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Display Ads vs. Search Ads: Which One Is Better?

When it comes to Search Engine Marketing (SEM), search ads aren’t the only way to capture the interests of potential customers. There is also the alternative of having display ads that solve a different purpose. While both are forms of paid ads, they can differ as beginners and experts alike often  don’t  know with what ad to go for. Here is a handy blog on the difference between the two, and which one you should go for. 

Search vs Display

Search Ads are the ads beside organic searches in the search engine results pages (SERP). Moreover, they comprise of a headline, URL, and description text, designed to direct users to click the ad. Basically, what determines the rank of these search ads would be the bid and quality score. 

While search ads are “pull” advertising, meaning that there has to be intent expressed by users for an ad to show up, Display ads are a form of “push” advertising. Additionally, paid ad placements appear on different targeting parameters. The display ads can show in many different websites and even on social media. 

Search volume

Search volume is one factor to look into if you can’t decide between both ads. If you see that you have a good search volume, then you are in a good position to start a search ad. However, if the volume is not much, then having a display ad would be better for your products as it helps with brand awareness.

Brand awareness

For new businesses, or businesses offering new products, the best way to generate awareness is through display advertising. The Google Display Network helps you reach a wide audience who might be interested in what you have to offer. 

Moreover, if you actually know the sites your target audience visits, then you can target those sites in particular. Search ads aid your display ads by including the same branded terms used in your display ad.

Urgent services 

If your business offers professional services like dentistry, then search ads would be better. Usually, people searching these terms are in need of the services already. 

Moreover, your target audience may be using mobile to search urgently for a service that they want. Targeting mobile users is key in capturing these users. 


For those with limited budgets, it is best to turn to search ads. Display ads can incur a larger budget and not guarantee a positive return on investment.

If you have a larger budget, you can focus on your successful search campaigns to keep the traffic flowing. You can also choose to expand also to the display network. 

Using the right strategy, you can get the traffic you need to gain new customers. The world of paid advertising and digital marketing can be quite confusing and daunting to beginners. Don’t know what to do? Worry not as there are experts that can guide you in how to deliver compelling campaigns through search or display advertising. 

With 25 years of experience in the industry and an IT company at its core, iManila, having been one of the first Internet Service Providers in the Philippines, is committed to providing our clients with innovative online marketing services in the Philippines. We are a full-service business website development and advertising company ready to help you with your web design, web hosting provider, email hosting, technical support, and digital marketing services needs.

iManila is an expert digital marketing agency and web design company in Manila that has helped a lot of brands with their online campaigns. See how we can work together — talk to us!

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