best-adwords-format

Any marketer new to Google AdWords is probably familiar with one ad-type: text ads that appear in search results.

But text-only ads are far from everything that Adwords has to offer.

Businesses can choose from several different ad-types that appear around the internet. But if you want to make the most of the selection, you should choose the one(s) that offer the most value for your business and target audience.

Here are the pro’s, con’s and potential of Adwords ad formats for different business types.

Text-only Ads

This is Adword’s most basic ad-type, consisting of a headline (25 characters), two lines of text (35 characters each), and a website URL:

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This is the most basic ad-type you can create with Adwords.

Pros:
  • Reach your audience on Google search
  • Quick to setup and easy to maintain
  • Generate more clicks to your website than other ad-types
Cons:
  • Generally higher cost-per-click (CPC) than other ad types
  • Usually only succeeds at drawing in customers who are already ready to buy

Best for your business?

The simplicity of text-only ads work best for businesses that offer basic goods and services that people need on an everyday basis.

The people who are most likely to click on a text-only ad are those looking to make a purchase soon and don’t need to be convinced why they need a particular product or service.

If Mother’s Day is coming up, someone needs to buy flowers, so they search for a delivery service. If your car breaks down, you need an auto repair shop, and are probably willing to click on the first relevant ad.

If your product or service is something that people don’t need regularly, a text-only ad can still draw customers. But it has a lot more limitations, since you only have two lines of text to convince searchers why they should click the link.

Ad Extensions

If you want to add more detail to your text-only ads, like additional links to your website, a physical address, or phone number to call, use ad extensions.

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These features will appear on the Google Search Network, but location extensions and call extensions can also show up in the Google Display Network.

Pros:
  • Opportunity to offer more relevance to your audience
  • Option to customize how your ad extensions appear on mobile devices versus tablets and computers
  • Bigger ads to encourage more clicks
  • Possibility to generate more clicks to your website than other ad-types
Cons:
  • Generally higher cost-per-click (CPC) than other ad types
  • Not all extensions will appear on Google Display Network

Best for your business?

Ad extensions add some extra detail that can benefit just about any business type. However if you own a brick-and-mortar business that potential customers will likely want to call or visit, then add extensions to include your phone number and address are more or less essential.

Image Ads

With image ads, you can also create your own image advertisements for Adwords, including static or interactive graphics in .gif and Flash format.

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Pros:
  • Offer a visual showcase for your product or service
  • Reach your audience with Google’s website partners*

*Note: This covers 90% of all internet users, as well as properties that Google owns, like YouTube, Gmail, and Blogger

Cons:
  • Get fewer clicks and conversions than text ads

Best for your business?

Image ads can be valuable for any kind of business. According to Web Marketing Group, 40% of internet users respond more favorably to marketing materials if they use more visuals than text.

But whether or not you should invest in image ads depends less on your business-type and more on your business goals.

If you’re working with a designer, it can become costly to make even minor changes to the way your ad looks. But if you make them right, you’ll have a powerful tool to help:

1. Build brand awareness

Image ads tend to get a lot more impressions and a lot less clicks than text ads, but that’s perfectly fine if brand awareness is a big goal for your business. Your audience doesn’t even need to click the ad to get the desired affect -- thousands of impressions can build great exposure for your business.

2. Make a personal connection

Especially if you offer some kind of online service, image ads are an opportunity to put a face to a name (and business), like this example:

Making a personal connection helps build trust and set your business apart from your competitors.

3. Convince your audience

If your products or service involve something that is visually appealing, image ads are a great option. The fitness ad above is a good example of this.

App Promotion Ads

If app downloads are key to your business success, you might opt for an app promotion ad to encourage downloads and engagement.

The ad can send customers directly to an app store, or a deep link directly to your app.

Pros:
  • Encourages a specific desired action
  • Sets your business listing apart from competitors who don’t advertise an app
Cons:
  • Ads will only appear on devices compatible with the content

Best for your business?

This ad-type won’t be very valuable for every single business that has an app, but for those who depend on the app to operate.

