Digital Insights

Effective Google Advertising: AdWords vs Display Ads


Published: April 15, 2014

Google offers two distinct choices for PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising that fashion site marketers as well as other business website owners should consider. While both methods share a number of similarities in basic campaign setup, each takes a different approach to online advertising that usually produces vastly different results.

  • AdWords is a search advertising model built around a keyword-rich text ad that displays on the search results page for that specified keyword. Advertisers bid on the rate that they are willing to pay for every click on their ad; search engine users who click on an ad that matches their interests are redirected to that advertiser’s landing page.
  • A Display Network ad can be either a text or image-based ad that is displayed on websites that have opted-in to Google’s AdSense program. Keyword-targeted display ads are directed to those websites and consumers that are relevant to the advertiser’s product line. Advertisers have a choice of paying a set bid amount for each click or paying for each 1,000 impressions based on overall website traffic.

Comparing AdWords and Display Network Advertising

While Google AdWords has a number of advantages over many other forms of marketing, it may not be a perfect fit for everyone. AdWords tends to make the most sense for marketers who:

  • Are advertising a well-known type of product that consumers are actively searching for.
  • Have a product that appeals to a broad market that can be targeted exclusively with relevant keywords.
  • Have little to moderate competition; highly competitive keywords are frequently just not cost-effective.
  • Are sending visitors to a high-converting landing page that features a clear-value proposition.

Despite the fact that visitors reached through Display Network advertising are not actively searching for product information and may be harder to convert into a sale, Display marketing may be just right for businesses who:

    Want to reach the largest possible number of Internet users who may have an interest in their product. This could be of particular interest to new businesses that need to “get the word out” about themselves in the shortest possible time.
  • Could benefit from detailed Display reporting about the makeup and preferences of their target market.
  • Want to complement their Search advertising.
  • Are seeking to keep their brand more visible to website visitors through such techniques as remarketing. Remarketing is a fairly new technique that permits an advertiser’s ad to follow website visitors, for a limited time or number of displays, whenever they visit any site within the Display Network.

A Few Tips about PPC Advertising with Google

  • Advertisers starting out with a limited budget should focus on exact-match keywords rather than broad match; this provides more control over when ads will be shown, reducing the cost of non-converting keywords.
  • Businesses should steer clear of Google’s help if at all possible. Taking advantage of their tools and resources is one thing, but relying on them to call the shots could be a mistake. Advertisers generally want to maximize results and minimize expenses while Google’s primary objective is to maximize advertising spending. Enough said.