TRL Blog

Display vs. Search Ads: Which Should You Choose?

With Halloween and Christmas just around the corner, you might be looking for ways to boost your sales. With so many digital advertising methods available, how do you even choose?  Keep reading for an overview of what display and search ads are and how to make a choice between the two options.

What Are Display Ads and Search Ads?

Before diving into the comparison, let’s make sure we’re on the same page about what display
and search ads are:

Display Ads

These are graphical advertisements. Whenever a client visits a website or an app, display ads relevant to their interests or browsing history pop up. When it comes to formats, you’ve got plenty of options. Images, videos, animations—you name it.

Search Ads

These text advertisements appear at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs) when users enter relevant keywords or phrases. They are displayed in response to specific search queries and are highly relevant to the user’s intent. Search ads are commonly associated with pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, where advertisers bid on keywords and pay only when their ad is clicked.

Display Ads: Pros and Cons

Let’s look a little more closely at the pros and cons of display ads:

  • Brand Visibility: Display ads are excellent for increasing brand visibility. They allow you to showcase your brand, products, or services to a broader audience, even if users are
    not actively searching for them.
  • Creative Freedom: With display ads, you have the creative freedom to design visually appealing and engaging ad creatives.
  • Lower Conversion Rates: Display ads typically have lower conversion rates compared to search ads because they are not as directly tied to user intent. Users encountering
    display ads may not be in the buying mindset.
  • Ad Blindness: Many users have developed ad blindness and may ignore or overlook display ads, especially if they are intrusive or irrelevant to their interests.
  • Ad Blocking: Ad-blocking software can prevent display ads from reaching a significant portion of your target audience.

Search Ads: Pros and Cons

The pros and cons of search ads include the following:

  • Highly Targeted: Search ads appear when users actively search for specific keywords. This means you’re more likely to reach users who are already interested in your products or services.
  • Immediate Results: Search ads can generate quick results. When properly optimized, they can drive traffic to your website and generate conversions promptly.
  • Cost Control: With PPC advertising, you have control over your budget, and you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. This makes it easier to manage your advertising expenses.
  • Intense Competition: Popular keywords can be highly competitive, leading to higher bidding costs. Smaller businesses may find it challenging to compete with larger advertisers.
  • Limited Brand Exposure: While search ads are excellent for conversions, they may not provide as much brand exposure as display ads, which are seen by a broader audience.
  • Ad Copy Limitations: Search ads rely on concise text ad copy, which may limit your ability to convey complex messages or engage users with multimedia content.

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to the display vs. search ads question. The choice should align with your specific business objectives, target audience, and budget. Many successful advertising campaigns incorporate a mix of both display and search ads to maximize their reach and impact. At TRL Solutions, we specialize in both types of ads. Contact us today!


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