Types of Google Ads Campaigns

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The difference between targeted advertising and contextual advertising

Targeted advertising in social networks and contextual advertising in Google Ads have differences that are determined by the features of these platforms and the goals that advertisers set for them.

  1. Audience. On social networks, you can fine-tune your audience using demographics, interests, user behavior, and other parameters. Google Ads, on the other hand, focuses on the keywords that users enter into the search box and on their Internet behavior.
  2. Advertising formats. A variety of ad formats are available on social media, including videos, images, carousels, stories, and more. Google Ads is dominated by text ads, although other formats are also available, including videos, images, and shopping ads.
  3. Place of display. Targeted social media ads are displayed directly in the user’s news feed or in stories, while contextual advertising in Google Ads is usually displayed on search results pages or on Google partner sites.
  4. Interaction with advertising. In social networks, users can interact with ads, leave comments, like, share with friends. Google Ads does not have this option.
  5. Purposes of advertising. In both cases, you can set up different goals for the advertising campaign (increasing traffic, sales, leads, etc.), but in social networks they often aim to increase brand awareness and audience engagement, while Google Ads is more often aimed at direct sales or visits to the site.
  6. Price. The cost per click on Google Ads is usually higher than on social networks, but this depends on many factors, including competition, chosen keywords, etc.
  7. Demand. One of the key differences between targeted social media advertising and contextual advertising in Google Ads is the type of demand they target. Targeted advertising in social networks is usually focused on unformed demand. This means that users may not be actively searching for a product or service, but when confronted with an advertisement, they may become interested. On the other hand, contextual advertising in Google Ads (especially in search campaigns) is focused on generated demand. That is, users are already actively looking for a certain product or service, and advertising offers them a specific solution.

It is important to note that these two types of advertising can complement each other and be used together to achieve maximum effect.

Types of contextual advertising

Search Ads and Google Search Partner Sites

Search advertising allows advertisers to show their ads to potential customers in search. When a user enters a query that matches the keywords set in the ad campaign, the ad can be shown at the top or bottom of the search results page. The advertiser pays for each click on this ad, that is, for each visit of the user to his website.

Google search partner sites are web properties that partner with Google to display ads using the Google Ads system on their sites. These partner sites can be search engines, news portals, and other online services. Advertisers can choose to include or exclude search partner sites in their campaign to control where their ads appear.


  • Precise targeting: Ads are shown to those users who are actively searching for specific products or services, which increases the likelihood of a conversion.
  • Flexibility in management: you can quickly adjust your keyword bids and control your campaign budget.
  • Results Transparency: Detailed reports on searches, clicks, conversions and costs are provided to help you optimize your advertising campaigns.


  • High Competition: CPCs can be high in popular niches due to the large number of advertisers.
  • Dependence on user requests: if the demand for keywords falls, the effectiveness of advertising may decrease.

Advertising on the Display Network (GDN) or Google Display Network (Display Ads)

These are image and text ads on Google partner sites. GDN ads can be in a variety of formats, including static and animated banners, images, and text ads.

The Display Network allows you to place ads in the format of banners of different sizes, as well as videos on YouTube and partner platforms.

A wide range of targeting options are available in the GDN. Advertisers can select audiences based on the interests, behaviors, and characteristics of users, as well as the content of the pages on which the ad will be shown. This approach allows you to accurately target advertising to specific users and maximize its effectiveness.


  • Wide audience reach. The Display Network brings together a wide variety of web resources, which allows you to reach a large audience, increasing the visibility of advertising.
  • Various ad formats. Various advertising formats are available on this network – banners, text ads, videos, interactive elements, which allows you to adapt ads to different types of content.
  • Targeting. Precise targeting allows advertisers to target audiences based on interests, behavioral data, demographics, and other criteria to improve campaign performance.
  • More affordable prices. Ad prices on the Display Network are usually lower than those on the search site.


