Five Types of AdWords Ads That Can Improve Your Pay Per Click Performance

July 21, 2012 by  Filed under: PPC 

When setting up an AdWords account, it is easy to sort-of get stuck in the rut of thinking in terms of the traditional PPC model: text ads displayed on search results pages. And for good reason – it works! However, Google now provides many ad options beyond just the two line (plus title) text format, or the static image format for content ads. Below we discuss five ad options that have the potential to greatly improve the performance of your AdWords campaigns.

WAP Mobile Ads

These are small ads (even smaller than a normal text ad!) that are intended for display on mobile devices with small screens. You have to be even more creative than you are when creating standard text ads, because you only get 18 characters for the headline and 18 characters for the description. The big advantage to using these types of ads is their click to call feature. When setting up the ad, you can provide a phone number so that all a person has to do is click a button in your ad and their phone will automatically call you. This follows the mantra of making it easy for the customer to do business with you. If you want to be really specific about who sees your ad, you can even set it so that it only shows on specific mobile carriers’ networks.

This is an excellent choice for a service business such as a law firm. For example, if I am involved in an accident, or need an attorney for some other reason, I may very likely search for a lawyer from my phone. If I see your ad, and all I have to do is click a button to call you, then that will increase the odds of my calling your firm rather than one of your competitors.

Image Search Ads

This is a type of ad known as a “specialized search” ad. An image search ad is an ad that contains both text and an image that will display on image search results pages in Google. Depending on what type of business you are in, this could be a highly effective ad format. If you sell tangible products, especially, this is an ad format you should consider.

For example, let’s say you sell licensed NFL merchandise. You could set up a campaign with keywords related to NFL teams (“Dallas Cowboys,” “Tennessee Titans,” etc.) and use image search ads to advertise your website to people doing image searches for the keywords. In this scenario, you would want to break the campaign up into ad groups based on teams. That way you could be sure that a search for a particular team triggers an ad with an image related to the team. So if I do an image search for “New York Giants” and I see an ad with an image related to the Giants for a website selling Giants merchandise, I may just decide to go check it out. The point is that you are getting someone to your website to show them merchandise related very specifically to the subject of his image search, thus greatly increasing your chances of selling something to the person.

Display Ad Builder

This is not actually an ad type, but a tool that Google provides for setting up ads for the content network. Using this tool, you can create ads that are a lot more dynamic than a typical image ad. For example, you can create expandable ads that have a button that the viewer can click to read additional information. This is useful for a couple of reasons. For one, you can insert more information in your ad, since it expands. For another, anything that encourages a person to interact with your ad is a good thing.

Another type of ad you can create with the display ad builder is a product showcase ad, which contains multiple images within the same ad, with each image linking to a separate destination URL (or to the same URL). This would also be a great ad format for our person selling NFL merchandise. The ad could contain several images of different types of goods, or images related to different teams. I am currently working with a vacation home rental company that is using these types of ads to highlight properties they have for rent. There are several different forms of these ads, including ads that scroll the images, display them in slideshow format, or that use image rollovers.

The display ad builder uses templates, but it allows for a good bit of customization as far as the colors used, fonts, font sizes, etc. It is a way to create dynamic graphical ads much quicker than if you were using Flash or some other technology to do it yourself. Google also provides ad templates based on themes such as entertainment, financial, or travel.


This technically falls into the category of ad extensions because it’s not a separate ad type, but something that you can attach to an ad. Sitelinks is one that I really like because it can make your ad much bigger, even if it is a standard text search ad. I like anything that makes my ads take up more room on the page, especially if my ad is located at the top of the search results. Sitelinks are exactly what they sound like – links to pages of your website!

The sitelinks feature allows you to add up to 10 links to pages of your website to your ad. If you’re going to use this feature, load it up. The links will appear beneath your ad.

The only disadvantage to using sitelinks may be that if someone clicks on one of the sitelinks rather than the main destination URL for the ad, she might arrive at a page that is much less specific to her search query. For this reason, sitelinks should be tested just like everything else you do. It could be that having sitelinks in your ads increases your clicks but does not increase conversions correspondingly. In that case, your conversion rate and return on investment would decline, so you would want to stop using them. Or it could be that having sitelinks in your ad increases clicks and overall conversions, in which case you would want to keep using them.

Call Extensions

Also from the extension category, call extensions let you place a phone number on your ad. This is beneficial for a couple of reasons. Like sitelinks, it makes your add a little bigger by adding more information, and it gives your visitors one more way to get in touch with you. Another benefit is that on mobile devices, the call extension is a clickable button that can activate a phone call. The easier you make it for your prospective clients or customers to get in touch with you, the better.

The five ad options discussed above just might improve the performance of your Google AdWords account. Nothing is guaranteed, of course, so you must test these ad styles and measure their performance. Once you find the at tactics that work best, concentrate your budget on those ads. This should have the effect of improving your paid search return on investment.

Work Media is an Internet marketing company specializing in all thing search – organic SEO, paid search, and using social media to drive up traffic and rankings. Its’ sister company, Virtuoso Legal Marketing, works exclusively with law firms to improve their Internet marketing and generate more leads.

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