from other advertisers. These will be dedicated panels on the website that will act as a canvas for images ads. An example of the display ads on a fitness website, is below:


The most popular image sizes tend to be:

  • 728px x 90px,
  • 300px x 250px,
  • 160px x 600px

These three sizes cover the majority of the GDN and it is best practise to use these ad sizes in any display campaign. However, for a full range of images sizes available for desktop or mobile on the Google display network, check out below:


Shopping Campaigns

Shopping campaigns are an excellent choice for e-commerce retailers. They are advertisements linked to a specific product that is sold on your website. The advertisement involves a product image, title, description, short line of promotional text and a price, as well as other optional attributes (such as colour, size, brand). The advertisement is served when a user’s search matches the product title and description and other data in the product feed. See below for an example of Google Shopping ads below when a user searches for ‘blue nike footballs’.

screencapture (2)

N.B. Remember, with Shopping campaigns, negative keywords are very important to block searches that are not relevant to the exact search of the user. For example, in the search above there is a listing for a ‘blue football top’ and ‘blue nike football shorts’, which are not the intent of this particular search. Optimisation of the product feed is also important to have the correct products shown on user search queries.

Dynamic Search Campaigns

Dynamic Search campaigns are where Google automatically uses the content on your website to create the content of your ad, based on what would be most relevant to the search user.  Advertisers can tell Google what web pages to target through the use of dynamic ad targets. For example, if you want to attract users searching for blue footballs, you can create a dynamic ad that only uses pages related to those items instead of your entire site.

When Google finds a match between a user’s searches and the ad targets defined by the advertiser, a headline is generated based upon the searcher’s query and the title of the landing page. You predefine description lines 1 and 2 for the particular target.

Otherwise dynamic search ads work in the same way as the standard search text ads. They rank in the auction the same way that keyword-targeted ads would.  However, when keyword contextual ads are in direct competition with dynamic ads in the same auction, the keyword ads will take precedence. However a broad or phrase match query in a keyword-targeted ad, with a low ad rank, can be outranked by a dynamic ad has a higher ad rank.

One way of looking at dynamic search ads is that it is an automated version of search ad creation, where the headline, keywords and landing page are automatically generated by Google, rather than manually created within AdWords. Can be useful to get started, but can lose a lot of control.

Video Ad Campaigns

YouTube is of course the second largest search engine in the world, and also owned by Google. Through AdWords you can place ads on YouTube, as Display Ads and Video Ads. For now we’ll focus on Video Ads. Video Ads can be placed on both YouTube and the Google Display Network.

There are three types of video ad campaigns that you can use to target specific users:

  • In-display ads: These are video ads that appear on the YouTube search results and are charged when a user clicks on the thumbnail image and starts to watch the video. For example, in this search for ‘2015 music’ the top two listings are in-display ads:



  • In-stream ads: These are video ads that appear before, during or after other videos on YouTube. Advertisers are charged whenever a user has watched 30 seconds without skipping, or more of the video than 30 seconds, or completed it (if the video is less than 30 seconds). An example of in-stream advertising is below, appearing before the main YouTube video begins:


  • In video overlay ads: These are banner ads that appear during a video on the bottom third of the video screen, without interrupting the video. This type of ad is charged when the user clicks the ads and can be seen below, advertising a BMW car:


Remarketing Campaigns

Remarketing is a process used by advertisers to enable them to show specialised ads to users who have already visited their site. Remarketing, can be incredibly successful and can dramatically increase your ROI, as users are twice as likely to convert when they land on the website a second time.

There are many different types of remarketing campaigns:

  • Display remarketing– This uses the GDN to show previous visitors to your website image ads, that can be uploaded to your campaign.  This can reinforce your brand message to previous visitors and has been known to result in leads that are TWICE as likely to convert, if they are linked back to your website.
  • RLSA for text ads– This uses targeting or bid adjustments to try and attract previous visitors to your website with different messaging or higher bids. They can still see the same search ad (if using bid adjustments) or a new ad message (with target and bid), but it is aimed to be more prominent and potentially give your website a boost against competitors on the search engine results page.
  • RLSA for Shopping ads– this works the same way as RLSA for text ads, except with your Shopping listings. This is an important feature for e-commerce companies to be aware of, and can really set you apart from competitors.
  • Dynamic Remarketing– This targets previous visitors, similar to display remarketing, except with complete product listings that include a product image, product price and short promotional text. This is another great opportunity for e-commerce companies to be aware of and can be used very successfully to increase on site conversions.
  • Video Remarketing– This covers the GDN and YouTube Network, by showing videos, created by you, to users that have been on your website. These can be accompanied with annotations and links that will direct the user to your YouTube channel or back to your website. This way you can create engaging content that targets the most likely audience to convert on your website while they are browsing on YouTube or generally across the web.

Universal App Campaigns

For those of you who want to promote app downloads. Universal app ads are generated by Google to fit the most relevant ad inventory and placements available. AdWords can use:

  • Your app’s listing in Google Play
  • 4 lines of text that you provide
  • Images and an optional YouTube video to build your ads

The system rotates your ads and adjusts bids automatically to get the most downloads for your app. For example, if one line of text is performing better than another, the system will show the better text more often.

Customer Match Campaigns

This is a brand new feature, introduced worldwide at the end of October 2015. It’s a product designed to help you reach your highest value customers on Google Search, YouTube, and Gmail – when it matters most. Customer Match allows you to upload a list of email addresses, which can be matched to signed-in users on Google in a secure and privacy-safe way. From there, you can build campaigns and ads specifically designed to reach your audience.

This is set up by creating a customer email list, and uploading it as a remarketing list into the AdWords shared library. From here, the list is treated the same as any other remarketing list and can be added to any campaign to target just the users on the email list.

Google are constantly updating their campaign types for AdWords, so we will keep updating this post, as new information comes through to Search Scientist HQ.

If you have any questions about how any of these features can be used to enhance and boost your website, you can drop us a tweet to our Twitter, @searchscientist, or send me an email at ash@searchscientist.co.uk.

Happy Searching!

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