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Google Ads is the most popular PPC and Online advertising platform. Marketers flock to Google Ads because, let’s face it, Google is search. It’s why you say, “I’ll Google it,” instead of, “Let me search for it.”

While Bing and other search platforms may not want to admit it, Google is to search engines what Coca-Cola is to Cola or Xerox is to making copies.

But, it isn’t just the size and popularity of Google that makes Google Ads an appealing platform. It is also an incredibly robust advertising service that is bursting at the seams with options, features and other tools that you can’t get with other PPC platforms.

One of the ways that this robustness manifests itself is in the vast number of format types that Google Ads offers its users. Their already-expansive repertoire continues to grow all the time with new format types. 

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All of these different ad types can be a touch overwhelming for marketers. Like a kid in a toy store holding a crisp $20 bill, the options are both exciting and terrifying. How do you know where to start and what to choose?

This guide aims to help you answer that very question by breaking down each format type and exploring the advantages, disadvantages, and when to use each option.

Google Search Network Ad Format Types

The Google Search Network is where most marketers start their Internet advertising journey. It’s largely considered to be the easier of the two networks to utilize. Thus, it’s best to start with ad format types on the Google Search Network.

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Text Ads

This is the most straightforward format of PPC ads. A basic text ad consists of at least one ad title or headline, a display URL and up to two short descriptions and provide you up to three headings and two description at maximum. The first two headline fields are required, while the third is optional. The extra headline field allows you to include additional text in your ads.

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Limitation for the text ad characters limits:

 This example, provided by the Google Support Library, shows an ad with three headlines, a URL and two descriptions.

Advantages of Text Ads

  • Text ads are very simple and quick to create, manage and optimize
  • There are no specialized skills or software required to produce text ads
  • Arguably the cheapest ad type available
  • Easy for audiences to consume

Disadvantages of Text Ads

  • Character limits make it difficult to offer a lot of value to potential customers
  • Lack of visual elements make text ads less enticing than other format types
  • Most Google Ads users create text ads, which means lots of competition!
  • Some text ad keywords, especially for service providers (plumbers, lawyers, contractors, etc.) are expensive

Who Should Use Text Ads?

Due to how easy and cost-efficient text ads are, it is a great choice for new Google Ads users that don’t have the time, budget or expertise for other ad format types.

That said, text ads aren’t just for beginners. Text ads promise high click through rates, which can help you improve your Google Ads Quality Score.

Text ads can be very efficient when you target keywords with high buying intent. “Buy a new mattress” is an example of a search with buying intent. “Mattress types,” on the other hand, signals that the shopper, while still interested in purchasing a mattress, is doing research and may not be ready to make a purchase right away.

Put simply, every Google Ads user can benefit from using text ads! 

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Cost of Text Ads

Text ads use the pay-per-click model. When a Google user clicks your text ad and follows the link to your landing page, it costs a small fee. How much you pay for each click depends on how much you have bid on the targeted keyword.

Text Ads With Ad Extensions

There are many different types of ad extensions:

  • Call/Message extensions: As seen in the example above, you can include a phone number that interested search users can use to call or text your business.
  • Location extensions: Similar to the call and message extension, the location extension adds your business’ address, which encourages in-store visits.
  • Sitelink extensions: The example also displays links to the site’s various pages. This extension helps connect ad viewers to the relevant parts of your website.
  • Callout extensions: This extension allows you to promote special offers to customers or benefits, like 24/7 customer service, free shipping, price matching, pick-up service and more.
  • Price extensions: Consumers are always going to want to know about the costs. With this extension, you can include pricing information for related products.
  • Affiliate Location extensions: If your products are available in retail chain stores, the affiliate extension allows you to show nearby locations where customers can find your brand.
  • Structured Snippet extensions: This extension allows you to select a predefined product/service category and list items related to this department.
  • App extensions: If your business has an app that you want customers to download and use, then this is a necessary extension to include in your ads.
  • Promotion Extension: This extension allows you to show special sales and offers to your customers.
  • Lead Form Extension: This extension allows you to get lead (Name, Contact etc.) from people who submitted your forms.

Advantages of Text Ads With Ad Extensions

  • Add more details to your text ads that include relevant information to encourage calls, in-store visits and other types of conversions
  • Also adds length to your ads to help them stand out in the search results
  • Improves upon the already-effective text ad format
  • Ad extensions don’t increase costs or require much effort to implement

Disadvantages Of Text Ads With Ad Extensions

  • Ad extensions don’t always show, especially if you don’t have the highest ad rank on the page
  • Not all extensions will be relevant to your business

Who Should Use Text Ads With Ad Extensions?

There are several benefits to utilizing ad extensions and only a few minor drawbacks. Thus, anyone using text ads should take advantage of at least a handful of these extensions.

Adding more relevant information to your ads can significantly raise the quality of your ads and improve your click through and conversion rates for higher Quality Scores and more successful campaigns.

