10 Pro Tips on Using the Google Display Network

By October 24, 2013 Display Advertising No Comments

The Google Display Network (GDN) is a part of Google Adwords that is relatively underutilised. Compared to search traffic, display network traffic is considered by many to be less qualified and less valuable. The Display Network also has a dizzying array of options to consider when you start using it, making it seem more difficult than search to implement.

But for businesses who want to expand beyond the pre-qualified audience in search, to warm up a much wider potential audience through brand building, the Google Display Network is a relatively easy place to start (compared to, say, unfamiliar advertising platforms, or contacting and negotiating with sites individually!).
To help you make sure you’re making the most out of your GDN campaigns, without wasting money, we’ve put together this checklist of often-overlooked aspects of the GDN:

  1. Test different targeting methods. Google has quite a few different targeting methods: keywords, topics, audiences and placements. They also have gender and age targeting, but I recommend only using those in conjunction with another targeting type. You never know which targeting method will work for a particular business, so start out your campaign using a few different ones in separate adgroups, then judge their performance. It makes it easier to do this if you use labels to identify the targeting methods per adgroup, then let them run for a while before checking out the results on the Dimensions tag.
  2. Combine targeting methods. Know that you don’t have to stick to broad targeting methods, you can combine them as well. e.g. You can advertise to women reading about technology on the Sydney Morning Herald website
  3. Bid” vs. “Target and Bid”. When you add a placement as a targeting method you can choose “bid” which means that you can set bids on those placements and your ad will still show up for other targeting methods you chose. Or you can choose “target and bid”, which means your ads will show only on those placements.
  4. Exclude Low Quality Placements. On the Display Network tab, scroll right to the bottom to where it says Exclusions – here you can exclude display targets just like you make negative keywords. You can exclude on any of the targeting methods, plus an extra method called ‘categories’. These categories include things like “below the fold” impressions, crime, sexual content, error pages, parked domains and more.
  5. Have Remarketing in Place. Like any advertising spend, you want to get the most out of your GDN campaign budget. So make sure you have remarketing code on your site. If anyone clicks through on your GDN ad, you want to be able to market to them again, and remarketing is the way to do that.
  6. Exclude Your Remarketing Audience. So as not to skew the click and conversion statistics of your campaign with the more-likely-to-click-and-convert remarketing audience, make sure you choose your remarketing audience as an exclusion on your Display campaigns.
  7. Test text and image ads. While image ads look nicer, text ads can be cheaper, and can appear in a lot of places image ads can’t (e.g. Gmail). Create separate adgroups for text and image ads so that you can set different bids on them.
  8. Create Many Different Size Ads. Not all advertising inventory will accept all ads, so it’s best to create as many versions as possible to ensure you can reach as many placements as possible.
  9. Look at View Through Conversions. It’s not always easy to get conversions from display ads, especially sale conversions (as opposed to leads). It is however interesting to see whether your ads were seen by people who later came to your site and purchased. View Through Conversions can be added as a column on most reports for display campaigns in Adwords, and they show where a user has seen your ad, not clicked, and then later purchased.
  10. Look at Impression Assisted Conversions. Similar to View Through Conversions are Impression Assisted Conversions. IAC can be seen in the Analytics interface, and unlike VTC which count only Adwords conversions, they include all conversions on your site. Note that you shouldn’t necessarily use these for remarketing campaigns, since everyone who has been to your site is likely to see your remarketing ad.

By utilising these 10 tips you should have a better idea of how your campaign is performing, which targeting methods work best, and how not to waste money using the Google Display Network.

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