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What is Google Ads?

What is Google Ads?

First of all, why do we say “What is Google Ads?” instead of “What are Google ads”?

Well, simply put, Google Ads is a platform, not just the many ads you see on Google.

This specific platform used to be called Google AdWords (AdWords for short), but has since been changed to Google Ads.

So what is it?

Google Ads is the platform where people and businesses can publish their advertisements:

  • Across the internet
  • Across properties that are owned by Google
  • On websites that are not owned by Google, but allow Google to run ads on their sites

Google Search Ads

When we’re talking about Google Ads, what we usually mean is Google Search Ads.

If you go to and do a search for something, you often find ads at the top of search results. Advertisers are paying Google to put their ads in those positions.

Shopping Ads

We also see shopping ads on search results, but what makes those different? Instead of the normal “text ads”, they will have a picture of a product and list the price. If customers decide they want to know more about the products, they can click on those ads.

Let’s move beyond search results!

Search Partner Ads

A partner ad shows up the same way a normal Google Search Ad would, meaning it shows up when someone is searching for something. However, instead of showing up on, it shows up on a partner website. Popular websites that are Google search partners include: Amazon, eBay, and Yelp.

These are just few of the websites that would show Google Ads when people are searching for things. Usually the Google Ads are at the very bottom of the page because those websites want you to buy stuff from their own website.

Banner Ads

These are ads on websites all across the internet. Pretty much anyone who has a website and wants to put advertisement on it has the option to install some code from Google onto their website. The code enables Google to display ads on those publishers’ websites.

On the publisher’s side, it’s called AdSense. On the advertiser’s side, it’s still called Google Ads.

Display Network

The Display Network uses a series or combination of banner ads, graphic ads, and text ads, which go on websites all over the internet. For more information on the DISPLAY NETWORK, go deeper with me in another post.

YouTube Ads

YouTube is owned by Google. When you see ads on YouTube, these are actually coming through Google Ads. It’s all the same advertising platform.

On YouTube, we have in-stream ads, which play during a video. Sometimes it’s a short ad (15 seconds or less) that can’t be skipped. Usually it’s a longer ad that can be skipped after about 5 seconds.

There are also YouTube Discovery Ads. A Discovery Ad is a video that might show up next to other “suggested videos”. Or it might show up in the search results. These videos are the ones that you actually have to click on in order to watch, but they’re still ads.

What’s the Bottom Line?

If we talk about Google Ads, what we usually mean are the Google Search Ads on But remember–Google Ads is platform used on many sites and in many ways. Technically, everything that you’ve just read about falls under the umbrella of Google Ads:

  • Google Search Ads
  • Shopping Ads
  • Search Partner Ads
  • Banner Ads
  • YouTube Ads

So there you go! An answer to what the Google Ads platform is, and what it’s all about. Now go forth and put that knowledge to good use.