Ask the Experts: Can I Use the Same Strategy for My Search & Display Campaigns?



Hey guys, thanks so much for joining today’s video of “Ask the Experts.” My name is Erin Sagin, and I’m on the Customer Success team here at WordStream, and I’ll be walking you through today’s episode.

So today we’re going to be focused on what is the difference between the search and display networks. So many of my clients think that they work similarly, and they try to apply the exact same strategy when working with both networks. But the reality is that it’s like comparing apples and oranges. There’s no way you can apply the same strategy to both networks. So it’s really, really important to understand how each of these networks work, and you need to think about what strategy is going to be best for you; which network best fits your marketing needs.

Let’s start by talking about the search network, because that’s the most common one people are thinking about when they’re running a PPC account. The cool thing about the search network is you’re targeting an active searcher. So somebody is coming into AdWords and they’re actively looking for your products or your services. Then you have the opportunity to kind of serve up your ad right there for them. It’s kind of like the perfect storm, right? You have these people who are excited about what they’re looking for, ready to make a purchase or check something out, and you’re giving them an ad that’s relevant and specific to what they’re searching for.

That’s how the search network works. I recommend it for new PPC advertisers; start with the search network. I’d also recommend it for people who really need to easily attribute the advertising directly with the result, so you’re going to see direct conversions from the search network.

Now let’s talk about the flipside of that, which is the display network. The display network is focused on a more passive searcher. So, think about your day-to-day. You probably visit, you know, maybe online news sites, blogs – personally, I attempt to read the news every morning, and as I’m reading the news, oftentimes I’ll see ads alongside the news story that I’m reading. These can be image ads or text ads, and nine times out of ten, even though I register them, I’m not redirecting my attention from the news to that ad and clicking on it. Instead, I’m more registering it and going about my day, unless it really interrupts me, and then I might think of clicking on it.

So as you can see, with the display network, that searcher isn’t necessarily in the mood to search for your products, they’re not actively looking for them – but you can do a great job of branding yourself by ensuring that you’re all over the display network. People are seeing your ads, and recognizing your company. So when you think about the display network, you’re not going to see a lot of direct results, probably not a ton of clicks and conversions, but what you are going to see is people are going to start getting to know your brand.

The big difference between these two networks are an active and a passive searcher, and you need to make the decision about which searcher you want to work with first.

If you guys have any questions about this, we’d be more than happy to dive in in a little bit more depth to either of these networks. We’re also happy to answer any of your other questions through “Ask the Experts.” To submit a question to us, all you need to do is comment below, or tweet at us @WordStream, or directly to me @ErinSagin. Thanks so much for coming!


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Permata Wardoyo
Apr 10, 2015

Hi Erin,
Thanks again for your lesson. Now after I watch your video here, I felt more understand about strategy for my search and display campaigns that I will use, and now I'm fully understand about it and will apply it to my project soon.
Thanks again, Erin.

Apr 14, 2015

happy to hear that, permata! let me know if there are any other topics you'd like us to cover in the series :)

Abhijit Mandavkar
Apr 13, 2015

Thanks for the information. I think the option for choosing between these two networks totally depends on the expert advertisers decision. However, i feel a blend of both Search and Display helps to get more attention from audience both on Google search page or on any relevant website that relates to your ad.

Apr 14, 2015

absolutely! in most cases, it makes sense to run campaigns on both networks, however i would certainly advocate managing each campaign independently :)

Apr 16, 2015

Hi Erin,

What would you say is the best way to divide adgroups in the Display network.


Sean M.
Apr 16, 2015

Great article. It's definitely a good idea to learn as much as you can about both networks. I do agree that those just starting out should stick with the Search Network as they are usually dealing with a very limited budget. It is to be noted, though, that the Display Network's CPC is much less than the Search. Therefore, if you are confident with how to utilize both networks, you can add Display into your campaign without much of an additional budget. Good luck and may your days be filled with many clicks!

Andy Iskandar
Apr 16, 2015

Thanks for the video guys! Looking forward to more videos...

If I may, here's a tip for future videos - get a lapel mike for Erin. I believe the mike for this video is at the camera and I could actually hear the cameraman breathing.

All the best!

Apr 22, 2015

thanks for the feedback!! glad you enjoyed the content :)
Oct 13, 2015

I'm not sure where you're getting your info, however good topic.
I needs to spend a while finding out much more or working out more.
Thank you for fantastic information I used to be in search
of this information for my mission.

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