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A Beginner’s Guide to Display Ads vs Search Ads

By 12 July 2021No Comments

Online advertising is a world of its own with countless targeting options, ad formats, and strategies to reach the right audience at the right time. Display ads and search ads are among the most effective and widely used ads today. How do you know which one will help you reach your company’s goals? When should you use one or the other? Keep reading to discover all the advantages display ads and search ads can offer your business both by themselves and together.

What’s the Difference Between Display Ads and Search Ads?

First, let’s define each type of ad. Display ads operate inside the Google Display Network, a collection of websites where ads can appear. These ads can be displayed across a wide variety of sites to many users. This method of advertising allows you to introduce your ad to the world so people who aren’t even looking for your product or service can see it. Rather than concentrating on user’s search intent, display ads are intended to increase brand awareness and exposure. They can come in various formats as well, including video ads, apps, email inboxes, banner ads on websites, and simple text ads.

Search ads, on the other hand, work a bit differently. Oftentimes, you’ll also hear these referred to as “pay-per-click ads,” or “PPC.” In this paid advertising strategy, companies zero in on search intent and bid on keywords and phrases that their target audience is using. Search ads can increase your ranking in Google’s search results when customers are searching for certain products or services. These text ads appear above the organic search results with an “Ad” symbol beside them; however, they look very similar to non-paid search results, which can make it hard for people to distinguish between the paid aid and organic listing.

When Should You Use Display Ads?

Did you know that Google Display Ads display on more than three million websites and over 650,000 apps? They even show up on Gmail and YouTube for added exposure. If your company needs to boost brand awareness on a smaller budget, you can easily use display ads to get your product or service in front of a large number of people without spending boatloads of money. The Google Display Network reaches far and wide, so you’re sure to enjoy a substantial boost in traffic. As people get more and more familiar with your brand, it may spark some interest in what you have to offer, leading to a purchase. Display ads can also feature images, so if you have a beautiful product to showcase, this route could be the best for you.

Benefits of Display Ads

  • Offer a visually appealing design to attract attention
  • Increase brand awareness and online visibility through a wide reach across the Google Display Network
  • Provide specific targeting capabilities to maximize your ad dollars
  • Feature retargeting to encourage conversions
  • Allow easy tracking and measurement of performance

When Should You Use Search Ads?

In contrast, if your company wants to run a conversion campaign, but you have a smaller budget, search ads may be the right solution for you. Search ads can offer a higher chance of conversion and generate leads at a low cost, as you’re targeting the audience based on the keywords they are entering. You also may want to give search ads a try if you’re not seeing the results you want with organic search results. Implementing search ads can heighten your reach and improve your ranking. In addition, businesses who have specific or timely products or services (such as lawyers, doctors, restoration specialists, etc.) should also be using a paid search campaign to attract customers.

You may find one of our latest blog articles helpful when you’re ready to start creating your pay-per-click (PPC) search ads: “Your Pay Per Click (PPC) Checklist For Google Ads.”

Benefits of Search Ads

  • Offer unobtrusive advertising in search results that appeal to potential customers
  • Focus on user search intent to obtain conversions and generate leads
  • Give companies with urgent products or services a way to successfully advertise
  • Lets businesses with poor organic traffic rank higher in search results
  • Can be used with a small ad budget

Display Ads Tips & Tricks

Display ads are an excellent way to connect with different audiences and showcase your products and services to gain interest. Remember these helpful tips as you dive into the initial stages of developing your display ads:

Make sure to use high-quality images

You don’t want your first impression on a potential customer to be a blurry, pixilated image. It looks unprofessional and unattractive. Google does not approve of any images that are skewed, upside-down, blurry, have a border, are color-inverted, or that use too many filters.

Focus on using the proper target settings for your audience

Don’t waste time and money targeting the wrong groups of people. For example, it doesn’t make sense to target coffee drinkers in Los Angeles, California if you’re a locally-based coffeehouse in Dallas, Texas. Make sure you are introducing your ads to users who will actually be interested in your products and services and who can easily purchase them. Go beyond simple demographics like gender, age, and location, and make sure to take advantage of the incredible targeting capabilities Google offers, such as interest and personalized audiences.

Use remarketing as much as possible

There is remarkable power in remarketing, which is a marketing strategy that allows you to show your ad to the same interested people more than one time. Using this specific tactic in your search ad campaign can improve the odds of converting a lead into a customer, as your brand remains top-of-mind.

Engage your audience with an appealing design

The graphics, colors, and images you employ in your ad must entice your audience. Whatever you choose represents your company, so remember to put your best foot forward with a cohesive design. Also, be sure to include a call-to-action with an easy-to-see button to encourage viewers to take action.

If you’re still struggling to figure out the best way to set up your ads, we recommend reviewing the following article from Google Ads Help, “Display Ads: A Creative Best Practices Guide.

Search Ads Tips & Tricks

Search ads are simple and easy to set up and can quickly allow you to boost sales, capture leads, and drive more traffic to your website. Here are a few key things to keep in mind when creating yours:

Set up an accompanying email or social media campaign to nurture leads

Usually, a simple search ad campaign is not enough to achieve your goals. The art of marketing and advertising incorporates a variety of tactics and strategies, often pairing a few together, testing the results, and constantly tweaking and making improvements. Don’t just stop at search ads; take your campaign to the next level and nurture your leads by sending them targeted emails or connecting with them on social media.

Add a variety of relevant keywords and phrases

With search ads, you need to know what your audience is searching for. That’s why keywords are so critical. Don’t underestimate the effectiveness of a solid keyword list. Make sure to do your research and build your keyword base around your products, services, location, and other categories of your company. Try using trusted keyword tools such as Google’s Keyword Planner, Moz Keyword Explorer, or SEMRush.

Check out this article to learn more about keyword research: “7 Google Tools to Use When Conducting Keyword Research Today.”

Use ad extensions

Ad extensions are a popular and highly successful way to gain customers faster and improve your click-through rate. These extensions are attached to a search ad and often appear as a call button, link, address, or other type of information that would be useful to the customer. Google suggests using at least four extensions in your search campaign for the best results, as ads with extensions often get noticed more than those without them.

Switch up your ad messaging

It’s okay to switch things up with your headlines and descriptions. You might not be able to keep your audience’s attention with the same ad, as some users have different preferences. You might be able to pique the interest of one person with one catchy headline, but another person may not care too much for it. Because of this, you should use different ad variations and experiment with different creative messages. Remember that people are unique, so your ads should be too! When you use variations of the same ad, you can learn a lot about your audience and improve the ad’s performance.

Professional Digital Advertising That Works

Every company needs an advertising strategy that gets results. We understand how intimidating the marketing realm can be, especially when Google’s policies and best practices are always changing. Fortunately, you don’t have to do manage your ads alone. Higher Ranking will partner with your company to promote your brand and grow your business through our top-rated display advertising and paid search management services.

Our talented team of advertising specialists will offer strategic development, in-depth audience analysis, effective conversion optimisation, and retargeting to boost your display advertising campaign. Higher Ranking’s pay-per-click experts will increase your online visibility and reach through focused campaign strategy, monitoring, tracking, and reporting.

Whether you want to focus on display ads, improve your search ads, or utilize both simultaneously, Higher Ranking is on your side. Contact us today to start generating real returns for your business. 03 9399 1469