What are display ads?

You have probably seen display ads on many websites you’ve visited. They usually appear as an image with text in a box, and are displayed on top of a web page or on the sidebars. Display ads are a type of Pay-Per-Click ad, so when someone clicks on the ad, they are taken to a landing page designed to influence the viewer to take further action such as buying a shirt or signing up for an e-book.

These types ads also come in variety of formats and sizes from the common image ad- to more interactive formats such as video or ads with some flash. They also come in different sizes like the classic banner, a horizontal box across web pages or skyscraper ads which are much taller than other ad formats. Each size type can have a different impact on ad performance, so it’s important to pick ones that will align with your business goals. Google reported that the top performing ad sizes are 300×250, 336×280, 728×280, 300×600 and 320×100. The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), an organization that provides oversight to the online advertising industry, is responsible for creating the standards for online ad size and formats. You can learn more about the IAB’s display ad guidelines Here.

Display ads are designed to generate more awareness by letting potential customers know that your products or services are out there. Even though display ads are useful for brand awareness, they often go unclicked. Display ads have a bad reputation of being perceived as spammy and intrusive. This is why advertisers should be mindful of creating useful, enticing ads that match the product or service offering that’s being advertised when visitors click to go the landing page. Otherwise, a click will be wasted.

What are shopping ads?

You might recognize shopping ads, or product listing ads, as the product boxes with prices that pop when searching for a particular item. For example, these are shopping ads that show up for blue sneakers.

Shopping ads are one of the newer forms of Pay-Per-Click ads that have revolutionized the e-commerce world. They provide an easy way to attract potential buyers by showing images of your product to consumers who are actively searching for it. 81% of shoppers research products and services online before making purchases- proving that retailers should invest in e-commerce now more than ever before.  

Due to the fact that 77% of searches are conducted on Google, we will be focusing on Google’s Product Listings platform. Google’s shopping ads allow you to manage your product information so that potential customers can find the the latest and most relevant information about your offerings.

When creating Google shopping ads, you must first set up a Merchant Center account. Merchant Center is a Google tool where you can enter in your business’ product information so that it’s available for Google shopping and other services. Once your merchant center account is set up, you have to link it to your Google Adwords account. Through the Merchant Center, you upload your feed: a group of products you want to advertise. The Adwords platform is where you will track and manage your ads.

There are many benefits that come with having shopping ads for your business. For starters, you will attract more qualified customers because you are putting your product information in front of people who are are already looking for your merchandise. For example, say John is searching for blue sneakers on Google and sees a group of product listing ads. John can tell which pair of sneakers he can afford by looking at the price, and he can tell what sneaker style he wants by looking at the picture. By the time he clicks on the ad he wants, he’ll probably buy the sneakers. Shopping ads also generate higher clickthrough rates than text ads that are shopping-related.

Now that you know the difference between display and search ads, you are probably wondering which one you should use? The answer: it depends on your business goals! At the end of the day, there is no one size fits all approach to online advertising and you have to think about which ad types best align with your goals.