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Google Search Ads Vs Display Ads: What’s the Difference?

In the world of online advertising, Google Search Ads and Display Ads are two distinct strategies that businesses can leverage to reach their target audience. While both offer a way to promote products and services on the Google platform, they differ in terms of placement, format, and targeting.

Understanding the nuances between these two types of ads is crucial for businesses aiming to maximise their digital marketing efforts. So, let’s delve into the world of Google ads and uncover the key differences between Search Ads and Display Ads, and how they can be used effectively to achieve specific marketing goals.

Search Ads

Search ads are a highly effective form of online advertising that appear above and below organic search engine results, targeting users who are actively searching for specific keywords or phrases. Google search ads, also known as search engine advertising, are a key component of search and display campaigns. These ads are displayed on the search engine results page (SERP) and are designed to capture the attention of users actively searching for information related to the keywords or phrases being targeted.

Search ads have a headline, display URL, and description text, with the option to include ad extensions for additional information. They are a form of pull advertising, meaning they appear to users who are already looking for a particular product or service. This makes them highly effective in reaching a targeted audience and capturing high-quality leads.

One of the key advantages of search ads is that they only appear when users actively search for the targeted keywords. This ensures that the ads are shown to users who are more likely to be interested and engaged. Additionally, search ads have a higher average conversion rate compared to other forms of online advertising, such as display ads. This is because users actively searching for specific keywords are more likely to have a higher intent to purchase or take action.

In terms of cost, search ads operate on a pay-per-click (PPC) advertising model, where advertisers only pay when a user clicks on their ad. The average cost per click (CPC) varies depending on factors such as competition for keywords and industry. However, search ads generally provide a good return on investment due to their high conversion rates and the ability to target users actively searching for specific keywords or phrases.

Display Ads

Display adverts are a popular form of online advertising that appear based on various targeting parameters, providing advertisers with the opportunity to reach a larger audience across the Google Display Network (GDN) and social media platforms. These adverts, also known as banner image adverts, are visually appealing and can be an effective way to promote visual products, create brand awareness, and target a wider audience.

One of the key features of display adverts is the ability to target specific demographics, interests, and behaviours of users. Advertisers can choose their target audience based on factors such as age, gender, location, and browsing history. This targeted approach allows advertisers to maximize the reach of their adverts and increase the chances of conversions.

Display adverts typically contain a headline, a brief text description, a display URL, and a call-to-action button. Advertisers can also create dedicated landing pages to provide more information and encourage conversions. However, it is important to note that display adverts generally have lower conversion rates compared to search adverts. This is because users may not be actively searching for the advertised product or service at the time they see the advert.

When it comes to pricing, display adverts are usually priced on a cost-per-click (CPC) basis, where advertisers pay only when a user clicks on their advert. Advertisers can also choose to pay for impressions, known as cost-per-thousand impressions (CPM).

Average Metrics Comparison

When comparing the average metrics of Google Search Ads and Display Ads, it is important to consider click-through rates (CTR), cost per click (CPC), and ad placement options.

These metrics provide insights into the effectiveness and cost efficiency of each ad format. By examining these factors, advertisers can make informed decisions about which type of ad campaign aligns best with their goals and target audience.

Click-Through Rates (CTR)

With an average conversion rate of 4.40% for search campaigns and only 0.57% for display campaigns, it is evident that there is a significant difference in click-through rates (CTR) between these two advertising strategies. The CTR is an important metric that measures how often users click on an ad after seeing it.

Here are four key points to understand the difference in CTR between Google search ads and display ads:

  1. Higher intent: Search advertising, which appears in search engine results pages, tends to have higher CTRs due to users actively searching for products or services.
  2. Lower intent: Display advertising, on the other hand, appears on websites and social media platforms, targeting users based on their interests or demographics. This lower intent results in lower CTRs.
  3. Conversion rate: The higher CTR in search advertising leads to a higher conversion rate, as users are more likely to convert into customers when actively searching for a specific product or service.
  4. Marketing funnel: Search ads are effective at capturing users at the bottom of the marketing funnel, while display ads are more suitable for brand awareness and capturing users at the top of the funnel.

Cost per Click (CPC)

The average cost per click (CPC) for search network ads is significantly higher compared to display network ads. According to Google Ads, the average CPC for search ads is $2.41, while for display ads, it is only $0.59.

Despite the higher CPC, search ads generally drive more conversions than display ads due to the higher intent from users actively searching for products. Search campaigns have an average conversion rate of 4.40%, while display campaigns have an average conversion rate of 0.57%.

