Search network vs Display network: what should I use in Google Ads campaigns?

I want to do AdWords campaigns but, in which Network, Search or Display?

Once we decide to advertise with AdWords campaigns, it is often the case that we face different networks and types of campaigns without knowing how to choose the one that best suits our objectives. Should I do Search Network campaigns? Or maybe display network? Maybe you can do both. But… Are they all going to be equally effective in achieving my goals? Can I integrate any type of campaign into my marketing strategy?

The truth is that each and every one of the possibilities offered by AdWords can help us achieve our marketing objectives. However, knowing how to choose the type of campaign or the combination of different types of AdWords campaigns that best suit our business model, our product and our audience will make a difference.

The objective of this post is to define the two great Google Advertising Networks and how each one of them can lead us towards the achievement of our marketing objectives.

Next, we will introduce the key aspects of these different advertising networks.

Types of Networks or how to choose between Search and Display

  • Search Network:

As we can figure out by name, it is the one that is integrated into a search engine, either in Google, in the search engines of partners or Google partners, such as Ask or AOL, and also in Google products such as Google Maps, among others.

Using the Search Network that the ads of our AdWords campaigns will be displayed next to organic results when a user makes a query in a search engine, also being necessary that the search terms entered match or match the keywords we use in our campaign.

Thus, if, for example, we advertise language courses using the keyword “English course,” our ad will be eligible to be displayed with search terms such as “English courses” or “take an English course”, among others.

Campañas de Adwords - Anuncios en la Red de Búsqueda

Therefore, a key factor when configuring these types of campaigns will be the keywords you select, as these will influence the cost of your campaign. What is this about?

We will have to identify keywords with purchase intention, that is, those words that users enter in Google when they are actively looking to buy something, and finally get them to make that purchase. In addition, it will be important to know what search terms users use to refer to our products, so that we can enter our keywords.

Here we are telling you how to choose the right keywords for your campaigns

When should you use the Search Network in AdWords campaigns?

The Search Network is ideal for capturing demand. Thus, AdWords campaigns in the search network will allow us to attract those users who are proactively searching for what we offer.


In addition, the Search Network usually offers better performance in terms of results and usually is more effective when it comes to conversions, that is, getting the user to perform the action for which the campaign was created. A conversion can be a purchase, a registration or a request for information, among other actions. This is closely related to what we mentioned earlier: The user is already actively looking for a product or service, so he will be more predisposed to make a purchase when our ad is shown. Therefore, the most effective will be to make sure that it appears whenever a user enters the name of our product or service, or any term related to it.


In addition, one of the advantages of ads in Search Network campaigns is that the advertiser will only pay if the ad is clicked (Cost per Click). Otherwise, it will not incur any cost to the advertiser.

  • Display Network:

It is now the turn of the Display Network Google, this is formed by more than two million places such as websites, videos, and even apps where our ads can appear. In this type of ads, generally the advertiser pays for the impressions that their ads receive, although there is also the alternative of using Cost per Click or CPC.

In what kind of strategies can we use the Display Network?

As we mentioned earlier, the Display Network covers millions of websites affiliated with the AdSense advertising program: news portals, blogs, YouTube, Gmail, mobile applications… that is, a large number of locations of very varied themes in which they can appear on our ads.

Therefore, our ads appear on one website or another will depend on the theme of the site. That is, we can segment our ads by keywords or by topics and interests, so that when our segmentation matches the theme of the website, our ad will be eligible to appear and will appear on that site.

Campañas de AdWords - Anuncio de Display

If you want to know more about the configuration and segmentation of the Display Network, you can read this interesting article.


On the other hand, the Display Network allows us to advertise with a wide variety of ad formats: static banners, dynamically generated banners, with video ads and also with text ads.


In this article you will be able to know in more detail all the banner formats for display. 


If we have previously defined the Search Network as an ideal strategy to capture demand, the ads on the Display Network will help us generate this demand. We can reach those people who are interested in what we offer but who, perhaps, are not yet aware of it or do not have an active search attitude, so we can achieve an important dissemination.


Thus, the Display Network allows us to show ads to our target audience without the need for them to look for us. In this way, we can reach users when they are reading about products or services such as ours, or related to them, or browsing pages that are related to the audiences we have segmented.

  • Search Network with Display expansion

Still do not know which one to choose? Maybe your goal is more suited to a campaign in the Network of Search with Display expansion.

This type of campaigns are a recommended option for advertisers in AdWords who achieve a high number of conversions in their search campaigns, as it allows to reach a wider audience than the simple search campaign. This is because your ads are shown on both the Search Network and the Display Network.

Therefore, it is advisable to wait for our search-only campaign to have a good performance and a certain level of daily conversions to change its settings to << Search with Display extension >>. If this type of campaign does not work for us, we can always return to the search-only option.

The difference in this type of campaign with respect to an only campaign Search – or only Display – is in the ad format that you can show to your user. In this way, with this type of advertising you can use text, static image, rich media or integrated video ads. These types of ads will appear on both the Search Network of Google as in the portals and web pages that are associated with the Google Display Network.

In summary, with clear objectives, it is a simple task to choose which Network will help us with each one. Now we will have to devote some time to another task: choose types of AdWords campaign.

Do you still want to learn more? Clear all your doubts about the differences between the Search Network and the Display Network in this link.

And if you want to keep up to date with all the news in Digital Marketing, follow up the Digital Menta blog where we always share our findings 🙂

Written by

Andrea Sapiña

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