Background: The Difference Between The Search & Display Networks

May 2, 2012
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The Search Network and the Display Network are very different from one another, operating with different sets of rules, metrics, and best practices. To understand why each network behaves the way it does, it’s important to understand the mindset of the consumer approaching each network.

A user who sees your ads through the Display Network is not necessarily searching for your content. Rather, the user is on a site about related content and your ad has popped up. This is the equivalent to an ad for a shoe store popping up on a fashion blog or an ad for a company that provides investment advice showing up on the Wall Street Journal. This kind of advertising is considered push¬†advertising, advertising where the user is not actively looking for what you’re trying to “sell” them. As a result, advertising on the Display Network tends to be about getting a user’s attention. If you want to try your hand at copy writing or graphic design, this is the place to do it. The Display Network is also sometimes referred to as the Content Network or content marketing.

A user who sees your ads through the Search Network, on the other hand,¬†is actively searching for your content. The shoe store ad pops up when a user types in “shoe store” or “shoe store near me.” The company that provides investment advice’s ad appears when the user searches for “investment advice” or “how to manage my mutual funds.” This kind of advertising is considered pull¬†advertising, advertising where the user is actively looking for the product being sold, and “pulls” it through the conversion process. Therefore advertising in the Search Network tends to be about showing the user that your product is the best fit for what they’re looking for, using clear terminology to convey your brand’s proposition to an interested audience. Advertising on the Search Network is often called search marketing.

Try to keep the distinctions between these two networks in mind when exploring the world of digital marketing. Any questions? Don’t forget to ask them below, and we’ll do our best to answer!

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