Types of Adwords Campaigns Explained

There are many types of Google AdWords campaigns for building a marketing funnel. AdWords targeting is used to build prospects at all stages of their purchase funnel. From the top of the funnel branding all the way down to direct response with measurable leads and sales.

Some campaign types and targeting are more suited for different stages of the marketing funnel, and therefore are more suited to different industries, company size, budget and target market. Build awareness, influence consideration and drive action using the most appropriate campaign types and targeting objectives

Like most advertising models, purchase funnels are influenced by AIDA.

  1. Build Awareness
  2. Influence Consideration
  3. Drive Action

What is a campaign?

A campaign is a set of ad groups (ads, keywords and bids) that share a budget, location targeting and other settings. Campaigns are often used to organise categories of services or products that you offer.

AIDA: Advertising Model

AIDA stands for Attention, Interest, Desire and Action. The AIDA model is widely used in marketing and advertising to describe the steps or stages that occur from the time when a consumer first becomes aware of a brand, idea or need,  through to consideration of the service or product and finally making a purchase.

Campaign types and subtypes let you target prospective customers using different setting, strategies, techniques- at different stages of their purchasing funnel. The campaign subtype determines which settings and options are available. These Campaign subtypes include standard, all features or a specific marketing objective.

Campaign types are centred around Google’s advertising networks where ads appear, namely: Google Search Network, the Google Display Network and the YouTube Network.

  • Search Keywords is an effective means of targeting prospects at the bottom of the funnel just before they purchase a service or product.
  • Remarketing is another targeting objective at the bottom of the marketing funnel on both the Search and Display Network.
  • In-market audiences are more suited for targeting prospective customers in the middle of their buying funnel.
  • Affinity Audiences are more suited to lifestyle and brand awareness.

Campaign Goals

As you get started with your campaign setup, you’ll be asked to select campaign goals and pick a campaign type. all campaign settings and features will be available to you despite what goal you choose, and you can always make a change to your goal or choose not to use a goal. Goals include:

  • Sales
  • Leads
  • Website traffic
  • Product & brand consideration
  • Brand Awareness & reach
  • App promotion

Adwords Search Network Campaign Types

Display Network Campaign Types

Display Remarketing, In-market audiences, placements and more

Video/Youtube. Video Ads on YouTube with all the traditional display targeting options

AdWords Campaign Funnels example by bgTheory

Campaign Targeting Types : Search Network

Campaign Types & Targeting Explained

Google Search : Keyword Targeting

Keyword Targeting with Text Ads in Google Search. To learn more about keyword targeting check out our article guide to Google Ads keywords.

Google Search Partners:

Search Partners uses the same campaigns as standard Search campaigns. It is possible to opt in or out.

Search Display Select

Opt into Google Display Network- using keywords to match the content on the Display Network.

RLSA is used to target past website visitors as they search on Google. Past website visitors that know a brand often have a higher conversion rate.

Use wider keywords to increase qualified traffic keywords or adjusting bids based on current keywords conversion rate. Audience sizes need to be over 1000 unique users- and can target past website visitors for up to 280 days since the last site visit.

1. Bid higher on past website users when they search in Google already knows your brand.

2. Use wider keywords to get more traffic – but only to past website users that know your brand). (for example, the paused keywords).

3. Show different ads to past website users as they search in Google vs people that have never been to your website.

To learn more check out our blog post RLSA search marketing tips

DSA- Dynamic Search Ads

Access the super long tail traffic by using your website content instead of keywords. Combine with RLSA to target past website visitors- and discover new search term keywords that convert into sales. To learn more check out our blog post DSA: Dynamic Search Ads Guide

Show your ads to people whose search behaviour is similar to those of your site visitors. Similar Audiences targeting looks at the search activity in a short time frame around when visitors are added to your remarketing list to understand aggregate search behaviour of visitors in your list.

Based on this information, new potential customers are found whose search behaviour is similar to that of people in your remarketing list.

In-Market Audiences for Search. Similar to in-market audiences for Display, but applied when people search in Google.

Google Shopping

Shopping ads are targeted to searches in Google using product titles and other attributes- instead of keywords. Ads consist of the product image, landing page, price and brand name. To learn more check out this article Google Shopping Guide

Campaign Targeting Types : Display Network

Display Advertising Targeting Options

In-Market Audiences for Display

AdWords In-market audiences are also known as behavioural targeting or interests targets people comparing or researching services and products across the web.

Purchase intent, or being “in-market” is determined by the content of sites browsed, as well as the proximity and frequency of visits.

To learn more check out this article In-market Audiences for Display Guide

Managed Placements

AdWords managed placement targeting is the ability to select individual websites for showing Google adverts. For example, you can just show adverts in online newspapers like the dailymail.co.uk, guardian.co.uk, thesun.co.uk, mirror.co.uk, independent.co.uk and more.

These placements selected can be websites that your known customers or target audience visit. Or to show on a certain website- with keywords to only show on pages that mention a certain niche.   Or show on newspaper websites like DailyMail.co.uk – but only with certain content, or to past website users etc. Mix and match targeting options for direct response as well as brand advertising. To learn more check out this article Managed Placements Tips & Tricks

Contextual Keyword Targeting

AdWords contextual placements to connect with your audience when they show interest on a page of related content. Using keyword or topics to match, contextual placements determine relevance by considering factors such as website copy, link and page structure.

AdWords Similar Audiences

AdWords Similar Audiences targeting work in the same way as  Facebook Lookalike audiences by targeting people who have shared interests with your past website visitors. Build even more focused audiences by combining similar audiences with known target audience interests, demographics and more.

Gmail Ads

Most of the display targeting options work with Gmail Ads including keywords, affinity audiences, demographics, topics and similar audiences. Target people as they read Gmail emails. Video Ads on YouTube with all the traditional display targeting options. To learn more check out this article Ultimate Gmail Ads Tips

Youtube Ads:

YouTube is ranked as the 2nd most popular search engine in the world next to Google. YouTube as a company was acquired by Google many years ago. Since that time Youtube advertising has been moved across into Adwords- to be managed within Adwords. Videos are uploaded to YouTube and can then used as adverts. Youtube does still have its own analytics to analyze performance with Ads and Youtube channel page. To learn more check out this article Ultimate YouTube Ads Tips

App Campaigns

Apps show on Google Search and Google Play, as well as our search partners, YouTube, the Google Display Network, AdMob, and many more publishers who host app ads. 


AdWords has many targeting options that can be used to target prospective buyers at all stages of the marketing purchase funnel.

  • It is possible to start at the bottom of the funnel and work your way upwards. Get the low lying fruit in the bag first with Search marketing, then into Display remarketing and other targeting options.
  • It is possible to start at the top of the funnel and retarget them at the bottom of the funnel as they search on Google.
  • Targeting audiences vary by industry. In addition to building stages of a multi-channel funnel, also take into account that the more relevant an option to your specific industry, the more likely it will do well.

See our article on building a funnel for past website users, check out AdWords Remarketing Funnels

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