Google Ad Formats Explained

When you think of Google Ads, your mind might immediately think of the text ads that have been part of the SERPs forever. Those are certainly a big part of what makes Google the largest online advertising platform, but there are so many more Ad Formats you can use to build the perfect campaign.

In this post, we’ll break down the different ad formats Google offers, and share suggestions on which types of campaigns work best with each ad format. Let’s dive in:

Expanded Text Ads


Expanded text ads are used to reach customers when they search for your product or service on Google. The ad above also uses ad extensions to share additional details about the service which tends to increase click-through rate and conversions. These are really effective and economical ads because they’re only shown to users that are expressing intent to buy the product or service. One important thing to note: Google is starting to prefer ads that include a headline 3 and description line 2, so be sure to include those when building ads.

Image Ads


Image ads have long been a staple of Google’s Display (advertising) Network, also known as GDN. They’re a great way to retarget customers who may have come to your website but didn’t convert at the time. These ads are shown on websites that Google partners with directly.

Responsive Image Ads

Responsive ads are the default option when it comes to running Display ads with Google these days. All you have to do is upload your creative (images, headlines, logos, and descriptions) and Google will show the ad to relevant audiences in whatever format fits the space available for the ad. These don’t perform that well typically, but are an option if you need to get a display campaign going quickly and don’t have a lot of time to build one. We don’t typically recommend them for clients.

App Promotion Ads


App Promotion Ads are the best way to get in front of a user looking for an app! These ads require the same intent as paid search, but will only trigger on a device that can use your app.

In-Stream Video Ads


Much like GDN, these video ads play on websites that partner with Google and have different types of video content. These are a great way to prospect or retarget website visitors that didn’t convert.

Call-Only Ads

Looking to get consumers to call your business directly? These are the ads you want to use! You sign up with a google forwarding phone number and calls are routed through that number directly to your business. Great for takeout businesses!

Jonathan Svilar