Display Ads vs Search Ads: The Key Differences for Your Business

While many people look at SEO in Saskatoon as link building and site optimization, that is not the whole story. Indeed, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is also an essential part of the mix of services that make any marketing strategy so effective. Today, we look at the biggest advertiser on the internet, Google.

Google divides their PPC advertising into two distinct platforms: display and search. Using SEO in Saskatoon to optimize the copy, images, intent and purpose of these two platforms can yield impressive results, but understanding them comes first. Today, we break down the differences between the two and show you how to best utilize each of them for your marketing efforts. Let’s get started!

What Are Google Search Ads?

Woman showing a blank mobile phone screen

Search ads are best simplified as the “inbound marketing” half of the pie. Like Saskatoon SEO, they rely on a user looking for a product or service. These are the ads that you’ll see at the top of your search results and often come exclusively as text ads. They may include interactive or dynamic content, like store hours, location information, product listings and so on. But, by and large, they are just there to deliver a few lines of messaging and some strong headlines.

How much text do you have to work with exactly? Three 30-character headlines and two 90-character descriptions. These 270 characters are put to their greatest use when they all speak a similar, but not identical, story. Features, benefit statements, calls to action, and promotional information are all good examples of what to include in your search ads.

What Are Google Display Ads?

Like search ads, display ads are best simplified as the “outbound marketing” half of the pie. To illustrate how the search network works, consider a strip of highway with a number of billboards along its length. Three parties are involved in making those billboards come to life. The owner of the billboard real estate gets a cut for owning the billboard. The marketing agency that works with the owner to place ads gets a cut for designing and facilitating the advertisement. And, finally, the client, who works with the marketing agency to craft an ad, and pays for the placement.

In this example, Google acts as the marketing agency, and any site in the display network acts as the billboard owner. Brands and businesses are, of course, the clients paying to have their ads placed on these sites. Unlike search ads, display ads can have images that convey their own messaging and also text that appears dynamically alongside them. As a client, you can pick and choose where your ads are shown, to some extent, and how they appear. You can also leave this to the complex Google algorithms, but this can result in wasted ad spend if they are placed on low-value or irrelevant sites.

These ads also allow you to customize your text more, as you can have multiple descriptions and longer single headlines. However, because of the ubiquity of these ads, it is often considered best practice to put your best foot forward, and front-loads your messaging to drive conversions. This helps ensure that people with limited interest see the best parts of your offers before they continue their browsing.

As a brief summary, this article will serve you well to understand the differences between the display and search networks. However, the world of PPC advertising is vast, and much of its value comes from digging into the metrics and technical aspects of your campaign. Look for this information to continue your research and develop your advertising skills.