Google Ads - Search vs. Display: Which Do I Choose?

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Search ads have three main components - a headline, display URL and description text, at the most basic level. These ads are designed to convince users to click through by pairing unique combinations of keywords and headlines. Search ads can also be paired with Ad extensions to provide users with additional information about your product or organization and have been proven to positively impact CTR.  

How often search ads appear, ranking and cost-per-click will fluctuate with your Google Ads campaign’s Quality Score

Some of the best reasons to consider Search Ads: 

  • To supplement your existing organic traffic 

  • To capture high-quality leads 

  • To cater to a local audience 

  • To make the best use of a smaller budget 

One of the Google Ads platform’s best features is the ability to fine tune your audience targeting to optimize your budget, big or small, and gives you the control to serve ads to only those who are interested in what you have to offer. The platform is also highly flexible, enabling you to pay only for clicks and you can put a cap on your daily spending by setting a maximum bid budget. 

Unlike search ads, display ads aren’t limited to appearing in only one location (in this case, the SERPs). These ads appear across the Google Display Network which comprises millions of websites, and allows you to target users by audience affinities, in-market segments, and custom intent keywords. You can also pick which website placements best fit your target audience, such as banner image ads and other interactive formats. 

Some of the best reasons to consider Display Ads: 

  • When your product or service is more visual

  • To increase brand awareness among internet browsers with passive intent across an extensive network 

  • To capture a niche market through Affinity Audiences

So which one is best for your business? Well, it depends. 

Both ad formats have their benefits, and both can be extremely useful in different situations. However, you must understand the difference and when exactly to use each one in the context of your PPC advertising goals. 

Two major metrics to consider between display ads vs search ads are conversion rate and cost per click, because this can vary greatly depending on which industry. You can read more about industry-specific CPC benchmarks here

The main difference between Google search ads vs display ads is that search ads are a form of “pull” advertising while display ads are “push” advertising. This means that search ads only appear to those who are already searching for your product or service, while display ads are paid placements that appear based on various targeting parameters.

The reason search ads typically drive more conversions than display ads is that the Search Network connects advertisers to people actively looking for products or services with higher intent, so they’re naturally more likely to convert. You can get even more granular by targeting 

Why Choose Google Ads? 

Google Ads Can Complement Your Existing Marketing Channels

Remarketing is an especially powerful way to use your PPC ads to target people who have shown an interest in your business and compliment your other marketing efforts. With Google Ads remarketing, you can track past visitors to your website with a cookie, who may have found you through social media, your blog, a click on a product page from a forwarded email, etc. Your display ads will then “follow” them around the Internet, so your brand stays top of mind. 

You can increase leads and customers 

Google Ads allows you to focus on the people who are searching for what your business offers. This means you can continually refine your searches so that only people who want to buy your products or services are sent to your websites through this platform. 

It’s also a good practice to direct your ads to a specific landing page so you are able to properly benchmark the campaign’s success - did your campaign increase traffic to a specific product or service on your website? And did users find what they were looking for? 

Transparent Reporting & Simple User Interface

This is where the Google Ads dashboard comes in! You can toggle between useful data reports generated in a single click, allowing you a full view of every aspect of your search and display campaigns’ performance. 

Some of the valuable insights Google Ads reporting provides include the keywords they use to find your website, their location, the devices they use, and the times and days they search. It also allows you to learn more about your market so you can better understand your customers and what their specific needs may be. 

Not to fear if data isn’t your strong suit - the interface is intuitive and simple to understand, with useful recommendations and links to optimize your campaign to success every step of the way. 

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