A List of Google Ad Types and What They Mean


With reference to our article on Google Ads Experts, we are breaking down the A B Cs around the type of campaigns you can run on Google Ads.

The Basics

Fundamentally Google Ads allow you to place text-based ads on Google’s search result pages, as well as banner ads on various websites on the display network. These campaign types form the basics of what Google Ads provides you with in terms of ad options.


For more information on Search (Text Ads) vs Display (Banner Ads) campaigns, read (Article name covering these campaign types)

Smart campaigns


When you don’t want to take a “hands-on” approach with Google Ads and you prefer to let the ad system control your performance and targeting, then smart campaigns are the way to go. Smart campaigns allow you to assign/select your business product or service, ad text best describing your business, your desired daily budget limit and what times of the day you want your ads to be served. Together with these basic features, you can also link your business location which would allow users to find you when looking for local businesses on Google Maps.

The Google Ad system will automatically find relevant search terms that match your specific products or services and would then show your ads to users who are potentially looking for a business such as yours. The downside of smart campaigns, however, is that you have limited control around which search terms would prompt your ads to appear. You cannot, for example, add negative search terms which aim to stop people researching or looking for job applications, from seeing your ads. You can, however, pause/stop search terms as your search term list populates with the keywords that triggered your ads.

Google Ad Campaign Types

Dynamic Campaigns


You can get Dynamic Ads in both text (search) or banner (display) variations. Dynamic ads use Google’s indexing of your website and organic search data to populate your ad content and reach a relevant target market.


Dynamic Search: When a user is searching for a term that’s relevant to what you offer on your website, the ad being shown to the user will contain a user’s search term within the first headline of the ad. Ads are dynamically populated in order for the user to see ad text that matches exactly what they searched for. Dynamic search ads tend to have much higher engagement rates and can yield significant returns if managed correctly.

Dynamic Display: Especially useful in the eCommerce, vehicle sales & property industries. A dynamic display ad is mostly used for remarketing, where a user would be followed around on the web once they left your website. It’s possible, with dynamic ads, to show the user the exact, car, house or product listing they were looking at on your website. You can even entice them with a discounted offer, giving you higher rates of return users who complete signups, purchases bookings or other desired actions.

Google Ad Campaign Types

Lead Forms: A new campaign extension type by Google Ads, which allow users to fill out their contact details on your search ad without having to click through to your website. This feature was only launched on the 31st of October 2019 and still requires testing to establish it’s effectiveness. We know that reducing the time in which a user can make an enquiry is a good thing, but the lead quality might be reduced because of this. 

Google Ad Campaign Types

Gmail: Gmail ads appear in your Promotions and Social tabs of your inbox and are mostly interactive. Within Gmail, you can serve standard banner ads, but you can also create an expandable ad which can be opened to reveal additional content such as images, videos, text and promotional offers. Gmail ads can be reasonably cost-effective and you would also be able to view how many saves, forwards, and clicks were generated from the ads.

Google Ad Campaign Types

App Promotion: When creating a new app it can easily get lost between the millions of other apps within the Google and Apple app stores. Google Ads allow you to promote your app for increased downloads and purchases. You can download and install apps via the ads with as little as 2 clicks!

Google Shopping

If you have an eCommerce store, then the Google marketplace is where you want your products to appear. With Google Shopping, you can do just that. This campaign type dynamically displays your product and price along with other brands on the Google marketplace when a user is searching for items that match the description of the products you sell. Additionally, you can run remarketing campaigns where users are shown another series of products in the form of display banners, which are placed on premium websites and youtube for example. 

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Having been established in 2005, in Cape Town, South Africa, Elemental is primarily focused on providing web development services and digital marketing campaigns.