Google Ads Formats 101
It’s time to take a mirror to your brand.
How do you want your business to be seen online? No matter what products or services you offer, you have a vision when it comes to how you want people to see and interact with your brand on the internet. You know exactly how you want your brand to make customers feel. You know exactly how you want to change the lives of your consumers.
Enter Google Ads, one of the best opportunities online to place your brand right in front of people looking for you. Thanks to a wide variety of ad formats, you can layer together specific headlines, descriptive text, images, even video content and shopping ads to attract attention.
Everything You Need to Know About Google Ads Formats
So many ad types can frustrate as much as they can excite. That’s why we’ve engineered the following guide to Google Ads formats, as your ticket to replacing Google Ads anxiety with peace of mind. You’ll learn all about the most popular ad types across Google Ads, together with specifics like character count limitations, expected results, and when we suggest you use each type to achieve intended results.
Google Search Ads: Dominate Your Search Engine Results
Google Search Ads represent the core Google Ads type, showing in search engine results whenever a potential customer searches for a keyword you’ve identified. Most businesses that advertise using ads that appear in search results earn double their online investment, making search ads one of the more profitable ad types available online. If you can make a concentrated effort to own search results when customers search for your brand, for your services or even for your competition, you’ve taken a huge step toward maximizing long-term profits.
Specific search ad types yield specific results. Let’s get to know the cornerstone search ad types below:
Enhanced Text Ads
With specific regard to search ads, Enhanced Text Ads are by far the most popular and most used Google Ads format. These ads are characterized by three 30-character headlines (two of which are mandatory) and two 90-character descriptions that follow. You’ll also need to identify the Final URL (where you want customers to land once clicking on your ads), and you have the option of integrating a Display URL – a shortened URL that gives customers an idea of where they’re going to land once clicking.
It’s really that simple. Once you install at least 2 of the 3 headlines, alongside your descriptions and your Final URL, Enhanced Text Ads are ready to go live. They’re beloved for their simplicity; you can draft very specific ads to accommodate very specific demographic segments, and entire campaigns made of Enhanced Text Ads can be taken live in minutes. We always suggest including Enhanced Text Ads in your Google Ads vision, given how easy they are to create and optimize, and the positive traffic and conversion results they typically achieve.
Responsive Search Ads
In search results, Responsive Search Ads appear identical to the Enhanced Text Ads we described above. Inside the Google Ads platform, they are very different.
Whereas an Enhanced Text Ads is made of three 30-character headlines and two 90-character descriptions, a Responsive Search Ads is geared toward testing headlines and descriptions against one another to identify best-performing options. For that reason, Responsive Search Ads offer you the opportunity to identify as many as 15 headlines (Google suggests you draft at least 5) and 4 descriptions (Google suggests you draft at least 2). Over time, Google Ads tests headlines and descriptions against each other, showing in different positions, in order to determine which works best for your brand.
If you’re looking to get a better idea of what customers like to see online before they click, Responsive Search Ads are a great option. We suggest that you deploy Responsive Search Ads any time you’re looking to better understand how your customers think and operate; once you know which headlines and descriptions perform best, take those best-performing elements and build Enhanced Text Ads from them.
Sometimes, the best and only thing you want customers to see is your phone number. These Call Ads can work particularly well if you offer somewhat of a more immediate service: emergency dental services, 24-hour locksmith services, etc.
These ads are meant to show only on devices capable of making phone calls. Whenever an individual clicks on a Call Ad, they are connected to you via a direct call. To set up Call Ads, you’ll need to provide two 30-character headlines – they’re optional but highly recommended – as well as a business phone number, company name and description. You’ll also need to provide a verification URL of any landing page or web page with the phone number on it to verify the number’s authenticity. Take ads live in record time, and show your phone number to consumers already looking for the services you offer.
Google Display Ads: Broadcast Images Across More Than 2 Million Websites
Last year, display ads were seen by 90% of internet users. Their popularity, ease of use and capacity to reach hundreds of thousands of customers make them one of the most popular ad formats across Google Ads. Unlike search ads, which show in search results across Google’s Search Network, display ads show on Google’s Display Network, a collection of over 2 million partnered websites with space for your ads to show as sidebar ads, banner ads, header and footer ads, etc.
If you’re looking to reach massive volumes of potential customers across websites you choose, display ads are definitely worth a look. Check out several of the most popular display ad types below:
Display Ads do not vary much in delivery type. Instead, as it was briefly mentioned above, display ads vary in overall size. You’ll be able to capture attention across the internet in a variety of formatted sizes, allowing you to tailor your message to common ad parameters.
Potential customers will see different-sized ads. Depending on the device, they’ll see one or more of the following formats:
Responsive Display Ads
Any campaign launched on Google’s Display Network will create Responsive Display Ads, unless you identify differently. A native ad format will automatically adjust to accommodate spatial parameters across different websites, Responsive Search Ads allow you to plug in the graphics and ad copy you want and take entire campaigns live in minutes.
