A Guide To The Types of Google Ads Campaigns

Thu Feb 15 2024

TL/DR: Discover the secrets to Google Ads success with our comprehensive guide. Learn how to choose the right campaign, leverage machine learning for targeted ads, and optimize for maximum ROI. Whether you're a small business or a marketing pro, our tips will help sharpen your advertising strategy and boost your results.

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The Good Fellas Agency A Guide To The Types of Google Ads Campaigns

In the vast digital marketing terrain, Google Ads stands as one of the most potent weapons in a strategist's arsenal, with businesses worldwide spending an estimated $60 billion on Google Ads in 2023. Mastering Google's expansive suite of advertising tools can make the difference between a campaign that sizzles or fizzles. With diverse campaign types, understanding the right application for your marketing goals is paramount.

In this exhaustive guide, we'll peel back the layers of Google Ads campaign types. We aim to arm digital marketers, small business owners, and PPC novices with the knowledge needed to not just launch campaigns but to do so smartly, strategically, and with impact.

The Good Fellas Agency A guide to all the types of Google Ads Campaigns

The Foundation of Google Ads

Before diving into the depths of campaign types, let's revisit the essence of Google Ads. It's a bidding system where advertisers bid on keywords in order for their clickable ads to appear in Google's search results. The platform is known for its robust targeting capabilities, insightful data dashboards, and constant innovation.

What Are Google Ads?

Google Ads is an online advertising platform developed by Google, where advertisers pay to display brief advertisements, service offerings, product listings, video content, and generate mobile application installs within the Google ad network to online users. It's essentially a means of buying digital real estate to promote your product or service at the precise moment your audience is looking for it.

How Many Types Of Google Ads Campaigns are there?

Within the Google Ads ecosystem, advertisers have a rich selection of options at their disposal, with over 22 distinct types of ads spread across 8 different campaign types. Each campaign type is tailor-designed to meet specific marketing objectives and engage with target audiences across varying platforms and networks.

Choosing the Right Campaign Type

There isn't a one-size-fits-all strategy for Google Ads campaigns. Each business has unique expectations and KPIs. Choosing the right campaign type is the linchpin of your advertising strategy, influencing everything from your ad's visibility to the ROI you achieve.

The Good Fellas Agency A guide to all the types of Google Ads Campaigns- Exploring Core Google Ads Campaigns

Exploring Core Google Ads Campaigns

There are four core campaign types that form the backbone of Google Ads. These are Search Campaigns, Display Campaigns, Video Campaigns, and Shopping Campaigns. Each has its own set of features, best practices, and ideal use cases.

Search Campaigns

Search campaigns are text ads that show up on Google search result pages. They are the most straightforward way to get your message in front of people who are looking for what you offer.

Key Features:

Search campaigns provide a straightforward setup with customizable elements to tailor your presence on Google search result pages. You can create compelling ad copy with up to three headlines and two descriptions, including a URL for your landing page. Additionally, ad scheduling allows for the ads to appear at optimal times, maximizing visibility and engagement with your target audience.

To enrich the user experience and to supply additional information, ad extensions can be utilized. These text ads can be specifically targeted for display on various devices such as computers, tablets, or mobile phones, ensuring a broader reach across different user preferences.

Ad Formats:

  • Responsive Search Ads adapt to different device sizes.
  • Call-Only Ads direct customers to call your business from their mobile devices.
  • Dynamic Search Ads show dynamically generated titles and landing pages.


  • High Intent Targeting: Search campaigns capture users at the moment they're actively searching for your products or services, which means the audience you're reaching is more likely to be in a purchasing state-of-mind.
  • Cost-Effective: With pay-per-click (PPC) pricing, you only pay when someone clicks on your ad, making it a cost-effective choice for businesses wanting to manage their advertising budgets efficiently.
  • Measurable Performance: Google Ads provides detailed analytics and metrics, allowing advertisers to track the success of their search campaigns and make data-driven decisions to optimize performance.


