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Be visible to your target audience with the search network and display network

There’s a clear distinction between Google’s search network and display network, and in my opinion, it’s crucial that you know the difference. You’ll need to know this in order to find the ad type that fits your needs the best.

In this blog post, I’ll go through the main differences between the search network and the display network. It will give you a better impression of the two types of ads, and you’ll be equipped to choose the type of ad that will benefit your business the most.

The search network

The search network is made up of Google’s search engine and a selection of Google’s search partners. It’s a group of search-related websites and apps where your ads can be shown.

When we talk about Google Ads, the search network is the primary network. In short, the search network matches up search words from the ads with the users Google searches. They will show the most relevant ads on top of the search results.

By using the search network you can get your ads shown at the very top of the page - above the organic results. And who wouldn’t want that? Even though the text ads are small and with a short text you’ll still be able to lure in customers with a lot of information about your products or services.

It’s all about writing an ad text that stands out and sparks an interest. Even if the text space is limited, you can easily find room to include important information such as phone number, discounts, offers, opening hours, and much more. With a good ad text and targeting, you can achieve great results.

The search network as display ads

Besides the search network, Google also has the display network. Here, your ads will be shown on websites owned by others. The display network is very different from the search network as it consists of more than two million websites, apps, and videos where your ads can be shown. Your ads will typically be pictures or dynamic ads on the top or the sides of the website/app.

When using the display network, you can select which websites to be shown on (called “placement targeting”) or search words that specify what context to show your ads in (called “contextual targeting).

The display network uses push marketing, meaning that the users are not doing anything actively to see your ads. It works as a banner ad and usually has more views but fewer clicks than the search network.

How to run campaigns in the search and display network

You shouldn’t run the same campaign in both networks. This will typically result in the display network pulling down the performance numbers for the campaign. Instead, I recommend that you split your campaign into two - one for the search network and one for the display network. The two types of ads are evaluated based on very different criteria.

Generally, both the search and display networks are great for most industries. However, I do recommend using the display network to supplement existing campaigns in the search network. The display network works well for branding campaigns, and not so well for ads on specific products.

In both networks, you pay per click (PPC), which means that you pay every time someone clicks on your ad and is sent to your website. The price per click varies. Generally, the bigger the turnover and profit per sale, the more expensive the click.

Running ads in the search and display networks are great because: - You can choose when, where, and how your ads should be shown - You can choose your budget and thereby limit your investment in each ad type - You always have the ability to start, pause, or stop an ad.

How to get started with the search network

  1. Make a plan for what you want to achieve with your text ads.
  2. Make a keyword analysis so you know which search words to use.
  3. Create a campaign. It’s best to name the campaign based on the ads groups you want to use in this campaign (e.g. one for shoes, one for clothes, and one for accessories).
  4. Group your search words. Create an ad group and place search word related to the same landing page here.
  5. Write the text for the ads. You should write at least three different ads for each search word. The search word should be included in one headline and in the description.
  6. Proofread, check the grouping, and make sure you have no warnings.
  7. Send in your campaigns, ad groups, ads, and search words.

Read more on how to get started with the display network in this post.

Picture of Andreas Lang
Guest blogger
Andreas works as Head of Search at Search Partners. Search Partners is a specialised search marketing agency. Through a goal-oriented focus on creating lasting growth, better return, and better turnover, it provides customers with better solutions. With years of experience as well as certification in both SEO and Google Ads, your business is guaranteed results.
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