How Do Google Ads Work? A Non-marketers Guide


How Do Google Ads Work? A Non-marketers Guide

So how do Google ads work? Google has many different types of advertising that they can hit you, the consumer, with.

  • Search Ads
  • Search Network Text Ads
  • Video Ads
  • Display Ads
  • Retargeting Ads

I’ll cover these one at a time, so if you want to skip to a specific ad type, feel free!

Search Ads

Search ads are triggered by the text you enter into the search bar. Advertisers are able to add “keywords” to their ad list, and when you type one of those, or a phrase extremely close to it, their ads will show up. Most of the time, these ads are useful to you because you have shown that you have intent related to the website that is advertising. Google only allows ads that are high quality to show at the top of search results, so this ad is only going to show Google deems it appropriate for your search. In addition, advertisers are paying a lot of money for EACH click on the ad, so if you are not going to buy, they don’t want to advertise to you. I find search ads to be the most reliable because they don’t interrupt the user from what they’re doing and they are generally helpful.

Search Network Text Ads

These, to me, are some of the worst ads in the world. These are the type of ads that show up on website you’re trying to read or interact with, but they lead you off to another site. A lot of the time, these ads are disguised as part of the website to try and trick you into clicking on them. If you think about it from an advertiser’s perspective, deceptive clicks are not helpful for them at all because you’re definitely not going to buy anything if you weren’t looking for that type of content in the first place. Secondly, I see these ads in really weird places. An example recently was that on the website, they had text search ads on their product pages leading people away to another website to buy the same product that is on their own site! Super weird right? Anyhow, that’s about all I have to say about that.

Video Ads

Video ads are just that. They show up on YouTube as videos that play before the video you want to watch, or sometimes right in the middle Basically, they are akin to the commercials we see on TV, but they are usually based on the audience of the video as a demographic. So while Google doesn’t exactly know who you are when they are showing the commercial, they know the demographic of the specific video you are watching. This means the product or service in the commercial is going to be pretty in-line with something you’d be interested in. The drawback here is that you didn’t want to watch that commercial! You wanted your video. So that’s a bummer.

Display Ads

Display ads are the ads you are probably most familiar with. These are picture banners (sometimes animated) that show up at the top and sidebar of pretty much every website on the internet. They even show at the bottom of YouTube videos. Display ads, similar to video ads, base most of their targeting on contextual content. In other words, if you are on a sports website, then advertising golf clubs to you might make sense, so that’s an ad you’ll see. Its kind a wide net in a lot of cases, which is why you definitely see a ton of junk ads that mean nothing to you also.

Retargeting Ads

Lastly that brings us to retargeting ads, which as basically display ads, but with a catch. These follow you around the internet wherever you go! Creepy right? Its actually not that creepy. The way this works is that you get a cookie every time you visit any site. They can use that cookie on the Google advertising network and show ads based on the fact that you visited a certain website. If you don’t want these ads to follow you anymore, all you have to do is clear you’re cookies and they are gone. Or better yet, you can just use a private browser which deletes everything every time you close the tab.

So that about sums up all the different types of Google ads. But if you’re interested in a better ad platform, check out UnDisrupt and signup today!

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