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How Does Google Ads Work?


The Google Ads Auction

First and foremost, Google users want ads they see to be relevant. Users don’t want to be bothered by ads that aren’t closely related to what they’re searching for. Advertisers want to show relevant ads so that users will be more likely to click on them. Google wants to provide a good experience for users and value to advertisers.

Google uses a special version of a second-price auction that takes into account more than just bids. In a standard second-price auction based only on bids, the advertiser doesn’t have to pay their full bid. They only need to pay €0.01 more than the amount of the next highest bidder.

If Google have four advertisers competing for space on the search results page, and they’re willing to pay €4, €3, €2, and €1, respectively, for a user to click on their ad and visit their website.

So, in this case, the first advertiser was bidding €4, but they only pay €3.01—which is €0.01 above the bid of the second highest advertiser. The same applies to advertiser 2, and to advertiser 3. This design allows each advertiser to bid their true maximum willingness to pay for a click—but only must pay enough to beat the competition. We also have an article which goes through how the Pay-Per-Click model works.

(Google, 2021)

Google Ads Account Structure

Google Ads accounts are divided into five levels: the account, campaign, ad group, keyword, and ad levels.

Step 1- Create Your Google Ads Account

Create your Google Ads account and link it to Google Analytics. We have another article on how to link your Google Ads & Analytics.

Step 2- Structure Your Ads Account

This is an important step, you can decide how your ads should be triggered and when and where they should appear by structuring your Google Ads account.

Creating Your Google Ads Campaign:

Create a campaign based on your business’s objectives. The following are the campaign objectives you can choose from:

  • Sales
  • Leads
  • Website Traffic
  • Product and Brand Consideration
  • Brand Awareness and Reach
  • App Promotion
  • Local Store Visits and Promotions

Ad Groups:

For each ad group, you can create specific text ads and a list of search keywords (the words and phrases that will prompt your ads to show up). It is best to create ad groups around themes or products. For Titanic Trail, it is advised to create multiple ads groups, one for each of the tours/excursions offered. This level of granularity gives more control to get the right ad message to the right customers.


Below is an example of the campaign type, ad group and keywords within that ad group:

Figure 13 image sourced via (

5-25 keywords MAX per ad group. This allows you to ensure the ad the user is seeing; is tailored to their search.

Google Ads have three different keyword match types associated with ad groups:

  • Broad Match
  • Phrase Match
  • Exact Match

Let’s look at the match types in more detail:

Broad Match:

Broad match is the default match type that all your keywords are assigned if you don’t specify another match type. They will give you the widest reach. This drives more traffic but with less relevancy.

Representation: Example Keyword

(No additional symbols are required to set you keyword as broad)

Matches: Synonyms, related searches, singular and plural forms, or close variants*

Example Keyword – Bike Shop

Ads shown for: Motorcycle Store, Cycle Store, Mountain Bike Shop, Bicycle outlet.

Phrase Match:

These are used for showing ads to exact keyword phrases and close variants of your exact keyword, with additional words before or after.

Representation: “Example Keyword”
(Put the keywords in quotes to set it as a Phrase Match Keyword)

Matches: Search terms that include the keyword phrase without any words in between or close variants.

Example Keyword – “Bike Shop”

Ads shown for: Bike shop near me, Bike shops in Cork, Best bike shop in Ireland.

Exact Match:

By setting up this match type you can exclusively run ads for exact keywords or extremely close variants of it. This match type also gives you the most control over who gets to see your ads with more relevant eyes falling on your ads leading to a higher CTR.

Representation: [Example Keyword]
(Add the keywords in Square Brackets to set it up as exact match)

Matches: Search terms that include only the keyword or close variants.

Example Keyword: [Bike Shop]

Ads shown for: Bike shop, Bike shops, Biking shop

*What are close variants?

Close Variants include:
– Misspellings
– Singular/Plural
– Stemming (floor – flooring)
– Abbreviations
– Accents
– Words Reordered (with the same meaning)
– Addition/Removal of Function Words such as prepositions, conjunctions, articles, etc.


Search Ads: The aim of search ads is to drive action on your site when users are searching for similar products or services. Search campaign marketing goals can be set to Sales, Leads or Website Traffic.

Display Ads: Increase brand awareness when users are browsing content they are interested in online.

Shopping Ads: Promote your products, share details about your inventory, and boost traffic to your online or physical store.

Video Ads: Reach your target audience at scale and bring your business’ story to life.

Having multiple ads in an ad group helps to test them and collect ample data to see what is working best for your audiences. This study can further help you to optimize your performance.

Setting up a Google Search Ad

There are two types of ads you can create, responsive search ads and expanded text ads. It is best practice for each ad group to run one responsive search ad & two text ads.

Responsive Search Ads

Fill in up to 7 headlines fill in up to 4 descriptions Google will show a combination of your headings and descriptions they can be shown in any order, so they need to make sense both individually and when put with your other headline and description choices.

You can provide up to 15 headlines and 4 descriptions for a single responsive search ad. Google will automatically show different combinations depending on the search query.

It is important to ensure that the ad strength is at least good if not excellent. Google will not push ads with ad strength below good.

You can improve your ad strength by using all the headlines & descriptions available, ensuring your headlines include your keywords & variations of your key phrases.

Text Ads

By filling in 3 headlines and 2 descriptions, Google will show all your headlines and descriptions in the order that you have put them in. Shortening of text may occur in some formats, but this gives you more control over how your ad is seen in comparison to a responsive text ad.

The structure for your text ads should look like this:




For example, if the search query is web design company, the ad that shows up for Spéire should look something like this:

Web Design Company Cork │Innovative Web Designers │Request A Call Back Today

For a bike shop, the ad that shows up should look something like this:

Looking to commute to work? | 30% off city bikes | Buy Now

Ad Extensions:

Ad Extensions show extra information about a business that you might not have room to put in the ad description.

These Include:

  • Phone Numbers- Call Now
  • Price Promotions e.g., 15% off flash winter sale
  • Webpages of related products/service
  • Store Ratings

For example, in this ad for Killaloe Hotel and Spa, underneath the description there is a price promotion extension and a location extension. A clickable phone number extension is also displayed above the ad.


Once your campaign has gathered sufficient audience conversion, you can configure a remarketing campaign. This will involve installing a remarketing pixel on to your website this will automatically add a cookie on your visitors’ browser. Your ad network can then identify the cookie while visitors are on their partner sites so that you can display a customised ad you have created just for them.

Setting up a Google Ads Account?

If you need help setting up your Google Ads account contact us by e-mailing