The Google Ads Guide: Campaign Types And What To Expect From Them




It's essential to know the different Google Ads campaign types before diving into the vast ocean full of business opportunities created by Google Ads. Why? Because doing so will make you understand what Google Ads can do for your business.

Learning the various Google Ads campaign types will help you set the proper advertising goals for your business.

With that said, here are the types of Google Ads campaigns that you should know about!

Types Of Google Ads

You can do a lot of stuff with Google Ads. You can:

  • Promote your business at a local level.
  • Sell products or services to more people both locally and internationally.
  • Raise awareness of specific causes that you care about.
  • Increase traffic to your online site, which can then lead to more in-store traffic.

The types of Google Ads that I'm about to discuss will help you achieve these goals.


Search Ads

Google Ads Campaign Types - Search Ads

Online users usually use search engines with a specific intent

  • Search for answers.
  • Solve their problems.
  • Look for specific products or services.

Search Ads allows advertisers to create text ads in the Google Search Network, which will be displayed in search results marked with the word "Ad" in a small box, or Google Shopping ads, which surface vital purchasing information (e.g., product photos, prices, ratings).


Display Ads

Google Ads Campaign Types - Display Ads

Display Ads lets advertisers connect with users outside of Google's search engine results through the following formats:

  • text
  • image
  • video banner displays

All of which appear as users browse the web, use apps, or watch videos.

Here are some of the Display ad types you can run within the Google Display Network:

  • Responsive Display ads
  • Uploaded image ads
  • Engagement ads
  • Gmail ads

YouTube Ads

Google Ads Campaign Types - YouTube Ads

The Google Ads platform lets you advertise on YouTube because Google owns it.  According to Google,

Over 2 Billion logged-in users visit YouTube each month, and every day people watch over a billion hours of video and generate billions of views.

That's a lot of opportunities to engage your target customers!

Available Youtube video ad formats include:


  • In-stream ads
  • Video discovery ads
  • Non-skippable in-stream ads
  • Outstream ads
  • Bumper ads.

Dynamic Search Ads

Dynamic Search Ads or DSAs are ads that show based on the content of a site. Google crawls a website and then matches to search terms that are closely related to the content of the site.

This type of Google ads campaign is ideal for those who own a well-developed website or have a massive inventory.

Watch the video below to learn how to use Dynamic Search Ads to find customers looking for your products or services.


Universal App Campaigns

Google Ads Campaign Types - Universal App Campaigns

Universal App Campaigns or UACs are automated ad types that help advertisers generate more app installs and or drive in-app conversions.

Users will easily find you if you choose Universal App Campaigns because your ads will appear across all Google's properties, including:

  • Search
  • Google Play
  • YouTube
  • Discover
  • Google Display Network

Types Of Google Ads Campaigns

For starters, the Google Ads campaign types below require time, money, and effort. Choose the one that works perfectly for the kind of business you run and is within your budget.

Note: The pricing ranges we provide below are estimates. Pricing will vary depending on your industry and how competitive it is.

Here we go!


Branded Search

Google Ads Campaign Types - Branded Search

Branded Search is a type of Google Ads campaign that contains the exact names of a brand or product. For example, "Microsoft Windows" or "Microsoft Office" are branded keywords for Microsoft. It protects you from competitors who might bid on your name or other branded keywords.

The estimated cost per click for a branded search is $0.25 to $3.00, which makes it perfect for all types of businesses because it can increase sales without breaking the bank.


Non-Branded Search (Generic)

Google Ads Campaign Types - Generic Non Branded Search

Generic Non-Branded Search targets keyword phrases that don't include your brand or products by name. The costs are likely going to be higher since your relevance to users is lower (e.g., "buy new sneakers," "sneakers store in Denver mall")

The estimated cost per click for this type of campaign is around $1 to $20, which is higher than Branded Search. I highly recommend it to brands who want to increase revenue and acquire new customers from their website.


Non-Branded Search (Niche)

Google Ads Campaign Types - Niche Non Branded Search

Niche Non-Branded Search involves less competition than generic non-branded ones (e.g., "avengers coffee cup"). The goal of this type of Google Ads campaign is to acquire new customers from niche audiences that fit niche products.