  • Low conversion. Compared to search ads, Display Network ads may have lower conversion rates due to a larger audience and less direct request from users.
  • Inappropriate traffic. Due to the wide coverage of the audience, there may be problems in attracting targeted customers, which may reduce the effectiveness of the advertising campaign.
  • Difficulty of control. Due to the large number of partner resources, it is difficult to fully control where exactly the ads will be shown, which can cause unwanted context or associations.
  • Difficulties in measuring results. Measuring accurate results and ROI (return on investment) can be tricky due to the variety of formats and channels on the network.

Advertising on YouTube (YouTube Ads)

Commercials can be shown before the start of viewing (pre-roll), during viewing (for example, mid-rolls) or after watching the main video (post-roll). Advertisers can place ads on YouTube channels or video search results pages. Advertisers can set targeting options to show ads only to users who match specific interests, queries, or demographics.


  • Huge audience. YouTube has billions of active users, which provides ample opportunity to attract new customers.
  • Video format. The ability to use video advertising allows you to more emotionally and creatively approach an advertising campaign.
  • Precise targeting. Ads may target specific interests, behaviors, and demographics of users.


  • Skip ads. Users may skip the promotional message after a few seconds of viewing.
  • Dependence on the quality of the content. Unsuccessful or annoying content can alienate an audience.

Advertising in mobile applications (Mobile App Ads)

Advertisers can create campaigns to encourage more users to download and install their mobile apps from Google Play and the App Store. Mobile advertisements often include “Install” or “Download” buttons, making the app installation process quick and easy. Advertisers can target ads to only show ads on certain types of mobile devices, or to users who have already used similar types of apps or are interested in similar content.


  • High user activity. Mobile apps tend to be used frequently and for a long time, which creates many opportunities for displaying ads and interacting with the audience.
  • Precise targeting. Advertisers can use a wealth of user data such as behavioral data, location, interests, and even demographic information to better target audiences.
  • Various ad formats. Mobile apps can use a variety of ad formats, including banners, videos, interactive ads, and more, to create more compelling and effective ads.
  • Content integration. Ads can be integrated into app content, which can make them more organic and less intrusive to users.


  • Possible irritations. Intrusive ads can cause negative reactions in users and even lead to the removal of the application.
  • A wide variety of devices. There are many different mobile devices in the world, and adapting ads to all formats can be a challenge.
  • Ad blockers. Some users install ad blockers, which can reduce the reach of your audience.
  • Difficulties in measuring results. Measuring the exact results and effectiveness of a mobile app ad campaign can be tricky due to the variety of devices and channels.

Shopping ad campaigns or Google Shopping Ads

This type of ad includes a photo of the product, its name, price, and store name. Such ads immediately capture the attention of users, allowing them to immediately evaluate the product and its value.

Shopping ads appear in a dedicated Google Shopping tab on the search results page, allowing advertisers to more effectively market their products to an interested audience.

Advertisers can use keywords and product attributes (eg brand, color, size) to target their ads to more relevant user queries.


  • visual appeal. Google Shopping Ads allows you to show product images directly in search results, which immediately captures the attention of users and helps them make a purchase decision based on the appearance of the product.
  • High conversion. Since users see the image and the price of the product already during the search stage, they are more informed and ready to buy, which usually leads to higher conversions compared to other ad formats.
  • Precise targeting. Advertisers can tailor ad campaigns for specific products, product categories, and even specific brands to reach more relevant audiences.
  • Comparison of goods. Users can easily compare prices and product features right on the search results page, leading to more informed purchasing decisions.


  • Visual dependency. If products do not have high-quality and attractive images, the effectiveness of advertising may be reduced.
  • Competition. In highly competitive categories, it can be difficult to stand out, especially if you don’t have unique strengths.
  • Limited control over text. Google Shopping ads have fewer options for inserting additional information and text than some other formats.
  • The complexity of setting up and passing moderation in the Google Merchant Center. Creating and setting up shopping campaigns may require additional time and effort to properly organize products and data.

Discovery Ads

The Discovery ad campaign is shown in the feed with news and content that is of interest to a particular user. These ads are displayed on the homepage of users’ devices, making them more visible and more likely to grab their attention. Google uses data about users’ behavior and interests to show ads that are most relevant to their preferences.


