Google Ads for Your Business

Google Ads (or Google AdWords as it was branded until 2018) is a tremendous opportunity for businesses who want to reach consumers actively searching for their products/services. However, as Google Ads has grown to include an increasing number of products and potential ad placements, it can be overwhelming.

For our purposes, let’s categorize Google Ads offerings into three primary types: search, display, and video.

Search Ads

Search ads are the ad format that most people identify with Google Ads. When you search Google for a particular term, such as tax preparation, you’ll typically see listings marked with an “Ad” designation in bold. With traditional “cost per click” or CPC bidding, advertisers only pay a fee when someone clicks on their ad to then visit their website.

As an auction-based platform, what each company pays for that click is determined by many factors, including the competitiveness of the term being searched and how Google ranks the quality of their specific ad.

Relevance is critical to Google Ads in general, but especially with search ads. Advertisers should spend significant time upfront considering the types of keywords they want to target with ads. Equally as important, consider the searches in which you don’t want your ads to show, which can be designated as “negative keywords.”

In addition to targeting ads based on users’ search terms, consider additional targeting to further narrow your audience including location, demographics, interests, and behaviors (as allowed by Google’s advertising policies.)

Display Ads

Many people are also familiar with display or “banner” ads. These appear alongside a website’s or app’s content and can be purchased on a cost-per-thousand ad displays or “CPM” basis. Though this ad format typically doesn’t produce a high conversion rate on its own, it’s particularly effective in capturing shoppers’ interest through visual creative. Targeting is important with display ads as well to ensure you’re only showing ads to shoppers within your market and with interests representative of your typical customer.

Many advertisers utilize “remarketing” to show ads specifically to recent visitors of their website who left without completing a desired action such as a purchase. Think of the last time you shopped for a product and then started seeing ads for it as you browsed other websites. These are effective “follow-up” ads, especially when combined with an offer to encourage the visitor to return and complete the desired conversion.

Video Ads

Google Ads also allows you to place ads on YouTube after acquiring the platform in 2006. YouTube video ads offer eye-catching awareness over other ad formats and are also traditionally purchased on a CPM basis like display ads. Video ads have expanded to include both skippable and non-skippable ads, as well as Smart Bidding methods expanding beyond the traditional CPM cost basis.

As with the other Google Ads offerings, targeting is essential to ensure you’re only showing video ads to shoppers within your market and with interests representative of your typical customer.

What’s Next

Google Ads continues to evolve in an attempt to better meet advertisers’ needs and leverage machine learning. Newer tools such as Smart Bidding and dynamic ads attempt to lessen the amount of manual effort required to manage campaigns; however, it’s important to choose the bidding strategy that works best for your organization and each campaign’s unique goals.

Similarly, Optimization Score suggestions offer insights into campaign performance improvements, but should be considered on an individual basis for relevancy before applying unquestioningly. While automated elements may reduce the time required to manage campaigns, they have the potential to worsen overall performance if applied incorrectly.


Google Ads serves as a critical component of many businesses’ marketing plans. With transparent data and scalability for organizations of all sizes, it should be considered for any company seeking growth. However, Google advertising performs best with careful consideration during initial campaign setup as well as ongoing monitoring and refinement. Proper integration with website analytics tools, call tracking, and other resources will only provide more insight into translating your campaigns’ performance into results for your business.

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Taylor Brown

Taylor is the owner & digital strategist of Go-To Man Marketing. With a passion for digital marketing and analytics, he's helped clients to grow their businesses for more than a decade.

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