Adwords Search and Display upgrades

On the adwords side Google keeps focusing on standardizing the advertiser's choices so that he/she gets a simpler platform (less choice), but better results.

Until today advertisers could pick from 5 options:

  1. Search
  2. Display
  3. Search and display
  4. Search with display select
  5. Shopping (Product listings)
  6. Video (Youtube)

From now onwards Google will drop option 3 (search and display) and will be upgrading all accounts until the 16th of September 2014. This was an expected change, since until now most expert adwords users would rarely use search together with display, given the following implications:

  • Marketingwise they are normally used at different stages of the awareness-purchase funnel. Display=Awareness / Search=Intent/Research.
  • Search has much higher CTR's than display, having them together could probably damage historical CTR, hence quality score
  • Budget/Bid management - CPC is the main used metric for search bids versus CPM for display. In addition display has a much lower CPC or eCPC than search and joining them could inflate this.

According to google the display side of this hybrid shows:
"5% lower cost-per-customer purchase" and "If you’ve been running “Search Network only” campaigns (...) you may notice an increase in conversions (15% on average) at 15% higher cost (in most cases)".

How is this done? well, Google remains a bit ambiguous with their explanation only saying:
It " uses improved signals and methods of predicting when and where your ads are likely to perform best, and sets a higher bar for when to show them. That means your ads are more likely to be shown to a smaller number of prospective customers, who are more likely to be interested in your offerings".

The main advantage here seems to be time/complexity management. If you are an advertiser, that thinks managing separate campaigns for display and search is complicated and very time consuming then this might be a good option. If not I would just stick with separate campaigns/networks.

This change will potentially deliver better results to users that were doing "Search and display" campaigns, but will probably make the display space more competitive increasing overall CPM/CPC's.

Detail on Google paid search vs display select:

display select comparison with search

You might also want to read:

  1. Adwords announces display select upgrade
  2. Analytics announces MCC linking
  3. About Google search with display select