Google AdWords Campaign Type

Choosing The Right AdWords Campaign Type For You

Choosing the right AdWords campaign type can make all the difference to your campaigns success. This article breaks down the campaign types and what they mean to you.

If you have been following our series about how to get started with AdWords campaigns, beginning with creating your AdWords account, you might already be on the campaign trail! Along this trek you’ll encountered many questions. One that is commonly overlooked is “what is the right campaign type or network for me?” What you’re actually asking is, where do I want my ad to show on the Google networks? 

For many, unfamiliar with campaign types, it is easy to assume that the only type of campaign found in AdWords are the ones that appear when you “Google” something. The biggest goal of AdWords is to get to the top of page 1 of a search. That is a great place to start but there are other types of campaigns to choose from and may be better suited for your goals. Sometimes, the wrong campaign type is selected for you by default, leading to wasted budgets where you don’t want to show up at all!

We’ll describe the types of AdWords campaigns first before explaining the challenges and concerns around each one and how you should choose which campaign type is right for!

Lets trek on to discover more in-depth about these network types.

AdWords Campaign Type: The Search Network

As mentioned the campaign type most of us are familiar with is the Search Network. This is a great place to start if you are new to AdWords because it is one of the simplest to understand. Like a phone book when you choose Search you are trying to reach those who are actively looking for you specifically or product/services like yours. So it fits with any business especially if you are trying to reach people locally.

So if someone searches for something you’d be relevant for, your ad should show up in the search results because the words are relevant to each other. This is a great option if your goals are to get information or to make a sale to potential customer looking for services like yours. And yes selecting this campaign is how you are able to get to the top of Google search engine results.

Google Search Results AdWords Campaign Type Example


Choose this type of campaign if your business offers services. For example, are you a nutritionist, a dentist, a lawyer, a mechanic or an electrician? Ecommerce businesses can use the search network for brand campaigns or special seasonal sales like “Valentine’s Day gifts.”

Potential customers are looking for someone to help them solve a problem when they search for a solution. This AdWords campaign type allows you to present your service as the solution.

A common issue is that Google’s search network includes more than just Google – it also includes search engines partners like, as well as Washington Post, Amazon and many more. While this sounds attractive at first, be wary. If you’re optimizing your campaign yourself, this adds layers of complexity to your segmentation and reporting. We recommending keeping things simple. Avoid choosing the Search Partners options at first. There is plenty of traffic volume on Google’s search engine.

AdWords Campaign Type: Display Network

The sibling of Search Network campaign type is Display Network. This campaign type is the slightly more challenging to understand. Instead of being intentionally searched for then presented, you are displayed all over the Google network. These places include article sites, blogs, news, anywhere that allows for text, banner and videos ads from Google. So the viewer doesn’t need to be searching for you or your service, a great choice if you are trying to build awareness or impressions.

The Display Network works by matching your ads, whether they’re text, image or media, to websites, Youtube videos and apps, known as placements, relevant to the keywords and content of your ad. For example; say you are a yoga mat company and selected a display campaign. You could have your ad displayed on yoga related blogs, articles and YouTube videos. There are certainly a bit more options in this campaign type, because you are trying to capture the attention of browser instead of searchers. So you’re targeting could be much broader, making this an option for AdWord users with a bit more experience. Again the main thing to consider here is your goal, to create awareness, engagement or actions. Your website and/or landing page should lead the browser to one of these options.

Display advertising is often considered part of interruption marketing. Your ad needs to distract the potential customer from their task to get their attention. Use this campaign type if potential customers seldom pro-actively search for what you offer. If you find that people have a problem that you solve, but that potential customers don’t know how to find the solution, then display ads might work for you.

Another great use of the Display Network is remarketing. This is when you use display ads to reach people who have visited you in the recent past. You can try to encourage them to return to your site or become a repeat customer.

AdWords Campaign Type: Search Network & Display Select

There is also a  way to get the best of both worlds, Search Network & Display Select (SNDS). This is actually one of the default campaign types because it has the broadest reach. You are able to show your text and media ads in the search results and in the placements all on the Google Network. So you can catch both searchers and browsers.

