An Overview of AdWords Campaign Types

adwords-typesWith the right approach, AdWords can be a lead generation engine for your business. One of the most important places to optimize your approach is in your selection of ad campaign. Currently, there are five AdWords campaign types:

  • Search Network with Display Select
  • Search Network Only
  • Display Network Only
  • Shopping
  • Video

Each has its quirks and can add different value to your business. Of the five, however, Display Network and Search Network are easiest to integrate into early marketing efforts. Master them, and you’ll be well on your way to making AdWords a powerful part of your strategy.

Let’s take a closer look:

Display Network Only

The Display Network consists of more than a million sites, including digital properties like Gmail, YouTube, and Blogger. Display campaigns use contextual targeting to deliver your text, image, rich media, or video ads when the keywords you bid on are related to a site’s content. For example, a site focused on technology trends might show ads for high-tech gadgets.

Display Network has traditionally been less popular than Search Network. As Google has built a portfolio of high-quality websites with dedicated followings, however, that is changing. This campaign is ideal for building brand awareness, since it targets Web users who aren’t actively searching for your product at the time they encounter your ads.

Search Network Only

The Search Network has always been where the biggest opportunities are, but competition – and thus bid prices – tend to be higher, with more planning required before a campaign is likely to gain traction. Search Network not only includes organic search placement, but Google Maps, Shopping, and Google partners like AOL.


Search Network only allows text ads, but this can be an advantage. Text ads are traditional, provide plenty of opportunities for optimization, and their all-important headline space will soon almost double in size. Search Network is the campaign of choice for those who want to target only the Web users who are actively searching for related content, products, and services.

What about the other options? Shopping is for retailers who want product photos to appear in searches Google recognizes as product-oriented. Video provides organic video results, which can be heavily skewed toward its own YouTube platform. Users searching for videos are often checking out product reviews or how-to content. Master the two main AdWords campaign types and you’ll be well-positioned to make these specialized campaigns work for you too!