Using The Google Display Network Within Google Ads

You may have heard of the Google Display Network (GDN) but do you know all the different ways in which you can use it?

If you’re not sure, this should be a pretty insightful read.

So firstly, what is the Google Display Network? Well, according to Google, the display network has over 2 million sites within it and reaches over 90% of people on the internet.

The sites within the GDN allow Google to run Ads on their website, in return for a cut of the ‘click cost’ paid to Google by the advertiser.

It really is a fantastic way to gain visibility across the web that would be near on impossible otherwise.

You’ll find many of the sites within the GDN are very creditable, household name news websites such as The Times online and the Independent to name a few.

This is because these websites have huge amounts of visitors and allowing Google’s banners on their website gives them a way of monetising their traffic.

This is great for us marketers, we can now have our professionally created, branded banner Ads on these authoritative websites and gain ‘credibility by association’ at the same time!

The one must-have of the Google Display Network is Remarketing. This is where you follow your previous website visitors with your banner Ads, as they browse the web.

I’m sure you will have seen many examples of remarketing banners in action. I’m personally forever followed around by clothes retailers, car manufacturers and marketing related content because that’s how I spend my time online.

Now, if I don’t complete a purchase on a particular brand of jeans, you can bet your bottom dollar that I’ll be seeing those jeans everywhere I go for the next few weeks, as they tempt me back on site to complete my purchase… and they will often succeed.

The Google Display Network is not just about Remarketing, however. Let’s take it a step further and dive into a few more targeting options that may help you gain the edge on your competition.

One of the many great things that Google has introduced over the past few years is the ability to target users based on interests. Now, if you’ve ever dabbled with Facebook advertising this will be a very familiar concept for you.

Targeting users based upon interests allows you to show your Ads to a brand new audience, who are not yet aware of your business… but have shown an interest in the product or service you offer.

One of the potential ways to use interest targeting is through a targeting option called ‘Affinity Audiences’, which groups people into different categories based upon their different interests. If you find an audience that is relevant to your business, you can then show banners to them.

If you can’t find a relevant audience, don’t despair. You can even create your own ‘Custom Intent’ audiences, where you have the chance to enter URL’s and keywords that are relevant to your business.

Google will then use the URL’s and Keywords provided to create a bespoke audience. This is especially helpful if your business operates in a niche field, that doesn’t fit in any of the default categories.

Similarly, to Affinity Audiences, you can also use ‘Topic Targeting’ which as you could guess, targets people based upon topics they are interested in.

There are also ‘In Market’ audiences you can use which target people based on their recent browsing history, so Google deems them as still being in the market for a particular product or service.

My advice would be to experiment and don’t be scared to try different combinations. Test, test and test again.

As it is on the ‘Search Network’, optimisation work is also crucial on the Display Network, it’s just done in a different way. There are many different ways to optimise on the GDN and one that is well worth reviewing in particular, is your placements.

By checking your placements, you can see exactly what websites your banners have been displayed on, along with all the crucial data needed to optimise.

So, let’s say you’re experiencing a mass of impressions (the amount of times your Ad is shown) on a particular placement, but it isn’t generating you any conversions. With one click, you can easily exclude that placement, therefore you’ll no longer show on it.

Typically, you’ll stumble across a few websites or apps that really work for you. And when you do, you can use ‘Placement’ targeting where you can individually handpick the websites where you want your Ads to run.

An important point to make is that the click cost on the GDN is far, far lower than that on the ‘Search Network’.

This is because on the Search Network you’re essentially fighting over four spots at the top of the page, whereas on the Display Network there are millions of websites to show on, so competition is lower, which in turn reduces the Cost Per Click.

Now, am I saying the GDN has the ability to out-perform Search Campaigns? Absolutely not.

Your first port of call should always be Search Campaigns plus Remarketing. You should then test and experiment on the GDN as your account matures.

Even if you don’t see instant conversions coming as a result, you still get all the benefits of the increased visibility, so for such a low Cost Per Click the GDN is very much worthy of your time to run and test experiment Campaigns.

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