  • Limited Creative Space: Unlike other ad formats, search campaigns offer limited space for creativity. The ads consist mainly of text, which may not be as eye-catching as image or video ads.
  • Keyword Complexity: Building and maintaining an effective keyword list can be complex and time-consuming. Making sure you’re targeting the right keywords for your campaign requires ongoing monitoring and fine-tuning.
  • Competitive Keywords Cost More: Popular keywords can be highly competitive, and the cost-per-click can become expensive. This can drive up the budget, particularly for small businesses trying to compete with larger companies with more substantial advertising budgets.

Display Campaigns

These campaigns reach people across a network of over two million websites and apps. They showcase a blend of formats – from text and image to video and interactive ads.

Key Features:

Display campaigns utilize a variety of ad formats including image, video, and rich media ads that can appear across a vast network of over two million websites and apps. They also feature responsive display ads that seamlessly adapt to the surrounding content for a cohesive appearance and Gmail ads that capture attention directly within users' inbox tabs, viewable on multiple devices. Through these diverse ad types, display campaigns offer tremendous scope for creativity and engagement in places where potential customers are already spending their time online.


  • Wide Reach: With access to a vast array of websites and apps across the Google Display Network, these campaigns offer an unparalleled reach, giving advertisers the ability to connect with audiences around the globe.
  • Visual Appeal: The use of rich media, including images and videos, makes display ads more visually appealing than text-only ads, helping to grab the attention of potential customers and create a memorable impact.
  • Advanced Targeting: Display campaigns provide advanced targeting options, such as interest categories, demographic groups, and remarketing lists, enabling advertisers to tailor their message to a specific audience.


  • Lower Intent: Users on the Display Network may not have the same intent as those on the Search Network, which means they're less likely to be actively seeking out your products or services when they see your ad.
  • Ad Blindness: Some users have developed 'banner blindness' and may ignore display ads altogether, reducing the effective reach of your campaign.
  • Complexity in Management: To maximize effectiveness, display campaigns require close management and optimization, including tracking conversions, adjusting bids, and refining targeting methods, which can be time-consuming and requires expertise.
The Good Fellas Agency A guide to all the types of Google Ads Campaigns- What type of PPC campaign do you need?

Video Campaigns

This type of campaign is centered around engaging a broad audience on the video platform, YouTube.

Usage and Platforms:

Video campaigns utilize a mixture of ad formats tailored to a video-friendly audience, including short, skippable ads favored for brevity, unskippable bumper ads for more compelling narratives, and longer-form non-skippable content for in-depth engagement.

These varying formats offer versatility to marketers and ensure visibility in different contexts—ranging from YouTube search results pages, where users are actively looking to consume video content, to watch pages where viewers are engaged with entailed videos and on the expansive landscape of video slots within the Google Display Network.


  • Engaging Format: Video ads capitalize on the engaging power of visual storytelling, which can lead to higher engagement and retention rates compared to text and image ads.
  • Wide Audience: YouTube's vast user base provides access to a broad audience, allowing for significant brand exposure and the opportunity to reach viewers across various demographics.
  • Precise Targeting: Video campaigns offer precise targeting options, including demographic filters, interests, and user behaviors, improving the chances of reaching relevant and interested viewers.


  • Higher Production Costs: Creating high-quality video content can be costlier and more time-consuming compared to other ad formats, potentially limiting access for smaller businesses.
  • Ad Skipping: Viewers can often skip ads after 5 seconds, presenting a challenge to marketers to captivate the audience quickly to prevent ad abandonment.
  • Viewing Habits: With the increasing use of ad blockers and the habit of background listening, there's a risk that ads may not always gain the visual attention they were designed for.

Shopping Campaigns

These campaigns are crucial for e-commerce, as they generate traffic to your website or local store, promote your products, and find better-qualified leads.

Integration with Google Merchant Center:

Shopping campaigns are an essential component for e-commerce, designed to drive traffic, promote products, and secure better-qualified leads. These campaigns are intricately linked with the Google Merchant Center and include Product Shopping Ads, which display extensive product details such as photos and pricing, and Local Inventory Ads that help brick-and-mortar stores promote their products to local consumers actively searching for them.