The estimated cost per click for a Niche Non-Branded Search campaign depends on the competition and customers or orders value to other advertisers. You are looking at $1 to $20 per click.

I recommend this type of campaign for brands with niche products or services that target a niche market within a non-branded product category.


Competitor Search

Google Ads Campaign Types - Competitor Search

Competitor Search is the exact opposite of a branded search campaign. It lets advertisers bid on searches for their competitors' branded keywords instead of bidding on their own brand's name and products.

You are looking at a range of $1 to $20 cost per click if you launch a Competitor Search ad campaign.

If your brand already runs a successful CPC campaign, and you still want to attract and convert new customers, then the Competitor Search ad campaign is for you.


Google Shopping (Branded)

Google Ads Campaign Types - Branded Google Shopping

Branded Google Shopping campaigns offer a great UX for shoppers searching specifically for a product and is shown through:

  • images
  • prices
  • reviews

All of which Google thinks are super relevant (e.g. "Nike sneakers," "Rolex watches")

The estimated cost per click for a Branded Google Shopping campaign is low. For only $0.25 to $3.00, online searchers will surely see your ad.

Branded Google Shopping campaigns are perfect for brands that have already boosted their brand awareness and want to increase sales.


Google Shopping (Non-Branded)

Google Ads Campaign Types - Non Branded Google Shopping

Non-Branded Google Shopping campaigns work similarly to non-branded search campaigns (e.g. "men's shoes," "women's jackets")

The goal of this campaign is to capture online shoppers who are looking specifically for the types of products that a brand sells but not necessarily branded products by name.

You have to save money for this type of campaign because the estimated cost per click ranges from $0.25 to $20.00.

Online shops, groceries, malls, and retail business owners are likely to benefit more from this type of Google Ad campaign type.


Retargeting (Text, Banner, Video)

Google Ads Campaign Types - Retargeting

Retargeting campaigns let advertisers continue to reach visitors off-site, often at a lower cost and bring them back to their site through different, more specific messaging.

The estimated cost per click for this type of campaign is $0.25 to $3.00, which makes it more suitable for all kinds of businesses, no matter the CPC budget. If you are already driving traffic to your site but still not making sales, then retarget your ads NOW!


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Display Ads (Topics And Interest)

Google Ads Campaign Types - Topic-based Targeting

Topic-based targeting allows your ad to be shown on any of the websites that belong to the same category. Interest-based targeting will be shown to people who have recently started researching those topics using sites in Google's Display Network.

The estimated cost per click for a Topic-based Targeting campaign ranges from $0.25 to $3.00, which is excellent for brands that want to get their offer in front of a specific target market. You can also use it to drive brand awareness.


Display Ads (Contextual)

Google Ads Campaign Types - Contextual Display Ads

Contextual Display Ads campaigns show your ads on websites with content or themes that match specific keywords you are targeting.

The goals of this type of Google Ads campaign is to increase brand awareness and sales.

You have to set aside $0.25 to $3.00 of your CPC budget for this type of campaign.

A contextual display ads campaign is not for you if:

  • You have not been successful with other high-intent campaigns like Retargeting.
  • You have a deficient customer Lifetime Value (LTV).
  • You have zero interest in driving brand awareness or acquiring new customers.

Display Ads (Managed Placement)

Google Ads Campaign Types - Managed Placement Display Ads

Managed Placement Display Ads are more niche-specific targeted and controlled than contextual. It lets advertisers select the specific websites, or even particular pages they would like to run their ad on in the Google Display Network.

This type of campaign helps increase brand awareness by targeting site-specific audiences.

You will need to spend $1.00 to $10.00, which I consider medium, for this campaign.

If you own a brand that is in dire need to get your products or services on a site with a specific demographic and market to drive awareness, then a Managed Placement Display Ads campaign is for you.


Google Smart Shopping

Machine learning is used in Google Smart Shopping to optimize a mix of retargeting, display, and shopping ads for advertisers.

This type of Google Ads campaign determines:


  • The products or services to advertise.
  • The amount of money to bid.
  • The customers to target.
  • The creative to display.

Advertisers have to spend $0.25 to $5.00 for this campaign for Google to show you ads on its Search Network, Display Network, Youtube, and Gmail.

