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Paid Search (PPC)

What Is Google Adwords?

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Google Adwords is a system developed by Google to deliver ads across various online platforms. The main three platforms are the search network, the display network, and Google shopping.

When advertising on Google Adwords, you can control when and where your ads are shown. Advertisers can target ads to specific websites, topics, keywords, or historic visitors to your site. Using these settings, Google Adwords allows you to be as targeted or as broad as necessary for your business, whether you want to advertise your local services to the East Midlands, or your multi-national company across Europe.

If used correctly, Google Adwords can ensure that your products are seen by a large number of customers with real intent to buy. But if used  incorrectly, it can merely becomes an expensive means of showing poor quality ads to an irrelevant audience.

The Google Search Network

These are the ads that appear in Google search results when a search is carried out, as highlighted in the image below:

What Is Google Adwords - Search Network

This is the most popular Adwords platform, as it allows advertisers to target users that are actively searching for a specific term. Businesses who choose to advertise through the Google search network can enjoy the following benefits:

  • The ability to target highly qualified traffic with relevant ads and messages
  • The possibility of appearing above your competitors within the search results
  • A means of driving traffic to the most persuasive pages on your site
  • A chance to test messages and copy to understand how customers engage with your brand

Unfortunately, the popularity of the search network means that it’s also the most competitive, and therefore more expensive, channel on Google Adwords. As a result, it can often be challenging to ensure that you are making a positive return on investment on the search network, and advertising in some industries can be more expensive than others.

The Google Display Network

The display network allows businesses to target specific websites or topics to place their adverts. These adverts are usually in the form of images, and they can even be animated to attract users to your brand:

What Is Google Adwords - Display Network

You can only advertise on websites that have agreed to display adverts through opting in to a platform called Google Adsense. This can be a good source of income for websites, as they earn a share of the revenue generated from each click.

To find out whether a website is opted in to the Google Adsense, look out for the following icons over an image:

What Is Google Adwords - Ad Sense

It is generally much cheaper to generate traffic on the display network than on the search network, as there is a large number of participating websites and no specific targeting available. That being said, it is widely accepted that the  traffic generated from the display network is of a lower quality than a well targeted click from the search network.

Businesses who choose to advertise through the display network can enjoy the following benefits:

  • Increased brand awareness
  • Large scale advertising on a variety of websites
  • Cheap traffic to your site
  • Test image ads and text ads to determine which encourage greater engagement to your visitors


Businesses can also use the display network to show ads to users that have previously been on their website. This process is known as re-marketing, and it’s possible to tailor ads based on the pages on the site that were viewed.

When re-marketing is done well, it can lead to increased engagement with your site, as you can encourage previous visitors to return either to complete an action, or to repeat a previous action. Re-marketing ads look like regular display ads, but they will only be seen by people who have already visited your site:

How To Use Remarketing In PPC To Grow Your Business


Google Shopping

Google Shopping is only available to e-commerce sites. It allows you to show your products and prices to users that have carried out a specific product search:

What Is Google Adwords - Google Shopping

In terms of cost, Google Shopping is generally cheaper than the search network, but more expensive than the display network.

The many networks on Google Adwords ensures that regardless of your business objectives Google Adwords can offer you a marketing solution. However, like any marketing activity, it is important to identify your goals before deciding on which network is for you as they can be used in very different ways.

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