Let’s get this out of the way first. The display network and the search network are both helpful in increasing brand awareness. Both tools can reach target audiences. But the question is, which one is better in branding campaigns? Is it the display network or the search network?
You can achieve massive success in brand awareness without using google’s advertising networks. There are social media to help you anyway. But if you plan to shell out a big chunk of your advertising budget in Google, it makes sense to ask which of their two networks should you allocate your money and time.
To help you out, let’s first understand that there are two kinds of advertisements (Google or not): search ads and display ads.
Display ads are advertisements on the page of a website. It can be in the form of a rectangle or a square box that contains videos, images, even audio of the brand. Google’s display network enables you — again, the advertiser — to “display” your branded messages on Google-registered websites.
Search ads, on the other hand, are advertisements you see on a search engine results page. It can appear at the top or at the bottom as well as left and right. Search networks — such as Yahoo, Bing, and the most famous Google — lets you, the advertiser, showcase your brand on their search engine results page.
Source: Google results page
Search ads appear when people use specific keywords related to the brand. So if I search for “iPhone 13 for sale,” an ad will appear right before me. If we base our answers on this premise, we might already assume that the search network wins. Why? User intent.
People who use the search engine are already on to something. These people are at the last stage of the buyers’ journey. So they are more inclined to click on your search ads. They are now ready to purchase a product or avail a service.
Whereas the display ads are scattered across websites. They don’t appear when you search for them. In fact, they appear when you least need them. That’s why most people are very much unlikely to click on display advertisements.
But again, our main goal here is to achieve brand awareness, not brand engagement.
Sure with the search network’s capacity to show ads on search results, potential customers are more ready to pounce on them and click on them. It has higher click-through rates, in other words. But we’re not after more clicks — but awareness. The question now becomes, “Is the search network still better than the display network in terms of brand awareness?”
To answer this, let us first understand what brand awareness is.
Brand Awareness Means Popularity
Branding campaigns appeal at the first step of the buyer’s journey: awareness. How do you think people will buy your products if they are not aware you exist? With the help of branding campaigns, people will get to know your business, its products, or its services.
A high level of brand awareness, like Nike’s and other notable brands, are achieved through many things. Primary factors would be the quality of the products, the credibility and reputation of the company, the owners, or the workers, most importantly and perhaps the next most expensive — advertising.
This is where Google advertising networks reign supreme. With over 35 million websites registered under their advertising system and with a 92 percent market share in the global search engine market, advertising on google’s assets is ultimately essential and incredibly helpful for maximum brand awareness.
Circling back to the search network vs. the display network dilemma. Honestly, you don’t need to choose. If you have the budget for both placements, then you’re off to a good start.
But to help you maximize the capability of both networks, it would still pay to know their unique characteristics so you could tailor your marketing campaign to whatever goals — whether it’s brand awareness, engagements, customer acquisition, lead generation, or customer loyalty.
And since this article is about brand awareness, here is what you have to know when choosing either or both of the options.
Google Search Network: Specific and Higher CTRs
The search network is better for a more targeted ad. If I search for “most comfortable running shoes” on Google, and there are ads on top of the results page about a shoe company’s newest product, then I might click on it to see if they can offer something I’m interested in.
What’s more, the search network now displays images of products from eCommerce sites. So if I specifically type “espresso machines” on Google, I will see a carousel of machine products with their price and website information. And because I searched for them, I am more likely to click on those product images.
Source: Google results page
This is where the search network defeats the display network by a mile. A person who has made an effort to type a keyword on the search bar is also more likely to make an effort to visit the top ads.
In short, the search network dominates the display network when it comes to “user intent.” User intent is the capability of the search engine to understand what the searcher is looking for.
Search ads show up when the searcher needs them. This is why it’s a top choice for higher leads and sales because many people click on these types of ads. More clicks equal more engagements. More engagements mean more sales.
But before you decide that because of this ability, the search network already wins, let me tell you that the display network also uses targeting technologies. Just in a different way. We’ll talk about the display network later in this article.
