Google Display Network vs. Google Search Network: A Comprehensive Comparison

Posted on : 28 April 2023



Google Ads has become an essential component of the digital marketing landscape, allowing businesses to reach their target audience with ease. Among its vast range of advertising solutions, the Google Display Network (GDN) and Google Search Network (GSN) stand out as the most prominent options. In this blog post, we will delve into the differences between GDN and GSN and provide insights into when and how to use each to maximize your marketing efforts.

1. Understanding the Google Display Network (GDN)

The Google Display Network is a vast network of websites, videos, apps, and other online platforms where advertisers can place their display ads. These ads can be in the form of text, images, videos, or rich media. GDN enables marketers to reach a broad audience by placing ads on various sites that are relevant to their products or services. Key features of GDN include:

Extensive Reach

With over 2 million sites in its network, GDN has the potential to reach over 90% of internet users worldwide.

Targeting Options

Advertisers can target their audience based on demographics, interests, topics, placements, and remarketing lists.

Visual Appeal

Visual appeal: Display ads allow businesses to showcase their brand using rich media, such as images and videos, which can be more engaging than text-only ads.

2. Understanding the Google Search Network (GSN)

The Google Search Network is a group of search-related websites and apps where advertisers can place text ads that appear alongside search results. When users search for specific keywords, relevant ads are displayed above or below the organic search results. This ensures that ads are seen by users who are actively searching for products or services related to the advertiser’s business. Key features of GSN include:

Intent – Driven

GSN targets users actively searching for information, products, or services, which can result in higher conversion rates.

Keyboard Targeting

Advertisers can bid on specific keywords to have their ads displayed when users search for those terms.

Pay Per Click (PPC) Model

Advertisers only pay when a user clicks on their ad, making it a cost-effective advertising solution.

3. GDN vs. GSN: When to use each

Understanding the differences between GDN and GSN can help you determine which network is best suited for your marketing objectives. Here are some scenarios to consider:

Brand Awareness

GSN targets users actively searching for information, products, or services, which can result in higher conversion rates.

Targeting Specific Interests or Demographics

GDN offers a wide range of targeting options, allowing you to reach users based on their interests, demographics, and browsing behavior.

Generating Leads & Conversions

If your primary objective is to drive leads or sales, GSN might be the better option. As users on GSN are actively searching for information or products, they may be more likely to convert.

4. Combining GDN and GSN for maximum results

Both GDN and GSN offer unique advantages, and using them together can help you maximize your marketing efforts. By combining the extensive reach and targeting capabilities of GDN with the intent-driven nature of GSN, you can create a comprehensive marketing strategy that reaches users at different stages of the buying journey.


Ultimately, the choice between GDN and GSN depends on your marketing objectives, target audience, and ad formats. Understanding the key features of each network and how they align with your goals can help you make the most informed decision. However, leveraging both networks together can lead to a more effective and well-rounded digital marketing strategy.