  • High relevance. Ads appear in the feed of content that users have already explored or shown interest in, making ads more relevant and interesting.
  • Large audience coverage. The Google Discover and YouTube Home Feed platforms have many users, which ensures a large reach of the target audience.
  • Various ad formats. Discovery ads can use a variety of formats such as images, headlines, descriptions, and even videos to create more compelling ads.
  • High level of targeting. Advertisers can use a variety of targeting options, including interests, demographics, behavioral factors, and more, to improve the effectiveness of campaigns.


  • Limited settings. Advertisers have limited customization options compared to some other ad formats, which can reduce your level of control.
  • Competition for attention. Since the ads are placed among the content, the competition for user attention can be high.
  • Not always suitable for all brands. Discovery ads work especially well for brands that have visually appealing products or content. For some brands, this may be a less appropriate format.
  • Difficulty in measuring outcomes. As with other content formats, measuring accurate results and analyzing performance can be tricky due to the more organic nature of ad serving.

Maximum efficiency or Google Performance Max

Google Performance Max is a type of advertising campaign that uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to maximize ad performance. It automatically optimizes budget allocation across different Google channels such as Search, Mobile Apps, YouTube, Google Discover, and more to achieve maximum conversions or other campaign goals.


  • Automation and optimization. The system uses machine learning and Google algorithms to automatically optimize your advertising campaign across channels, allowing you to achieve maximum performance without the need for manual settings.
  • Maximum audience coverage. Automatic optimization allows you to show ads on various Google platforms such as search, YouTube, Google Discover and others, maximizing the reach of your target audience.
  • Simplifying the process. Advertisers don’t need to set up separate campaigns for different channels and formats, which saves time and simplifies the management process.
  • Dynamic optimization. Algorithms analyze data and react to changes in real time, which allows you to adapt advertising campaigns to changing conditions and requirements.


  • Limited control. Advertisers may have less control over specific settings and strategies than manually setting up campaigns.
  • Complexity of measurement and analysis. Due to automation and implicit optimization, it can be more difficult to analyze and understand exactly what factors influence campaign results.
  • Not suitable for all businesses. In some cases, businesses may need finer control over campaigns, especially if they have specific requirements or restrictions.
  • Risks due to automation. Despite automatic optimization, it is not always guaranteed that the campaign will bring the maximum result, and there may be situations that require the intervention of the advertiser.

Automated advertising or smart advertising campaigns (Smart Ads)

The Google Ads system automatically optimizes ads to maximize their performance. Machine learning algorithms analyze user behavior and determine the most effective strategies to achieve campaign goals. Smart ad campaigns provide an opportunity for advertisers to get good results even if they have limited experience in advertising.


  • Results Optimization: The system uses machine learning algorithms to tailor ad campaigns based on user behavior.
  • Save time: Automating the process of setting up and optimizing campaigns allows you to focus on other aspects of your business.
  • Precise targeting: ads are tailored to the interests and characteristics of specific users.


  • Limited control: Some aspects of an advertising campaign may not be available for manual adjustment.
  • Dependency on data: The effectiveness of smart campaigns depends on the quality and volume of data about the user.

Comparison of Google Performance Max and Smart Advertising Campaigns (Smart Ads)

AspectsGoogle Performance MaxSmart advertising campaigns (Smart Ads)
Management and controlMaximum automation, advertiser controls settingsAutomation based on selected business goals
Formats and venuesMain focus on Google platforms, multiple formatsVarious formats and platforms within Google Ads
Audience ReachMaximizing Reach across Google PlatformsAudience reach based on selected categories and settings
Goals and resultsMaximizing the overall result across different platformsAutomatic optimization based on selected business goals
Measurement and analysisRelatively complex analysis due to extensive optimizationRelatively simple analysis based on selected business objectives

As such, Google Ads provides different types of ad campaigns, each with its own unique benefits and targeting capabilities. The choice of a specific type of campaign depends on the goals of the advertiser and the characteristics of his business. Using a variety of advertising formats and channels allows you to most effectively promote products or services and attract the target audience.