Search Network, Display Network, & Google Adwords

July 14, 2016

Google Adwords is one of the most popular ways for businesses and individuals to advertise, and that’s due in large part to the Google Network. The Google Network consists of every place Adwords ads can appear. That includes Google search, YouTube, and the many websites and apps that are partnered with Google.

The Google Network is divided into two parts: The Search Network and the Display Network. Each network determines where and how Adwords ads are shown. Understanding both networks is an important step in getting the most out of your Adwords campaign.

Search Network

The Google Search Network places ads on websites and apps that display Google search results. These include Google search itself, other Google websites like Maps, and websites that show Adwords ads. These are the types of ads that you’ve probably seen displayed at the top of Google search results.

The Search Network directs traffic toward your website by showing your text-based ads to people who search for keywords that you define. It’s a fairly quick and easy way to start an Adwords campaign, and it’s convenient to be seen by potential customers while they’re searching. Since Search Network ads can only be text-based, they blend in with search results instead of being intrusive or obnoxious.

If you’d like to move beyond text and make your ads a little more complex and creative, you should consider using Display Network ads.

Display Network

The Google Display Network reaches 90% of online consumers by placing ads on millions of websites, including Google websites like YouTube and Gmail. Display Network ads can include text, an image, a video, or interactive elements. They are placed on websites that your audience uses based on information you provide.

Display Network ads give you more control over what your ads look like and who sees them. Since the Display Network reaches so many people, you have the option to choose whether to advertise to a wide audience or a specific audience. These choices can make this type of campaign more difficult to set up than Search Network campaigns, but Adwords makes the process fairly straightforward.

Which Network to Choose

By default, Adwords campaigns use both networks. However, if one of the networks makes more sense for your business, you should consider using more or all of your budget just for that network.

The Display Network tends to reach a wider audience, but the Search Network tends to generate better-quality traffic, leading to a higher conversion rate. This may be due to the fact that Search Network ads target people who are already searching. If your number one priority is conversion rate, then Search Network might be the better choice for you.

Many businesses care about branding their advertisements, and rightfully so. Therefore, the creative control of Display Network ads attract many advertisers. The visual appeal of these ads can lead to conversion rates comparable to Search Network ads, though this seems to be somewhat uncommon.

Ultimately, as with most marketing campaigns, Adword campaigns require research and experimentation to maximize results. Study your audience, study what other Adwords users are doing, and try out both networks until you figure out what gets your audience’s attention.


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