That said, it is important to choose ad extensions that are relevant to your business and its goals. For example, a store that only sells products online doesn’t need to include a location extension because they aren’t trying to draw in-store traffic.

A service company, on the other hand, can take great advantage of call extensions to make booking appointments easier.


Cost of Text Ads With Ad Extension

Since ad extensions don’t increase how much a marketer spends per click, then there is no difference between the cost of regular text ads and these expanded text ads.

If a Google user clicks on any part of your ad (address, phone number, sitelinks or otherwise), you have assessed the cost of a click. 

2. Call-Only Ads

Call-only ads are mobile-specific ads that directly focus on encouraging search users to call your business. They only appear on mobile devices that are capable of making a ca

Users that click a call-only ad are not brought to your website. Instead, the phone app on their device opens and begins making a call to the number you have provided.

If you are using call-only ads, it is crucial that you turn on call reporting. This creates a Google Forwarding Number (GFN) that you can access to find details about your calls. Conversions are recorded when the call reaches the duration that you’ve set.

Call-only ads borrow some elements from text ads, like headlines, descriptions and display URLs. You can even enhance call-only ads with extensions. 

Advantages of Call-Only Ads

  • Just as simple and easy to create as text ads
  • Great for service companies that rely on scheduling appointments, quoting projects, booking reservations or other activities
  • Affordable ad type that doesn’t require extra skills or software to produce
  • It’s easier to persuade a consumer over the phone than through text, which leads to faster conversions

Disadvantages of Call-Only Ads

  • Call-only ads typically have a higher cost-per-click than simple text ads
  • Not all businesses benefit from customer calls
  • Accidental calls are common, which creates a high bounce rate for call-only ads

Who Should Use Call-Only Ads?

Call-only ads are great for any business that finds value from customers calling directly. As mentioned, service companies are particularly impacted by call-only ads because these companies rely heavily on customer calls.

When customers call, they bypass the entire landing page and website experience. This helps businesses facilitate conversions more efficiently and improves the customer experience by providing a faster solution to consumer problems.

In other words, call-only ads cut out the website middle-man.

Call-only ads are also an excellent fit for companies that lack the time or resources to develop the unique landing pages and ad experiences that are required by text and other ad format types.


Cost Of Call-Only Ads

Call-only  ads also use the PPC model. But, in this case, the “click” is a phone call. Marketers set their cost-per-click amounts in their Google Ads account. Call-only ads can experience higher CPCs than text ads. 

3. Dynamic Search Ads

Many Google Search Network ad types rely on targeting the right keywords and tirelessly tracking how potential customers are searching and when. Dynamic search ads aim to lighten these pressures by automatically targeting keywords that relate to your business and generating ad components from the content that exists on your website.

This ad format type uses AI technology to change the design of your ad based on what the algorithm determines will work best. It harvests images, headlines, tags and other components from your web pages, leaving little effort asked of you.

If someone searches a term that Google deems is relevant to your site, the dynamic search ad format will generate an ad experience that relates to that search. This helps maintain a consistent ad experience from the headline to the landing page! 

Advantages of Dynamic Search Ads

  • The dynamic search ads feature is great for catching keywords that you may not directly be targeting, but that are relevant to your website and products
  • Very little effort required from the marketer; you just need to create a custom description and the rest of your ad components will be generated automatically
  • Dynamic search ads are painless to launch and use the familiar PPC model

Disadvantages of Dynamic Search Ads

  • Marketers relinquish a lot of their control by choosing this more automated Google Ads format type
  • Google does its best to create effective messages and all of the wording is pulled right from your website, but there are times when headlines and ads don’t match well
  • Dynamic search ads do a good job of capturing extra keyword traffic, but these queries may not produce good conversions, which means you’ll be wasting ad budget on searches with low conversion intent
  • This ad format type requires that you have a fairly robust website that does not change often

Who Should Use Dynamic Search Ads?

Based on the pros and cons of dynamic search ads, there are several different profiles that match well with this Google Ads format type. The most obvious is busy marketers that don’t have the time to create and optimize text or other types of ads.

Dynamic search ads can help generate extra search traffic through terms that you would have otherwise missed in your standard keyword planning. That said, this strategy should be avoided if you have a tight ad budget.

If your website lacks content or changes often, dynamic search ads may not be right for you either. This format type requires optimized web pages with plenty of material to be used in the automatic generation of ads.

Cost of Dynamic Search Ads

Dynamic search ads use the PPC model where your costs are based on how many people click your ad and the CPC or bid amount that you’ve set. The main difference between the price of dynamic search ads and text ads is that you don’t apply bids to keywords, but rather different pages on your site that the dynamic ads will link to. 


Finding the right format type for your Google Ads strategies is like buying a new car. It’s an important choice that will weigh on your budget. You need to assess your needs, means and style and find the right vehicle, or ad format, that best matches these.

It all starts with thinking about your goals. These are your needs — your objectives. The advertising formats that you choose need to support these goals and help you achieve them. 

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