Don’t Let Display Ads Eat Up Your Google Ads Budget

Don't Let Display Ads Eat Up Your Google Ads Budget

When setting up a new Google Ad Campaign, Google is pretty insistent about adding the display network option to the search network.

Don't Let Display Ads Eat Up Your Google Ads Budget

Reaching more people across three million sites and apps sounds appealing. Why wouldn’t you want to do that?

Google Display Advertising Requires a Different Marketing Strategy than Search

Google Search Network includes everyone who is “googling” something. Users can be assumed to have “high search intent,” which means they are specifically looking for the keywords you identified in your search campaign. These are valuable “clicks,” that have a good probability to converting to a customer.

Google Display Network works more like magazine advertising. Websites and apps in the Google Ad Network display ads alongside their content. Users may or may not see the ads. And, despite targeting options, they may or may not be interested in your particular ad. These clicks are less valuable, and some may even be accidental. (The Display Network is different from retargeting, which shows your ads to users who have demonstrated search intent).

With careful targeting, display advertising can be an effective marketing tactic to introduce your business to new customers who have a need but aren’t actively searching for your products. Check out my article “Google Display Ads Can Find You New Customers” for detailed information on setting up a display ad campaign.

How the Google Display Network Affects Search Campaigns

In a mixed campaign, there’s no way to throttle what percentage of your budget goes towards search vs. display. Google doesn’t make it clear how the budget is allocated, either. It requires a careful analysis of search clicks vs. overall clicks, and you might also need to reference your Google Analytics data.

In one test I ran, 75% of the budget was diverted to display ads in a campaign that was designed to work for search. The effectiveness of the campaign plummeted, as we missed the opportunity to reach more users with high search intent.

Key Takeaway: If you enable the display network on your search campaign, display ads will eat up the advertising budget, leaving little left for actual searchers.

Why Google Advocates Mixing Display and Search

There are a few reasons Google recommends selecting search and display in the same campaign. Most of them have to do with reducing frustration for non-expert advertisers and earning more ad revenue for Google:

  • For non-expert advertisers, this is the easiest option and gets your ads up and running more quickly
  • Cost-per-click for display is significantly lower than CPC for search, so it brings down the average. A lower average CPC feels satisfying to a non-expert advertiser
  • Display ads usually get a higher volume of clicks, driving more website traffic. This is a quantity vs. quality issue
  • For niche search campaigns that have highly-specific targets, there might not be enough search traffic to use 100% of the ad budget each day

Do your Google Ads need guidance to become more effective? Contact us.

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