Google makes Responsive Search Ads simple to create and optimize. Simply provide Google with any brand logos, images or designed ads of any kind when prompted during the campaign creation process, and the online advertisement platform does the rest. Google Ads will even help you test one image or headline against another, delivering updates as to your best-performing ad assets whenever you want them.
Google Video Ads: The Best-Received Ad Format Across YouTube and More
In an age where attention spans across the internet are perhaps shorter than ever before, video ads give you the opportunity to impress your customers in record time. Excite and engage core demographics across some of the internet’s most popular video libraries, including YouTube. As long as your videos are hosted in YouTube, you can show video ads in a variety of skippable and non-skippable formats, even identifying specific destinations, channels and videos where you want your ads to be seen.
Familiarize yourself with some of the most popular video ad formats below:
The main format when it comes to online video advertisements, Google Ads’ in-stream format allows you to advertise across YouTube. Given that YouTube is the second-most visited website in the world, attracting 44% of all internet users, skippable and non-skippable video assets broadcasted across YouTube can potentially put your brand in front of hundreds of thousands of excited eyes.
Show your video ads wherever you think your consumers most want to see them – before or after videos, or even during a designated advertisement break in the middle of a video. Keep in mind that you can only take one type of video format live per ad group. If you elect to use skippable video ads – video ads that can be skipped after 5 seconds of viewing time – you need to keep your video ad between 12 seconds and 6 minutes of total run time. Non-skippable ads – ads that cannot be skipped, and must be viewed in their entirety – must be kept under 15 seconds of total run time.
Unlike in-stream ads, which are shown directly in the YouTube platform, Outstream Ads launched through Google Ads show across mobile devices, either across websites partnered with Google Ads, or inside of mobile applications. Ads are muted by default when first shown but can be easily unmuted by consumers with a single tap to the screen.
Unparalleled when it comes to total reach and their effect on brand awareness, Outstream Ads are incredibly easy to create. Once you’ve uploaded your video ad to YouTube and linked the video itself, you’ll only need to include a couple of lines of ad text before taking the entire campaign live.
Shown in the YouTube home feed and between online videos, Discovery video ads help potential consumers do just that: discover your brand. You can show ads formatted into Discovery Campaigns as long as your videos have been uploaded to a YouTube account and subsequently linked. Ads are also automatically shown in “Watch Next” feeds.
Similar to the above video ad formats that you’ll run in Google Ads, you’ll only need to identify the specific videos you want to run, and install a few pieces of ad copy before your Discovery Ads are ready to be turned live. As an added boost, you can also run ads to Gmail and the Google Discover feed, through the same campaign type. These same ad formats can also be turned off if you prefer to exercise the video placements across YouTube exclusively.
Google Shopping Ads: Sell Products with a Single Click
If you’re not content to show simple text or a graphic image when representing your brand, then Shopping Ads might be a perfect outlet for your business when advertising online. Especially if your brand contains heavy visual elements, Shopping Ads launched through the Google Ads platform offer you the chance to showcase product images, titles and price tags at the top of search engine results.
Let’s run through the most popular Shopping Ad types below:
Product Shopping Ads
Image, product title, price tag and store: it’s really that simple when it comes to launching Product Shopping Ads. You’ll be able to display everything that separates your brand from the competition, side-by-side with other similar products.
Setting up Product Shopping Ads first requires setting up your Merchant Center account, a home for your product feed used by Google, and any other relevant online locations. Product Shopping Ads can be further optimized when you add items like Product Ratings and specific Merchant Promotions, helping consumers understand any relevant updates you want to be seen alongside your ad assets.
Product Showcase Ads
Unlike Product Shopping Ads, which show when specific products are searched, Product Showcase Ads show in search engine results whenever more generalized searches take place. For example, whenever a search is made for a generic product like “bicycles” or “computers”, relevant products will be displayed atop search engine results. These ads are known as Product Showcase Ads, and help you conquer non-branded search results like never before.
A more recent shopping ad format, Product Showcase Ads, can actually show dozens of products at a single time for a single search if a user expands the ad format to show more options. Google thus recommends that you closely segment your Product Showcase Ads and that you take them live in bulk, maximizing the chances that some of your ads will show for these generalized searches.
Do Your Brand a Favor, and Give Google Ads a Try
Paid traffic converts 50% better than organic traffic in Google. It’s therefore no surprise that Google Ads averages a $2 return for every $1 spent on the platform. Whether you’re just getting started with Google Ads, or you’re already familiar with the world of paid online advertising, we’d love to help you make the most of the opportunity. Schedule your free growth audit with us today, for a no-pressure audit of your online presence, including an in-depth dive into any existing – or potential – Google Ads activity.
Google Ads allows you to control where your ads are shown, how often they are displayed, and what you’re paying on a per-click basis. With so much control over your online presence, you’re offered the opportunity to tailor a campaign specific to your online needs. Use one or more of the popular ad types above, and take conscious steps toward increasing brand awareness, delivering high-quality video views, and driving purchases at unprecedented rates.