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Are Search or Display Ads the Best Option for Your PPC Campaign?

Author: JLB

Published On: March 15, 2019

Every day the online world is becoming increasingly more crowded. As more businesses attempt to elbow their way into the digital landscape and larger businesses seem to have the advantage from an SEO standpoint, it has become more challenging to gain traction and visibility through search engine optimization alone.

If you’ve been thinking about dipping your toes in the pool of pay per click advertising, you’ve probably noticed that it seems to be divided into two very distinct categories – search ads and display ads. PPC management comes with a bit of a learning curve on its own, but add in the decision between two separate types of ads and it’s enough to leave you crawling back to SEO as your stand-alone digital marketing strategy.

If this sounds like you, take a deep breath. There’s a bit that you’ll need to learn in order to optimize your pay per click campaign, but it’s completely manageable. Once you understand the differences between search and display ads, the guesswork will be eliminated and you’ll see just how successful PPC can be.

Let’s begin by looking at the differences between these two types of paid ad strategies and when you should leverage the potential of each to build your business.

Display Vs Search – What’s the Difference?

When you decide to invest in a pay per click strategy, one of the first important decisions you’ll have to make is what type of ad will produce the results you’re looking for. At the end of the day, display and search ads have the same goals but how they achieve these goals is quite different.

Search ads are what many people think of when they first consider a Google Ad campaign. Search ads appear on search engine results pages, with priority positioning being at the top of the page. Other than the word “Ad” being included, search ads look strikingly similar to typical search engine results.

The unassuming appearance of search ads is what makes them so effective. Search engine users don’t always realize that they’re clicking on an ad rather than a search engine listing. Search ads are great for increasing exposure and increasing the number of qualified leads that land on your website.

Display ads, on the other hand, are more disruptive. Display ads, also called banner ads, are less subtle in their approach to capturing audience attention. Display advertising tracks the internet user’s behaviors and places relevant ads in their line of sight – often when they’re least expecting it. Ever notice how you can window shop something like a new pair of boots and then suddenly start seeing ads for those boots everywhere? That’s display advertising in action.

Display ads increase brand awareness by keeping your business in the minds of your audience. Display ads are perfect for businesses that sell products or services that require more nurturing and a longer sales cycle to reach conversion.

Which Is Better for Growing Your Business?

This is a loaded question that is impossible to answer without more details about your individual business and your immediate goals. Both display and search ads have their own pros and cons, and they can each be equally effective at different points for your business.

If you are effectively managing your PPC campaign, there’s a really good chance that you’ll use both of these strategies at different times – possibly even together.

For instance, if your PPC budget is limited, search ads will bring in more qualified leads because the people who click on them had a specific intent with their search. This is especially true for businesses that offer urgent, need-based products or services – such as flood damage repair. The downside of search ads is that while they do increase your overall visibility, you’re still limited to the audience whose search intent aligned with the keyword strategy used in the ad.

Display ads are great tools for remarketing and nurturing a customer along with your sales funnel. Display ads also provide a more significant boost in visibility because, in contrast to search ads, they disrupt the consumer’s online experience. Display ads are dynamic and visual, which tends to capture attention more easily than the standard, plain text of search ads.

Should You Use Both in Your Pay Per Click Advertising Campaign?

Many businesses find that the best approach is one that includes both display and search ads to target different customers at different points in their journey. Take for example an auto body repair shop that leverages search ads to attract leads that may need immediate body work due to a recent collision. That same auto body repair shop could also use display ads to capture the attention of the segment of their audience that has expressed interest in luxury auto detailing.

In cases like this, where a business can separate their audience into distinct segments, running both types of ads can help them encourage leads and conversions from multiple directions at the same time. What doesn’t always work is when a business attempts to capture the attention of a singular audience segment using both strategies at once.

Using a dual approach for targeting one audience segment during the same campaign period is often an inefficient use of resources. However, there are times when you may want to start out with a dual approach and then test, measure and test some more to determine which strategy is going to produce the most impressive ROI.

Sometimes, what you really need is a digital marketing professional that brings experience and insights to the table to help you develop a PPC strategy that will spark growth through lead generation and conversion optimization. One of the biggest benefits of PPC is that the right strategy can start producing results for your business almost immediately. A PPC professional can help you achieve the results you need and deserve.

When you’re ready to take the plunge into pay per click advertising, we’re the PPC management team that you can trust. At JLB we handle all your digital marketing needs, including a professional approach to Google Ad management. Contact JLB today and let’s start working on a strategy that will carry your business into the future.


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