AdWords: Search, Display or Display Select?

So, you’ve decided you need AdWords to reach more customers online. When it comes time to selecting a campaign type, you’re afforded a few different options:

  • Search Network
  • Display Network
  • Search Network with Display Select

In order to decide which campaign type is right for you, you’ll need to answer a few questions about your business, your goals, and your customers.

Search Network

The tried-and-true platform for many advertisers, the Search Network includes Google SERPS and its partner sites – Maps, Shopping, Play, etc. With a Search Network campaign, you’re limited to text-based ads to grab the attention of potential customers. The Search Network makes sense for most companies looking to get in front of customers searching for the products and services they offer. It’s great for local businesses, such as plumbers and roofers, whose customers know what they want and where they want it (i.e. “Boston plumber”). In addition to satisfying Google’s other Quality Score requirements, you can improve the visibility of your Search Network ads by bidding more aggressively, which in turn, should reward you with a more prominent position. Overall, the Search Network is a good place to start for most advertisers.

Display Network

There are two important distinctions between the Search Network and Display Network: channels and ad type. The Display Network allows advertisers to place their ads on other websites who have opted into the Google Display Network. Display Ads are visual, image-based ads that get placed on various portions of relevant sites. To borrow the plumber example again, one might encounter an ad for the local plumber on a website selling pipes and brackets. Best practices for Display Ads include choosing imagery and calls to action that contrast with the website on which they are placed.

With Display Ads, you’re looking to grab people’s attention through the use of visually-appealing color schemes, typography and brand elements. The Display Network is a good fit for businesses selling very visual products – food, shoes, apparel are textbook examples here. Targeting on the Display Network differs from that of the Search Network. Advertisers can target users who share a common interest or demographic. For example, if an advertiser is looking to promote a new clothing line, he or she may look to gain placement on fashion blogs and the like. Finally, the Display Network is the way to go for advertisers interested in remarketing – a strategy that involves re-targeting potential customers who have already seen your ad.  Remarketing has also proven to be a great brand recognition tool.

Search Network with Display Select

As the name implies, this campaign type is the best of both worlds. For businesses whose products and/or customers fall somewhere in between Search and Display, SNWDS is a sensible solution. By using Search Network with Display Select, you can really cover your bases by showing up for relevant keywords and phrases, while also placing ads on relevant websites. An important distinction to make is that with SNWDS, your ads are placed more selectively than they are during a Display Network campaign. It’s also worth mentioning that your budget is allocated evenly between the two Networks. SNWDS may also be a good fit for businesses offering both products and services – Display to target the former and Search to target the latter.

Of course, there is also the option to place ads on the Shopping or Video, but both are beyond the scope of this post. Ultimately, one of these three options should work for the vast majority of businesses looking to generate more leads online. To review, take a look at the nature of your business and target market before making your choice.

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