Google ads VS display ads

Search vs display ads

Facebook ads. Radio ads. TV ads. Newspaper ads. YouTube ads. Google Ads. Display ads. There are so many different ad types it’s hard to know where to start, and as a business owner, how do you know which ads you should invest in? Which ads will give you the best ROI (return on investment) and what are the key differences between each of these ad formats anyway? In this blog, we’ll share the difference between Google Ads vs display ads. Pop your comments or questions in the comments section below!

What are Google Ads?

Google Ads, formerly known as Google AdWords are intent-driven ads that appear when someone makes a search in Google. These ads help businesses connect with potential customers who are looking for their products or services.

Why are Google Ads so effective?

If you’re looking for a quick lift in inquiries, Google Ads is what we’d recommend. This ad type is effective because the ads that appear are highly relevant to the user’s search. For example, if I need a new pair of ‘comfortable, black yoga pants’ and I Google ‘comfortable, black yoga pants’, all the ads that appear will be relevant to that search, giving me exactly what I am looking for, making it more likely for me to click and purchase with the company who served me the most relevant ad to my needs.

How much does Google Ads cost? 

Google Ads are paid for on a CPC (cost-per-click) basis, which means that you are only charged when someone clicks your ad (i.e: FREE brand awareness). Each click has a different cost and constantly fluctuates. For example, the price tag associated with the keyword ‘winter coat’ might be $2 in summer and $5 in winter. Why? Pricing is set according to the demand of the keyword at that point in time. There are a lot more searches in winter for a ‘winter coat’ driving up the price of the keyword. 

The higher the price of the keyword, the more budget you’ll need to compete. Google allows you to set up campaigns with a budget as low as $50, however, this won’t go very far if your industry has a high CPC because it spreads your budget too thin.

Looking to run a Google Ad campaign? Send us a message, we’ll help you research keywords related to your business and advise you on an appropriate budget that will help you achieve your business goals.

How can I compete with big brands with huge budgets?

The great thing about Google Ads is that they don’t just look at your budget (ie: they don’t favor ads because of their budget). They also look at the quality of your website. Even with all the budget in the world, if your website is not user-friendly, mobile optimized and well built, Google won’t display your ad first. Why? Google wants a pleasant experience for its users, it wants to make sure that it sends people to good websites where they’ll find what they’re looking for. 

What are display ads?

Display ads (or banner ads) are image ads that appear on publisher websites. A Facebook ad is also considered as a display ad. It’s putting your brand, product or services in front of your target audience, creating awareness for your business and driving people to your website to learn more. 

Display ads help create awareness and also encourage return visits to your website through the process of re-targeting. 

How are display ads effective?

Sure, display ads raise awareness, but they’re more effective during the re-targeting process. 

Thanks to the power of re-targeting and dynamic display ads, people are served ads that are highly relevant to their intentions or behaviors. For instance, have you ever searched for hotel accommodations and then coincidentally seen ads with hotel offers? How about when you’re shopping for an item of clothing and then start seeing ads from that brand with the very same item you were looking at.  This is no coincidence, this is the power of re-targeting and dynamic targeting. It helps bring customers back to the website to make their purchase. 

Only 2% of shoppers convert on the first visit to an online store. The goal of retargeting is to bring back the other 98%AdRoll.

How much do display ads cost? 

Unlike Google Ads that are charged on a CPC basis, display ads are charged by CPM(cost per mile or cost per thousand impressions). 

What’s an impression? An impression is basically one viewing of your ad. Impressions are bundled up into a pack of 1,000 and given a cost. For example, $140 CPM would mean you can purchase 1,000 ad impressions for $140. Typically, publishers have a minimum amount of impressions that can be purchased, it generally starts at 20,000 impressions, but differs for each site. 

“I never click those ads!”

When it comes to display ads, many people’s response is “I never click those ads!”, and sure, many people don’t. But there are many people who do and display ads should be in every marketing strategy to ensure you are covering all stages of the purchase funnel. 

Cheat sheet! Search versus display 

Here’s a quick cheat sheet to help you understand the key differences between Google ads vs Display ads. 

Google Ads

Display ads

Appear in Google search results.  Appear on websites. 
Contain text only (except for Google Shopping ads which are accompanied by a small image.)  Contain images and text.
Are purchased on a CPC model (cost-per-click). Are purchased on a CPM model (cost-per-mile).
Highly relevant to search terms input into Google.  Relevant to an audience pool or served during the re-targeting process. 
Drive website traffic and conversions.  Drive awareness and traffic. 
Fit into the top and bottom of the purchase funnel. Fit into the top and middle of the purchase funnel. 
Don’t use re-targeting.  Use re-targeting. 



How are they the same?

Both send traffic to your website and they both give you the opportunity to inform, persuade or inspire a click. Therefore, when used together, Google and display ads can help increase site traffic, inquiries and leads to your business. 

We hope that this blog has given you some insight into how Google Ads vs display ads work, how they are similar and how they are different. If you know that you need to be online but aren’t sure where to start, get in touch with us. We can step you through the process and ensure that you are making the most of the opportunities that advertising online presents.

Contact us today for a free consultation on your Google ads or Display ads

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