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 of using Google Search Network or Google Display Network. 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?

When you think of Google Ads, you probably think of an ad at the top of a user’s search results, at the top of Google’s main page. Google Search Ads are triggered by specific keywords that a user types into Google and will appear if the search query matches one of the 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 forms of PPC advertising.

Google Search Network campaigns are usually part of digital marketing strategies where the objective is lead generation as they are highly effective, and can often 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. Learn more about Digital Marketing strategy in our SEO vs. PPC post.

Google Display Network 101

What is Google Display Network?

The Google Display network is made up of hundreds of thousands of partner websites across the internet. Ads on the Google Display Network consist of users (marketer) defined images, headlines and descriptions being presented on different partner websites. 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 often part of digital marketing strategies where remarketing is a key element for lead generation. This is a highly effective approach as you can target users who have already visited your website, for example. Google’s Display Network can also be used to increase brand awareness, as your ads have the opportunity to be presented across the near 2 million websites which are part of the Display Network.

Google Search Vs Google Display: Choosing the right Google network

What does Google Search Network look like?

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 understand the differences between the two and what they can actually help you achieve before you settle on one and start spending your much-needed marketing budget. So, which should you pick?

The Google Search Network is typically more effective in targeting people who are at the bottom of the marketing 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 that they 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.

The Marketing Funnel

The Google Display Network is best used to target customers at the top of the funnel, to generate and/or maintain 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 phase 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 them at the forefront of your targets’ minds.

Are you interested in devising a marketing strategy which incorporates the benefits of multiple channels? Then learn more about multi-channel marketing strategies.

Anything else I need to know?

By now you should understand the differences between the Google Search Network and Google Display Network, and which will work best for your digital marketing strategy and business objectives.

It’s worth noting that there is an option within Goolge Ads called ‘Display Expansion’, formerly ‘Search Network with Display Select’. This allows advertisers to display text ads on both networks in a hybrid mode. While this sounds good and seems like it may reduce admin time, we highly recommend managing both networks through separate campaigns. This is because it will enable you to target your audiences in different ways, and therefore help you reach the right customers at the right moment of their journey through the marketing funnel. This in turn will mean you can properly utilise your marketing budget to gain the most actionable business results.

Get access to more of our digital marketing tips today in our post: Digital Marketing Strategy Tips.

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.

Alternatively, for more industry news and exclusive tips head to the DG blog or sign up for our monthly newsletter.

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