Moving on, because the search network is so powerful in its ability to show your brand to those who actually searched for it, it is also relatively limited and expensive.
Ad spaces are very few. Usually, only one to four search ads appear per keyword. In this case, you’ll be competing with other businesses vying for the same slot. In other words, you have to bid higher for your ads to show up instead of your competitors’.
If budget is not your problem, the search network can be an incredibly powerful advertising tool to spread brand awareness. But here’s the caveat: search ads run primarily on text. It’s not as visually appealing as the display network option.
This means if a consumer encounters a search ad, they have no idea how the brand looks nor how it sounds. This is where the display network comes in handy.
Google Display Network: Broad and Visually-Engaging
The google display network is one of two ad networks run by Google. All advertisements placed on this network are shown on specific website pages registered under AdSense, Google’s advertising program.
You might have encountered this type of ad if you casually browse the Internet.
For example, you’re scrolling on the Britannica website. As you go down the page, you encounter images that are slightly different and irrelevant from the website. It features something that you might have purchased before or have tried to search on Google.
That is an example of a display ad. Boxed images and videos, sometimes with sound effects, showcase a branded message — brand logos, slogans, colors, stories, words, products, services, and all.
Note that advertisements you see on social media such as Facebook, Reddit, and YouTube are also considered display ads.
Google Display Network uses targeting technologies like the search network. But they work a bit differently. While the search network uses only keywords to pair up the ads per search query, the display network uses the website visitors’ characteristics to show relevant ads, i.e., demographics, location, and buying behavior.
The display network employs a broader filter as opposed to the search network. This is why the display network is a stronger branding tool than the search network. Not only that, the number of websites registered under AdSense is immensely huge. With more websites to place the ads, more people will know the brand message.
While the search network aims to answer a user, the display network’s primary goal is to spread information to a broader audience as possible. Branding campaigns don’t care about lead generation or click-through rates. What matters most is the impression.
Branding campaigns go after views. The more people see it, the better. And since there are thousands of websites to place your ads, as opposed to very limited keyword numbers, then there are potentially more views.
Another reason why the display network defeats the search network is its ability to be visually engaging. It is packed with visual aids, such as different letter styles, images, animations, sounds, videos, and much more.
Not only does it attract more customers, but it also helps build positive brand perception through the help of visuals and stories. Because of this, display ads, no matter the size, are more likely to retain attention for long periods than the boringly wordy search ads.
Lacking high-quality images, search ads are weak in promoting a positive brand perception. Customers will not associate your logo, color, and slogan with your products and services because they don’t easily see those visual inputs on the search results page.
Lastly, it targets broad and diverse types of people. We thought that specificity is a strength where the search network clearly wins. But again, we’re talking about brand awareness. And building awareness through smaller groups of people won’t get you far.
The display network shows your ads on millions of diverse websites that are accessed by a wider audience. This way, you attract not only your target buyers but also potential customers and market.
Wrapping It Up
These two Google advertising placements are effective depending on your goals. If you aim to acquire more conversions such as clicks, product purchases, and engagements, the search network is your best bet.
With a specific budget and a specific group of people using exact keywords on the search engine, you are bound to get more website visitors and ultimately turn to higher sales.
But if your goal is to spread awareness about your brand, then the display network is the clear winner. Your customers can see your ads whether they’re just casually scrolling a website or actively looking through eCommerce sites.
Since this happens regularly, people will slowly recognize your brand. Visually, they will get to know more about your business with the help of logos, slogans, images, and colors, and ultimately your products and services.
Go on, try it out. Either way, Google provides you with metrics and indicators to see how your ad campaigns perform. Happy ad placing!
10 Solutions You’ll Learn at Hero Conf London 2022
One thing is certain about digital marketing: it is ever-changing. As digital marketers, we are constantly put through new quests to find effective and innovative solutions.
Once again, we are taking the challenge and narrowing the most pressing solutions into 40+ actionable sessions to make sure you walk away from Hero Conf London 2022 with everything you need to reach your desired campaign results.
Here are ten solutions you’ll be walking away with from Hero Conf London 2022.
