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Module 1: Understanding the value of online advertising

1.3 Where your ads can appear

To understand how AdWords works, you'll want to familiarise yourself with some of the key building blocks: where your ads can appear, the quality of your ads and what you pay for them. You'll learn about each of these in this module and the ones that follow.

As you learned in a previous module, your ads can appear in different places across the web, depending on how you target your ads, to whom you choose to show them and the types of ads that you create.

Showing your ads alongside search results

Search Network ads on results page

To understand how your ads are shown on the Search Network, let's take a closer look at keywords.

You'll use keywords - words or phrases that describe your product or service - to target your ads. When someone searches for terms that are similar to your keywords, your ads can appear alongside or above search results on sites that are part of the Search Network. Your ad could be eligible to appear based on the similarity of your keywords to their search terms, as well as your keyword match types, which we'll explain in more detail later.

Keywords also help determine how much you pay. Each of your keywords has a maximum cost-per-click bid amount (or "max. CPC"), which specifies the maximum amount that you're willing to pay each time someone clicks your ad.

Search ad formats

It's also important to think about the different types of ads that can appear on Search Network sites:

  • Text ads: The simplest and most common kind of search ad – text ads – are made up of headline text, a description and a display URL. You can also use ad extensions with text ads. They prominently display information about your business, such as a phone number, location or links to other pieces of relevant content from deeper within your sitemap. Find out more

Showing your ads on websites across the Internet

You can also choose to show your ads to people as they browse the web. Your ads can appear on specific websites or placements that you choose, or on websites based on the targeting methods that you choose, such as keywords, placement, audiences and topics.

Keywords can trigger your ad to show on placements, which are sites across the Internet where your ads can appear. Google automatically determines where your ads appear by matching your keywords to these placements, or you can pick specific placements yourself for greater control over where your ads appear.

In addition to keywords, you can use different Display Network targeting options to show your ads to specific groups of people based on their interests, age or gender, or whether they've previously visited your website. We'll go over these options in more detail later.

Display ad formats

Now that you know more about how your ads can appear on the Display Network, let's look at the different ad formats that you can use. In addition to the text ads that you'll see on Google search, sites on the Display Network show other types of visually engaging ads too.

Here's a list of ad formats that you can use on the Display Network:

  • Text ads
  • Image ads
  • Rich media ads
  • Video ads


Antoine, an account planner at Acme, has started building a marketing plan for Fiona's new furniture line to help her to reach customers on the Google Display Network. Here's how:

  • Add keywords about children's furniture, such as "bunk bed" and Fiona's ads might be automatically matched to a blog about home decor.
  • Identify blogs about moms' and children's decor that Fiona wants her ads to show on and add these sites as placements.


Showing your ads on mobile phones

Reach potential customers as they search or visit websites on the go, for example, researching or completing purchases on their mobile phones, Here are the different places that your ads can appear:

  • Text ads can appear when people search on Google and other Search Networks from their mobile devices.
  • Text, image and video ads can appear on Display Network websites when people visit these sites from high-end mobile device (such as iPhones and Android devices).

Showing your ads to specific audiences

You can also show your ads to people in selected locations, who speak a certain language or to specific groups of people.

If you have text ads, you can choose to show them to customers in an entire country, a certain geographic location and even to customers who use names of locations in their searches. You can also target your campaigns to the languages that your potential customers speak.

Additional study materials

Find out more about how AdWords works.

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