While advertising, entrepreneurs are often conflicted between two popular choices: using search or display advertising to market their business. If you’re unsure which is right for your business, here are a few factors that can help you select the media that fits your business model. This will apply if you are looking to enhance brand awareness or drive more traffic to your website. You can also understand how a search or display advertising agency can help you out with the same.

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Search Advertising Vs. Display Advertising

What are Search Ads?

Paid search ads are the most used form of PPC advertising in which brands pay to display their ads. It can be above or below organic search engine results when people search specific keywords. For instance, a search for an “online paediatrician” will show this text above the organic results on Google’s Search Engine Results Page (SERP).

Search ads consist of three components which include:

  • Headline
  • Display URL
  • Description text

All the above are put together to convince consumers to click and buy. Another thing that can be included is an ‘ad extension’ to provide additional information. The number of times an ad shows, its ranking, and its cost per click, depend on the bid and quality score. For a successful advertising campaign, you can hire a display advertising agency.

What are Display Ads?

Display ads perform differently from paid search ads. The distinction between the two is search ads are ‘pull advertising’, and display ads are ‘push advertising’. Search ads appear in front of people who search for your product or service. On the other hand, display ads are paid placements that occur based on specific targeting parameters. Additionally, they are not limited to appearing in one location like the search ads.

These ads will appear across the entire Google Display Network (GDN). They can also show up on social media, like in news feeds or even the main feed. It means the target audience will be able to see them and want to learn more about the brand.

What are Search Ads

Factors to Help You Pick Between Search or Display Advertising

As mentioned, the two are different and each has its purpose in advertising. The following factors will help you pick the right form of advertising.

1. Search Volume

The difference between these two is that display ads use a push approach, and search ads use a pull approach. Customers that encounter your search ads are looking for your product. On the other hand, customers experience the display ads because they were targeted after reading emails or watching a video.

Understanding the difference between the two will help evaluate the right strategy depending on brand, product, or service awareness. To gauge how familiar searchers are with your products or brand, you can use the Google Ads Keyword Planner to evaluate search volume. Search advertising campaigns will work if the products or services you sell have a good search volume. If there is no volume, display ads will play a role in brand and product awareness.

2. Low Budget

Budget is another critical factor that can help you determine the best strategy. How much do you have, and what areas are you focusing on? If you have a low budget, search ads are a good option to begin with. On the other hand, when using display ads, it takes a larger budget and won’t have a positive ROI. Search ads have a greater conversion rate but require a low budget. After conversion, you can put the remaining funds into expanding the display network. This will help you make the most out of your advertising campaigns.

3. Brand Awareness

For entrepreneurs selling services or products, focusing on branding using display ads is the best approach. Getting in touch with a Google ads agency is an excellent way to present yourself to potential consumers who have yet to learn about your brand. In display advertising, people who see these ads are usually doing something online. But the good thing with this approach is you can target a specific audience to make them pay attention to your ads. With these ads, an entrepreneur can target consumers based on demographics or keywords in their reading content.

Additionally, if you know the sites the consumers spend time on, you can target them by bidding on sites on the display network. It’s essential to note clients may not buy the service or product right away. But this plays a role when they go to the market to purchase a product or service; they are more likely to remember your brand. To gauge the performance of display campaigns, you can create a search campaign that includes branded items only. In this approach, you use the push to create a pull.

what are display ads

4. Urgent Services

If you view your business as an urgent service, it is advisable to start with search ads. Urgent service may include companies such as tow trucks, locksmiths, veterinarians and dentists. These are service types that individuals won’t necessarily engage with when they see the ad appear. But if someone gets locked out of their home or a car breaks down, there is an excellent possibility they will search for a service to help them on the spot.

You must also remember these services will likely be searched for on a mobile device. This means you need to focus on advertising that is optimised for mobile devices if you own such a business. An increase in mobile searches has led to businesses making their websites mobile responsive. However, the emerging trend of voice searches may make responsiveness less critical. If the searches are hands-free, the client may not be interested in going to the website and would want to make a quick call instead. To make it easy for the consumer, you can utilise call extensions.


The form of advertising you choose highly depends on the type of business. The factors stated above will help you understand what your business requires. You can use search and display campaigns with a well allocated budget to get optimal results. It’s crucial to consider the intent of advertising before making a choice. Additionally, keep in mind each advertising form has pros and drawbacks and will assist you in picking one that suits your business model.

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