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November 4, 2020 - By Hawke Media

4 Effective Non-Search Google Ads (and How to Use Them)

12 Days of Marketing

Google AdWords is the largest digital advertising platform in the world. Typically, when people think Google ads, they think search ads, but the AdWords platform offers many other formats across other Google products outside of search that can be used at various stages of the marketing funnel. This breadth of options makes AdWords not only the largest, but also the most versatile, advertising platform in the world.Here are four non-search Google ad formats that can be extremely effective.

1 – YouTube TrueView for Action

What it is: YouTube TrueView for Action ads are video ads that include a direct call-to-action (CTA). In the past, YouTube ads were mostly geared toward brand awareness, but with the addition of keyword targeting and CTA buttons, YouTube is competing with Facebook video ads by providing a great option for direct-response advertisers with strong video assets. A major benefit of YouTube’s TrueView for Action ads compared to Facebook video ads is that the advertiser only pays when the user elects to view the video. Additionally, keyword targeting and CTA buttons will greatly reduce CPCs, CPAs, and CPLs, while increasing ROAS across the board compared to existing YouTube ad formats.Best practices: In order to target keywords, use a custom-intent audience containing your keywords. Segment your branded and non-branded keywords by ad group for your campaign by creating two custom-intent audiences, one for branded and one for non-branded. You will likely want to bid higher for your branded terms than you would for your non-branded terms.

2 – Smart Shopping

What it is: Google’s Smart Shopping ads are a new campaign type that uses automation to optimize bidding for maximum ROI. The ads pull image assets from products in the Merchant Center, meaning users who click through are already somewhat more familiar with the product and therefore even more qualified. Smart Shopping ads great for advertisers with small budgets looking to scale efficiently.Best practices: Set a target ROAS – if your shopping campaigns have not been reaching your required ROAS, set your target ROAS up to 20% lower than your current achieved target ROAS. Make sure your product images are relevant and high-quality.

3 – Display Remarketing

What it is: These are image ads that show on Google’s partner sites (, for example), only to users who have previously been to your website. These are great for most advertisers, considering the average number of digital touchpoints it normally takes to move a consumer from awareness to purchase is between five and seven. Without remarketing, you’re limiting your ability to create those touchpoints.Best practices: Use managed placements where you dictate which websites your ads will show on to avoid your ads running on lower-quality websites and apps, which could damage credibility. Also set rules for which users will see which ads based on the history of their behavior – for instance, you wouldn’t show the same ad to a long-time purchaser as you would to a user who visited your site for the first time.

4 – Gmail Ads

What it is: Gmail Ads are native ads that show in users’ promotions inbox within Gmail. These are most effective for advertisers that have seen success with email marketing. The user first sees a text ad that looks like an email. After clicking, they’ll be shown a display ad, which would direct the user to the website. You won’t be charged for the click-through to your website – rather, you’ll be charged for the click to expand the text-based version of the ad.Best practices: Target your email list for remarketing or create a lookalike audience based off of your email list. Test and optimize from there.


If you didn’t already know, now you’ve seen just how diverse and robust AdWords’s campaign options can be. Test the ones that you think make the most sense for your business, starting with small budgets and scaling where you see success.–Get the idea, but don’t have the time to manage AdWords on your own? Hit us up. We’re here to help.