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Google Search Ads vs. Google Display Ads

Google Search Ads vs. Google Display Ads: Analyzing the Differences.

Did you know that the Google Display Network, which includes 8 types of ads, reaches 90% of online consumers, so it’s no wonder that more than half of the companies use Google Display Ads today. But this doesn’t mean Google Search Ads are lagging behind. Not only have 75% of online users said that Google Search Ads make it easier to access information, but 63% of the users also admitted to clicking on a Google Search Ad.

So, depending on your budget, how do you prioritize or choose between Google Search Ads vs. Google Display Ads? Understanding the differences between the two can help. Let’s begin with Google Search Ads:

Google Search Ads

Google Search Ads are designed to address the immediate need for products or services, and are thus displayed as a direct response to users’ searches. For instance, when a user searches for a type of service or product, Google Search Ads will be displayed at the top of the Google search results, so that it directly addresses your query.

These ads are different from other organic search results in that they’re Google Search Ads are paid ads displayed above the organic results that are free. You can identify a search ad by its “Ad” label next to the page’s URL.

Since Google Search Ads act directly on the keyword inputs of users, and drive immediate action on the users’ part to visit a website to purchase something or explore products or services, there’s more urgency behind these type of ads.

Google Display Ads

If you’re an online user, chances are you’ve seen Google Display Ads on various websites. These ads provide brands an option to advertise their products or services to relevant audiences while they’re navigating other sites. For instance, when you visit a hotel website to book accommodation in a specific location for your vacations, you might see an airline advertisement on the right side of the screen. This is a Google Display Ad, which will direct you to another business website.

Using Google Display Ads, you can also reach people watching videos on YouTube or catching up on a news source. These ads tend to be most effective when they’re targeted toward specific websites or people.

These ads are also focused on content-based targeting and audience-based targeting. You can refine your audience targeting to focus on:

  • Demographic: Targeting users by gender, location, age, etc. that will be most interested in your products or services.
  • Affinity: Users who regularly view and/or purchase products or services similar to yours.
  • Remarketing: Reaching past visitors of your site with enticing ads of things they viewed on your site.
  • In-market: Users who are looking forward to buy a product or service similar to yours.
  • Similar Audience: Customer data obtained from users who have been retargeted so that your subsequent ads are displayed to them.

On the other hand, content-based targeting narrowed down to:

Topics: Ads targeting pages that focus on specific topics related to your business.

Keywords: Targeting pages with same or similar keywords.

Placement: You have the discretion to choose the websites or webpages you want your ads to be displayed.


Now that you know the key differences between Google Search Ads vs. Google Display Ads, you should now be in a much better position to make a decision. Analyze what each advertising option has got for you and allocate your dollars accordingly. We truly hope that this guide helps you expand your customer base.


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