Google Ads Exposed. What You Need To Know Right Now.

April Forbes
September 13, 2021

They say if you can't beat them, join them, and with every person and their dog trying to beat the system with all their different coloured SEO hats, Google Ads offers an advertising tool to those looking to provide their customers or clients with a solution right when they are looking for it.

Seen as the necessary evil of the marketing world, it offers targeted advertising options that no other advertising medium can provide. TBH, I personally think it can be described as the closest thing to share trading, and due to it being so close to the customer or clients' actual search habits, it offers great insight into how to shape your marketing messages.

The question everyone should be asking is, can you afford to not be investing in Google Ads? In my opinion, no. However, be warned. Google Ads is constantly on the move. Google Ads changes its platform on the regular like adding and removing advertising options (RIP broad match modified keywords and expanded text ads☹️), removal and adjustment of data visibility based on privacy laws - (they implemented the 'other search terms' row, a collection of hidden terms we can no longer review), even changing its name to keep us all on our toes... Yes, it's been called Google Ads, not Google Adwords, since the 24th of July, 2018.

Due to the complexity of the Google Ads platform, I thought we would share with those who are considering investing in Google Ads and what they should know right now. Here are 18 fave types of ad options in Google Ads, including when and why you would use them.

Let's start with Search Campaigns

WTF is it, and why is it important? OK, so basic human behaviour 101. Someone opens their web browser, and types in a search query, i.e. 'digital marketing sunshine coast', and hits enter. A list of options that match this search query appears. At the top, some ads are shown first. These are 'search campaign' ads. Inside of a search campaign, you have a few search ad types and extensions available.

Now, on top of a search ad, we have a huge list of ad extensions available. These are never guaranteed to show as their placement is down to the algorithms. Our tip, use as many as possible, as you would be surprised what generates a click.

Responsive Search Ad

Responsive search ads are exactly that. When you build this ad you are given multiple headlines and description options. Gone are the days where you need to build hundreds of ad combinations separately, now you can do this in one place and the algorithms serve the best heading and description to match the search query the customer or client has entered.

We love it because we can pin headings to certain locations on the ad. For example, April Ford always pins Sunshine Coast & Noosa to the second headline, so clients know what areas we service whenever an ad is served, leaving headline 1 & 3 to dynamically change based on the search query and the keywords we are bidding on.

Great for B2B and B2C, in any industry and is a MUST in my opinion in every campaign.


Location is when you can see the Google My Business listing attached to a responsive search ad. This provides further insight and trust to the person looking at the search results and if you are trying to drive foot traffic, or show you service an area where your business is located, it's a great way to get that point across.

Side note, you can also report on those who have searched and seen your ad, and then walked into location if they are logged into a google account if you qualify for the store visits metric.


A sitelink offers additional page links to those who are viewing your search ad. If we stick with the search query of 'digital marketing sunshine coast', I can add a sitelink to my responsive search ad that might show them pages that are related to this search query, for example, social media content or a portfolio/works page.

Sitelinks are a great way to further ad size and authority to your ads but should be used wisely so it doesn't take the customer away from the purpose of the search query. Perfect for B2B and B2C service-based businesses.


This one is pretty self-explanatory. Great for ROI measurement, especially for lower cost, faster consideration purchases or services. Think car servicing or emergency plumber queries.

I would not recommend this to be used for those in retail who are trying to drive foot traffic, it could be a wasted click as it doesn't serve the purpose of the ad.


Different from a sitelink, in that it doesn't point to a unique URL, it can be used to summarise and offer clients or customers a quick insight into their click. Free shipping or easy returns.


This is my new favourite extension. Still, in the roll-out phase for some accounts, this extension gives further insight into what your brand looks like where you can add images to show next to your ads on mobile. From what we are experiencing, the click-through rate is better than before and can be the icing on the cake when potential customers are trying to pick which ad to click on.

Use this for every and any type of business, but use quality images that reflect the brand and the experience you want to portray.


Running a promotion? 50% off X category, Black Friday Sale, etc. that has a deadline. Add these as an extension, so they turn on and off in line with your promotion. Complete with a URL, it's a great way to get your message across without changing your full search campaign for every promotion.


Do you display prices for products or services on your website? If the answer is yes, the price extension might be right for you. Not recommended for large ecommerce sites with hundreds of SKUs (we have other options for you below), but should be considered for those who have a handful of prices they can display.

Lead Form

One of the newest ad extension types, the lead form on Google Ads is very similar in look and experience as Facebook, however different in a way that it shows under the search ad as an extension. Great for CTA's like request a quote or subscribe to receive X gift voucher.

