adwords on budget: how and why to avoid display network in google adwords

If you have a limited budget for your Google Adwords marketing, then you will need to get creative about how and where you display your ads. One of the prudent things to do is to avoid the Display Network for all or at least some of the campaigns, and reinvest that into the Search Network. This will allow you to get better returns for your budget.

Google Adwords supports advertising in two distinct types of networks: Search Network and Display Network. Each of these network have its own advantages and disadvantages. Your returns will vary on these networks depending on the product or service you are marketing…

Search Network

This is the set of web pages that allows you to perform a web search and displays search results. This includes the Google Search as well, but it is not limited to it. It also include websites that have implemented Google’s custom search functionality and other search partners that have partnered with Google to display search result ads.

The search network also includes other Google specific pages such as shopping, images, maps etc and any thing else that Google might think of in the future.

The Search Network is best suited to sell or market a specific product or service directly to the user. It allows you to display your ads to the user who is currently searching for exactly what you are offering. It is a much more focused and targeted set of audience when compared to the Display Network.

Display Network

The display network includes millions of websites across the globe. This includes Adsense Publisher sites that implement Google Adsense and also other advertising platforms such as DoubleClick. It includes other Google domains, such as Blogger or Blogspot and Google pages such Finance, Gmail etc. This network also includes videos, such as YouTube videos and also Android or Smartphone Apps.

This has a very wide target audience and said to reach at least 90% of all internet users. However, it usually have a much lower CTR when compared to the Search network.

The Display Network is probably more suited for a Brand Campaign, where you market your brand rather than a specific product. The audience is usually less focused and also not likely to be actively looking and searching for the product or service at the time. Also, the display network usually have a much less stringent matching of ads as it could be contextual, targeted or interest based as opposed to keyword matching in the search network.

So, if you are on a strict budget one of the first things to forego would be the display network. You might as well spend that money on the Search network where you can target a much more focused audience.

The first thing to check would be whether you already have the display network enabled in your campaign. It should be easy enough to check,

  1. Go to the Google Adwords Web Interface
  2. Click on the Campaigns Tab at the top of the page
  3. Click on a specific campaign in the left hand side menu
  4. Click on the Settings Tab in the right hand side pane
  5. Check the Type field under the Campaign Settings section, you should see one of the following:
  • Search Network Only: It means you are already avoiding the Display Network
  • Search Network with Display Select: You are currently targeting both Search and Display Network
  • Display Network Only: You are currently targeting only the Display Network
Adwords Campaign Display Network Only

If you have the Display Network enabled then you can easily turn it off as well. First follow the above set of steps to access the settings and then,

  1. Click on the Edit link next to the Type field
  2. In the pane that opens, Select the Search Network Only option from the drop down.
  3. Click Save button
Adwords Search Network Only

The changes are pretty quick to take effect, usually with in hours. Your ads will now display only in the Search Network and it will use the same daily budget that it is set to. If some point, when you have optimized your campaign enough, you could turn the Display Network back on, if needed.

Ideally, I recommend using different campaigns for Search and Display networks even for the same keywords. It gives you the maximum flexibility in terms of budget and also the type of ads you want to display.