Search vs. Display. Which Google Network to choose?

Starting your advertising campaign is not an easy process. It is not only about how important to set up right targeting, to create a semantic core or to write effective ads. The first step you should do is to choose between two completely different networks: Search or Display. All your further actions will depend on that.

Why you should not use Search Network with Display Select (SNDS)

So, you decide to create an ad campaign in Google AdWords and you are thinking what network to choose: Search or Display. If you are a newcomer in this sphere, it will be little tricky for you. Many strange, incomprehensible words and abbreviations, two completely different networks for managing, they have got their own features, the necessity to link AdWords with Analytics using a piece of code for tracking, many reports... You're almost scared, but suddenly you see the light in the dark. AdWords offer you to choose Search Network with Display Select.

According to Google's support, this type allows you to reach people when they use Google search or visit websites across the internet. AdWords ensure that it's a good deal, the process is automated and thanks to it you can reach people from two networks at the same time who are most likely to be interested in the things you’re advertising. This effortless option may seem very convenient but don't make such a mistake. When you are setting up SNDS, you sacrifice the control over Display Network and rely on Google. Yes, you'll get more traffic, but the fact is in many cases that traffic is not the right audience. The result will be your money spent and not effective advertising.

Remember, each network is peculiar, it claims different setup and managing. Google’s default advice to use both Search and Display networks is just self-serving. More you spend money on advertising = more Google makes money from you. Even despite new and improved algorithms of Google, it's impossible to make a profit while setting up campaigns that target both two networks. Moreover, if you don't plan to spend much money on advertising, it is better to manage these networks through separate campaigns.

It's not necessary to set up two campaigns at once for Search and Display networks. As I said earlier, each network has its specific features, and that's why it depends on your business which one to choose.

Search Google Network

Ads on Search Google Network is the most well-known type of PPC advertising. It means your ads appear with Google search results and on other search sites when your keywords are relevant to a user's search. This network is very effective for advertising; its conversion rates are higher (1.91%) compared with GDN (0.35%). You'll say: "Why? Google Display Network is the biggest digital advertising network in the world with millions of users! It should be vise versa!" So, in fact, the number of users doesn't mean many conversions. But we'll talk about GDN a little bit later, let's return to Search Network.

It targets the active user, who is in a "shopping mode" trying to find the appropriate offer. That's why the CTR and number of conversions are high. Your ad is eligible to appear at the right moment the customer is searching for your product or service.


If you offer an “emergency” service like being a plumber, locksmith, electrician or roadside, advertising on Search Network will exactly right for you. In such situation, GDN will hardly help you to find new prospects.

Another big plus of advertising on GSN is a price. For small businesses who have a limited budget, it is better to choose Search neither Display Network. It drives more direct conversions, and it is easy to set up and manage. The ads are eligible to show at the moment the customer is ready to buy, so the probability of purchase is very high. That's why you'll pay less than in GDN where people are not in "shopping mode."

Display Google Network

Google Display Network consists of millions of websites, blogs, news pages, and Google websites like YouTube and Gmail. According to Google, this network comprises about 90% of Internet users across the globe. It's really the top digital network.


When people are on the GDN, they have their daily internet activities: reading blogs, watching videos, catching up on the news, checking the e-mails, searching for some information, etc. It's the perfect place to promote your business, especially for creating brand awareness. By increasing your brand’s visibility, you can earn the trust and loyalty of your customers. Also, it's convenient if you create something new and innovative. In these cases, there is not any supply for a product and thanks to ad campaign in GDN you can make it.

Another situation for choosing this network is long sales cycle. It is when the customers not likely to purchase your product or service immediately. So, you need to ensure the prospect that your product or service is on top among others. Remarketing can help you to build a trust relationship with customers. For example, someone is seeking for a house or a flat to buy. It is a lengthy sales process. This person examines different sites, analyzes different variants with their prices, advantages/disadvantages. He can think about half a year or more before buying a house. So, you can set up a remarketing campaign in GDN and from time to time show some houses the customer was interested in. It's a good strategy because your offer will be all the time in sight of the prospect and can increase the purchase option.

If Search Network means using the text ads, Display Network allows you to take advantage of many types of ads. So, images, video, high rich media are very enticing to the eye. By advertising in such way, you can make progress in generating more views, clicks and even conversions. Such tactic is recommended for tour operators, for promoting different apps, for businesses who sell beautiful luxury products or for such one who has a really attractive video to start advertising on Youtube.

Target in Search Network is based on keywords. The ads are eligible to appear when the customer's query triggers adjusted keywords. Display Network has different kinds of targeting to find the right audience such as:

  • contextual targeting (you give Google some relevant keywords which describe your business, and Google automatically find appropriate and relevant placements for your advertising)
  • placement targeting (allows you to choose certain sites)
  • behavioral targeting (based on internet browsing history of the customers)
  • demographic targeting (age, gender, parental status, language)

Such variety of targeting gives an opportunity to find the right audience for your business.

Never use only one targeting option, try to combine multiple together. At the same time not to overdo. Remember, the more targeting options you use, the less becomes an audience of potential customers.

Don't know what network will be better for your business? Contact us and together we will find the right decision!