Google Ads Campaign Types: Which Are Right For Your Business?


Anyone involved in marketing and advertising will know that advertising is essential for driving awareness and interest in your products or services. When it comes to online advertising, there's no bigger player than Google. The Google Ads platform is free-to-use and offers a variety of campaign types to choose from, each with its own set of benefits. But how do you know which campaign type is right for your business?

In this article, we will explain the difference between the various campaign types, which types of businesses they are most suited for, and the pros and cons of each. We will start with the oldest four and most commonly used campaign types, search, display, video and shopping, which all Google Ads users should have encountered and then look into the newer, more specific and advanced campaign types: apps, local, smart, performance max and hotel.

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Pros and cons of the four main campaign types

If you have used Google Ads before, you are likely to already know about the four main campaign types explained in this section. For most businesses, these are the best place to start, but the one that will work best for you will depend on your budget, offering, target market and the time and resources you can dedicate to ad management.

The Ad Auction

Before we go any further, you need to understand how the Google Ads Ad Auction functions. someone searches a key term you are bidding on, and the amount you are willing to bid will be automatically compared to competing businesses targeting the keyword. You would expect the business with the highest bid on the searched key term to have their ads appear in the top position on the results page. However, this is not always the case. Google gives preference to those businesses that they feel provide the most useful response to the searched query. To do so Google uses a metric called Quality Score. The exact formula for this score is a secret and will vary depending on the campaign type. But, we know that elements like the landing page and ad relevance have a big influence

Search campaigns

Search campaigns are for those ads that appear towards the top of Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs). They are text-based and should reflect common search terms related to your business. When you have ads setup and targeting your chosen keywords, bidding on the advertising space automatically occurs the moment a user searches your target keyterms in Google.

Search campaigns are the most popular type of campaign in Google Ads, and for good reason. They are a great way to drive highly-targeted traffic to your website and require no graphics or design work, only text advertising content. They allow you to target your ads specifically to people who are actively searching for terms related to your products or services, which makes them more likely to convert.

Search campaigns can be a great option for businesses of all sizes, but they are especially well-suited for small businesses or businesses just starting to use Google Ads. If you’re not sure whether a Search campaign is right for your business, here are a few things to consider.


You will need to be prepared to bid on relevant keywords to get your ads seen by potential customers, depending on your market, competition and how niche your business is these can be quite expensive. For an idea of how much a click is likely to cost you, try researching your key terms on Google’s Keyword Planner tool.


Do you have landing pages loaded with the same relevant key terms that you want to bid on? If not, you may want to consider editing and improving your landing pages to make them more relevant and more likely to convert.

It is also worth mentioning that the better and more relevant your landing pages are the better your Landing Page Experience score is likely to be. This directly impacts your Quality Score and therefore affects your cost per click across any Search campaigns you are running.


What do you hope to achieve with your campaign? If you’re just trying to get more traffic to your website, increase sign-ups or sell certain products or services a Search campaign may be a good option. However, for those looking to get more views on a promotional video, sell a more visual product or increase signups for a newsletter, you may want to consider a different type of campaign.

Display Campaigns

Unlike Search, these are visually-engaging graphics-based ads that appear on various websites, apps, Google search pages and Google search partners including YouTube. They can be static or animated and allow for greater creativity when promoting your offer. Like Search Ads, Display ads can be customized to target specific demographics, interests, and locations and even target people who have already shown an interest in your business for example by visiting your website.

Display campaigns on Google Ads are a great way to reach new potential customers and raise awareness about your brand or product. They can be used to drive traffic, lead generation or online sales and offer the opportunity to make your calls to action more engaging and aligned to your visual branding.

As these are graphic ads they are best suited to more visual product and service offerings, or businesses that are trying to raise awareness of their brand and reach new audiences. However, unlike text-based ads, they can require an investment in design work to create unique ads and get the best results. This can make them less suitable for business with limited budgets or those who need to see results straight away. Fortunately, Google offers a tool to help those who are unwilling or unable to create their own bespoke display ads. Users of the Responsive display ads tool in Goolge Ads can simply upload all available assets - for example images, headlines, logos, videos, and descriptions - and have Google automatically generate displays ads. Although you should not expect ads generated in this way to be as effective, it is still a good way to save money by avoiding expensive design.

Video Campaigns

Video campaigns are ideal for reaching and engage new audiences, raising awareness and promoting your products or services in a captivating way. You can create video ads that target specific audiences and demographics and use them to reach potential customers on YouTube and other websites and apps running on Google’s video partners.

Creating a professional and effective video can be costly if you decide to hire a third party production team, or require a large investment in time and resources to handle in-house. However, keep in mind that today video content is the most effective content type and can be deployed across multiple online platforms, like your website, ad campaigns and social media channels, so getting an engaging 1-minute video ready should be a priority for most marketers and advertisers seeking to tell a visual story. Here you can find more information on how to create YouTube video ads.