Structured Snippet

This allows you to group headings, and assign them to a category group. Great for both B2C and B2B. With options for categories like brands, amenities, courses, neighbourhoods, and more. This adds further insight and depth to your ad and provides your client or customer with further direction.

Display Ads

Ever been on a website, to later find banner ads for that brand are now following you around on news websites, apps, or youtube? These ad placement types are using the Google Display Network.

Described by Google as a group of 2 million websites, videos, and apps where ads can appear. According to Google, the Display Network reach over 90% of internet users worldwide. Targeting for Display ads is a little different from search, focusing more on the audience and location of the customer; with the options of narrowing the placement of websites via keywords or URLs to bring more relevance to the experience.

Sounds confusing? It can be. But with a little guidance, it can be a great brand awareness campaign option, especially if you combine it with a remarketing audience of previous website visitors.

There are three types of Display Ads we love.

Responsive Display

Similar to responsive search ads, the responsive display ads give you the ability to combine images, headings, and descriptions into a banner ad that is built by Google. Whilst it doesn't look as sophisticated as an Image Ad or HTML5 ad, it does dynamically change based on the algorithms, AND can adjust the size for every single ad placement size, yes there are 20+, across the Display Network.

Our tip, have a strategy that includes both responsive, and image ads so you tick every google display box size.

Image Ads

Otherwise known as banner ads, basically completed artwork is uploaded to your campaign in as many sizes possible and served to your audience.


A HTML5 ad type is built natively using Google Web Design, giving the designer more flexibility with interactivity via content, animation, and responsiveness across browser or device types.

For those who have the design budget and ad spend to match, it's a very cool option to showcase your brand creatively.


YouTube is best described as a search engine for videos hosted on its platform. We all use it, some of us more than others. Its targeting options are similar to that of the Google Display Network, as well as offering placements in this division. However, if you want to incorporate video ads in your campaign, especially if it's a brand awareness campaign, there are two ad types we love and recommend on the regular.

6-second bumpers

Don't you hate it when long-winded, boring ads, play just as you hit play on a video you want to watch on YouTube? Same. That's why we love the 6-second bumper ads. Short, sweet, and straight to the point.


Exactly how it sounds, this ad placement appears In-Stream, which means part way through a video. Our tip, make it super engaging, otherwise risk annoying the consumer and they walk away with a poor brand experience as they think of you as the brand that interrupted their video.


If you are a retailer and sell via your website keep reading. Not a retailer, you are free to skip to the end of this blog post.

Shopping ads allow businesses to further boost their already free shopping listings. If you are a retailer, and you aren't doing this now is the time to start. It is a bit of a minefield, but linking your ecommerce platform should be quite easy. This should feed all of your SKUs into Google Merchant Centre, which then places them as Google Shopping listings.

What is interesting with Google Shopping and Google Shopping Ads, is that your results come down to not only your targeting and audience selection, but how well you have listed the product on your website. Think of the product title, description, etc. does it match what people are actually searching for? Does it make sense to the consumer who hasn't heard of your brand before when it comes up when they 'google it'? Does it stand out against the competitors who have the same brand and product for sale? If the answer is no, you have got some work to do.

If the answer is yes, bring on the Google Shopping Ads train.

Product Ads

When creating shopping campaigns inside of Google Ads, you are given two options, standard shopping or smart shopping. Standard shopping ads allocate ad budgets to products you have selected from your Google Merchant Account. You are given no additional creative capabilities.

Smart Shopping Ads

Similar to the responsive search and display options outlined above, smart shopping ads give you the ability to upload some dynamic content that can be shown alongside products that are being targeted as per your campaign settings. Creative can be expanded by adding logos, brand images and videos alongside headings and descriptions.

HTML5 Dynamic Ad

In addition to the Smart Shopping Ads, you can add a HTML5 dynamic ad. Similar to the Display Network HTML5 description above, these are built-in Google Web Design with the same flexibility of interactive content, animation, responsiveness, etc. BUT, with the added feed of products. We love using these ads, especially if the client is running a sales treatment across their website, EDM or socials as it retargets previous website visits with the products they have previously interacted with on your website.


So, what is my personal opinion about Google Ads? Well, I freakin love them. I love them as both a customer on Google Ads (yes I run our campaigns for AF), but I also love them for our clients. A good friend and mentor of mine Josh Phegan always said, hang out where your customers hang out... I don't think you could get any closer outside of meeting them face to face.

PS. This is only one tiny component of managing Google Ad campaigns. It can be a minefield. Want to know more? We are always happy to help.