Reporting and Analytics
1 – GA, but not as you know it. How to use GA4 to get the most out of your paid media strategies
GA4 is the biggest thing to happen in analytics in a decade! Despite the PR from GA about this ‘upgrade,’ it is not a carbon copy of Universal Analytics. It is a completely new model, and it will impact everything we do around reporting.
Every single website that uses GA is going to have to break from what they traditionally know about Universal Analytics and adapt, migrate and learn how to use the new platform.
But let’s face it, no one likes change, change is hard.
However, change also brings new opportunities and there are some things we can do in GA4 that will get you really excited.
Jill Quick, Analytics Consultant and Trainer at The Coloring In Department, will show you how to navigate your journey of using GA as you know it, to the new GA4 model, and how you can use GA4 to get more out of your paid media strategies.
2 – Five Google Tag Manager Must Have Chops for Advertisers
Google Tag Manager (GTM) is an incredibly powerful tool that allows advertisers to implement and customize tracking, all while bypassing the need for time-intensive development support.
With all the benefits that can be gained, having a basic knowledge and ability within GTM makes your life easier, increases the breadth of your ability as an advertiser, and means you can get the tracking you need to be implemented faster.
In this session led by Jon Quinton, Founder of Overdrive Digital, you’ll learn:
- How to get started with GTM
- What you can achieve with GTM
- Five GTM implementations you can action right away
3 – Create your own custom insights with custom columns
Custom columns just got a lot better and, in this session, you will get a better understanding of what’s changed and which possibilities were added that you can play with.
During this session, Koos Hoeijmakers, Head of SEA at Greenhouse, will show you practical examples of all the amazing things you can do with custom columns. You will also learn how to set them up and get the formulas that were used for said examples. The session will be split into different sections; budgets, targets, pacing, performance, and anomalies.
Bidding and Budgets
4 – Supercharge Your Lead Gen with Value-Based Bidding
Adopting proxy values for multiple conversions across all paid media channels can have a huge impact on your ads, not to mention showing clients where they get the best return on investment. Refine strategies, leverage automation, and supercharge results – Harriet Barter, Paid Media Director at Launch, will show you how in this session.
5 – How to move from ROAS to ROI
Sometimes, a lower ROAS is needed to achieve a higher profit. To make this presentation clear and actionable, Rob Watson, Founder & MD of Freewheeling, will break it down into three stages.
Firstly, he’ll make the case for moving from ROAS to ROI, sharing some recent results from the clients he worked with.
Secondly, he’ll dig into some specifics of the type of Business Intelligence that can be used in Google Ads accounts. This will get you thinking of the possibilities within your data.
Finally, he’ll wrap up with examples of how he has been able to implement this, with clear guidance so you can do the same.
6 – Proven CRO Wins in eCommerce That Aren’t A/B Tests
In this session, Luke Carthy, eCommerce Consultant at LukeCarthy.com, will talk about how he finds real opportunities to boost conversion and sales in the world of eCommerce for his clients.
Many believe that CRO is predominantly A/B testing. Although that’s a staple in CRO, there are so many more areas to find real conversion wins, improve UX and deliver sales growth.
What you’ll learn:
- How to customize everyday tools like Google Analytics and HotJar to narrow down on friction areas and CRO opportunities.
- Category pages vs. landing pages, what’s the best experience to drive more sales?
- How do you optimize them to improve conversion?
7- More bang for your buck: Determining the Incrementality of your activity
With the rise in DDA modeling and a greater focus on holistic attribution, we have seen digital marketing take great leaps in improving the way we attribute value to our different media channels and determine optimal investment across them.
However, there are gaps in the ability of any digital platform to accurately and fully understand the impact of our media investment across all channels. This is where incrementality testing comes in. When done effectively, incrementality testing can help you decide where to more effectively drive revenue uplift, and help make savings where conversions would have occurred anyway without additional media input.
In this presentation led by Orla McQuaid, Strategy Director at Brainlabs, you will learn:
- A clear idea of what incrementality is and the value it can add to your marketing modeling.
