Google has developed a new ad format called ‘Engagement Ads’. The purpose of these ads is to provide an interactive way for users to engage with your brand. Google recognizes that branding is a different marketing objective than direct response, so instead of paying a cost-per-click, they developed a pricing model called CPE (cost per engagement). Measuring and setting cost per engagement goals now provides the ability to measure the success or failure of your branding efforts on Google and its related networks.

Engagement ads allow you to take your brand building strategy and link it with the power of the Google Display Network. The power lies in Google’s ‘adaptive algorithm’ that serves ads to users who are most likely to interact with your brand. Instead of blasting your ads to everyone, your brand can be built in a methodical, more targeted way.

Engagement ads are cross device functional, ensuring a consistent user experience. This is important to note as users engage with brands in a multitude of ways. Potential customers get the same user experience regardless of whether they are on a desktop, tablet, or smartphone.

How Do Engagement Ads Work?

Engagement ads are very similar to display ads but are more interactive. The ad expands when hovered over for at least 2 continuous seconds. Once the ad expands, users can interact with your brand in a variety of unique ways. Interactions can range from watching a video, to playing games, or viewing a product catalog. The two-second delay eliminates accidental engagement and allows for more effective reporting.

Should I Be Using Engagement Ads?

The answer to this question is yes! According to Google, users are 10x more likely to interact with a brand through Engagement ads vs. a standard display ad. Since advertisers are only charged when an engagement takes place, there is now true cost accountability over digital branding efforts.

The prime way to measure a branding campaign before engagement ads was tracking impressions (how many times did my ad appear?) in a standard display campaign and inferring brand strength. Engagement ads provide a more accurate indication of brand strength because it is now known how many people are directly interacting with your brand.

Setting Up Engagement Ads

Setting up engagement ad campaigns is very easy. Just follow the directions below and you will be engaging with your customers in no time!

  1. Sign in to your AdWords account at
  2. On the Campaigns tab, click the + Campaign drop-down menu, and select Display Network only.
  3. Add a name for your campaign. To help you later find your campaign, you might want to indicate in the name that this is an engagement campaign.
  4. Choose the campaign type Display Network only – Engagement.
  5. Adjust location and language if needed.
  6. In the “Bidding and budget” section, the only option available is “Focus on engagements, manual maximum CPC bidding.” With this option, you’ll pay only when people engage with your ads.
  7. Enter your budget.
  8. Select any other settings you’d like for your campaign.
  9. Click Save and continue.
  10. On the ad group page, enter the name of the ad group and your default bid. This is the most you’ll pay per engagements for ads in the ad group.
  11. Choose how you want to target your ads (for example, “Interests & remarketing”).
  12. Click Save and continue.
  13. On the next page, click the ad template you want to use.
  14. Provide the required resources and information to create your engagement ad and click Review and finish.
  15. You can create more engagement ads for your campaign by clicking the “+” sign. When you’re done creating your ads, click Save and continue.