Pay-per-click and paid search advertising

What is display advertising?


Display ads are online advertisements that appear on websites other than your own. They can take the form of a banner, an image or even a video. Using cookies, these ads can be tailored for an individual user based on their demographics, interests and behaviour. This allows advertisers to reach targeted audiences.

Like search ads, display ads can be charged by cost-per-click (CPC). They can also be charged at cost-per-thousand impressions (CPM).

Both main search advertising providers (Google and Bing) offer a network of websites that can show your display ads. Depending on your campaign's goals you may choose to advertise through search, display or both.

What are the differences between search and display advertising?

While search and display both offer and a targeted, measurable online advertising that can be charged per click or impression, there are a number of key differences:

  • Push vs pull - with search advertising, the user is actively searching for products or services and may even be ready to make a purchase. However, display advertising pushes your message to users when they may not be thinking about your product. This means that the search may be able to deliver more qualified leads. Display may be more effective for promoting an innovative product.
  • Branding - search ads are usually text-based and don't offer much opportunity to communicate your brand. Display advertising is more visual - you can use videos and images that include your logo and brand identity. Display advertising works well for brand awareness campaigns.

Display and search advertising each help to achieve different marketing goals. If your goals are to increase brand awareness or promote a new product - display advertising will be more effective. For a campaign that aims to generate conversions (eg sales, enquiries) - search advertising will work best.

The type of online advertising you choose will also be based on what you are offering. Display advertising may be more effective for promoting luxury items such as a cruise or high-end car. Search can work very well for selling products online and promoting urgent services such as a locksmith or plumber.