How programmatic advertising works on Google Ads

Programmatic advertising on Google Ads works through the Google Ads auction, which uses real-time bidding to determine which ads to display to users.

Here’s how it works:

1. Advertiser Sets Up a Campaign:

The advertiser creates a campaign in Google Ads, including the ad creative, targeting options, and bidding strategy. The targeting options can include demographics, interests, keywords, and location.

2. User Performs a Search:

When a user performs a search on Google, the Google Ads auction begins. Google Ads looks at various factors, including the search query, the user’s location, and the advertiser’s targeting options, to determine which ads to display.

3. Bids are Placed:

Advertisers bid on the ad space in real-time, and the highest bidder wins the ad space. The bids can be based on various strategies, including cost-per-click (CPC), cost-per-thousand impressions (CPM), and cost-per-acquisition (CPA).

4. Ad is Displayed:

If the advertiser wins the auction, their ad is displayed to the user in various ad formats, including text ads, display ads, and video ads.

5. User Clicks on Ad:

If the user clicks on the ad, they are directed to the advertiser’s website or landing page, and the advertiser is charged for the click.

Here are some examples of how programmatic advertising works on Google Ads…

  • Example 1 (CPC)

    An owner of a toy store wants to promote a new toy to parents and kids searching for similar products. He creates a Google Ads campaign targeting people who are searching for specific keywords related to the new toy.

    The campaign includes a text ad with a headline that resonates and a nice call-to-action with a bidding strategy that is based on cost-per-click (CPC).

    When a person searches for a related keyword, the toy store owner’s ad is displayed at the top of the search results, and if the person clicks on the ad, they sent to his toy store’s website.

  • Example 2 (CPM)

    A local restaurant owner wants to attract new customers in her area.

    The restaurant creates a Google Ads campaign targeting people within a specific distance of the restaurant’s location.

    The campaign includes a display ad with mouth-watering images of the restaurant’s menu items, and the bidding strategy is based on cost-per-thousand impressions (CPM).

    When a person browses a website that is part of the Google Display Network, the owner’s restaurant ad is displayed, and if the person clicks on the ad, they are sent to her restaurant’s website (or landing page).

  • Example 3 (CPV)

    A sales manager for a B2B software company wants to generate leads for his new software product.

    He creates a Google Ads campaign targeting users who work in specific industries and have shown interest in related topics.

    The campaign includes a video ad showcasing the software’s features and benefits, and the bidding strategy is based on cost-per-view (CPV).

    When a person watches a video on YouTube, his ad is displayed before or during the video, and if the person watches the ad for a certain length of time, they are considered a view, and he is charged for the view.


Bottom line, programmatic advertising on Google Ads allows makes it easy for you to reach your target audience through real-time bidding and various ad formats.

By using targeting options and bidding strategies that align with your business goals, you can quickly create successful campaigns that drive traffic, leads, and conversions.