Google Ads - The Basics

Google ads are a great way to showcase your business on the top of the Google results. Before you jump and get started here are some of the terms and campaign types to help you get familiar with the system.

Video Resource: Google Ads Tutorials: Welcome to Google Ads

Key terms 

Keywords: These are the words or phrases that people type into Google Search, which trigger your ad to appear. When setting up an ad campaign, you’ll pick a list of keywords that you think people might search for when they want what you have to offer (and don’t worry: we can help).

Bid: This is the maximum amount you’re willing to pay when someone clicks on your ad. (Since, with Google Ads, you don’t pay to show up — only when someone clicks on your ad to visit your site or call you.)

Quality Score: This metric tells you how relevant your keywords are to your ad — and to your landing page (i.e. the webpage where people will be taken when they click your ad). A good 

Quality Score can lower your bid costs and improve your ad rank in the search results.

Ad Rank: This metric helps determine where your ad will show up, relative to other ads, when it's triggered to appear on Google. Your rank is determined using your bid, your Quality Score, and other factors.

CPC (cost-per-click): The actual amount you pay when someone clicks on your ad. (You don’t necessarily pay your entire bid price for every click — that just sets up a range of possible costs-per-click you might pay.)

Conversion: A conversion takes place when someone who has clicked your ad goes on to take another action you’ve designated as important — like making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or calling you.

Campaigns Types: 

1. Search campaigns | Text ads on search results


Search campaigns let you reach people while they’re searching on Google for the products and services you offer.

It's great for driving sales, leads, or traffic to your website, as you can show your ads to customers actively searching for your products and services.

Why choose Search:

  • Sales and leads: Boost your online sales and signups. Consider using leads if you have a longer sales cycle.
  • Easy setup: Write text ads and pick keywords. No special files or assets needed. Try Smart campaigns for an even easier setup.
  • Highly specific targeting: Reach people actively searching for what you offer.

2. Display campaigns | Image ads on websites


Display campaigns let you reach people with visually engaging ads as they browse across millions of websites and apps. Display is a great way to expand the reach of your Search campaigns to other parts of the web.

Display also allows you to follow up with remarketing ads to new and existing customers.

Why choose Display:

  • Sales and leads: Use visually engaging call-to-actions to drive sales and signups.
  • Awareness and consideration: Create memorable ads to make people aware of your brand or consider your product.
  • Expand your reach: Expand your reach beyond search results to target people browsing websites and apps.
  • Remarketing: Follow up with people who’ve already seen your ads or visited your site.

Good to know:

It's helpful to use an image editing tool to create square and landscape versions of your display ad in the right dimensions and file size.

3. Video campaigns | Video ads on YouTube


Video campaigns let you show video ads on YouTube and other websites.

Some Video campaign types can help you boost general awareness of your brand. Others are designed to drive conversions or get people to shop on your website.

Why choose Video:

  • Awareness and consideration: Use video ads to make people aware of your brand or consider buying your product.
  • Sales and leads: To set up action-focused video ads, you’ll use the “Drive conversions” campaign subtype.
  • Expand your reach: Expand your reach beyond search results to target people on YouTube.
  • Remarketing: Follow up with people who’ve already seen your ads or visited your site.

Good to know:

You'll first need to create your video ad and upload it to YouTube.

4. Shopping campaigns | Product listings on Google


Shopping campaigns are ideal if you’re a retailer looking to sell your product inventory. Shopping ads appear on search results and the Google Shopping tab.

Store owners can also use local inventory ads to promote products available at your physical locations.

Why choose Shopping:

  • Retail marketing: Use visually engaging product listings to promote your retail products.
  • Sales and leads: Get people to buy on your online store or sign up for more.
  • Boost a nearby storefront: Sell your local store inventory to nearby customers.

Good to know:

To create a Shopping campaign, you'll first need to have a Merchant Center account where you can upload your product inventory.

5. App campaigns | Promote your app on many channels


App campaigns help you find new app users and increase sales within your app.

This campaign type uses info from your app to automatically optimize ads across Search, Play, YouTube, Discover, and over 3 million sites and apps.

Why choose App:

  • App promotion: Drive installs, engagements, and signups for your app on mobile devices.
  • Multi-channel marketing: One campaign will show your app on Search, Display, Play, and YouTube.
  • Easy setup and management: Targeting, bidding, and ad creation are all automated for optimal performance.

6. Local campaigns | Promote locations on many channels


Local campaigns help you bring people to your physical stores and venues.

Your ads will be automatically optimized to appear across Search, Display, Google Maps, and YouTube.

Why choose Local:

  • In-person store sales: Use online ads to promote your inventory and bring shoppers into your physical stores. 
  • Promote offers and events: Advertise in-store events and local promotions.
  • Detailed location info: Help people find your business address and hours.
  • Multi-channel marketing: One campaign will show your ads on Search, Display, Maps, and YouTube.

Good to know:

To access Local campaigns, you’ll need to have active location extensions or affiliate location extensions in your account or have a Google My Business account connected to Google Ads.

7. Smart campaigns | Automate your campaigns


Smart campaigns are the easiest way to get your ads up and running.

Enter your business, create a few ads, and Google finds the best targeting to get you the most for your time and money.

Why choose Smart campaigns:

  • Sales and leads: Increase sales and sign ups for your products and services.
  • Easy setup: Enter your business info, create a few ads, and Google will automate your campaign.
  • Advanced optimization: Google optimizes your ads and targeting for you.

Good to know:

If you recently created a new account at, you’ll likely be using the Smart Mode version of Google Ads and all your campaigns will be Smart campaigns.

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