Your ad won’t have as large of a reach in the display network as selecting Display only, you’re limited to a few sites that are automatically selected. Meaning this type of campaign also relies on Google’s decision making on your behalf. Your budget will be split between Search and Display, with a larger portion going to search. You will also be given the options of two subtypes, Standard and All Features. Standard is a bit easier with less options in the formatting of the ad and targeting. Where All Features has a bit more advanced options for a more experienced AdWords user. Again, think of your intent because searchers and browsers are at different stages of the their interest with you and products like yours. We recommend narrowing your market and location a bit more because of the larger ability of reach.

AdWords Campaign Type: Shopping Network

It’s hard to find things that won’t sell online.”
Jeff Bezos, Amazon

When selecting campaigns, consider who you are as a business. Do you offer services or products? If you are offering products as a retailer the Shopping Network should be a campaign to consider, because it is like a catalogue across the Google Network. If you’d consider yourself an Ecommerce Store, then this is the campaign type for you. This allows you to promote your a specific item within your whole inventory, and drive traffic to your site. The ad will include a photo, price, and name. So the limited info should be eye catching and clear.

You ad will pop up in Google Shopping’s search results as well as the general search results. There is little setup of the ad itself once you have your Google Merchant Center connected. This makes your ad easily shown by current inventory of your online shop, or “product data.” You don’t select keywords in advance, rather Google handles the keyword choices automatically based on your product details. Having this option as a retailer means a lot, because it not only allows for greater conversion and purchases but also larger awareness.

Google Shopping Network AdWords Campaign Type Example


It’s pretty obvious that is AdWords campaign type is for Ecommerce sites. This Google network allows small businesses to directly compete with the big guys and is relatively easy to manage.

AdWords Campaign Type: Video Network

If you are trying to appeal to a visual crowd you can set up ads for video content.  The Video campaign selection allows you to advertise through videos on YouTube and in videos in the Google Network. As you may be more familiar an example of these ads  are the “commercials” that appear before a video begins on YouTube that you can usually skip after 5 seconds. This type of campaign is based on the Pay-Per-View (PPV) model, you are not charged if a viewer chooses to skip your ad. So this is definitely for video and display network campaigns.

Video Ad Formats:

  • TrueView In-Stream: These are the ads that are cut into the beginning, middle or end of video.
  • TrueView Discovery: These  appear on the display network as a thumbnail on a page, or video search result. If the thumbnail is clicked the viewer will be taken to the Youtube site.
  • Bumper: Theses are videos of 6 seconds or less that appear before videos on Youtube and display network. Bumper videos are based on impressions since the viewer cannot skip this type of ad.

Youtube ad network AdWords Campaign Type example

Using video ads requires some serious customer persona understanding and for that reason, the Teacup team is somewhat skeptical about choosing this network at first. Be very clear on which videos and channels your customer base are watching, and make sure your videos are very compelling. It’s super easy to waste ad budget while simultaneously annoying your potential customer base.

AdWords Campaign Type: Universal App Campaign

There is also a special campaign type for mobile app creators. This is great to get in front of app users and searchers. Your app can be found in Search, Display, Youtube and Google Play. The intention here is to drive app downloads, because these ads are specifically shown on mobile devices. Perfect to show your new app and to drive sales.

You won’t be creating a whole ad for this type of campaign. You provide text, your bid, location and images for them to optimize due to various areas of presentation and networks automated by Google. This allows for a cohesive look depending on the network and allows for higher installation rate. You need to be mindful of your budget that you set because Google will use your budget to get as many installs as they can for you. However, this does not mean the user ever does anything with your app. So make your app easy to use and attractive because as you know competition is big out there for apps.

Is this the right campaign type for you? Do you make apps? Then yes. If not, then nope.

A Campaign Type For Any Business

While you may not have all of these campaign type options when you first create your AdWords account they are there for when you understand AdWords a bit better. Start off easy and your get your bearings first especially on the Search Network. Later you can try multiple campaign types. And if you ever need help, Teacup’s team of experts is here to help!

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