This integration between the campaigns and Google Merchant Center enables a seamless online shopping experience that can significantly enhance visibility and sales for retailers.


  • High Intent to Purchase: Users interacting with Shopping ads are often further down the conversion funnel, as they are actively searching for a specific product, leading to higher conversion rates.
  • Rich Product Information: Shopping ads provide valuable product information directly in the search results, such as images, prices, and descriptions, helping users make informed purchasing decisions.
  • Greater Visibility: These campaigns give products a prominent display in search results, often appearing at the top of the page, which increases the chances of capturing user attention.


  • Requires Product Data Maintenance: Advertisers must consistently maintain and update their product feed to ensure accuracy, which can be resource-intensive.
  • Strong Competition: With the prominence of Shopping ads, competition is fierce, and standing out among numerous retailers can be challenging.
  • Dependence on Google’s Algorithm: Performance of Shopping ads is heavily reliant on Google's algorithm for displaying products, which may limit control over how and when ads are shown.
The Good Fellas Agency A guide to all the types of Google Ads Campaigns- Niche Google Ads Campaign Types

Niche Google Ads Campaign Types

These specialized campaign types are designed to target specific objectives and audience segments that require more specialized, tailored approaches. They include Local Campaigns, which are optimized for businesses with physical locations looking to drive foot traffic; App Campaigns, aimed at mobile app developers seeking installations and engagements; Discovery Campaigns, which place content on Google's curated discovery feeds; and Smart Campaigns, which automate ad creation and placement to streamline operations for small businesses.

Each niche campaign leverages Google's machine learning to target users in a more personalized and dynamic manner, optimizing the reach and impact for advertisers with particular goals.

Performance Max Campaigns

This is Google's automated, goal-based advertising solution that uses machine learning to optimize performance across all of Google's networks.

Utilization of Machine Learning:

Performance Max Campaigns leverage the power of Google's machine learning to craft a goal-oriented advertising approach, intelligently distributing ads for maximum impact. By employing smart bidding strategies, these campaigns aim to optimize either conversions or revenue, depending on the advertiser’s objectives.

Their reach is extensive, spanning across Google's vast networks, including Search, Display, YouTube, Gmail, and the Discover feed, allowing for unparalleled visibility that adapts to the ever-changing user interests and online behaviors.


  • Extensive Reach: By utilizing Google's entire advertising ecosystem, Performance Max Campaigns offer an unmatched reach, placing ads in front of users across various platforms like Search, Display, YouTube, and more.
  • Smart Bidding: These campaigns use smart bidding strategies to automatically optimize for conversions or value, reducing the need for manual bid adjustments and micromanagement.
  • Dynamic Ad Creation: Performance Max harnesses Google's AI to dynamically create and tailor ads based on user behavior and preferences, ensuring more personalized and effective advertising.


  • Less Control: Advertisers have limited control over where and when their ads appear, as this is determined by Google's machine learning algorithms.
  • Complexity for New Users: The AI-driven nature of Performance Max Campaigns can be complex and daunting for new users or advertisers without a deep understanding of the system.
  • Data Dependency: The success of these campaigns is heavily dependent on the quality and quantity of data provided. Performance may suffer if insufficient data is fed into the system.

App Campaigns

For businesses looking to grow app downloads and engagement, this campaign type is tailored for various platforms, from Google Play to Google Search, YouTube, and more.

Platforms and Effectiveness:

The utilization of App Campaigns offers a strategic opportunity for businesses seeking to enhance app downloads and user engagement. These campaigns display versatile ad formats, including text, images, and video ads, across a variety of platforms such as Google Play, Google Search, YouTube, and the broader Display and Video networks.

To ensure users stay engaged after installation, 'Welcome' Ads can play a crucial role; they appear post-install and are designed to reinforce the value proposition of the app and encourage users to start using it actively. This approach integrates smoothly with Google's extensive advertising capabilities, optimizing reach and interaction with potential app users.