However, display ads offer a lower CPC, which can save ad spend for brands.

When deciding between search ads and display ads, factors such as the target audience, advertising objectives, and the nature of the product or service should be considered to optimize digital advertising strategies and effectively move users through the marketing funnel using PPC ads and relevant keywords.

Ad Placement Options

Given the significant differences in average conversion rates and cost per click (CPC) between search network advertisements and display network advertisements, it is important to explore the various advertisement placement options for each type of ad.

Here are the different advertisement placement options for Google search ads and Google Display Ads:

  1. Search Network Ads: Search ads often appear at the top or bottom of search results pages when users are actively searching for products or services. These paid placements that appear alongside organic search results have higher intent from users, making them more likely to drive conversions.
  2. Display Network Ads: Display ads offer a broader reach by appearing on websites within the Google Display Network. These ads can be in the form of banners, videos, or interactive media and are ideal for increasing brand awareness among users who may not be actively searching. Display Network bundle sites that partner with Google to display ads on their pages.

Understanding the placement options for each type of ad can help advertisers make informed decisions when setting up their campaigns.

How Search Ads Work

Search ads function by appearing above and below organic search results when users search specific keywords. These ads, also known as sponsored ads, are a form of online advertising that advertisers bid for to have their ads displayed on the search engine results page (SERP). Unlike display ads, which are shown on websites, search ads are displayed directly on Google search.

Search ads consist of a headline, display URL, and description text. Advertisers can also include ad extensions, such as call buttons or additional links, to enhance their ads. The placement of search ads is determined by the advertiser’s bid and the quality score of their ad.

One of the key differences between search ads and display ads is that search ads are shown to users actively searching for a specific product or service, making them highly targeted. This makes search ads effective for capturing high-intent traffic and driving conversions.

Advertisers pay for search ads on a pay-per-click (PPC) basis, meaning they only pay when a user clicks on their ad. Metrics such as click-through rate (CTR), cost-per-click (CPC), and conversion rate are used to measure the effectiveness of search ads and optimize campaigns for better performance.

How Display Ads Work

How do display ads function on websites and what are their key features?

  1. Display ads appear on websites that sell ad space, and ad networks like Google Display Network bundle sites and offer them to advertisers.
  2. Advertisers bid for space on chosen sites and can use remarketing to target users who have visited the advertiser’s site.
  3. Display ads offer flexibility in terms of ad sizes and images, allowing for more creative options.
  4. Display ads reach a wider audience based on various targeting parameters like interests, shopping behavior, and customized search terms.

Display ads differ from search ads in that they are visually appealing and appear on websites instead of search engine results pages. They are an effective tool for brand awareness and marketing campaigns.

Display ads provide an opportunity to showcase a product or brand through eye-catching images or multimedia. By reaching a wider audience, they can generate interest and drive traffic to a website.

In terms of conversions, display ads are more focused on creating awareness and interest rather than immediate actions. They can influence potential customers at the early stages of the buying process, allowing businesses to establish their brand and products in the minds of consumers.

Display ads can be a valuable component of a comprehensive marketing strategy, complementing search ads and driving overall business growth.

When to Use Each Ad Type

To determine the appropriate ad type for your marketing goals, consider the specific advantages and target audience of each. Google search ads and display ads serve different purposes and are suitable for different scenarios.

Google search ads are ideal for capturing high-quality leads and supplementing organic traffic. They work well for shorter sales cycles and smaller budgets. With search ads, you can effectively capture users actively searching for specific keywords or phrases, increasing website visibility and reach. These ads are push advertising, targeting users at the bottom of the marketing funnel and driving high-intent traffic to your website.

On the other hand, display ads are great for promoting visual products, creating brand awareness among passive audiences, and targeting niche markets with longer sales cycles. They are pull advertising, allowing you to reach a larger audience and increase brand recall by staying top-of-mind even after users leave your website. Display ads are effective for building brand awareness before high-intent advertising.

To summarize the differences, here is a table outlining when to use each ad type:

Google Search Ads Display Ads
Purpose Capture leads, supplement organic traffic Promote visual products, create brand awareness
Targeting High-intent audience actively searching Passive audience, larger reach
Conversion Rate Higher conversion rate due to high intent Lower conversion rate due to passive audience
Cost Per Click Typically higher Typically lower
Marketing Funnel Bottom of funnel Top of funnel

Choosing Between Display Ads and Search Ads

When choosing between display ads and search ads, there are several key points to consider.

Firstly, targeting capabilities play a crucial role in determining which ad type is most suitable for your campaign.

