Advertising on Google: deep dive into the GAFA’s ad ecosystem

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You've made up your mind: you're going to start advertising on Google.

But as you look into the subject, it all seems a bit obscure. The sheer number of advertising options available in the Google universe doesn't help you build a global strategy tailored to your goals. 

So why don't we start all over again?

This article brings together for you all the Google advertising tools you can activate in your strategy, the basics of how they work, and the keys to deploying them effectively.

The Google ecosystem advertising channels you should include in your strategy

While advertisers are generally quite familiar with Google Ads or YouTube advertising, many neglect to deploy the full potential of the GAFA ad ecosystem in their campaigns.

Discover the six channels you can activate in this ecosystem, and how they work.

The key to a successful Google advertising strategy is to activate the right tools within the GAFA ecosystem, according to your goals, the habits of your core target audience, and your budget. This kind of multi-channel strategy calls for detailed expertise in each of the available advertising channels, as well as a more global approach to the way your audiences buy your products and consume ads. The solution, if you want the ideal return on investment, is then to get help from an expert in the field! Zbynek Zapletal, Director Programmatic & Account Management at Gamned! and Google Certified Trainer.

Google Search

Search Engine Advertising (SEA) is probably Google's best-known advertising format. It's the one that displays text ads in search engine results, targeting users according to the keywords they type in.

How does it work?

First off, you include a variety of keywords in your Google Ads account

  • Keywords related to your brand
  • Keywords related to your product or service
  • Generic keywords (linked to your targets' interests) 
  • Keywords related to your competitors, if you have a large budget to deploy

Then you define your budget on the platform, before designing catchy ads that are relevant to the Landing Page you're promoting.

To find out more about SEA, take a look at the most common Search Engine Advertising mistakes.

Google Shopping

Google's advertising network gives you the opportunity to run "Shopping" campaigns to display your e-commerce products in the search engine's "Shopping" results.

Your ads then feature a photo of your product, its title, its price, and even other elements such as the name of your store.

How does it work?

Start by entering your product data via the Google Merchant Center. This data is used to target audiences according to the keywords they type into the search bar. It must therefore be well structured.

Then simply create a "Shopping" campaign on Google Ads to promote these products in Google Shopping.

Google's Display Network

The Google ecosystem lets you run display advertising campaigns - highly visual banners that appear on Google's 35 million partner websites and apps.

This type of campaign can serve all your marketing goals, from building brand awareness to generating website traffic and conversion.

But this system doesn't leave your banners' distribution to chance. You have several targeting options on this Display network. In particular, you can:  

  • Target audience segments based on demographic characteristics 
  • Retarget audiences (e.g. individuals who have visited your website before)
  • Target keywords or themes, so that Google displays your banners on websites related to these topics

How does it work?

You can choose to create your audience segments based on the characteristics of your idéal prospect or customer, or let the Optimized Targeting feature use the information on your landing page to target the right users to show ads to.

Then define your maximum daily or weekly budget.

Finally, you can choose between : 

  • Creating your own customized banners, while respecting the guidelines of the Display advertising network
  • Letting the Display system's Artificial Intelligence set up the basic elements of your ads (such as titles, images and logos you want to appear on your banners) on your banners, so that they perform as well as possible.

YouTube Ads

YouTube is the second most-used social platform in the world, where users go for both entertainment and information. All the more reason to exploit it in your digital advertising strategy!

YouTube Ads offers a variety of engaging ad formats to choose from, according to your different marketing goals.

For example, you can select from : 

  • Non-skippable videos played before a video is launched
  • Videos displayed in the content feed itself when a user makes a query on the platform
  • Formats including a call-to-action to encourage conversion... 

The platform's targeting options are also very interesting. You can target users according to socio-demographic criteria, interests or keywords. What's more, you can use data from the Google ecosystem, such as Android, the Search network or Google Maps, to refine this targeting.

How does it work?

First, determine your target audience in fine detail, using all the criteria at your disposal. Then choose an advertising format that matches your marketing goals.

