As you begin to set up your Google Ads campaign, you may be curious which option, display or Google search ads, is the better choice.
The truth is one isn’t better than the other, they both have their strengths and weaknesses that must be considered to help you achieve your end goal, whatever that may be.
If you’re looking to improve conversions, website ranking, or increase phone calls, then search ads might be the better option. However, if you’re looking to generate demand, increase buzz, or get more visually oriented folks to click on your ad, display ads are the better option.
Too many marketers make the mistake of choosing the wrong option when setting up their Google Ads campaigns, only to waste money on a marketing channel that doesn’t work for their desired outcome.
In this post, we’ll explain what search ads and display ads are, how they’re different, and explain different circumstances when one option might be preferred over the other.
Display and Search Campaigns Explained
When it comes to advertising with Google, you basically have two choices — display or Google search ads.
When you go to Google to search for a query and find a paid Google listing at the top of the page, you’re looking at a search ad.
The search ad doesn’t contain any pictures, but contains a few lines of text:
- The headline
- The website’s URL
- A website meta-description, a 160 character overview that quickly explains what the website is and why you should click on it.
There are also tons of useful ad extensions, allowing you to further augment your search ad with important links such as:
- Call extensions, listing the company’s phone number so users can tap on the number and call right away
- Message extensions, allowing users to directly message the business
- Location extensions, which show the business address and spot on the map so it’s easier to find
- Price extensions, which show prices for items being sold on the website
Display ads are the banner and picture ads you see while browsing other websites, particularly blogs, social media sites, and other websites that make up the Google Display Network, a group of 2 million websites that show Google display ads.
When bloggers make money through advertising on their website, it’s typically through showing Google display ads on the sidebars or displaying banners at the top of their site.
Display ads also show up in users’ email accounts, particularly Gmail accounts, in the promotions tab.
While search ads are considered a more active form of advertising, because the ads are being shown to people who are searching for them, display ads are considered more passive, creating more awareness and lasting impressions to a larger audience.
What’s the Difference Between Display and Search Campaigns on Google Ads?
Many successful PPC campaigns will use both search and display campaigns, however, each method has its strengths and weaknesses that must be considered depending on your goals and KPIs that you’re trying to reach.
Reasons to Use Search Ads
Search ads are the better option when your business is providing an emergency option, such as home utilities, plumbing, electrical, medical help, or other services that need to be called quickly.
In these instances, using a search ad with a call extension is the best option, because you don’t want a user to click on a link, you just want them to call your business right away.
Campaigns that have smaller budgets will also stick with search ads over display ads. The reason being that conversion rates are typically higher for search ads because they are being shown to active users who have the intention of finding a solution right away.
Paid search is also the fastest way to get your website on the first page of Google results, whereas organic SEO takes months or years to rank high up in Google’s SERP.
Search ads are great for finding customers who are further down in the sales funnel, e.g., more likely to buy from you. The reason being is they are initiating the search and are looking for an immediate solution to their problems. This is the primary reason why paid search leads to higher conversion rates over display ads.
Reasons to Use Display Ads
A picture is worth a thousand words, and sometimes is the best option to get people to click on your ad.
Display ads are more flashy and visual and can create more excitement for your company or brand, particularly if you’re in retail or clothing.
If your company just created the next big thing, or a beautiful product, then create a display or banner ad to show it to the world.
Whereas search ads answer a question, display ads generate attention. They’re more equivalent to billboards and TV commercials, in that they’re being shown to a much wider audience, but not always a hyper-targeted audience. However, Google does its best job to match the keywords of your display ad so they can show on appropriate websites in the Google Display Network.
Remarketing strategies are typically implemented using display ads. If you’ve ever gone online shopping, but left your cart before purchasing, then you’ve likely encountered a remarketing ad on another Google Display Network website showing you the products you were just looking at.
If you intend to get as many impressions as possible, generate attention, or show remarketing ads, then display ads are for you.
Implementing Search Ads and Display Ads Together
Depending on what your goals, services, and products are, you might want to implement a dual Google network strategy, using Google’s paid search network and display network.
You can create paid search ads that can display on Google’s SERP, complete with all the extensions that give enough information to convince your audience to click on your ad. Meanwhile, you can also create eye-grabbing display ads and banners that will show up on social media sites and niche blogs.
It all truly depends on what your campaign’s overall budget, target demographic, and goals are to determine the thoughtful plan of action to get you there. And having more options available online, in the form of search and display ads, is another tool that can make those results happen.
Hire Denver PPC to Manage Your Google Ad Campaigns
Denver PPC is a Google Ad Certified “Google Partner” company located in Colorado.
Our team has over a decade’s worth of expertise in helping organizations manage and succeed with their PPC campaigns and digital presence.
We’d love to work with your company and team! Do you have an existing Google Ads account? Contact us today to get your free 10 point PPC analysis review. We’ll examine your Google Ads campaign and come up with a full review to show you how we can improve your ads’ performance.
Have further questions about Google Ads? Call Troy or Tony at 303-975-2810 to begin optimizing your company’s online marketing efforts.