Search vs. Display: Which Google Ads Network Should You Use?

Search vs. Display: Which Google Ads Network Should You Use?

While there are many very useful channels in digital marketing, Search and Display ads are two of the most important ones.

In the sea of information it can be hard to make a decision which to use for your business. Some people swear by Search ads and say that Display ads do not work, while others use only Display campaigns for their own business. So who is correct and can you use both? 

In this article we will clarify the strengths and weaknesses of both and give you more clarity so you can make a better decision for your business!

Advertising on the Google Search Network

When people think of Google Ads they most commonly think of Search ads. When you use them your ads will show on the Google search results page and optionally on other smaller search engines such as AOL.

The great advantage of Search Ads is that they can be targeted to a person who is actively looking for a product or a service. Everyone can understand the value of an advertisement for locksmith services being shown in the exact moment a person searches for a locksmith. This form of advertising is non intrusive and helpful for the searcher. It usually leads to more direct conversions than Display Network ads

You should be running a Search Network campaign if:

  • You have a limited budget – When clients are restricted with a smaller budget, we usually recommend to start with Search Ads, as they are more likely to drive direct conversions and are much easier to measure and see the return on investment. 
  • You sell products or services that are needed right now – Imagine for example that you have locked your keys inside your car – you would grab your phone and do a quick Google search for a locksmith near you, right? This is the exact moment the advertisement must be shown in order to convert. Even if you spend thousands of dollars to show ads before that moment, chances are people will not hire a locksmith if they don’t need one :). For industries who offer these types of services it is imperative that they advertise on the Google Search Network.

Advertising on the Google Display Network

The Google Display Network consists of over 2 million websites you can display ads on. These ads can be text, images, videos or html ads. According to Google you can reach over 90% of global internet users via their Display Network, which is a big advantage.

When people see these ads, they are generally not in a shopping mode. They are just browsing the internet, reading a news article or a blog post or watching a video. This is why Display ads usually convert less than Search ads, but this is not always the case. Because there is much more ad space, the clicks generated from Display Ads are much cheaper. With them you can reach many more people who have expressed interest in your products or services but have not yet reached the decision to buy.

Google Display ads are also widely used to promote brand awareness, which usually increases direct and organic traffic and brand specific searches.

You should be running a Display Network campaign if:

  • You want to increase brand awareness – with its enormous size and reach the Google Display Network is perfect for brand awareness campaigns. It also offers many targeting options so you can control your target audience and where your ads are shown. 
  • Your sales process is long – if it takes a long time and consideration before your clients decide to buy from you, Google Display ads are a great tool for you. By using a remarketing campaign to show ads to people who have visited your site but did not convert, you can stay top-of-mind of your potential customers and entice them to come back and finish their order. 
  • Your product is visually pleasing or interesting – since you can show images with Google Display ads, you have the opportunity to showcase your product. The more appealing the product the better are the chances people will remember you and visit your site. 
  • The volume of searches for your product or service is low – If you offer something new and innovative, chances are that it will not be searched for a lot. Google Display ads allow you to reach potential customers and let them know of the cool product or solution you can offer them.

Advertising on both Google Search & Display Networks

Looking at both networks you might be thinking “Well, It looks like both apply for my business”. This is the case for many businesses. We recommend running campaigns on both networks if their budget allows it, as they complement each other and can provide awesome results when used together. 

Should I use Google Search Campaign with Display Select?

In the Google Ads interface there is an option to run a Search campaign with Display Select. This combines both networks into one campaign. We would recommend not to use this option, but instead run separate campaigns. This allows you to set specific budgets, bids and messages for each network. Also it is much easier to interpret the results as the data they provide is much easier to compare and analyze. 

Some metrics show large differences between the two types of networks such as number of impressions, clicks, click-through rates and cost per click. If you run ads on both networks in one campaign, you will get averaged metrics, making it harder to understand how the changes you make to the campaign influences them.

Mokeez is a digital marketing agency that specializes in both Google Search and Google Display campaigns. 

Posted on Categories Google Ads