Secondly, ad format options differ between display ads and search ads, allowing you to choose the format that best aligns with your advertising goals.

Lastly, user intent matching is important to consider, as search ads target users actively seeking information, while display ads reach a broader audience.

Targeting Capabilities

Search ads and display ads offer different targeting capabilities, allowing advertisers to choose the most effective option based on their goals and target audience. Here are the key differences in targeting capabilities between search ads and display ads:

Keywords and Match Types:

  • Search ads rely on keywords and match types to target users based on their search queries.
  • Advertisers choose specific keywords and match types to ensure their ads appear in relevant search results.
  • Display ads, on the other hand, use various targeting parameters such as demographics, interests, and browsing behavior to reach a broader audience.

Contextually Relevant Advertising:

  • Search ads appear in Google search results, where users are actively looking for information or products.
  • Display ads, on the other hand, appear across the Google Display Network and social media, targeting users based on their interests and online behavior.

Conversions and Cost per Click:

  • Search ads are ideal for driving high-intent traffic to websites and capturing high-quality leads, leading to higher conversion rates.
  • Display ads, while effective for brand awareness, have a lower click-through rate and may require optimization to improve conversions.

Audience Reach:

  • Search ads target users actively searching for specific products or services, resulting in a narrower audience reach.
  • Display ads, on the other hand, can reach a larger audience across various websites and social media platforms, making them suitable for creating brand awareness and promoting visual products.

Ad Format Options

Advertisers face the decision of choosing between display ads and search ads when considering the ad format options for their campaigns. The main difference between display ads and search ads lies in their placement and purpose.

Search ads appear above and below organic search results, while display ads are shown across various websites based on targeting parameters. Search ads are effective for capturing high-intent traffic and driving immediate conversions, with higher click-through rates and conversion rates. On the other hand, display ads are suitable for building brand awareness, reaching a larger audience, and targeting niche markets. They are also better for products or services with longer sales cycles.

When deciding between display ads and search ads, advertisers should consider their specific campaign goals, budget constraints, desired level of control, and whether they prioritize immediate conversions or brand awareness building.

User Intent Matching

User intent matching plays a crucial role in determining the appropriate choice between display ads and search ads. Understanding user intent helps in effectively targeting the right audience and optimizing campaign performance.

Here are four key considerations when it comes to user intent matching:

  1. Search Ads: Search ads are ideal for targeting users actively searching for specific keywords or phrases on Google. These ads align with high user intent, as they appear directly in search results, increasing the chances of conversion.
  2. Display Ads: Display ads, on the other hand, are more suitable for creating brand awareness and targeting passive audiences. These ads match with broader user intent and can be shown on various websites and apps, reaching a wider audience.
  3. Conversion Rate: Search ads generally have a higher conversion rate due to their relevance to user search queries, while display ads focus more on building brand awareness and may have a lower conversion rate.
  4. Cost per Click: The cost per click for search ads is typically higher than display ads due to the higher intent of the audience.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Difference Between Google Search Ads and Google Display Ads?

The difference between Google search ads and display ads lies in their targeting options, ad formats, user intent, click-through rates, cost per click, ad placement, conversion rates, audience reach, ad visibility, and ad performance metrics.

What Is the Difference Between Google Ads and GDN?

The difference between Google Ads and the Google Display Network (GDN) lies in their targeting options, ad format variations, audience reach, ad placement differences, click-through rates, cost per click variations, conversion rates, ad campaign objectives, keyword targeting versus interest targeting, and ad visibility and impressions.

What Is the Difference Between Google Display Ads and Google Discovery Ads?

The difference between Google Display Ads and Google Discovery Ads lies in their targeting options, ad formats, placement options, user intent, ad visibility, cost per click, reach and audience size, performance tracking, ad customization, and conversion rates.

What Is a Benefit of Display Advertising Over Search Advertising?

Display advertising offers several benefits over search advertising, including targeting options, visual appeal, increased brand awareness, and a larger reach. It also provides creative flexibility, engaging the audience, retargeting opportunities, and a cost-effective solution for enhanced storytelling and effective product launches.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Google Search Ads and Display Ads are two distinct types of online advertisements offered by Google.

Search Ads are pull advertisements that appear when users search for specific keywords, while Display Ads are push advertisements that appear based on targeting parameters.

Both ad types serve different purposes and are suitable for different marketing objectives.

It is crucial for advertisers to understand the differences between Search Ads and Display Ads in order to effectively reach their target audience and achieve their advertising goals.