Google AdWords Campaign Types – Search vs Display Network

So which type of campaign should you use for your business?

Before we get into it…

Rule number 1 –  Create a search network campaign OR a display network campaign.

You can use both…

But NOT in the same campaign.

The requirements of each are very different and if you create a search and display network campaign, you’ll most likely optimise for one and not the other…

And your results will inevitably suffer.

So let’s take a look at these two and see what the benefits of each are?

Search Network

The search network is the part of Google AdWords that most people would recognise.

These ads are shown at the top of a Google search results page.

Until a couple of weeks ago they were also shown down the right hand side of the search results page, but Google has scrapped those and added a 4th at the top.

Not great news for SEO providers…

Anyway, here’s a screenshot:

Google AdWords campaign types

So what’s great about the search network?

Well, it’s the easiest way to put your company in front of the people that are most interested in your products and services.

And this is no small thing.

It’s obviously much easier to sell to those people.

In fact, you don’t really need to sell at all…

You just need to make sure they find you and not one of your competitors.

If you provide a product or service that people search for (most of you) then…

I would argue its impossible to generate higher quality traffic than through Google AdWords’ search network.

Google have also made it very easy to include some really useful information in their search network ads.

Including your phone number and physical address is particularly valuable if you’re a brick and mortar business.

But unfortunately some (often not many!) of your competitors are also aware that Google AdWords search traffic is fantastic…

And there are only 4 ads at the top of a Google search results page.

Which means, in a lot of markets, the CPC (cost-per-click) has been bid up quite high.

If you have a reasonable lifetime customer value this shouldn’t be a problem…

But if you’re selling a £25 product with no up-sells, then you’re going to struggle to cover the cost of those clicks.

As I mentioned, there are also only 4 places for ads…

If you sell your products or services nationally or even internationally, it’s going to be very expensive to outbid your competition.

But if you operate locally, even in very competitive markets like London, that competition is significantly reduced.

And you’ll find it much easier to find a foothold.

There are exceptions to every rule but for the most part…

Local service businesses and high end / bespoke product businesses want to focus on the search network.

(NOTE: Want to learn cutting edge Facebook advertising campaigns that will help you generate leads and sales for your business? Click here to watch the recorded webinar: 5 Steps To Creating A Profitable Facebook Advertising Campaign)

Profitable Facebook advertising campaign

Display Network 

I can guarantee you’ve seen Google AdWords display network ads.

They’re all over the Internet, but you may not have realised that’s what they were.

Here’s a screenshot:

Google AdWords campaign types

Here we can see 2 display network ads.

  • Want to become certified as a paid traffic specialist?
  • How much do you need to retire?

The display network is all about interruption advertising. It’s very different from the search network.

Here, we’re not pairing people who are looking for something…

With what they’re looking for.

We’re trying to distract them from whatever they were doing and come take a look at our products and services.

Display network ads come in a variety of forms, but image ads, like the examples, are the most common.

So why use the display network?

Firstly, if no one (or very few people) are searching for your product or service, then you really don’t have a choice.

Also, with the display network, your ads can be shown all over the Internet so there is far more room for you if you’re in a particularly competitive market.

And that also means you can expect a cheaper cost per click.

But don’t expect the quality of traffic to be as high.

Display network advertising generates a lot of curiosity clicks.

With a great image or attention grabbing text, you’ll entice people to check you out…

But you have to really sell them on your product or service once they get to your website.

With display network advertising you also have more space to play with.

As you can see from our examples, you can fit a lot more information into a display network ad.

Which is great if you offer something not very well known, or that needs a bit of explaining.

Once again, there are tons of exceptions but the businesses that want to focus on the display network are…

E-commerce / product based and highly specialised service providers.

What About Both?

So what do you do if you tick the boxes for both?

If it’s applicable to your business, I would start with the search network…

And work on that campaign until it’s profitable, before starting a display network campaign.

It’s less complicated (it’s still part of Google AdWords so it’s still pretty complex) and it’s not as easy to make costly mistakes.

So there it is.

Questions? Comments? Let’s talk about them in the comments section below.

(NOTE: Want to learn cutting edge Facebook advertising campaigns that will help you generate leads and sales for your business? Click here to watch the recorded webinar: 5 Steps To Creating A Profitable Facebook Advertising Campaign)

Profitable Facebook advertising campaign

About The Author

Ben Heath

Ben Heath is a Facebook advertising expert, writer and the Founder of Lead Guru. Alongside creating content for our online community, he works closely with our clients to develop and implement Facebook advertising strategies that deliver industry leading ROIs.

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