Most childcare business owners will run paid ads at some point. But did you know there are eight, count ’em, eight different types of Google Ads?

With such a wide berth of options, it can be difficult to determine which one(s) will work best for your business. So, we’re here to help.

In this post, we’ll look at each Google Ad type and explain why it is or isn’t a good fit for your childcare business.

Understanding the Difference in Google Ad Types

Here’s a tip: When running digital ads, it’s important to serve those ads to your audience based on where they are.

We see this all the time in print. If you’re opening a new business and you want to reach as many locals as possible, you might advertise to the community using mailers, radio, and billboards.

The same concept applies online.

Each Google Ad type serves ads differently, allowing business owners to strategically target their audience. By understanding where your target audience is online and how they search for services like yours, you can serve your ads to them on a silver platter!

What Are the Eight Types of Google Ads?

Just because there are eight Google Ad types available doesn’t mean you need to use every single one. Let’s unpack each ad type and explain how (or if) it’s useful for your childcare business.

Search Ads

Search Ads display in the Google Search Network — a group of search-related websites and apps. Search Ads are listed at the top of the search results pages and are labeled “Ad” or “Sponsored.”

When a Google user actively searches for information related to your ad, service, or site, Search Ads capture the traffic from that search. In fact, we believe Search Ads bring in the highest qualified traffic you can get!

Google Ad Type: Search Ads

Display Ads

Display Ads are image ads that appear on various Google partner websites that allow paid banner ads. A great example of this is the New York Times website, on which every page has a space where businesses can place ads for a price.

Display Ads can be highly targeted to your specific audience by interests, search keywords, demographics, and geography.



Video Ads

If you’ve ever watched a video on YouTube, you’ve seen (or skipped) Video Ads. There are many different types of Video Ads, and you can use them to introduce people to your new location, the services you offer, and/or the values your school upholds.

You can target Video Ads specifically for demographics, geography, and topics of interest. For example, if a parent is searching around on YouTube for relevant topics like “Daycare Services,” they’d watch your school’s topic-targeted ad while viewing content about daycares.

Video Ads are some of the best Google Ad types to use for awareness — when your audience is at the top of your marketing funnel and you want to generate interest in your brand. We think of them as transitional ads, taking semi-qualified leads and moving them further through your funnel and closer to a purchase decision.

Google Ad Type: Video Ads

Shopping Ads

Google Shopping Ads are image-based ads for people and businesses that sell products. Since Shopping Ads have little to do with lead generation, they’re not particularly useful for childcare businesses.

Shopping Ads appear in Google search results as a block of products that usually includes item descriptions and prices.

App Ads

If your business has a mobile app — which most childcare centers don’t — an App Ad is a great way to generate leads. But if you don’t have a mobile app, you obviously don’t need ads for one.

App Ads are similar to Search Ads, but are strictly for mobile devices. They can be targeted by demographics, topics, and geography — but because the service being advertised is a mobile app, geography isn’t important here.

Smart Ads

One of our favorites, Smart Ads are a simplified version of Search Ads. They require very little information to get started and are considered the “easy” version of a search keyword ad.

Another benefit of Smart Ads is their low cost, although they have limitations and very little placement customization as a result. We highly recommend them, however, as an option for beginners or as part of a larger marketing strategy.


Performance Max Ads

This is the gold standard for reaching your KPIs — the Cadillac of Google Ads, if you will. Performance Max Ads rely heavily on AI and machine learning to deliver the best ad performance possible. You can get even more out of Performance Max Ads by leveraging other Google Ad types simultaneously.

Performance Max Ads can be served on Google’s Search Network, Display Network, Google Maps, and Gmail. Can you believe a single campaign can reach your audience in all those places?

Another unique aspect of Performance Max Ads is that they aren’t keyword-based. They’re similar to Facebook ads in that they’re served based on your target audience’s characteristics and whether your ad is considered relevant.

You can use banner images, video, and/or copy for your ads, and Google will dynamically serve them in different combinations to find the combo with the best performance.

The cost for performance max is between Search Ads and Smart Ads — midrange — but you have to keep in mind all the options you get with Performance Max, too. You’re not just paying by keyword or cost per click. It’s a much greater value.


Discovery Ads

Discovery Ads are served on Google’s Discovery Network, which appears on the homepage of Google’s iOS and Android apps, as well as the mobile homepage. Discovery Ads are great for driving awareness of a new business, product, or service (in cases where the audience will see the ads).

Because parents are unlikely to use the Discovery Network to search for childcare services, Discovery Ads usually don’t work well for childcare businesses. The Discovery Network is more often used by people looking for restaurants, etc.

Note: With Discovery Ads, your KPIs aren’t tied to a return on ad spend because your goals will include increased brand awareness.

Best Google Ad Types for Your Customers

For childcare businesses, we recommend a combination of Search Ads and Performance Max Ads. Search Ads allow you to target the keywords your audience is searching for, and Performance Max Ads let you target your audience’s buying signals. Together, they’re a marketing powerhouse for your business.

That’s the short answer.

In a perfect world, where money is no object and budgets are unlimited, we’d always use a combination of several Google Ad types to target prospects at every stage of your marketing funnel.

We’d use Video Ads at the top of the funnel to drive awareness, Search Ads to capture relevant keyword searches, Performance Max Ads to reach your audience in Google Maps and Gmail, and Smart Ads to reach everyone else who may have slipped through the cracks.

That’s how we’d do it… in a perfect world.

Navigating Google Ads

In the real world, you want to cast a wide net over all the networks prospects likely use to look for your services. But you also want to make sure you’re reaching only those people who are really interested in your services.

It’s a tall order, and it’s also confusing. All this information — broad strokes, minute details, nuance… Sometimes it feels like the more you know, the less you understand.

That’s why we specialize in Google Ads for our clients: so they don’t get lost in the sea of information. We’re here to navigate for them.

If you’re ready to dive into paid ads but want some navigational help, let us know. We’ll steer you in the right direction!


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