Search and Display- A Perfect Combination

Katherine Bennett - November 30, 2009

If I said peanut butter would you think of jelly? If I said Fred would you think of Ethel? If I said Batman would you think of Robin? What if I said search ads? What do you think of now? How about display ads. Display ads are a great compliment to search ads. Effectively using search and display ads together can improve click through rates and onsite interaction.

When most people think of internet advertising they think of just search ads. However, pairing search and display ads is highly underrated. Display ads add an extra boost to search ads. According to an article on Search Engine Land “display ads can have a major impact on search and consumer engagement.” The internet has many articles that support this fact. It goes back to a simple fact of traditional advertising; frequency. The more people see a product or service advertised, the more aware they become, and we all know a picture is worth a thousand words. By combining search and display ads, a consumer is being exposed to a product or service and therefore becoming more aware of it.

One important note when setting up display and search ads is to make sure they are consistent. If you’re advertising one message in search and another in display, you’re working against yourself. When your messages are cohesive, whether a consumer sees your search ads, display ads or both, the message is being reinforced. Even if a consumer doesn’t click on your display ad, they’re seeing the visual and if they are interested, they will come looking for you in the future. There have been many times, I’ve been reading an article and stopped to view a display ad. I didn’t click on it, but later on when I had free time I did a search for it. Don’t just go by my experience; let’s look at a client example.

We have a client that sells unique office chairs online. Their search campaigns were bringing in traffic but no conversions. I added a campaign for display ads and within a few days they received a conversion. Here’s the catch, they received a conversion from their paid search efforts. One might think the search ads paid off by themselves, however here’s where it get’s interesting. The next month their display ads were paused and the client only ran paid search ads. They didn’t get any conversions. At the beginning of the next month, the display ads were resumed and like clockwork the client received conversions for their paid search ads. The display ads haven’t received any conversions on their own yet, but whenever they are running, the paid search campaign receives conversions.

Search ads and display ads are the perfect combination, especially when they reinforce each other’s message. Display ads can help improve the results of paid search campaigns.
If you want a consumer to be more aware of your product or service, consider running display ads that are complimentary to your search ads. The results may be a nice surprise.

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