Google Search Network vs Google Display Network

Google Search Network vs Google Display Network: when to use them in your digital marketing strategy

If you are running Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns using Google Ads as part of your digital marketing strategy, you might have noticed that you’ll be given a choice using Google Search Network, Google Display Network, or both. But what are they, and when is the best time to use them?

We’ll start by saying that running your digital marketing PPC campaigns on both networks using one strategy is not advisable. But why? Let’s dive in and explain the differences between Google’s two networks to help you choose the right one for your digital marketing strategy.

Google Search Network 101

What is Google Search Network?


Google ads-search-network

When you think of Google Ads, you probably think of an ad at the top of a user search at the top of Google’s main page. The ads are triggered by keywords that a user types into Google and will appear if the search query matches one of your keywords. As ‘pay per click’ implies, you only pay if a user clicks on them. Running digital marketing campaigns on the Google Search Network like this is the most common and most well-known form of PPC advertising.

Google Search Network campaigns are usually part of digital marketing strategies where the objective is lead generation as they are a highly effective, and have a better conversion rate than other forms of advertising. A good example of this kind of campaign is using Google Search Network ads to address emergency issues that a user might be searching for, such as plumbers, locksmiths, electricians, tyre repair stations, etc.

Google Display Network 101

What is Google Display Network?


Google Display network

Google Display Networks consists of your images, banners being presented by different partner websites across the internet. Again, with these kinds of ads you will be charged by clicks and not by impressions, so your campaign will have the double benefit of both lead generation and brand awareness. Plus, these ads are usually cheaper than Google Search Network ads.

Google Display Network campaigns are usually part of digital marketing strategies where remarketing is a key element for lead generation. This is a highly effective approach as and you can target users who have already visited your website. Google Display Network can also be used to increase brand awareness, as your ads can be presented across the near 3 million websites which are part of the Display Network.

Google Search Vs Google Display: Choosing the right Google network

Google Networks

Deciding which network to use depends entirely on your chosen digital marketing strategy. Each network serves a different purpose, so it’s important that you can understand the differences between the two and what they can help you achieve before you settle on one. So which should you pick?

Google Search Network is more effective targeting people who are at the bottom of the funnel. This means they are actively searching for products or services. We would suggest using Google Search Network for campaigns that solve a problem for a customer, or give them an answer to a question might be searching for. In terms of your business objectives, these kinds of ads are best used when you’re looking to generate leads quickly and easily.


Google Display Networks are best used to target customers at the top of the funnel to generate brand awareness. Users who are targeted by Display Network ads are not in ‘shopping mode’ – they’re visiting a partner website when the ad is displayed. As the Display Network can help target people who have previously visited your site, it’s likely that these people will be in the research part of their journey, making it a powerful digital marketing strategy for remarketing campaigns. This means it’s a good idea to leverage Google Display Networks to create further awareness of your products or services and keep at the forefront of your targets’ minds.

Anything else I need to know?

By now you should probably understand the differences between Google Search Network and Google Display Network and which will work best for for your digital marketing strategy and objectives. As a side note, we should add that Google has made a recent addition to the Search Network – an option called ‘Search Network with Display Select’. This allows advertisers to display text ads on both networks in hybrid mode. That being said, we highly recommend managing both networks through separate campaigns to help you really target the customers you want at the right moment in the funnel to make the most of your budget.

If you are still unclear about the benefits of each network and which one suits best for your advertising needs, or you need help creating a digital marketing strategy for your business, speak to our team today and find out how we can help grow your business and deliver results through digital marketing.

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