Google Ads: What Are Google Ads & How Do They Work?

Every second, there are billions of searches performed on Google, and the majority of search results pages include Google ads. Paid for by businesses, Google Ads is an effective way of driving relevant, qualified traffic to your website exactly when people are searching for the types of products or services your business offers.

In this article, you’ll learn what Google ads are, how Google ads work, and why you should run your own Google ads.

What are Google Ads?

Google Ads is the name of Google’s pay-per-click (PPC) platform, which allows businesses to gain visibility across Google’s properties. The most common type of Google Ads ad is the search ad, which appears on the search engine results page (SERP) for searches relevant to the advertiser’s products and services—but businesses also use Google Ads to run display ads, shopping ads, YouTube ads, and more.

Google search ads

Below is an example of a Google SERP containing ads. There are two sections of paid results: one above the nonpaid or organic results, and one below.

Google display ads

As mentioned above, you can also run display campaigns which appear on the Google Display Network—an extensive collection of outside, third-party websites that have agreed to serve Google ads. Google Display ads can be in text, image, video, or rich media format, and can be targeted differently—such as through audiences and remarketing

Google shopping ads

Google shopping ads appear on both the regular SERP and in the shopping tab. These ads operate differently from regular search ads since you can’t target keywords. Instead, you maintain a detailed catalog of your products and Google will match them to searches. You can, however, tell Google which keywords you don’t want your ads to appear for.

YouTube ads

Since Google owns it, YouTube advertising is done through Google Ads. You can create video, text, or display ads that appear during and before videos and elsewhere on the platform. YouTube ad targeting operates similarly to display targeting.

Google Ads Costs

The cost of Google Ads varies based on a number of factors, including the competitiveness of your keywords and industry, your geographic location, the quality of your advertising campaigns and more.

In the US, the average cost per click for Google search ads across all industries is $2.32. In other countries, average costs for Google Ads are often much lower.