Finally, be sure to use a brandsafety tool like YouTube Brandsafety by Gamned!, which allows you to select the channels and videos that match your brand's DNA, as well as to visualize the potential reach of your campaigns in advance.

Need to know more about best practices? Check out our smart guide to advertising with YouTube Ads.

Ads on Gmail

You've probably already noticed that it's possible to display text banner ads at the top of the "Promotions", "Notifications", "Social Networks" or "Forums" tabs of your audience's Gmail inboxes.

For the past few months, Google has also been testing another format, in which these ads appear in the Gmail email stream itself. This format has not gone down well with many Internet users, who complain about the excessive exposure to advertising on this platform.

However, it may be an interesting format to test on your targeted audience, without making it too intrusive.

How does it work?

Proceed as you would for a Display campaign using Google Ads. Note that some targeting options are not available for Gmail, such as geolocation or keywords.

Then select the "Gmail" campaign type to create your ad.

Advertising on Google Maps

What if you ran your advertising campaigns on Google Maps? By doing so, you give users the opportunity to click on the map to : 

  • View information about your store 
  • Get directions to your outlet
  • Call your store directly from their mobile

This is an ideal format for drive-to-store campaigns. This type of Google advertising reaches audiences who intend to visit your sales area, or who are already there. In this way, you can capitalize on their proximity to create a strong desire to visit your business.

How does it work?

Start by creating and optimizing your Google Business profile, including all relevant information about your store in it: location, contact details, photos...

Next, you need to activate the Location extensions for your Google Ads account, before targeting your audience according to a given geographical area (your shop's market catchment area, for example).

Next, you need to define your budget and bidding rules, and optimize your ads by integrating keywords related to the targeted geographical area.

6 best practices for successful Google advertising

It's not enough to know the GAFA advertising ecosystem inside out to create a good Google ad. Don't leave without these six expert tips you can apply to all your advertising campaigns on the Google network.

Build an advertising strategy by creating a multi-channel synergy 

Your goal is clear: using your prospects' different maturity levels to reach them at the right place, at the right time in their buying journey, with the right advertising format and on the right channel.

To each level of maturity its perfect advertising channel and optimal format. To find them, you need to be expert enough in each of them to activate them at the right moment in your audience's buying journey.

For example, at the top of the funnel, you'll generally use display ads, while at the bottom of the funnel, you'll target audiences through SEA.

Exploit the automated systems of the Google ecosystem 

Automated advertising systems from the Google network not only save you time in managing your campaigns, but also enable you to run more relevant ads.

For example, in SEA, use the Dynamic Search Ads system. This automatically displays ads based on the content of your site, in addition to your other ads. This system is practical, as it can enable you to cover a wide range of themes with ease.

Far from losing control of your campaigns, you can optimize your time and deploy it where you have the most expertise.

Set up your budget while test-and-learning

Test the different platforms and advertising formats, allocating a small budget to assess their performance. You can then devote a larger portion of your advertising budget to them if they are relevant.

By doing so, you'll discover the most profitable channels for your Google ads.

Set up a good tracking system on your website 

Tracking your campaigns is a crucial element to ensure the performance of your ads (in terms of website visits or conversions). 

This will require you to set up a tracking plan - a task that can be quite technical, and require the support of an expert.

Continuously optimize campaign performance

Finally, one last best practice when it comes to Google advertising is to track key performance metrics related to the type of campaign you've launched, so you can optimize your strategy later on.

So, depending on the goals of your Google ad campaign, track : 

  • Your ad impressions
  • Your click-through rate
  • Your conversion rate
  • Sales generated on your website
  • Downloads generated
  • Incremental in-store visits generated...

Based on these KPIs, you'll then be able to identify optimization opportunities - for example, your keyword selection (in SEA), your banner designs (in display), or your text ad copy (on Gmail).

So, which Google advertising tools will you turn to in order to reach your marketing goals?

Need support in terms of advertising strategy or campaign execution? Gamned!, expert in digital advertising, has all the necessary skills to help you. Contact one of our experts today, and let's talk about your projects!


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