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Search Network or Display Network? Which should you choose for your Google AdWords Campaigns?

By Rory Witt    |    July 17, 2015

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Google AdWords has three main options when choosing a network where your ad can appear and they target users in completely different ways.

  • “Search Network only”
  • “Display Network only”
  • “Search Network with Display Select”

Let’s look at the table comparing the Google Search Network and Google Display Network.

Search Network Display Network
Network Google searchGoogle sites (Maps, Shopping etc.)
Search partners (aol.com, ask.com, etc.)
Google searchSpecific Google websites (Google Finance, Gmail, Blogger, YouTube)
Google’s partner websites
Mobile sites
Apps
Ad Format Text TextImage
Video
Rich Media
Special Features Location targetingBidding and budget settings
Ad extensions (phone number, URL, location, or social link)
Language targeting
Search Network’s features+Special targeting (operating systems, device, carriers, etc.)
+Remarketing campaign
+Managed placements (show your ad on specific webpages, ability to block ads from sites that are not relevant)
+Parked domain site
+Errors program

Search Network is the most common and well-known, your ads will be shown at Google Search. There is also an option “search partners” ”“ it will extend your targeting showing your ads at other search engines, such as aol.com, ask.com, etc. The ads will be shown when your client search for the specific keyword, that you set for your campaign.

Although the Display Network reaches more people, usually the quality of the traffic is not as high. Your ads will be shown not just when someone types your keyword, but also on the related searches. For example, if I have a service which sends fresh food to your home everyday, I would use a keyword like gourmet meal recipes. Now when a recipe website has advertising space, “contextually” Google will realize that the content and text of the website deals with gourmet meal recipes and show my ad on the side.

It is a good way to use the Display Network if you want to increase your branding awareness of the product or service and create customer loyalty. It has good features that help to increase the loyalty of brand. On the Display Network most of the ads are visual (banners) and they are rarely displayed on Google, these are mostly shown on third party sites. Note, that there are also no Match Types on Display, only Broad.

There is also a newly option – “Search Network with Display Select”. It is a combination of both networks above. Your ads will appear when client searches for terms that match your keywords. They can also appear on relevant pages across the web on the Google Display Network.

So what network should you choose for your product or service?

Let’s look at the examples below.

Example A: There is a new launched company “Yellow Bracelet”. The client wants to reach the maximum audience, in order to get people talking about it. The main goal is to build awareness, so then everyone wants to get their yellow bracelet.

What search network would you choose in this case?

Display Network would be the best option, so the ads will appear not only when the customer types ”“ buy a bracelet, but also for the keywords like ”“ best present for girl, stylish hairpin, etc. The ads will appear in different formats, like image or video on the partner sites, relating to fashion, clothes and jewellery. Using different features of Display Network we can set the remarketing campaign and include specific websites, where we want “Yellow Bracelet” ads to appear.

 

Example B: A entrepreneurial college student offers a repair service for computers in San Diego. In this case his goal isn’t to get millions of fans and have the entire US talking about him. What he is really looking for a way to advertise to people in San Diego and offer to repair their computers, once they need it.

What network would you choose in this example?

Search Network will bring the exact customers, who are specifically looking for someone to help with the computers. We can set a special location and keywords, that will save budget and bring highly relevant clients.

 

Overall there is no strict advice what network to choose, it totally depends on your targeting goal that you want to achieve. Contact our Digital Strategist to get free consultation to find out what type would make your Ad Campaign more effective!

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