On-demand services like Uber or food delivery services would get the most value here. People download the app in order to start becoming customers.

In contrast, your local supermarket probably has an app that shoppers can use to coupon in-store. They could create an app promotion ad, but it isn’t essential for drawing customers in.

Video Ads

Businesses can take advantage of Adwords videos by creating a standalone video ad or making it part of streaming video content.

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Pros:
  • Opportunity to make a strong visual impression on your audience
  • Reach your audience on Google’s website partners
Cons:
  • Gain fewer clicks and conversions than text ads

Best for your business?

Businesses that are trying to deliver an experience (such as a vacation getaway or rehab center), as opposed to an individual product or service, will probably get the most out of video ads. Video ads can give you the opportunity to make viewers feel like they’re already there.

However videos tend to speak well to all types of consumers -- people who view a video while shopping are 1.81% more likely to make a purchase than non-viewers.

Just about any business type can benefit from a targeted, engaging video ad, but there are a few factors to consider before deciding:

1. Demographics

If your main market is senior citizens still using Internet Explorer, video ads might not be a good idea.

Also consider if a large portion of your audience resides in countries where internet speed is an issue. The ad won’t make an impact if it doesn’t load.

2. Return on Investment

Adwords video ads can cost, on average, 6 cents per view. So if you create an entertaining and engaging video (which you should), you may end up paying for a lot of views that don’t necessarily turn into conversions. At the same time, sometimes people click a video ad by accident, or just to get past it. You’ll pay for these clicks also.

You also need to consider the cost of producing a video. You’ll likely want to hire a professional to do it, which can be costly. Also like image ads, it’s not easy to make even small changes to the ad after it’s been made.

Shopping Ads

Shopping ads are text ads also contain some information about a product’s features and pricing, a small image, and a link back to a purchase page on your site.

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Pros:
  • Gives your audience the opportunity to learn about your products before deciding to click
  • Shows visual and text features together
Cons:
  • You don’t control the keywords you’re bidding for (Google crawls your product feed and finds the products relevant to the search query to display)

Best for your business?

Obviously this can be a valuable advertising strategy for ecommerce websites, but it’s important to consider how the products you offer relate to buyer intent.

The kind of people who are going to click on this ad-type are people who are ready to buy. They’ve already researched the product and its competitors, and are only going to click on your product link if they already know it’s something they already want.

So if you offer novelty items or products that come with a variety of personalization choices (size, color, etc.), these ads might not be as valuable. Many searchers will want to scroll down to organic results so they can find the exact version of the product they want.

But say you’re an online textbook reseller. Someone searching for the title or ASIN of a college statistics textbook is probably looking to buy, which makes Shopping Ads all the more relevant.

Call-only Ads

Call-only Ads are plain text ads aimed at driving one action -- calling your business directly from search. These ads will only appear on devices with calling capabilities.

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Pros:
  • Encourages one specific, high-converting action
  • Effective: 70% of mobile searchers will call a business directly from search
Cons:
  • Appears on Search Network only
  • Any field in the ad may be hidden to fit on smaller screens

Best for your business?

Call-only ads are probably the best example of an ad-type that is super valuable for some businesses and more or less useless for others.

To know which you are, just ask yourself one question:

Are phone calls the core method my business uses to get customers?

If the answer is yes, then call-only ads can be very worthwhile.

Doctors and dental offices are great examples of businesses that can benefit from call only ads. People are likely looking to make an appointment with your business, so why not make it easier to call straight from search?

You could have an ad set up to navigate them to your website instead, but there’s still more chance they’ll bounce after. Once you get them on the line with a representative from your office, it becomes much easier to book an appointment and make a conversion.

The Takeaway

Adwords has a lot of options to help you personalize your advertising campaigns, with different formats, pricing, and platforms for advertising.

Certain ad types will be more valuable for some businesses than others, based on several factors, such as:

  • Searcher intent (where they are in the sales funnel)
  • How your business normally drives conversions
  • The types of products or services you offer
  • What your marketing goals are

Consider how each ad type could benefit your business uniquely to determine the most valuable option(s) for your needs.