Google Search or Display ads – what is better for lead generation

As a digital marketing agency, we quite regularly consult our clients on the channels that will help them achieve their marketing objectives. The question pops up – Google search or display ads- what is better  This really depends on their products and services and the markets that they are trying to reach out currently. We often launch into Google Adwords campaigns  (Pay per click advertising )and optimize the channel for performance, so that it is able to achieve the objectives for a client.  For most of our clients, Google Advertising is just one box and they do not understand the difference between Search and Display advertising. We have explained often, because we really believe in transparency in our operations. So we justify to the client what channel we are choosing and why. We also regularly report performance on the channel and advise on what needs to be done to further the reach and reduce the cost. But the question comes up often, Google search or display ads, what is better for lead generation

The topic of search vs. display advertising comes up often and I thought I will cover the differences through the post.

\"GoogleWhen you log into your Google AdWords account and add a new campaign by clicking on the “campaigns” tab on the top toolbar and then clicking on “New Campaign.” AdWords offers you the option to set up a new campaign with 3 options, i) both the Search and Display Networks, ii)the Search Network only and the iii)Display Network only.

Typically, it is advisable to set up each campaign to target one specific network, so you would want to create a campaign just for the Search Network and another one just for the Display Network. The Search Network comes into play, when anyone anywhere searches on Google, let’s say, for “digital marketing” The Search Network ads are those  ads that appear within the search results, usually at the top of the fold or on the side-bar. Depending on how competitive the keyword is, it will show ads in different places and a different amount of ads. This is really your search network.


\"GoogleNow let’s look at what the Display Network is. The Display Network gives you a completely different set of customization options compared to the Search Network. It is because it is very different than the search network.  


Let’s say that you were browsing and you land on a site, where Google Ad-sense is enabled. At such sites, you will find sponsored Links. Typically sponsored links can be from several different advertising platforms, but in most cases, they they are from Google’s Display Network. The set up is almost the same as in the Search network, but these are mostly visual in nature.


One of the great things about the Display Network that’s different than the Search Network is that you can show banner ads. If you were to visit a restaurant aggregator site, looking for something to eat, you will typically notice ads that are promoting some food items or restaurants. This is actually the Google Display Network.

As you might imagine, the Display Network in general does not convert as well as the Search Network, but offers great opportunities to improve branding and awareness. The search ads work more to convert interested prospects to leads.  Although the display network reaches more people, in my experience the quality of the traffic and the clicks and conversions are  much lower. Many advertisers view the display network’s value in branding of their product or service. To put things in perspective, if  I’m reading a friends’ blog, I’m likely not searching for a product or a service and would likely only click on an ad out of curiosity. Rather than being driven by specific keywords, display network ads appear based on themes in the keyword list. Additionally, it’s possible to run text ads as well as image, video or rich media ads on the display network.

So, do we have an answer? Google search or display ads- what is better, Search network or display network? Well, there isn’t really a clear-cut answer to this. If you are new to AdWords, we would really suggest running your ads only on the Google Search Network, and then over a period of time start moving to the display network. Check out our services in Pay per click advertising

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