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When To Use Search Marketing vs. Display

January 30th, 2019 Posted by SEM and Digital Advertising No Comment yet

If you’re a new Google Ads user or perhaps just looking to refresh some of your current campaigns, you might be wondering if you should position your brand on search marketing, display, or maybe both? Truth is, both mediums are highly effective when the proper expectations are set and your company’s business goals are the driving strategy of each.

Use display marketing to build awareness

Across all formats, the average display ad CTR is just 0.05% (via Yes, that means that you’re likely to get only 5 clicks for every 10,000 impressions! On the flipside, this means, if your advertising on the Google Display Netowrk (GDN), 10,0000 people saw your ad and you only paid for 5 clicks. Can anyone say free advertising?! Well, kinda.

It’s important to understand the goal of display campaigns before you launch into it so that you aren’t disappointed if they aren’t converting. Display ads are one of the best ways to increase your brand awareness and should be meant to serve your top-of-the-funnel audience. While a banner ad may not cause someone to bounce off the site they are currently browsing often, it most definitely will contribute to keeping your brand top of mind when that same person is searching for your product/service later on.

Use search marketing to generate leads

Paid search, on the other hand, is a tactic that should be used to attract leads who are a bit further down the funnel. One of the best selling points for adding paid search to your marketing mix is because it is an inbound strategy that captures people who are already searching for YOU, not the other way around.

Ranking for specific keywords organically can be done with a site that is SEO friendly, but that can be a complicated process. Furthermore, even if you appear in the first spot organically, your competitors can appear higher than your organic listing in their paid ads.

If you need help starting a new search campaign, check out our 4 things to consider before starting a paid search campaign.

Shift your focus to honing your audience targeting and competitor conquesting.

Perhaps the more important consideration other than deciding which tactic to use is the way in which you are going to target your audience. By default, when uploading a display ad in Google Ads, your ad can be shown anywhere across the Google Display Network without restriction. Fortunately, Google offers several ways you can target qualified traffic by utilizing Custom Intent Audience’s, remarketing, site placements, keyword targeting, and more. These targeting methods can be very effective when used strategically so it’s worth having a conversation about this with your team before you start your campaign.

On the search side, take a look at your competitors, are they using paid search? Which keywords are they bidding on, and how much would it take to compete with them? Let these factors inform your strategy and target accordingly.

While each of these advertising vehicles serve different purposes, we always recommend testing a healthy mix of each to see what resonates more with your audience. Having a multi-channel approach will provide awareness to keep your brand top of mind and also allow you to capture qualified leads on the SERP.

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