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

February 22, 2021


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!

Erin Sagin

Erin Sagin

Erin Sagin worked at WordStream for five years with roles in Customer Success and Marketing. She lives in California.

Sign up to get our top tips and tricks weekly!