While they each have their own uses, search and display ads work best when they complement each other. Here’s how:

  1. Display ads can increase the effectiveness of search advertising.

How can someone search for your business or confidently click on your ad if they don’t recognize your business in the first place? Display advertising helps drive that awareness and helps the community get to know you.

The key metrics you should monitor when running display ads include:

    • The number of impressions (times the ad was shown)
    • The click-thru rate (the number of clicks on the ad that were directed to your website)
    • The number of view-throughs (people who saw your ad, did not click on it in that moment, but visit your site later on)

2. Search ads + display ads help you target people when they’re searching and where they spend their time online. 

People may only spend a few minutes a day searching but spend hours viewing content online. If you want to be thorough, catching them in both scenarios is ideal. Use search ads to boost your visibility to people on top search engines like Google and display ads to catch them after they leave the search engine. This will cover your bases to show in both places: search engines and across the web.

In fact, one study found that search activity rose 155% following a user being served a display ad. Plus, 27% of consumers conduct a search for a business after seeing a display ad.

3. Search + display can be used together to increase conversions through retargeting. 

If you’re looking to “retarget” or send ads to users who visited your site without converting, when used together, search and display ads are a powerful duo. Since search ads drive traffic, they can assist in building up your initial retargeting audience. Once your search ads pull in enough traffic for you to retarget to, your display ads can take over to follow those audiences around the web.

4. Search + display ads can lower your average cost-per-click.

If you’ve been trying to reduce your high cost-per-click, display ads can help. Display ads historically have a much lower cost-per-click than other online advertising, including search ads. If you want to maximize your budget, use both types of ads simultaneously.

To achieve optimal results with your search and digital ads, here are 4 things to remember:

  • Understand the key metrics for both search and display. Search and display ad metrics are different because these ads serve different purposes, and they need to be evaluated and optimized for their unique function.
  • Keep your brand consistent across search and display. Keep your voice and style the same between ad types. This includes making sure promotions and dates align as well.
  • Maximize budget between search and display. Working with a digital marketing professional provides access to helpful tools that will help you set a budget, monitor the performance and easily make adjustments. When used to complement one another, spending an equal amount on both search and display ads, you’re likely to bring in double the results.
  • Use custom landing pages for both search and display campaigns to increase the likelihood of a conversion. Search and display campaigns drive clicks to a specific page of your website, also referred to as the landing page. From there, it’s up to the content on that landing page complete the conversion. That’s why it’s important that the information is compelling and includes a clear, easy call to action.


Need help managing your digital ads? IDS has partnered with LocaliQ to offer members access to comprehensive marketing support at exclusive pricing.

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