A quick guide to Google’s advertising tools

After nearly two decades since Google was founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, it remains a behemoth in search with a market share of over 85% in the UK. Since its conception, Google have expanded their internet marketing offering tremendously.

This guide explores the main advertising tools businesses can use to reach over 92% of all Internet users.

Search network


Google’s search network consist of their own search engine and other third-party search-related websites and apps where adverts can be displayed.

Ads appear when someone searches with terms related to your keywords. Here are the different ways you can target users:

  • Keyword targeting – Target users by keywords they use to search on Google or other partner websites (e.g. buy shoes).
  • Location targeting – Choose from a small radius near your business, or expand to worldwide targeting. This way the ads will only be shown in your target areas.
  • Language targeting – Reach people in your target area who don’t speak English and search in different languages.

Advertisers can use all of the above options and combine them to narrow down the target audience, thus improving their chances of increasing ROI.



Remarketing allows businesses to bring people back to their website after they’ve already been to it. People not always take action on their first visit, so prompting them to visit your website again helps you reconnect and follow them across their different devices and platforms.

Remarketing on Google can be very comprehensive, but here are the targeting options in a nutshell:

  • Standard remarketing – Show ads to your past website visitors as they browse websites and apps on Google’s Display Network.
  • Dynamic remarketing – Show ads to past visitors that have visited specific products or services pages on your site (e.g. shoes).
  • Remarketing lists for search ads – Target past visitors with text ads on the Search Network only.
  • Video remarketing – Serve ads to people who have interacted with your YouTube channel or other videos. Ads can be served on YouTube or through the Display Network.
  • Email list remarketing – Upload your customers’ emails and serve ads to them if they are signed into Google Search, Gmail, or YouTube.
  • Remarketing for mobile apps – Target your app users with ads in other mobile apps or mobile websites.

Advertisers can also use Affinity Audiences, Custom Affinity Audiences and In-market Audiences, to target users at different stages of their purchase journey.



Google allows businesses to show their ads on over 2 million websites and in over 650,000 mobile apps. There are different ad formats available you can use to entice your audience – simple text-only ads, static images, rich media (can be animated) and video ads.

But how do you make sure you reach the right people?

  • Placement targeting – Choose which websites you want your ads to appear on.
  • Contextual (keyword) targeting – Target users based on keywords related to the products and services you offer.
  • Topic targeting – Target users based on Google’s existing list of page topics and your ads will only appear on website about these specific topics.
  • Interest targeting – The list of interest categories is similar to the list of topics, but this targeting method lets you target users, not the page content.

The array of different ad and targeting options gives you the ability to increase brand awareness and drive positive ROI.



To get Gmail ads to work, you have to go through the hoops of setting up a Display Network campaign.

We think they deserve to be separate but for the time being they are regarded as another placement for your Display ads. So, to place your adverts on Gmail you need to add the placement “mail.Google.com”. Here’s what targeting is available:

  • Customer match – Reach your customers and people who are similar to them by using their emails.
  • Keyword targeting – Use keywords to identify people’s interests.
  • Domain targeting – Target people who receive emails from specific domains (e.g. competitors)

Gmail ads are interactive and appear at top of people’s inboxes. They are good for brand awareness and driving performance.



Businesses can engage their audiences and tell their stories better by using video. Google’s TrueView video ads appear on YouTube and across the web.

Managed via AdWords, their performance is easy to monitor. Here’s how their targeting works:

  • Demographic groups – Choose the age, gender, parental status or household income of the audience you want to reach.
  • Interests – Choose audience categories to reach people interested in certain topics, even when they may be visiting pages related to other topics.
  • Remarketing – Reach viewers based on their past interactions with your videos, TrueView ads or YouTube channel.
  • Placements – Target unique channels, videos, apps, or websites.
  • Topics – Target your video ads to specific topics on YouTube and the Display Network.
  • Keywords – Show your video ads based on keywords related to a YouTube video, YouTube channel or type of website that your audience is interested in.



If you’re running an eCommerce business or you’re a retailer, who sells both physical and online products, then Google Shopping is for you.

To get started you need to have a Google Merchant Centre account which you have to link with AdWords. Google uses your product feed from the Merchant centre to create campaigns and target potential customers around the web and on the search network.

The ads include rich product information, such as product image, price, reviews and merchant name. They appear at the right time as users are in market, looking to buy. That’s why Google Shopping ads see higher CTRs than normal text-only ads. You can get more traffic and better qualified leads overall.

Contact us

There are plenty of ways you can optimise Google to effectively target your audience.

Don’t worry if you still find it a bit confusing or overwhelming – that’s where we can help.

If you’re looking to use Google to its full capacity to reach new audiences and increase sales, contact us and we can start getting you results.


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