Beginners Guide to choose between Search ads & Display ads
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Search ads vs display ads. Image credits - Anthony Martino

While planning a marketing campaign, a lot of us are confused between whether to go for Search ads or Display ads, many a times, we are not sure what will work out and we try to exploit both the options. However, that does more harm than good. If you’re outsourcing PPC management services, the agency will help you through it. However, if you’re running an ad campaign by yourself, here are the points that you need to consider.

In this post, we will take you through the pros and cons of Search ads & Display ads and how they perform for a marketing goal.

Display ads –

Display ads help create awareness to increase the demand. These are one of the best ways to create and raise awareness about a new brand, new service, or a new product. Display ads help companies to create brand recall and you can place them in the specific website or a blog that you want, which fits your target audience.

How Display ads are useful –

  1. Display ads do not depend on the search made by the users for your brand / product / service. They use algorithms to match demographics, buying patterns, search behaviour and present the ads. It is one of the best way to generate awareness.
  2. They are highly visual. And we don’t need to emphasize the importance of visuals again. Display ads are more creative, visually appealing that simple text ads. Display ads are considered one of the best visual marketing techniques on the internet.
  3. Display ads are important for brand recall. No wonder we see a lot of display ads even for the brands like Apple & Levi’s.

On the other hand, here’s what Search ads offer –

  1. First of all, search ads have a high click-through-rate compared to display ads. This is because in display ads, there’s no segmentation from the marketer’s side, they only rely on the search engine algorithms. Whereas search ads are strategically placed after research and market study.
  2. Search ads generate better leads in a lesser time compared to display ads. Because search ads are generally appear when the user already has a buying intention so the conversions are quicker.
  3. Great option for local businesses because they can target meticulously – specific locations and specific target groups. This is because when people generally look for a service online, they are looking for something that will help them quickly, so search ads perform well in this case.
  4. They have better ROI than display ads. A study has shown that ROI on Search ads in 300% more than the display ads.

How to choose between the two, if you must –

Search ads work differently than the display ads. Image - Pawel Janiak
Search ads work differently than the display ads. Image – Pawel Janiak
  1. Search Volume

As they say – Display ads are about push approach whereas Search ads take a pull approach.

That means, the viewers on your search ads are the ones who are already looking for the product (or a similar product) that you are advertising for. However, when people see a display ad, that is because of the algorithm that search engine has learned from their online behaviour.

To understand the common searches related to your product, service, or a brand, try using Google Trends and Adwords Planner. If the search volume is good, then the best thing to do is Search ads campaign. However, if the volume isn’t much, then you should go for display ads which will slowly help you to gain brand awareness.

  1. Budget

By now you must have understood that Display ads are majorly for the brand awareness purpose. So if you budget is limited and you are looking for faster results, you should go with Search Ads. Display ads need a bigger budget to build a brand image online. Also, display ads will not have as much ROI as search ads would.
Once you’ve started a search campaign and you are getting positive results, only then you should expand the budget for display ads campaign.

  1. Urgency factor

Urgent businesses are those which people generally go for when they are in absolute need for it. For example – Dentists, vets, hair dressers, laundry, dry-cleaners,  locksmiths, and so on.

If a person is browsing through a great article on a brainy blog, they won’t notice the display ad for your 24-hour laundry, however, they will quickly look for a dentist when they are in pain and the ads that pop up first will really be helpful for them. Now you get your answer. Also, remember that these services are searched from smartphones so design and plan the ads accordingly. Moreover, voice-search / hands-free searches are also increasing so your ads should be more responsive.

If you want to understand the effects of both the channels. You should try running both the campaigns. Once you see the results, you can decide which one to continue with.

Here’s a point to remember – Studies have shown that 27% of consumers search for a business after seeing their display ad, and there’s a 59% lift in conversion when users conducted a search related to a display ad.

In a nutshell, above are the few points that you should consider while choosing a marketing campaign. Depending on your PPC goals, you can choose either of this. Remember – A – B Testing is very important; especially if you’re doing it for the first time.

If you need more help planning or setting up a campaign, connect to us at or DM us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!


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