Google Search vs. Display Advertising Article Icon

Google Search vs. Display Advertising

Google Search vs. Display Advertising


Google has two main advertising networks The Search Network and The Display Network. Both offer unique ways to target and tailor your message based on your specific goals, but it can be difficult to determine which network best suits your needs. Here is a look at each network to help you decide if search or display ads are right for you.

The Search Network

The Search Network is the most common advertising network and is used to reach people when they are actively searching for specific goods and services. These ads appear on Google’s Search Engine Results Pages and Google Search Partners.


When to Use the Search Network

You are selling a product people are already looking for. The Search Network shows ads based on keywords and search terms you choose. This allows you to target potential customers with your ads as they are actively searching for a specific product or service.

You have a limited budget. Search ads are only displayed to people searching for terms related to your keywords, and you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. Because of this, Search Network ads typically have higher conversion rates and ROI than display ads, making them more appealing to businesses working with smaller budgets.

You offer “urgent” services. Service providers like towing companies, locksmiths and dentists benefit from using the Search Network. When someone’s car breaks down they are looking for immediate help, so a well-designed text ad on the Search Network is more likely to get their attention and convert them into a customer.

You are a local business. Businesses like hotels, dry cleaners and restaurants see success with search advertising because they are able to target specific locations along with their keywords, allowing them to be highly targeted and relevant.


The Display Network

The Display Network is the largest digital advertising network. It spans over two million websites reaching 90% of people on the internet. Display advertisements are more visually appealing than search ads. You can choose from text, image, video or rich media formats and grab viewers’ attention with color and imagery.

Display Network ads are shown to users based on demographics, behavior, and previous search history. Because the ads are shown based on behavioral factors and not search intent, display ads typically receive less clicks than search ads. However, they are more successful at creating brand awareness. Display ads can be placed on websites for niche interests and retargeted to people who have previously visited your website. These abilities increase exposure to your brand and improve brand recall.


When to Use the Display Network

You want to promote brand awareness. Because the Display Network is so large, it presents many opportunities to connect with your audience. Ads can be placed on relevant websites and shown to people who have displayed interests that reflect your message.

You have a long sales process. If your product or service is not something that consumers would purchase immediately, the Display Network is beneficial. Having visually appealing ads that show on multiple different sites can help keep your brand top-of-mind during the buying process.

You have a luxury product. The Display Network is ideal for products that are appealing to the eye. The rich media options allow products to be displayed in a way plain text ads can’t compete with.


Interested in learning more about how the Search and Display Networks can benefit your business? Contact us!