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Google Ads - Search Network vs Display Network

When came across digital marketing in general, there are a lot of services we can think of, such as, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Email Marketing (EDM), Social Media Marketing (SMM) and etc, at the forefront is of course Google Ads.

Google Ads has dominated the US paid search ad spent at 82% share, while as the global digital advertising market at 31.1%. Most of people who are new in digital marketing arena might fail to understand the differences between the Google Search Network (GSN) and Google Display Network (GDN). GSN targeted search users, whereas GDN is utilised for increasing brand awareness.

For increasing the digital marketing performance, we must use different mechanism strategic for running the Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising campaign on both Google Ads networks. Understanding what’s in and what’s not in each network is very important for setting up the Ads campaign. Before running a Digital Marketing Campaigns, you should have website and design by local company

Search Network Ad

Display Network Ad



WHERE, WHY, WHEN on using Search Network or Display Network



WHERE the Ads of GSN and GSN will appear

Google Search Network (GSN)

When typical online users hear about the word Ads, the first comes to mind is the Search Network or GSN. This is the most common form of PPC advertising. Besides, the main Google Search page, GSN included other sites, for instances, Google Images, Google Maps, and YouTube which all these sites have search facilities powered by Google.

If you including “Search Partners” in your Google Ads settings, you might find your ads appearing in other search engineers like Ask.com, AOL and others who partnered with Google as alternative search providers.

Whenever an online user makes a search query using particular keywords or phrases, the PPC ads on the Google Search Network are triggered with the ads displayed at side of search result and also together with search result entries.

According the latest comScore 2015 study, 63.9% of the time, Google.com is the most influential publisher in the GSN.

Google Display Network (GSN)

The coverage of Google Display Network is huge which can be considered one of the largest digital advertising network in the planet of Earth. Aside from publishing sites such as YouTube, Gmail and Google Finance, GDN also includes practically all the online sites that integrates with Ads advertising (Google AdSense).

GSN has been approaching more than 90% of all Internet users from around the globe, this is because there are more than two million sites included the GSN. The GSN is large enough that captures as much as 34% of the total expenditures on online advertising, with businesses allocating up to only 10% of their total marketing budgets on the GSN.

As in contrast of Search Network where Google.com is the primary publisher, whereas Display Network play the role as a conduit or bridge that link-up among publishers, advertisers and website users.


WHY to use a specified of network

The reasons why as a digital marketing to identifying the networks is to targeting for particular types of customers for your campaign. Both of the networks have different kind of approach for setting and running ads and each of them caters to a particular group of audiences.

Google Search Network (GSN)

  • PPC ads on the GSN are targeted towards search users who are actively searching for specific product and/or services and may already have a positive intent to purchase
  • These search users are already further down buying cycle or the sales funnel. These are valuable leads that have a greater possibility of becoming paying customers
  • Leads like these are scarce and are not east to come by. That’s why GSN ads placements are more competitive and more expensive than GDN
  • PPC ads on the GSN can target anywhere on the buying cycle with the proper use of keywords and phrases. The users might from leads who have already done their research and are looking for specific products/services to buy, to users who already have their credit cards in their hands and are ready to purchase
  • PPC ads on the GSN make user of pull marketing. Customer here are actively pushing to find the right product or services. Your ads pulls them in and convert them into customers

Google Display Network (GDN)

  • GSN main objective is to widen the sales funnel and increate brand awareness. As result, PPC ads on the GDN are targeted towards search users who are higher up in the buying cycle
  • The ideal for creating brand awareness is through using of video, pictures and sound on the GDN
  • Imagine just like a billboards on the street which targeting drivers or passengers, the ads on GDN are posted on sites where people might be doing a different thing, such as reading the news, checking email, playing online games, or watching video – they are not actively searching for a particular product or services
  • Push marketing is used through PPC ads on the GDN. Your ads are pushing your brand or product to the customers so they will know about what you have to offer while customers are doing something different and are not looking products and or services


WHEN to use a specified of network

Google Search Network (GSN)

Ads on GSN targeted users whom are active in searching products and services and have greater possibility for conversions. This is ideal for digital markets who have:

  • Limited budget – Newbie marketers who have limited resources would find the GSN a good place to start a PPC campaign
  • Emergency product – The GSN is ideal for business selling products or offering services that clients will look for when they need them urgently

Google Display Network (GDN)

Ads on GSN are displayed to users who are not necessarily ready to shop at the moment. Your brand is shown to these audiences in order to increases its visibility and promoting brand awareness

  • New market – the GDN is intended to increase or expand the sales funnel, enabling you to showcase your brand to a new audiences
  • Complicated sales process – GSN can be used when the product or services you are selling requires complicated sales process or project basis
  • Visual products – GDN is ideal for marketing products that require a visual display to make it easier for audiences to know what you are selling


As conclusion, in order a Digital Marketing to draw in highly targeted audiences with greater possibility for conversion, the understanding and application of Pay-Per-Click advertising at Google Ads platform is very important section.  

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