Exploring PPC Search Ads and Display Ads

When you’re just starting a pay-per-click (PPC) advertising campaign, the process can be overwhelming, and the learning curve steep. Yet, there are so many advantages to paid advertising, the investment of your time in learning the details is worth it.

Let’s narrow this discussion to PPC search ads and display ads, the types of paid advertisements you see on search engines, and websites so that you can align your strategy with your goals.

Get transformed into an industry-ready paid marketing professional with the Advanced Pay Per Click (PPC) Certification Training. Enroll now!

What Are PPC Search Ads and Display Ads?

The most basic definitions of search ads and display ads are:

  • Search ads appear only on search engine results pages. They are triggered once a user types in a search term, such as “meal delivery kits” or “best meal delivery services.”
  • Display ads appear only on third-party websites, such as a news or ecommerce site. They are shown to users when they are on other sites but not looking for your products or services.

PPC Search Ads

PPC search ads display on top of organic search results and on the right sidebar. Source: Google Search

PPC Search Ads

PPC display ads, like what’s shown at the top here, appear on websites with no association with your product or service. 

How Do You Know Which Type of Ad to Use?

Now that you know the difference between PPC search and display ads, you might be wondering about the appropriate time to use them. 

It’s safe to assume when someone searches for a term like “meal delivery kits,” for example, they are already in the market for this type of item. We can better understand their search intent because this type of search indicates the user is in the research phase, or they are just looking for what’s out there. 

By contrast, if a user types in “dinnerly meal delivery kits,” they are closer to making a decision to go with that brand. They are already aware of the brand, and so their search term indicates their position in the consumer decision journey

In both of these cases, it would be appropriate to create search ads that meet users where they’re at—whether that’s in the beginning research stage or closer to conversion. In other words, if your goal is to create awareness around your brand, then search ads can help. If you want to show up when users type in your brand name, then search ads can also be valuable in those circumstances.

Display ads, which display on other websites, are not dependent on search intent. Instead, you can think about using these types of ads when you want to introduce someone to your brand, or you want to remind them of your brand. 

For instance, let’s say someone is reading about a recipe for the best types of comfort food, and your ad for running shoes appears on that page. The user may have never even heard of your brand, but with display ads, you can get your brand in front of them. Later, they may search for your brand to learn more, and that’s where your search ads can serve up the information they want.

Of course, you can also use display ads for brand recall, or reminding users that they know of your brand. With your ads displayed on the websites they’re visiting, you can invite them back to re-engage with your brand, complete an abandoned transaction, or sign up for a newsletter.

Are you prepared enough to be a PPC expert? Try answering these Advanced PPC Exam Questions and find out now. 

Take PPC Advertising to the Next Level

There is a lot to learn about paid advertising, different types of search ad and display ad formats, and managing your advertising budget. You can learn about all of this and more online with Simplilearn’s Advanced PPC Certification Training.

About the Author

Rob SandersRob Sanders

Rob Sanders is a digital marketing veteran with over 20 years of experience. During that time, Rob has helped a wide range of companies utilize new and emerging technologies to increase sales and profitability. As founder of RSO Consulting, Rob helps clients maximize their digital marketing efforts via SEO, SEM, SMO, and Web Analytics. He is responsible for many facets of the web analytics value chain, from identifying business goals and objectives to developing strategies and translating those into Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Rob also teaches digital marketing and analytics classes throughout the U.S. and abroad. As a contributor for Simplilearn, Rob creates expert thought leadership content on a variety of digital marketing and analytics topics.

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