  • Automated Ad Optimization: App Campaigns rely on Google's AI to test different combinations of ad copy and images, which simplifies the ad creation and optimization process.
  • Cross-Network Placement: Ads can appear across Google's properties, including Search, Play, YouTube, and the Google Display Network, offering considerable exposure.
  • Conversion-Focused Targeting: The campaigns are designed with clear goals in mind, whether to drive app installations or encourage specific in-app actions, and they target users accordingly.


  • Limited Creative Control: Advertisers can only provide input elements, not full ad creatives. The AI then creates the ad, which means you can't control the exact ad design.
  • Broad Audience Targeting: While AI targets the ads, the exact targeting criteria are not transparent, which can result in less precise targeting compared to other campaign types.
  • Dependence on Machine Learning: Success heavily relies on algorithms and the machine learning process, which can take time to optimize and may not align perfectly with immediate business goals.

Discovery Campaigns

Designed specifically for new customer acquisition, Discovery campaigns can reach up to three billion people across YouTube, Gmail, and the Discover feed.

Targeting and Reach:

Discovery Campaigns are expertly crafted for businesses intent on acquiring new customers by tapping into an audience as large as three billion potential users that frequent platforms like YouTube, Gmail, and the Discover feed. These campaigns leverage visually immersive discovery formats designed to captivate and engage consumers, while simplifying the reach to a broad audience through the use of advanced machine learning technology.

The strategic intent is to make impactful connections with people through formats that blend seamlessly into their content consumption experiences, paving the way for meaningful brand interactions and customer conversions.


  • Broad User Reach: Discovery Campaigns have the potential to reach an extensive audience across YouTube, Gmail, and the Discover feed, making them ideal for brand awareness.
  • High-Quality Engagement: The visually rich ad formats are designed to integrate smoothly into the user's experience, fostering high-quality engagement with interested users.
  • Advanced Targeting: Leveraging Google's machine learning, these campaigns offer sophisticated targeting capabilities to reach potential customers likely to be interested in the business offerings.


  • Higher Costs: The premium ad placements within Discovery Campaigns can lead to higher costs compared to other Google ad options.
  • Limited Placement Control: Advertisers have lower granular control over where their Discovery ads will appear, which can sometimes lead to less relevant placements.
  • Creativity Requirements: To be effective, Discovery Campaigns require high-quality, engaging creative content, which may be resource-intensive for some advertisers to produce consistently.
The Good Fellas Agency A guide to all the types of Google Ads Campaigns- Local Search and Smart Campaigns

Local Search Ads and Smart Campaigns

These two campaign types are particularly helpful for businesses with physical locations looking to drive store visits or calls.

Local Campaigns:

Local Campaigns are precisely optimized for businesses aiming to promote physical storefronts; they offer an effortless setup process paired with sophisticated, automated targeting to draw local customers. On the other hand, Smart Campaigns employ advanced machine learning algorithms to streamline ad creation and placement, focusing on driving significant increases in website traffic or calls to the business.

Both campaign types are instrumental for businesses seeking to enhance their physical foot traffic or online user actions, with each leveraging different aspects of Google's advertising technology to meet specific local business needs.

Local Campaigns Pros

  • Increased Foot Traffic: Local Campaigns are engineered to boost the number of visitors to the brick-and-mortar locations of a business.
  • Automated Targeting: These campaigns utilize Google's advanced location targeting to pinpoint and appeal to customers in close proximity to the business.
  • Ease of Campaign Management: The setup and management process is streamlined to efficiently operate with minimal manual intervention.

Local Campaigns Cons

  • Limited Customization: There is less opportunity for advertisers to customize their messaging and creative content compared to other campaign types.
  • Focus on Physical Stores Only: They are less suited for businesses that lack a physical presence or those looking to drive online sales.
  • Potential Privacy Concerns: The reliance on location data might raise privacy issues among consumers wary of sharing their location information.

Smart Search Campaigns

Smart Search Campaigns are automated ad solutions by Google that use machine learning to optimize bids and placements, designed to maximize performance with minimal manual input from advertisers.

