Display or Search?

How to pick the right google ads type for your marketing objectives.

Google is a bottomless pit of website traffic. Every second, there are 2.3 million searches on Google (Wordstream), making it an extremely effective platform to advertise your service offerings. But how do we, as brands, produce Google ad campaigns that generate results that will secure our growth aspirations?

In this blog, you’ll learn what Google ads are, how Display and Search ads work, and why you should set up your own Google Ads campaign!

What are Google Ads?

Google Ads are sponsored ads that appear when you browse the web. Your campaign goal will determine the format in which your ads will be shown on Google’s search engine results pages (SERP). There are multiple ad formats to choose from, but the two formats that are most commonly used are search ads and display ads. Search ads appear when users search for a specific search term that matches an ad’s keyword. Display ads are a creative ad format that are shown to the user in a GIF, video or image, and appear across a network of more than 2 million sites.

One of the main differences between search and display ads are that search ads are only displayed when the user actively searches for a product, service or topic on Google. This means that the user has a level of intent. Display ads are shown to users on websites, even if they have not searched for related concepts. With this in mind, search ads usually generate a higher click through rate (CTR), but display ads usually reach more people.

Implementing Display Ads for Brand Awareness

When utilising Google ads, it’s important to think about what your objective is. Display ads get matched to content related to your business or your customer’s interests. They reach 90% of internet users making them a good choice if you campaign objective is to reach a wide audience and generate brand awareness. Though display ads are shown across many different websites, to many different users, the targeting options allow you to strategically show your message to users at the right place and the right time. Using audience profiles, based on user data collected by Google, you can ensure that you are connecting with users that represent meaningful opportunities.

For example, let’s say you own an IT security company and you want to raise awareness of a new service you offer which defends IT systems against a new kind of cyber threat. Your goal and message may be to inform IT managers that there is a new virus attacking business IT infrastructure and systems. For an IT manager, if the threat is brand new, they’re unlikely to know about it, therefore they aren’t actively searching directly for a solution on Google, which means they aren’t triggering your search ads. So, what can you do to raise awareness on this new threat and present your brand as a solution?

Through research, we know that your target audience, IT managers, will have interacted with a IT based magazine or website, or have shown interest in innovative tech in a bid to stay up-to-date with the industry. Google collects this data and provides you with the opportunity to target such people and publish your ads on websites that match your audience’s interests and previous online activity and interaction. By placing your ad in hangout locations, like Infosec and Top Business Tech (TBT), your company has the highest chance of reaching a relevant audience.

Some of them will click through and read more, but most importantly, relevant users are now exposed to your brand, your message and have entered the ‘awareness’ phase of their purchasing journey.

Utilising Search Ads to Convert

Your display ads have served their purpose of building awareness, but your next job is to serve more information when your relevant audience conduct research on the topic. This is where search ads come in. With a search campaign, you can make sure potential customers consider your products and take action. To do this, you must perform keyword research and think about the types of questions IT managers would type into Google, then add these terms as keywords. This will ensure your ads appear when users type in keywords that match your ads’ content.

Using keyword insertion, you are able to increase the likeliness of a relevant click. The keyword insertion feature gives the perception that the your website is exactly what the user is looking for.

By following these methods, you’re likely to increase the amount of exposure and traffic your ads get. By engaging users before they are aware of the problem, you have the opportunity to take the market away from competitors before they even get the chance to present their brand.

Using a combination of both search and display ads to target users at different stage sin their purchase journey you will most likely get better results than you would from doing either one alone.

You’re able to create a ‘fully-funnelled’ campaign that ensures you are persuading an audience that is most valuable to you in a way that is efficient for your budget and business.

Some of them will click through and read more, but most importantly those who receive an impression of the Ad are now exposed to your brand and message and are aware of a problem.  This awareness and strategic ad placement planning means that IT managers are now aware of the problem, your company and the solution and are at some point in the future to conduct research into the topic.

This is where Search comes into play. For the IT company, their display ad have served the purpose of building awareness, their next job it to convince and hook IT managers into conducting their research with them when the time is right. They then create a search campaign, with keywords that reflect the nature of the IT managers searches and thoughts at the time of consideration. To do this, the think about the types of questions IT managers will make on Google the IT company then create adverts that answer those burning questions or match the questions. Stats and facts at this stage work best.  Using keyword insertion, they’re able to increase the likeliness of a relevant click, reflecting back exactly what the user is searching for, giving the perception that the website is exactly what the user is looking for. (This can be achieved be typing { which will display the option for a keyword insertion.)

By following these methods, you’re likely to increase the amount of exposure and traffic your ads get. By engaging early before a user knows they even have a problem, just by being clever about how we use each ad type and where and how it is displayed, you have the opportunity to take the market away from competitors before they even get the chance to tell them about their business.

This does 2 things for a business. 1 increases the relevancy of traffic. Allowing the IT company to create a custom audience which includes users who clicked onto the display ads. 2. Removes competition keeping costs lower.

By using common sense to think about where and how ads work, you can create a strategy that separates you from the chaff. By using display ads for building awareness, you’re able to display in places where your target audience are hanging out. Then, by using segments and a search strategy which takes into consideration your display ad and audiences’ requirements, you’re able to create a full funnelled campaign that ensures is persuading an audience that is most valuable to you in a way that is efficient for your budget and business.

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