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What are the Google Search and Display Networks?

by: Tim Richardson

on: 19th October, 2015

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With the ever changing face of Google and the services they offer, it can be difficult to keep track of all the changes and additions they make, hopefully this article should help clear a bit of that up for you in the marketing world of Google Search and Display Networks.

Now you might be saying to yourself, “I am looking to start advertising with Google, but I am not sure what the difference is between their display and search networks, which one will best suit my needs?” well, this should give you a better idea of what each one is and the benefits you will find using them.

What is the Google Search Network?

The Google Search Network is a form of text ads, that are displayed next to the Google search results. These ads work based on the searches that are made, for example:

Let’s say that someone searches “high definition TV”, the ads that show up are targeting that phrase.

The Google search network adverts

Image source: https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/1722047?hl=en-GB

When should I use the Search Network?

The Google Search Network is best used if you want your ads to display at the point when people are searching, based on what is being searched.

It can be very useful if you are looking to get traffic to your website for a keyword or phrase which you do not currently rank for organically, for example:

Let’s use take the previous example, someone has searched for “high definition TV”, now you have a wide variety of high definition TV’s available, but do not rank very well organically (you’re not on the first page of the search results), while you are still working on increasing your organic ranking, you can have an ad appear for the ‘search term’ instantly.

If you are looking to increase your ‘real estate’ in the search results, let’s say you organically rank on the first page for the term “high definition TV”, would you still pay to have an ad displayed? Yes, of course!

Everyone will search differently, some people will first look at organic search results, some will first look at the ads, and if you do not have one showing there, that could be a lost sale, so by having an ad, you will increase the amount of ‘real estate’ you have on the page, for that search.

What is the Google Display Network?

The Google Display Network is made up text, image, rich media or video ads that can display on over millions websites and apps.

These ads work slightly differently to the search network, they do still display from the keywords and phrases you choose, but they can also display based on websites of your choosing, websites matching these topics or the audience parameters you choose, so let us take a quick look at each of these:

  • Keywords and phrases – your ads will only display on websites matching the keywords and phrases you have chosen.
  • Websites – you choose which websites your ads to display on.
  • Topic – your ads will display on websites that match the topics you have chosen.
  • Audience – you can choose to display your ads to a specific gender, certain age range, or people who have visited your website before.

Google display network ad examples

Image source: https://www.google.co.uk/ads/displaynetwork/

When should I use the Display Network?

The Google Display Network will be useful for you if you are wanting to reach customers at different stages of the buying cycle, for example:

You sell DVD’s on your website, you could get your ads to display on film blog and review websites.

Promoting a brand; you are a record label, with a new band who have just released their first song, that you are looking to increase awareness of, you could have a video ad display of their song on music websites and blog’s.

It can be very useful for bringing customers back to your website that left, like myself; I have found an item on a website before, which I then decided I would come back to look at later, a few days later, I have forgotten which website it was, and while trying to find it again, I notice an ad come up for the website, and presto, I am back on and purchasing the it.

So now you have an idea about the Google Search and Display Networks, and have a better understanding of which one will best suit you, but some of you might be asking yourselves, what happens if I want to use both? That is no problem, you are not restricted to one or the other you can choose to display your ads on both networks.

Take a look at our Pay Per Click marketing services, and if need help with optimising your Google ad campaigns, give us a call on 01952 897444 or contact us here.

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