- The best practice of how to use different testing types to prove incrementality in lower-funnel/performance marketing channels to prevent over-valuation of them.
- How to take results from these tests and factor them into your digital marketing attribution model.
8 – How you can use Google to play Amazon (and vice versa)
There’s no denying that Amazon is the key player when it comes to eCommerce, but Google is a close second. At the moment, people see them as polar opposites but they are two sides of the same coin, what makes them different? Data!
Data and search are pretty much the big topics everyone is talking about. What Dan Saunders (eCommerce Channel Manager at Stanley Black and Decker) has noticed whilst working with clients and agencies, is that by not knowing what to do with their data, it’s costing the company a small fortune. Not just loss of potential new revenue and customers, but also lost revenue on acquiring data and not understanding what they should be doing with it.
Dan’s talk will be the step-by-step actions he takes with his clients to make sure all their marketing from TV, radio, search and email are all feeding into each other, and how you can use them in Google against Amazon and Visa versa! He’ll also break down how data should feed all aspects of eCommerce.
Three key learnings will be:
- Using Google and Amazon against each other.
- Where to get this data.
- Use this to build your brand and drive customer acquisition.
9 – How to couple data science with performance creative to transform your customer acquisition
2022 could be the last year that Third-party, cookie-based tracking technologies deliver the sweet ROI that digital marketers have grown so accustomed to. Even if it’s not, acquisition marketers must act now to gain deeper insights into their prospects earlier in the journey and to leverage the mountains of data in their tech stacks.
Here are three key learnings you’ll get from this session led by Paris Childress, Founder & CEO of Hop Online:
- The performance marketer’s new must-have skills in a post-third party cookie digital marketing landscape.
- Ways to identify and feed first-party data into digital ad platforms like Google and Facebook for outsized ROAS.
- A new approach to high-volume creative production and testing that’s better aligned with performance marketing (and won’t break the bank).
10- Multi-channel Digital Marketing Strategy for E-Commerce
In the upcoming cookieless era and in the age of adblockers, decreasing CTRs and conversion rates, expecting high ROAS, and low COCA from direct last-click conversions has become wishful thinking without a full-funnel multichannel marketing strategy.
For e-commerce especially, it is really important to realize how each channel interacts with the others and what is its role in the overall digital marketing strategy. In this session, Raluca Radu, Managing Partner at MTH Digital, will show you:
- How to identify the Buyer Persona profiles we are targeting in our digital marketing campaigns.
- How to do your market research on the competitive landscape using digital research tools in order to identify our main SWOT points, USPs, and key communication messages for the best results.
- How to identify the right digital marketing channel mix.
- Tactics for each PPC Marketing channel.
- Tips for budgeting and KPIs for each channel.
Get ahead of your competition and join us at Hero Conf London 2022 for two full days of in-depth training on these and many more pressing digital marketing developments.
Make sure to check out our agenda which includes more details on other sessions happening at the conference.
How to Use Product Synonyms to Build Use Case Awareness & Scale SEO
SEO Legend, Mentor & Friend
What Is Small Business SEO?
Google Updates Video Best Practices For Thumbnail Transparency
Pega addresses accelerating business complexity
How & Why To Prevent Bots From Crawling Your Site
5 Ways to Improve Your Lead Scoring Process
A Guide To LinkedIn Single Image Ad Retargeting
10 Solutions You’ll Learn at Hero Conf London 2022
The Ultimate Guide to Video Marketing
LinkedIn Adds Live Captions for Audio Events, Custom URL Listings on Creator Profiles
Six Ways to Adjust Google Ads to Save Budget
Daily Search Forum Recap: May 2, 2022
How Does Google Multisearch Affect SEO?
How to Write the Perfect Page Title With SEO in Mind
Where To Invest In SEO For Maximum Impact
Google Testing New Ad Format With Swipeable Images In A Carousel
Google Says You Can Use Hashtags In Meta Descriptions
Google Search Console URL Parameter Tool Is Now Offline
What’s A Good Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)? Ask The PPC
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