Search Network with Display Select
Google recently completed an update to the campaign types and it has us more than a little concerned. Google has been trying to get advertisers to give them search level bids for display quality traffic and it makes me nervous when we see features like this. The display network includes image ads within web pages and it tends to be less qualified. Display can be compared to selling candy bars at the checkout counter of a grocery store. Search traffic is much more qualified and can be compared to someone shopping at the grocery store with a specific list. Combining search and display into one campaign with the same budget is a bad idea.
The product claim in this one is:
*Based on initial test results, the average customer could see a 35% higher click-thru-rate and 35% lower CPA on the display portion of their new Search Networks with Display Select campaigns compared to existing Search & Display Networks campaigns. Based on initial test results, the average customer could also see 10-15% incremental conversions compared with Search Network only campaigns. Individual campaign performance may vary.
People running Search & Display Network Campaigns do not understand what they are doing and even Google has recommended against doing this for years. So it’s 35% better than horrible, well that is just dandy. ‘Could see 10-15% improvement’ is a claim without meaning and improving one item without consideration of the other factors is just dumb. 10% incremental increase in conversions without consideration to the cost of that additional traffic is lying with statistics.
In many cases I am a fan of Display Network traffic but it has to be properly managed and controlled. If Google really wants us to use the Display Network more maybe they should consider grading all the locations with a quality score and allow us to buy traffic by quality.
As you can tell we are very reserved about the use of this feature but that does not mean that it might not have some value in certain situations. The bottom line here is that search and display are entirely different sources of traffic and mixing them together is a compromise to one network or the other. These announcements make me crazy because they never tell you what got changed just that it is new and improved.