Shopping Campaigns

Shopping campaigns allow you to showcase your products in Google Shopping listings. When someone searches for a product that you sell, your ad will appear alongside product listings with text and images. Shopping campaigns are generally used to drive traffic to online stores that sell low-cost items which are likely to be purchased quickly.

If you're looking to drive traffic to your online store, a Shopping campaign is likely the right choice for you. They allow you to promote your products with eye-catching ads. These ads include your product image, price, and a call-to-action button that encourages users to click through to your site and complete the purchase. Shopping campaigns are perfect for increasing traffic to your site, generating sales and reaching new audiences. However, depending on how many products you are offering, they can be complex to set up and manage and require a lot of images and content.

Advanced campaign types

Now we have explained the four most common campaign types, we can delve into the more advanced types. These utilize the same channels but are for highly-specific offerings. As such, they are only effective for certain businesses and purposes.

App Campaigns

Google App Campaigns help you to promote your app and increase downloads by having ads appear across multiple platforms. App campaigns offer three distinct subtypes:

  • App installs: For targeting new people to download your app.
  • App engagement: For targeting existing users to take actions in your app.
  • App pre-registration: For promoting pre-registration for apps before they release on Google Play.

App campaigns use Google’s powerful advertising technology to reach people who are most likely to be interested in your app. It is efficient to set up and start promoting your app and you don’t need to create separate ads for each app store or device. Each ad you create will show it across Search, Display, YouTube, the Google Play Store, Discover, and over 3 million sites and apps to those users most likely to be interested in your app.

Local campaigns

If you're running a local business, for example, a restaurant targeting only customers within a 20km radius of your address, then Local campaigns are going to be the best option for you. These campaigns allow one single advert to be automatically optimized and displayed across Search, Display, Google Maps, and YouTube.

With Local campaigns, you can target customers in a specific geographic area, which is perfect if you're only trying to reach people who are located close enough to your business to be worth targeting. You can also use Local campaigns to target people who have searched for keywords related to your business and location, or those who have visited your website before. In this way, you can ensure you don’t waste money on promoting your business to people who are unlikely to ever visit your business, convert and become customers.

Smart campaigns

If you're new to Google Ads, or if you're not sure which campaign type is right for you, and do not have much time to spend on learning the ins and outs of Google Ads, then Smart campaigns are a good way to efficiently automate your campaign. All you need to do is submit information about your business and create a few ads then Google will handle the targeting and help you get the best results for your time and money.

However, while Smart campaigns can be effective, they do have some limitations. For example, you'll have less control over your budget and your targeting options are more limited than with other campaign types. If you're looking for a greater level of control, you may want to consider investing more time in Google Ads and using a different type of campaign. Alternatively, you can outsource your Google Ads to experts like us.

Performance Max campaigns

Performance Max campaigns are the way to go if you are running a very goal-orientated campaign. These types of campaigns are easy to set up and launch, and you will be able to maximize your ad spend and get the most out of your campaigns.

Here's how they work: Performance Max campaigns work by optimizing your ads for maximum click-through rate (CTR), conversion rate, and/or ROI. To do this, Google uses a variety of data points to determine which ads are performing well and which ones need improvement. This data includes things like search history, device type, location, and more. Once the data is analyzed, Google will then automatically make changes to your campaign settings to improve your performance. These changes can be anything from changing your ad text to altering your bid amounts. Users will then guide the automatic change by providing high-quality creative ad assets and sharing expertise about which audiences are most likely to convert

One of the best things about Performance Max campaigns, aside from their easy and efficient setup, is that they're constantly working to improve your results. However, this can mean it takes a little time to start seeing the results you want which can be a major drawback depending on your goals, time scale, and budget.

Hotel campaigns

Hotels can use Google Ads to reach potential guests at every stage of their travel journey. From planning and booking to on-trip activities, there are a variety of campaign types that hotels can use to reach their target guests which are managed in a Hotel Centre account that is linked to Google Ads.

In a Hotel campaign, your ads will appear to travelers when on Google SERPs or Maps. The ads will contain all the required information a customer needs to make a decision and book a hotel including photos, names, prices, and a map. When they select a hotel, they will see up-to-date prices and links for booking for the dates and number of guests that they select. Just like with Search campaigns, you can set and adjust bids and compete with other hotels to win customers.


If you're not sure which Google Ads campaign type is right for your business, don't worry - you're not alone. Many businesses find it difficult to use all campaign types effectively, and often need expert help to get the most out of their Google Ads campaigns. However, with a little research, experimentation, and support, you can figure out which campaign type works best for your business. So before you disregard Google Ads and lose out on the opportunity to attract users of the world’s most popular search engine, think carefully about which campaign types you are using and which might be the most effective for your specific business, goals, and situation. As, with a little effort, you could soon transform your advertising and business for the better.

Regardless of what type of campaign you choose, the most important thing is to make sure that it’s right for your business. Always consider your budget, your website, and your goals before making a decision. And if you’re ever unsure, our team of Google Ads experts is always here to help.

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