Hacking AdWords Series: “Search” vs “Display” Network

Hacking AdWords Series: “Search” vs “Display” Network

In the previous blog
, we discussed the clear return on investment that Google’s AdWords campaigns can deliver. This time we dig deeper: would your business benefit from advertising on Search Network or Display Network?

To recap, the benefits of this specific online marketing activity is the ability for you to target your ads to an audience of your choice in addition to an absolute control of the costs, ability to measure the success and easily manage your campaigns. But what are the nuances of the two network choices?

Search Network

The ads shown on Search Network are characterised by two things: they are shown above or next to the organic Google search results and they primarily reach customers that are already actively searching for a solution to their need.

There is also an option to add extra subgroups in addition to the primary link, directing to different parts of your website. If needed, add eCommerce-style product lists or “call now” CTAs allowing a prospect to contact you immediately. This ultimately allows you to cater the AdWords service to your business needs.

Display Network

In contrast, Display Network matches the adverts shown to the content of the site they are placed within. The adverts themselves come in a more appealing form – starting from simple image banners to rich media video content. This more visual type is more efficient at building brand awareness, loyalty and increasing engagement. Within this network, you can choose even more specific targeting methods.

Which one to use?

Simply put, use Search Network if you want to target an active searcher who is looking for a defined solution. Due to this characteristic of the targeted audience, this type of campaign generally drives more traffic than Display Network that is shown to an audience that is not in “I know what I need, show me the solution” mindset. Normally, they would be doing their typical internet activities and would come across your ads placed in the websites they visit. Typically the click-through rates are much lower than those for Search Network, but it works wonders for brand awareness and re-marketing activities.

There also is an option to use both, namely – Search Network with Display Select – but we warn that you lose a considerable amount of control tools, so we highly suggest to manage each campaign type separately as it allows to maximise the return on investment and clearly see what works and what needs to be improved.

At Catalyst, we love AdWords as it is an effective and highly measurable marketing tool that can be fully catered to each different business type needs.