Google Display Ads vs. Google Search Ads

Google Display Ads vs. Google Search Ads: Unlocking Powerful Benefits for Your Business

Google Display Ads vs. Google Search Ads: What’s the Difference?

In the world of online advertising, two popular options are Google Display Ads and Google Search Ads. While both can help businesses reach customers, they work in different ways and have different strengths. Let’s break it down and see the difference (Google Display Ads vs. Google Search Ads).

Google Display Ads

Google Display Ads are shown on websites and apps that are part of the Google Display Network (GDN). These ads can include pictures, videos, and other cool interactive elements. They are mostly used to get people to notice a brand, even if they aren’t actively looking for a product or service.


  •  Reach a Lot of People: Display ads appear on many websites and apps.
  • Target Specific Groups: You can show these ads to people based on their age, interests, or what websites they visit.
  • Use Fun Media: Ads can include pictures and videos, making them eye-catching.
  • Build Brand Awareness: Great for getting your brand in front of new customers.


  • Less Direct Sales: People who see these ads might not be looking to buy something right away.
  • Costly Impressions: You often pay based on how many times the ad is shown, not how many clicks it gets.
  • Lower Click-Through Rates (CTR): Fewer people might click on these ads because they’re not actively searching for your product.

Google Search Ads

Google Search Ads show up when someone searches for something on Google using specific keywords. These ads are highly targeted because they match what the person is looking for right then and there.


  • High Conversion Rates: People are more likely to click and buy because they’re already searching for what you offer.
  • Keyword Targeting: Ads match the exact words people use in their searches, making them very relevant.
  • Higher CTR: More people click on these ads because they’re interested in what they find.
  • Cost Per Click: You often pay only when someone clicks on your ad, making it cost-effective.


  • Limited Reach for Brand Awareness: Not as good for getting new people to know about your brand.
  • Depends on Searches: Only works if people are searching for your product or service.
  • Competitive and Costly: Popular keywords can be expensive to bid on.

What Alternative Should You Pick?

In the modern world, where there may be limited funds available for advertising, Google Search Ads are an excellent option to consider. In addition to having greater click-through rates, they enable you to communicate with individuals who are already looking for the product or service that you offer.

Real-World Example

Comparison between Google Display Ads vs. Google Search Ads, imagine you run a bakery. With Google Display Ads, your ad might pop up on a food blog or a recipe app, showing off your delicious cakes with a beautiful picture. This helps people learn about your bakery even if they weren’t thinking about buying a cake right then.

With Google Search Ads, your ad appears when someone types “buy birthday cake” into Google. Since they’re already looking for a cake, they’re more likely to click on your ad and make a purchase.


Google Display Ads vs. Google Search Ads both have their own set of advantages that they offer. Display advertisements are fantastic for spreading awareness of your brand, whilst search advertisements are ideal for finding consumers who are already in the market to make a purchase. Pick the one that caters to the requirements of your company and doesn’t break the bank.

Francis Waithaka is the founder and lead trainer at Digital4Africa, a company specializing in technology and digital advertising. With over two decades of experience in the field, Francis is an expert in helping businesses and organizations navigate the ever-changing world of digital marketing and technology.





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