Google Search, Google Search Partners, and the Google Display Network. Each has their own upside/downside and we cover the differences here. Be sure to set your Campaigns with the proper Network settings.
So, where do ads appear?
Google.com & Google Search Partners
Google.com, obviously, right? Somebody does a search on Google.com, as long as there are advertisters for that particular term, you will see ads; that’s pretty straightforward. Additionally, you have search partners.
Search partners are other websites that have Google-powered search. Sites like AOL and others, as well as other Google properties, including Google Shopping, Google News, etc. are all considered Search Partners. Our 3rd option here is the Google Display Network.
The Google Display Network
The Google display network is hundreds of thousands of websites that Google has approved to show ads. Basically what this means is, I’m a website, I say to Google, “hey, I want to display ads”. Google then comes to my site and checks things out. If they give me the ok, I am then able to show ads, usually almost always relevant to whatever it is that’s on my website. If I talk about website design, I am then showing ads to things that are relevant to website design. Whether that be graphic design or search engine optimization, etc.
What settings are right for you…
Our general recommendation, to most new AdWords users, is to get started with Google Search (and usually Search Partners as well). We find this gives them a chance to get accustomed to the AdWords interface and platform. Familiarize themselves with the way Ads and Keywords work and some of the different targeting settings and the other intricacies of Google AdWords as an advertiser.
There is another important concept to grasp here in regards to the Display Network. While display network ‘placements’ (actual websites your ads show on) are chosen based on contextual relevance, the people seeing those ads are not specifically typing in the keywords you have chosen to buy. They could just be browsing their favorite sites but not necessarily interested in making purchases, or finding other sites to browse at that time. When you advertise on Search, your ads are shown to Searches with explicit interest and intent.
Note: Display Network Placements can done in 1 of 2 formats: Automatic (Google decides where to place ads) or Manual (you tell Google the sites you want to run on).
You will tend to see higher ‘impressions’ (ad views) when running on the Display Network vs the Search Network. In addition, we tend to see clients have a lower Click Thru Rate.
When we discuss Quality Score in a future post, you will understand that it is important to separate your Display Network and Search Network ads. We suggest having separate Campaigns for Display/Search. This will help keep the Quality Scores unique to the network and should lead to lower costs.
Take a look at your accounts and make sure you are taking full advantage of all networks.
Note: you can also control where your ads show based on DEVICE. This means you can show ads only on desktop computers, or laptops. Or, if you choose, not show ads on mobile devices or tablets etc. More on this later.