If you own an account with Shopify, Magento Commerce, and Woo Commerce, then a Google Smart Shopping campaign will work for you.

Watch the video below to learn how to set up Google Smart Shopping.


Customer Relationship Management Campaigns

Google Ads Campaign Types - CRM campaigns

Customer Relationship Management or CRM campaigns remarket to your list of current Search, YouTube, Gmail subscribers. People who bought products or opted into your email list in the past are the target of this campaign.

Depending on how serious you want to retarget customers, you need to spend $0.25 to $5 for this campaign.

If you own an email list that has more than 1000 subscribers, then CRM campaigns are for you.


Similar Audiences

Google Ads Campaign Types - Similar Audiences

A Similar Audiences campaign is like a CRM campaign. Still, it targets similar customers based on Google’s data instead of promoting straight to your current customers.

The estimated cost per click for this campaign is $0.25 to $3.00.

You need to upload a seed list of emails to Google to base your "similar audience" on.


Dynamic Search Ads

Google Ads Campaign Types - Dynamic Search Ads

Dynamic Search campaigns let advertisers create search campaigns for all the different types of keywords they see on their site: 

  • Branded keywords.
  • Non-branded category keywords.
  • Product-specific keywords.
  • Keywords from descriptions.
  • Event keywords from About page or blog.

You need to spend $0.25 to $5 to launch this type of Google Ads campaign.

I recommend Dynamic Search campaigns to beginners who want to test waters without breaking the bank so severely.

Avoid These Google Ads Campaigns Mistakes

Now that you know the different Google Ads campaign types, I bet you want to launch a campaign.

Slow down, my friend!

Keep in mind that you will make mistakes along the way, especially if you jump the gun too early.

So, before you begin your Google Ads journey, here are common Google Ads mistakes you need to dodge AT ALL COST!


Your Keywords Aren't Working

Choosing the right keywords is vital to the success of your Google Ads campaign. I consider it the first step.

Some advertisers think that just because a keyword has a high search volume, its where all the ad budget should go. Funny enough, others put all their advertising money on keywords that no one even cares about.

The trick is to use keywords that are in the Goldilocks zone. Keywords that are not heavily used but still make sense for your brand and your potential customers.


You've Set The Wrong Bids

You need to set a daily budget for each Google Ads campaigns. If you are bidding too low, bidding below first-page bid estimate, or bidding too high, you can hurt the chances of your ads showing up somewhere.

What you can do to correct this is to evaluate the impact of raising your CPC bids by different amounts.


Your Budget Is Being Met Too Early

Maximizing your Google Ads budget too early is one of the biggest mistakes you'll ever make. Why? Because you'll drain your budget too soon without even getting anything in return.

If you have multiple Google Ads campaigns (which I'm against unless you own a huge brand), try focusing on a single campaign first. Focus all your energy on improving and perfecting it. Once the first campaign works, repeat the process on the second one, then on the third one, and so on.


Your Keywords Have Low Search Volume

The chances of an ad showing up somewhere for having a keyword with too low search volume is ZERO. Google will make your ad temporarily unavailable if it finds out that you are targeting low volume keywords.

What you can do is to find a similar keyword with considerable search volume. Don't just wait for Google to reactivate your ad.


Not A/B Testing Your Google Ads

In Google Ads, staying at the bottom of the ranking position is not the end of the world. What most advertisers miss in the Google Ads campaign process is A/B testing.

Not A/B testing your ad copy could pin down the chances of your ad for being at the top position.

What you can do is to target positions 2, 3, or 4 (assuming there are five ad ranking positions). Lower or increase your bid and see what happens.

Other Google Ads elements that you should test are:

And that's a wrap!

Starting your journey in Google Ads requires knowing what type of campaign you want to invest in first before anything else. You don't want to launch an ad campaign without getting to know these types. It'll be like driving blind - the danger is imminent.

You also need to keep an eye on possible mistakes that you can make. I hope my list of common Google Ads mistakes to avoid is clear.

So what do you think about this article? Are you ready to launch a Google Ads campaign? Which type is perfect for your business?

Leave a comment below and let's discuss.

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Are you looking for more online advertising help? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Online Advertising for Small Businesses.


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About the author, Tim Fitzpatrick

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