Text Ads vs Display Ads

Text Ads vs Display Ads

In today’s marketplace, there are many ways to advertise your product or service. With this mind, choosing the most effective channel can be daunting. The most common types of online advertisements are text and display ads, both of which are extremely valuable marketing resources. In this article, we explore text ads vs display ads to help you identify which one best suits your needs. We’ll explore their key characteristics and then list their pros and cons.

Text Ads

Text ads are lines of promotional text, typically hyperlinked to a company’s website or online store. They are available through search engine advertisers such as Google and appear on SERPs. Text ads can be very effective because they are shown to users searching for something relevant. The hardest part about text ads is creating simple but effective copy that includes relevant keywords.


Easy to Make

The biggest advantage of text ads is that they’re super easy to make. In the amount of time it takes to create a display ad, you can probably create 5-10 text ads. This makes them suitable for small companies without access to a graphic designer. However, keep in mind that the text needs to be relevant, compelling and must include the right keywords. Making a small change to the message can have a drastic impact.


In general, text ads are cheaper than display ads. This is partly because they’re quick to create and set up, and partly because you don’t need to commission a graphic designer. Of course, you’ll need to research how to write an effective text ad, but it shouldn’t be too difficult for those with inside knowledge.

Jump from PC to Mobile

Texts ads seamlessly jump from PC to mobile. Unlike display ads, they don’t need to be resized to suit different platforms. Simply launch your text ad and rest easy knowing that it will work across multiple platforms.



Unlike a display ad, a text ad cannot include your branding. While compelling copy can work well, it’s not as easy to show your company’s personality through text alone. In a text ad, all you can do it say your message in the best way possible.

Blend In

Unfortunately, text ads can blend into a hosting website. For display ads, aesthetic agreement is a good thing. However, it’s not great for text. Text isn’t particularly clickable at the best of times, so blending it into the hosting site won’t help your campaign.

Don’t Distinguish Your Brand

Anyone can run a text ad. While this has its benefits, it doesn’t distinguish your brand from a screen of competitors. For this reason, most big companies avoid going text-only.

Display Ads

Display ads are made up of images, text, videos and audio, and usually link to a company website or online store. Unlike text adverts, display ads don’t appear on SERPs. As display ads contain a mixture of text and image, they stand out well. This allows them to target customers who weren’t originally looking for a product or service. However, they need to be run properly to get results.


Establish Brand Identity

Display ads are a great way to establish a brand identity. Users don’t even need to click on the ad to receive information about your business. A well-designed display ad provides a clear message and shows customers that your brand takes pride in its appearance.

Establish Legitimacy

Similar to the previous point, display ads help to establish legitimacy. A well-designed display ad shows that your business has the resources it needs to promote quality work. Obviously, this works both ways. If you produce a poorly-designed ad, you’ll send out a negative message.

Taylor to the Hosting Site

With display ads, you can tailor the design to the site they’ll be appearing on. This is heavily advisable for AdSense. When designing your ad, think about what type of users will be seeing it. Even if you haven’t chosen a hosting site, this will help you to design for the general audience.

Kind to Mobile

The use of mobile devices can treble a display ad’s engagement rate. When placed on mobile devices, display ads can massively increase CTR. A CTR of 0.1% on PC can become 0.35% on mobile!


Poor CTR

Unfortunately, display ad click-through rates aren’t great – at least, for the most part. On PCs, the average CTR of a display ad is a disappointing 0.1%. While it’s totally possible to increase this, it will take time, money and creativity to do so.

Banner Blindness

Unfortunately, display ads often come with banner-blindness. Internet users are getting better at ignoring banner areas and focusing on the content they sought out. This is the driving force behind the increase of native and video advertising.

Which Should You Use?

So, should you use text ads, display ads or both? The answer to this partially depends on where you want your business to be seen. Do you want your ads to appear on sites relevant to your business, selected by Google? Or do you want them to appear on SERPs for your chosen keywords? If you want the former, go with display ads. If you want the latter, text ads are your best bet. The best option will also depend on other variables, such as the type of resources you put towards your AdWords campaigns.

So, there you have it – text ads vs display ads. To decide which one is best for your business, read through the pros and cons and make an informed decision. If neither option stands out to you, test the waters with a few of each and see which works best. As you monitor the results, you can adjust your campaigns as necessary until you find something fool-proof.