Keywords In Advertising (Choosing & Using Keywords In Ads)

In this article, you’ll learn all about keyword advertising.

Not only will you get the definition of this term in digital marketing, but you’ll also understand the various types of keyword advertising models available, the kind of ad networks you can choose, and the matching options for your advertisements.

At the end of this guide, you’ll also get a step-by-step plan on how to use keywords in advertising for your next ad campaign as well as a list of the top advertising services you can use for targeting a specific audience for your business.

Keyword advertising

What Is Keyword Advertising?

Keyword advertising is a form of online advertising where an advertiser pays money to have an advertisement appear in the search engine results listings when a person searches for a particular word or phrase.

What Are Keyword Ads?

Keyword ads are advertisements with words or phrases that match your ads with the keywords people are searching for online. The best keyword ads contain relevant keywords in your advertising campaigns to help you reach targeted customers for your business.

For example, a hotel that’s using Google Ads in their digital marketing strategy to attract more bookings in its Miami, Florida location may create keyword ads that target phrases like “best hotel in Miami”, “Miami beach hotels”, “5 star Miami hotel”, etc.

An online advertising strategy like that can increase brand awareness for the hotel for users who are searching for generic keywords and not specific branded keywords in the search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing.

How Do You Advertise Keywords?

You advertise keywords by using keyword research and then creating advertisements that target those words or phrases in the search engines. Each keyword you advertise for will have a cost associated with the bidding method to receive traffic for those keywords.

Using Keywords In Advertising

Keywords can be used in three primary ways in advertisements. Keyword advertising match types determine how closely the keyword needs to match with the user’s search query for the ad to be considered for an auction. The option you choose will help you capture a wider or narrower audience based on your needs.

Broad Match

Broad match is loose keyword matching. Ads will show on searches that relate broadly to your keywords that may or may not contain the exact terms. For example, targeting an ad with the keyword phrase “fat-free foods” may appear for other searches like “low-carb foods” and “carb-free meals”.

Phrase Match

Phrase match is moderate keyword matching. Ads will show on searches that contain your individual keyword terms and mean the same thing. For example, targeting an ad with the keyword phrase “running shoes” may appear for other searches like “shoes for running”, “men’s running shoes”, and “discounts on running shoes”.

Exact Match

Exact match is tight keyword matching. Ads will only show on searches that contain all of your keyword terms or have the same intent as the keyword. For example, targeting an ad with the keyword phrase “women’s coat” will only appear for other searches like “coats for women”, “coat for a woman”, and “woman coat”.

You can also use negative keywords to exclude your ads from showing up for certain terms. See these related guides on keyword match types and negative keywords in Google Ads for more details on this matching method.

Types of Keyword Advertising Models


In this advertising model, the advertiser only pays when a user clicks on their ad. The common terms for this type of bidding are cost-per-click (CPC) or pay-per-click (PPC). (See this related guide on SEO vs PPC for more details.)


If your goal is to increase brand awareness without paying for each ad click, then the impressions advertising model is a good choice. When you create keyword ads for use in the Search Network or Display Network, you’ll only pay for the number of times your ad is shown to users. This is called the cost-per-thousand viewable impressions (vCPM) bidding because your ad spend is based on every 1,000 times your ad appears and is viewable on the advertising networks.


With this bidding model, you set an amount you’re willing to pay for a conversion, also known as cost per action (CPA). A conversion is a specific action you want users to take on your website. However, advertising services typically charge on a cost-per-click basis but will use their algorithms to automatically set your bids to help you get as many conversions as possible based on your CPA bid.

Views (Video Ads Only)

If you’re using videos to target keywords in advertising, then you’ll want to choose cost-per-view (CPV) bidding to get the best ROI on your investment. With CPV bidding, you pay for video views and other video interactions, such as clicks on your call-to-action overlays (CTAs) and companion banners.

Ad Networks for Using Keywords In Advertising

Search Network

The Search Network allows you to target keywords in advertising on the search engine results pages in Google, Yahoo, and Bing. This is a good form of advertising for keywords when you want to target an audience that is specifically looking for the products and services you provide on the search engines.

Display Network

The Display Network operates outside of the search engines and displays ads on websites, apps, and social media through various formats like text, images, video, and audio. Using this type of network to target keywords in advertising put your products and services in front of users while they’re browsing the Internet.

Keyword Advertising Step-By-Step Guide

  1. Pick a keyword advertising service.
  2. Set up your advertising account.
  3. Create a new ad campaign.
  4. Select the campaign type: Search Network or Display Network.
  5. Choose relevant keywords for the product or service you’re advertising.
  6. Select negative keywords to prevent your ad from being triggered by a certain word or phrase.
  7. Choose your keyword match type: broad, phrase, or exact match.
  8. Create the ad while incorporating the most relevant keywords in the ad copy.
  9. Select the landing page URL for your ad.
  10. Choose the bid type: clicks, impressions, conversions, or views.
  11. Set a budget for your ad campaign.
  12. Run the campaign.
  13. Measure the return on investment (ROI).
  14. Based on the ROI, adjust your selected keywords in advertising and/or the ad copy to improve the conversion rates.

The most important element of a keyword search advertising campaign is to bid on highly relevant keywords that match the right target audience to your products and services. The more relevant your keywords are to your business, the more cost-effective your digital marketing campaign will be for your advertising budget.

When you create an effective keyword advertising campaign, you’ll enjoy the following benefits:

  • Improved click-through rate (CTR) on your ads.
  • Lower cost-per-click (CPC) for your target keywords.
  • A higher Quality Score for the advertisement.
  • Increased rankings for your ads in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Top Keyword Advertising Services

Keywords in advertising summary

Keyword Advertising Summary

I hope you enjoyed this guide on keyword advertising.

As you discovered, there are many ways you can use keywords in advertising to attract the right target audience to your website. It’s now up to you to choose the best advertising model, ad network, keyword matching option, and ad service that works for your business goals.