What are Standard Search Campaigns?
Search Campaigns are a form of advertising offered by online digital advertising platforms such as Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising.
When you type a query into a search engine and see text ads at the top or bottom of the search results, these are part of a Search Campaign. You may also see the ads in places such as Google Play, Bing Maps, and the search networks of your chosen ads platform.
Search Campaign ads were once text-only. Now, however, there is the option to include images to provide a more visually appealing advert. And, as they appear in prime locations above organic results in search, they’re an excellent way of attracting customers.
There are two types of Search Campaign: Standard and Dynamic. The main difference is that you choose which keywords to target in Standard campaigns. For a Dynamic campaign, you don’t choose keywords: Google uses your website or a product feed to decide which user queries are relevant to your ad.
Dynamic campaigns require advanced understanding of audience targeting, so this guide will be looking at Standard Search Campaigns only.
Note: This article mainly covers Standard Search Campaigns in Google. Similar options are available on other advertising platforms such as Microsoft Advertising.
How do Standard Search Campaigns work?
A Campaign is broken down into ad groups and ads. Basically, the Campaign is where you set the budget, keywords are set in the ad groups, and the ads themselves are what show to the end user. Learn more about campaign structure.
When you, as an advertiser, set up a Standard Search Campaign, you choose a number of target keywords relevant to your adverts. When a user searches these keywords – or similar variations – your advert may display for them on the search engine results pages (SERPs).
When you ad appears, users can click on it and be taken to a page on your website. This could be your homepage, or a specific page – such as a product page – relevant to their search query.
Search Campaign Ad Assets
A number of assets (images and text) that make up a Search Campaign ad: some are optional and some are not. Even if you’ve never run this kind of advertising before, you’re probably familiar with the look of adverts from your own searches.
You can often include several variations of each asset. Google will then mix and match these to identify the combinations that get the best results.
- Final URL (required) When a user clicks on your ad, this is where they end up on your website.
- Display path (optional) Useful if your Final URL isn’t visually appealing. Use this to help users understand the content of the page they are clicking through to.
- Contact number (optional, depending on campaign goal) A contact number that users can tap on to call directly from your ad.
- Headlines (3 required, additional are optional) A selection of titles that will display in bold at the top of your ad. You can choose up to 15, each 30 characters long. Google will usually show more than one headline at a time.
- Descriptions (2 required, additional are optional) These go into more detail about your product, service or company. You can add up to 4 descriptions, each up to 90 characters long.
- Images (optional)Add relevant images to make your ad more visually appealing.
- Sitelinks (optional) Links to additional pages on your site that may be relevant to the search query.
- Promotions (optional) Additional incentives such as discounts, special offers, and free delivery.
- Prices (optional) Provide products costs so a user can quickly decide whether they’re interested in clicking through to your site.
- Structured snippets (optional) Highlight specific aspects of your service or product. This could include a list of services you offer or brands you stock.Lead forms (optional) Capture information about customers and potential customers either via your website or on Google itself.
- Callouts (optional) Highlight unique selling points of your business such as 24/7 opening hours, or free services.
- Locations (optional) Let users know where you’re based.
- Apps (optional)If you have an app, link to it directly via your advert.
Pros and Cons of a Standard Search Campaign
- Unobtrusive Because Search Campaign ads look very similar to organic search results, they sit naturally within the search experience.
- Relatively easy to get started Although a more advanced understanding of Google Ads will provide better results, you can still get started as a beginner and see good success rates.
- Cost effective You choose your budget and can still get results from a small spend (especially if you’re in a niche market). It’s also easy to make adjustments if costs are increasing more than you would like.
- Take up more space on search If you’re already ranking organically for your keywords, creating an ad means that you take up an additional position on Google. That means less space for your competitors.
- Control Many other ads now use machine learning and automation. While this has its advantages, Standard Search Campaigns allow you a higher level of control.
- More immediate results Unlike SEO, digital advertising provides quick results that are particularly useful if you want to see a more immediate increase in traffic, sales or enquiries.
- Competition Google Search Campaigns are very popular and so you will most likely be bidding against other businesses for the best advertising space. This is particularly true for highly competitive industries such as fashion and hospitality. You can mitigate this somewhat by using similar and lesser used platforms such as Microsoft Advertising.
- Time commitment The lack of automation means that these ads take more time to set up than others. You should also set aside time to regularly monitor results.
- Expertise The more you know about digital advertising, the better the results. If you don’t have an in-depth knowledge of the platform, you may not get the most out of your budget.
How to create your first Standard Search Campaign
Firstly, you’ll need to create a free account with Google Ads. Don’t worry, you won’t be charged anything until you start running ads.
From the Overview page, select the + New Campaign button and then follow the step-by-step instructions to build your ad.
Remember, when asked to Select a campaign type, to choose Search, and select the Standard campaign when prompted. Add as many assets as possible for the best results.
If you’re completely new to advertising with Google, I would recommend reading some of the below guides to help you make the most of your ads:
Google Search Campaigns are a great way for beginners to get to know Google Ads. They’re easy to set up and can give you prime space on Google’s SERPs. You may also consider looking at other similar options on alternative ads platforms such as Microsoft Advertising.