You’ve Exhausted Google AdWords Search Opportunities – What Now?


There might come a time when you have used up all the opportunities that exist in Paid Search – You are close to 100% Impression Share (market share in AdWords) and there just isn’t any more you can do to drive more clicks via paid Search on Google. What should be your next move? Display? SEO? 

Google Display Network works very differently from the Search Network. If you have realised that it’ll be good for your business to be found on Google, then this is the job of Google SEARCH. Not Google Display Network. Display ads often get bundled into the advertising package as if Display is just an extension of Search. Don’t let the fact that they are both Google owned make you think that you should naturally use both.

Display network is a completely different ball game. Audience behavior is entirely different. It is a push medium (vs Search which is a pull medium). You are pushing your ads onto someone who might or might not have interest in your products. You are doing so while they are in the midst of reading news, website or watching a video.

Display ads are closer to outdoor banner ads, TV commercials and magazine ads than they are to Search. On Search network you aren’t pushing your ads, you are simply ensuring your ads appear when someone looks for them.

Display ads are most suited for the products like the ones listed below:

  • new products / new solutions to existing problems
  • charities which usually don’t get sought out in search
  • sexy products where an appealing visual image could entice someone into buying the product.
  • Events (because people won’t know the event is taking place in order to proactively search)
  • Risk free purchases, newsletter sign ups, free giveaways etc. Reason display is good for these is because purchase decision Is quick as its risk free. Remember that in display you are interrupting users activity with your ad. They weren’t even thinking about your product before they saw your ad. For someone to go from ‘not even thinking about it’ to committing to a complex purchase is a hard task. Grabbing a free giveaway or signing up to a newsletter is less complex, less risky and therefore more likely to happen.

If you are doing well in Search Ads but have hit the demand ceiling (ie demand has tapered off and so you need to expand your reach) it is usually a better strategy to invest in SEO before investing in Display Advertising.

Some people are hesitant to do both SEO AND Google AdWords because they think “what’s the point I’ll be showing up in search already”. The point is that the more slots you get in the Google search results the more likely you are to get the visitor. Its not a waste of money to run ads even when you appear on the top of Google organic search results. The more listings you get the more chances you’ll have of getting that click.

Before you consider moving into Display, exhaust ALL your Search opportunities first. Maximize your exposure in the PROACTIVE platforms such as Search with SEO & Google Ads. These two are just two different avenues of getting to the same goal.

Display is a completely different ball game. Display is an disruptive platform. Most businesses should not expect result & ROI from Display ads to match those of Search (or even come close to matching it). Few exceptions are the examples listed above.

NOTE OF CAUTION: Some Google partner agencies are incentives by Google reps to expend clients’ Search campaigns into Display. You as an investor need to consider this possible conflict of interest before deciding if this is the best avenue to pursue.

Author: Natasha Popovich

I have been in Digital Marketing since 2003. My focus over the past decade has been Google AdWords, Analytics and Conversion Rate Optimization. I spent in access of $30m on Google and worked with companies of all sizes in NZ, AU, Asia & Europe, directly and through advertising agencies. I now provide consulting services to agencies and businesses directly.

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