Better Together: The Marriage of Search and Display

trueview adwords, paid search tactic, video advertising, display analytics

With all of the different digital advertising shops available, making the right choice, or combination of choices, can be completely overwhelming. A full service agency has its benefits, but you may feel that you’re not getting the very best of each service.  You can have each of your channels handled by a specialized partner, but then the silos could do more harm than good. With all of these choices at hand, we’d like to review why certain services, specifically Search, Display and Analytics, perform best when handled together.


With Search, Display and Analytics contained within one company, or better yet – team, you gain the ability to maintain cohesive messaging from banners, PPC ads, paid social ads and landing pages. Not only will messaging match, but creative and UX can be designed per funnel segment within Search and Display. Integrating creative means that:

  • If an uptick is seen from an A/B messaging test from one channel, it can easily be tested on the other channels
  • Messaging can be built out to have a natural progression within the user flow 
  • Creative concepts can be tested on inexpensive channels before committing to high production costs and long-term campaigns


Probably the strongest benefit of combining Search and Display is that doing so keeps a central point for spend allocation, allowing for continuity in budgets between channels in real time. Instead of each channel working within their medium alone, potentially increasing CPAs month after month, the entire spend is used in an agile and fluid manner to yield the best overall performance. Keeping media budgets under the same roof means that:

  • If there is a surplus in site traffic, dollars can easily be moved to capture the high performing retargeting audience
  • If the PPC queries increase with a push in traditional efforts in a given month, dollars can be moved to support the spike in searches
  • Channels can be maintained within an acceptable variance of funnel strategies within cost models (CPM, CPC, CPA, etc.)

In theory, budget discussions are continuously happening between companies and departments, but fluctuation happens so quickly within digital advertising that whatever can be done to remove the middlemen from these conversations is beneficial to campaign ROI.


Having one central source for Search and Display management can also have a positive impact on Analytics and attribution analysis. For attribution, removing duplications in view-through conversions can be done between Search and Display channels on different teams but the process will be streamlined and more easily utilized if it is done under the same roof. Unless there is an attribution system in place such as Convertro or Visual IQ, manually de-duplicating sales and leads is the next best step to closely monitor digital media’s actual affect on the sales funnel.

Additionally, controlling both of these channels allows for an easier interpretation of a client’s analytics, providing a full understanding of the campaign’s first and last touch channels. Having a better grip on a campaign’s analytics allows teams to better serve overarching goals, instead of channeling specific targets.

Finally, data points within individual platforms can be shared across channels for additional optimizations:

  • Geographic insights from precise Search campaigns can be modeled on Display buys
  • Search insights can show areas with low brand awareness to be supported with Display campaigns
  • Device performance within Analytics should be applied to both Search and Display campaigns for testing

Channel Blending

Finally, there are increasing gray areas between Search and Display that really benefit from combined control.  Search retargeting benefits from updated search data. Google AdWords provides robust display targeting that includes different opportunities than purchasing Google inventory elsewhere.  And a synchronized retargeting strategy is a must. When one team fully understands both Display and Search, they will see more opportunities for utilizing each piece of data for campaigns.

Katana Recommendations

When finding teams to support your digital marketing efforts, remember that collaboration between teams means collaboration between channels. Don’t hide channel learnings from one another, especially between Search, Display and Analytics.  Typically search and display can get competitive when separated but are proven to play very well together.

It can be quite difficult to find a place that can service these channels properly under the same roof.  Data needs to be the focus of media campaigns and the differentiations in platforms need to be understood to develop cohesive messaging.  To gauge whether your current partners are utilizing these tactics across media, think about the following lines of inquiry:

– Does your Search team fully comprehend Display media efforts and vice-versa? Can you have discussions with them about the advantages of sharing platform data across channels?

– Do all teams have a complete understanding and continuous utilization of your Analytics reporting?

– Has a collaborative situation been set up where teams can fluidly shift budget to capitalize on seasonal, competitive, and environmental changes in real time?