Key Features:

Key Features:

Smart Search Campaigns harness the power of Google's machine learning to automatically manage ad bids, tailor ad placement, and refine targeting to boost conversion rates. They simplify campaign management significantly, aiming to deliver optimal results by analyzing vast amounts of data to identify the most effective strategies for ad exposure and engagement. This technology-driven approach is designed for efficiency, allowing businesses to focus on their growth while the campaigns work to improve online performance.

Smart Campaigns Pros

  • Simplicity for Small Businesses: Smart Campaigns are particularly suitable for small businesses due to their straightforward setup and automated management.
  • Performance Tracking: They come with easy-to-understand performance tracking that helps businesses quickly gauge the success of their ads.
  • Optimized for Calls and Clicks: The campaigns are specifically optimized for action-focused objectives like increasing website visits or customer calls.

Smart Campaigns Cons

  • Less Control Over Ad Placements: Advertisers have minimal control over where their ads are shown, which could affect ad relevance.
  • Generic Ad Formats: Ad creative options are more standardized and may not stand out amongst competitors' ads.
  • Data Dependency: The effectiveness of Smart Campaigns is heavily reliant on the data collected by Google, and any inaccuracies in data might lead to less effective targeting.
The Good Fellas Agency A guide to all the types of Google Ads Campaigns- Making the Most of your Ads

Making the Most of Google Ads

When it comes to maximizing the returns from your Google Ads investment, strategic execution is key.

Selecting the Right Campaign for Your Goals

When selecting the most appropriate Google Ads campaign, it's crucial to understand not only your business objectives but also the nuances of each campaign type. If your goal is to enhance brick-and-mortar visitation, Local Campaigns can be highly effective due to their localized targeting and automated optimizations. However, for online objectives like increasing website traffic, Smart Campaigns and their data-driven operational strategy can be a smarter choice.

It's essential to match the strengths of each campaign type with the outcome you wish to achieve. Moreover, consider the audience behaviors associated with your industry and the customer journey when crafting your strategy. By doing so, you'll be adopting a targeted approach that can lead to a higher return on investment and a more successful advertising experience.

Tips for Matching Campaign Types:

When aligning Google Ads campaign types with your marketing needs, a thorough examination of their unique attributes is essential. Consider utilizing Local Campaigns for driving physical store visits, recognizing their potent targeting capabilities for nearby prospects. Smart Campaigns, on the other hand, should be your go-to option for bolstering online engagements like website traffic and phone inquiries through their automated optimization processes. Balancing your selection with the marketing funnel's requirements and specific goals—such as utilizing Shopping Campaigns for promotion of products or leveraging App Campaigns for app-related marketing—is fundamental for achieving desired outcomes.

Optimization and Best Practices

Continuous testing and optimization are pivotal to the success of any Google Ads campaign. By closely monitoring ad performance and experimenting with variations, businesses can identify the most compelling content for their target audience. Utilizing ad extensions and incorporating negative keywords helps sharpen the focus of your audience targeting, ensuring that your ads are seen by the most relevant users. Additionally, by making the most of the robust analytics provided by Google Ads, advertisers can track their results and pivot their strategies based on solid, data-driven insights, thus continually enhancing the effectiveness of their campaigns.


As you navigate the intricate paths of Google Ads, remember that your strategy should evolve. Keep an eye on the horizon for new features and updates, and never shy away from experimentation. It is through refining your approach that you'll discover the true potential of this powerful platform.

Your journey with Google Ads is an ongoing one, and the best way to learn is often through sharing. If you've got insights, experiences, or questions, don't hesitate to contact us. And if you're looking for more personalized guidance, reach out – our team is here to help you navigate the realms of Google Ads with success.

Interested in running Google Ads but have no idea where to start? We help buisnesses with PPC management. Visit our PPC Ads Management Page to learn more about how we can help run ads for your business.

Andew Buccellato - Owner of Good Fellas Agency

Andrew Buccellato

Hello! I'm the owner and lead developer here at The Good Fellas Agency. I've been working with code for the past 10 years and started this business over 5 years ago. I mostly write about how Web Design, Digital Marketing, and Search Engine Optimization help your business grow.