• Sanne Butterfield

The Basics about Google Ads

Updated: Jun 2


Google Ads is an online advertising platform developed by Google, where advertisers bid to display advertisements, service offerings, product listings, or videos to web users. It has a reach over 90% of global internet users. Google Ads is split into three basic types:

  • Search Network campaigns - usually text form, these ads can show on Google Search results pages when someone searches for a product or service that’s similar to yours. Best for limited budgets and selling quick turnover product/services for buyers in "shop mode".

  • Display Network campaigns - usually image form, these ads appear on websites or apps that your customers visit (this is called the GDN/Google Display Network, a group of more than 2 million websites including specific Google websites like Google Finance, Gmail, Blogger, and YouTube and a wide range of mobile sites and apps, with a reach over 90% of global internet users). Best for familiarisation, lengthy sales process, visually attractive/luxury products. Best when you have appealing creative.

  • Video campaigns - usually 6 or 15 second videos, these ads show right before or during YouTube content.

In selected locations or languages: if you have text ads, you can choose to show them to customers in an entire country, a certain geographic location and even to customers who use names of locations in their searches.

How does it work? Google Ads works by displaying your ad when people search online for the products and services you offer. By leveraging smart technology, Google Ads helps get your ads in front of potential customers at just the moment they’re ready to take action.

  1. You start by selecting your goal, like getting more visitors to your website or more phone calls to your business.

  2. Next you select the geographic area where your ad should be shown. It can be a small radius around your business or much broader, like cities, states, or entire countries.

  3. Finally, you’ll craft your ad and set your monthly budget cap.

Once your ad is approved, it can appear whenever users in your target area search for a product or service like yours. You only pay when users engage with your ad, like clicking your ad or calling your business. Cost and Budget settings CPC (Cost Per Click) or PPC (Pay Per Click) means you only pay for an ad if someone clicks on it. Other advertising models include:

  • Cost Per Impression, where you pay based on how many times your ad was shown (not clicked)

  • Cost Per Engagement, where you pay when a user completes a predefined engagement (like watching your video ad)

Your Google Ads cost is determined by your budget settings. Google Ads can work with almost any budget. You’re only charged when users interact with your ad, like clicking to visit your website or to call your business. With Google Ads, there is no minimum spend requirement, and no required contract length—you can stop your ads anytime. The cost of a click or call can vary based on a few factors.


Where do Google ads appear? When you advertise with Google Ads, your ads can appear on different places across the web depending on how you target your ads, to whom you choose to show them and the types of ads you create.

  • On Google Search and other search sites: your ad can appear on Google when people look for the product or service you offer, right when your prospective clients are in the process of searching for products or services that your business offers.

  • On websites that your customers visit: you can also choose to show your ads to people as they browse the web. Your text, image and video ads can appear on the Google Display Network.

  • On different devices: you can show your ads to people as they search or visit websites on the move. Your text ads can appear when people search on Google from their mobile devices and tablets.

  • In selected locations or languages: if you have text ads, you can choose to show them to customers in an entire country, a certain geographic location and even to customers who use names of locations in their searches.

Campaign types and ad formats

The ad formats available to you depend on your campaign type (Search Network only, Display Network only, Search Network with Display Select) and campaign sub-type (for example, Standard or All features). Search Campaign Example:

Display Campaign Example:

Video Campaign Example:


Ps. Google AdWords and Google AdWords Express are the previous names for Google Ads.