Digital advertising is exceptionally diverse. There are thousands of formats to choose from and various ways to reach users.
Display and search ads are just two examples of advertising formats. Both are heavy hitters when it comes to online advertising. In fact, they are known to be the top best choices of advertisers when it comes to marketing.

But wait… Just because they are popular does not mean they are easy to use. Maximizing your marketing efforts takes a bit of knowing more about how to utilize these choices to get the best ROI.

So today let’s a little more about display ads and search ads.

In this article, you will find the answers to questions like – which advertising format is the best for driving sales? Is it wise to use both formats at the same time? How do I know if the format actually worked for me?

Search Advertising – How does it work?

Search advertising is a marketing technique that displays ads in search engines when someone searches for a related keyword. It is also known as sponsored ads, pay-per-click advertising, or cost-per-click marketing.

If you are looking for the best way to reach your target audience through search engines, you would probably go for this one. Just think of it like the old Yellow Pages.

Everyday thousands of people from different countries use Google to search for products. Whenever someone searches for a specific product, Google displays both organic and sponsored results. But if your business is new, your website would most likely fall on the tenth page – or worst never at all.

By using paid search advertising, you let Google know more about your site and allow it to appear within the top ten results of the Google Search Engine Results Page (SERP). This way you can monopolize a portion of your target audience who leverage big search engines like Google.

Say you own a hotel and you want it seen by tourists who want to visit your city in the summer. You know that many people would search for budget hotels during this season. So you bid for some related keywords through Google Adwords like “cheap hotels in Malibu” or “Malibu cheap hotels.”
When someone searches for the same keywords, your ad will appear in the sponsored section of the search results page. Normally, Google will place an “Ad” icon before its title to indicate that it is a sponsored result. If you have a captivating title and good Meta Description, people will eventually click on your ad and see your site.

The process is actually very simple, isn’t it?

So now that you have an idea of how it works, let’s see if it is a good for you. Here are some hints that tell whether search advertising is the best choice for your business.

You are operating on a limited budget

Search advertising is good for business start-ups operating in a low budget mainly because you can customize it depending on how much you can afford. Google advertising cost is anywhere between $0.25 and $10 per click – the highest is $50 which will help you reach 400 to 500 people in just a couple of weeks. It brings immediate traffic to your site in no time thereby improving your SEO efforts without causing too much money.

You have poor SEO performance

Search advertising helps you bring people straight to your product. It produces fast result without having to focus too much on content optimization, which can take most of your time. As a bonus, you will get more qualified leads than you can when simply relying on organic SEO.

You want to market your product locally

Search advertising is very efficient for local marketers who want to sell their products within close proximity. For example, when consumers search for nearby products and services, they will see your ad and be able to click on it for directions to your location.

Your company focuses on urgent services

Search advertising is very useful for business that provides urgent businesses like plumbing, handymen, electricians, insurance, or tire services. Nowadays, almost 80 percent of the population rely on Google to search for immediate services. With this strategy, you can set an advertisement from time to time and be more visible to people who need your services.

Pros and Cons of Search Advertising

Like many other forms of advertising, search advertising has its own advantages and disadvantages. Knowing three more of them will help you make a smarter decision whether the Search Network is really for you.

Search advertising pros:

You only pay when someone clicks on your ad which makes it truly budget-friendly.

It allows you to reach a more specific audience by deciding on how and when your ad should appear in search results page. For example, you can choose to show your ad three times a week within your area and only to people who access Google using their mobile devices. You can also decide on other elements like time of the day, language, and countries.

It gives you an edge to compete with high ranking brands like Lululemon or Nike which have high search level and competition in Google Search Engine.

Search advertising cons:

The ad slots on search engine results page are limited. This means there might be other companies who are willing to put up a big budget just to get to the first page of Google search results page.

The “Ad” icon is slightly irritating. Oftentimes, people ignore advertisements without looking at the content simply because they are “advertisements.”

Since it is text-based it is not highly engaging. It lacks visual elements that might reel more people into your site.

Display Advertising – How does it work?

Display advertising is a type of advertising format that comes in different forms like banner ads, videos, and many more. Unlike search ads, it relies more on images and videos which makes it more interesting.

On a flip side, display ads function differently from its text-based counterpart because they are not displayed on Google Search Engine Results. They appear on other places like websites, Gmail, and YouTube and usually come with interactive displays to attract users.

Display advertising is a great tool if you want to create brand awareness or re-engage visitors. Say you are selling some knitted scarves through your own e-commerce website. Any users may add some of your scarves to their cart but leave without purchasing it. So you will want to advertise exactly what the user placed in her cart to get to buy the product or to inform some other customers about a sale you’re doing. All you need is a click-worthy photo or video that will be displayed in targeted places.

So how do you know if this format is right for you? The following are some signs that tell whether it is the best option for your business.

You want to promote your brand

Display advertising is a great option if you want audience to easily spot your brand and create a good impression. Since it displays your product in reputable websites, it allows more audience to see your product and not just limit to people who search through Google.

You want to boost your sales the fastest way possible

If you haven’t made some sales for quite a while, display advertising is the fastest way to gain traffic to your site. Since display advertising focuses more on the visual appeal, it can easily spark interests among buyers. A photo ad, for example, can gain 200 to 500 clicks within five to six hours. All you need is a good photo and enticing call-to-action. On the other hand, if you are having a holiday sale, you can leverage a banner ad to visually attract your audience.

You are selling products that are visually appealing

Display advertising is ideal for products you know will attract audience without need of texts. For example stuff like apparels, accessories, and home decors need more visual demonstration than text explanation.

If you have noticed, most of display ads are placed on relevant places. Say you’re advertising a hand-made set of accessories. Instead of having it displayed on the search engine results page, which is very general, the Google Display Network will make it appear on social media and blogs.

Your business is mainly based online (e-commerce)

Display advertising is best for businesses such as retail which need more visual demonstration than text-based campaign. If you have an online business, this type of ad will definitely work for you.

Pros and Cons of Display Advertising

There are many things to like about display advertising aside from the fact that it is the most entertaining ad format. Still, it doesn’t come without its own limitations. Here some ups and downs of display advertising that you need to know before starting a campaign.

Display advertising pros:

Since the display advertising network is huge, you’re not limited to the search results page. Your ad can be seen on websites, forums, and blogs that are relative to your business.

It has special targeting options that are not available in search ads. For example, it allows you to re-target audience or customize your ad to reach a specific demographic like age or gender.

It tracks a user’s behavior in order to put the right ad at the right place for the right person.

Display advertising pros:

It has a lower click-through rate (CTR). Sometimes the people who see your ad are not really looking for your products. Whereas in search ads, your ad only appears when people actively search for products that are similar to what you are selling.

Users can block your ads. Although display ads can bring high impression to your products, users can make use of some ad blocking tools to stop seeing them.

It is not very effective for targeting mobile users. Mobile screens are smaller compared to PC, which means users will be more interested on PPC ads than banner ads. If you want to target mobile users, search ads would be better at handling this.

The take away

When you’re starting a new campaign, it’s not always easy to identify which advertising format to use. But sometimes, you don’t have to choose. You can utilize both platforms to maximize your potential ROI. When you use both at the same time, it means you are reaching different customers across a variety of networks in one time, which may be a huge payoff for you in the end.

I hope this article has enhanced your understanding between search ads and display ads. Remember, not all campaigns are created equal. It is up to you to choose which you think can drive a significant growth for your brand.

Got further questions? Comment below!