Various Tips Which Can Be Used To Master Google Display Network
What Is Google Display Network?
Google AdWords is divided into two different networks, the Display and Search Network. Whenever advertising is being done on the Search Network, businesses would place their ads in the search engine results. However, on the Display Network, businesses would place their display ads on a huge network of site which is found across the internet.
What is a display ad?
Display ads are the banners which you come across on various sites which support advertising. According to Google, the Display Network reaches more than 90% of global internet users across about 2 million sites.
For those that are not familiar with the difference between searches and display, let me quickly go over it. Google’s Search Network targets users who are typing directly into Google’s search engine or any other Google partner search sites, if you decided to expand to Google Search Partners like (AOL). You should think of the display network as a passive form of advertising. For instance you will have come across several display ads today but might not notice any banner or small boxes which are promoting a product or service, and they are usually above, the display at the side of the article which you are going through.
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It was stated by WordStream’s Erin Sagin that “When users are on the GDN, they might not be in a ‘shopping mode.’ Rather, they are doing their daily internet activities, reading blog posts, catching up on news and watching video clips etc.” You might be thinking that if they are not in the shopping mode, then what mode, what is the point?
It is common that some do hesitate to jump on the display network bandwagon, but as it has been explained by Sergey Rusak who is a Paid Search Strategist, “You look at how much you spent in one month and the number of impression you received. You may be able to achieve the same number of impressions in a local newspaper or a billboard which is placed on the highway, but you might end up spending hundreds upon thousands of dollars. However, with the display, you will be able to promote your brand without paying for the impression.”
To have a good understanding of what works and what doesn’t work on the Google Display Network, I had a discussion with some of the WordStream’s top-notch PPC experts. All those that were interviewed work on the Managed Services (MS) team, where they are fully emerged in the activities of Google AdWords accounts every day. The way our MS team operates is similar to an agency that is managing an AdWords accounts for clients and assisting them in achieving their business objectives. Those that are professionals on MS spend more than 40 hours a week working directly in the Google AdWord across the display and search networks, assisting clients from various industries. This is why they know a lot!
Below are some of the display network wisdom which I learnt from these experts and three different mistakes which you need to avoid.
First Tip of Display Network: Start with Remarketing
Various experts agreed that the best place to start when it comes to display network is remarketing. Mark Irvine who is a Paid Search Strategist said, “If you will see any return from the display network, you are going to see it from the remarketing first.”
For those that are not familiar with remarketing, this is when you cookie your past site visitors to follow them around with ads on different sites they browse. Although it might sound creepy but it works perfectly because those that you are retargeting must have expressed interest in your product by visiting your website.
Remarketing can be used to engage your past customers, “completing the entire circle of engagement,” says Paid Search Strategist Caleb Hutchings. Most of those reading this post have likely been successfully remarketed to. The other day when I was shopping for a pair of fall boots and after some days, I kept seeing that stylish high-kneed suede pair of black boots. They kept appearing on different sites which I visited during the week until I finally bought it. If not because of remarketing, I would not have purchased the fall boots. This is an example of the power of remarketing, which has been seen to work across several industries.
The idea of remarketing is very good. Your CPA’s are generally lower and you are also keeping people engaged at the same time. Caleb states that it’s essentially free advertising.
Second Tip of Display Network: Utilize Managed Placements
The only targeting method which gives the advertiser a granular control over where their ads are being placed is managed placements. If you make use of methods like interests or topic targeting, Google is basically doing the decision-making for you and guessing which sites are relevant. The managed placements would allow you to pick and also choose exactly the sites that you want your ads to be displayed on, which is the reason why it is the best when branching out into display. Caleb likewise said that, “It’s the best way by which you can have a total control because the people whom you are targeting and discussing with are consistent, so you spent minimal amount.”
WordStream Paid Search Strategist, Mike Griffith also explained the process he used with clients who are new to the Display Network: “We start as granular and then identify 5-10 domains that are very applicable to the product or service and then start serving ads on those placements first. If there is a limited volume, then we would expand to other related sites.” But how do you know which sites are relevant? If you are still trying to make that decision, his advice is that you should dig into the top referral sites in Google Analytics.
Third Tip of Display Network: Let Your Budget Guide You
Mark Irvine said that, due to the fact that display is such a large space and can reach more than 90% of the U.S daily, there is need for you to be very careful when setting your budget. He also recommends standing out small with an amount that you are comfortable with.
Caleb also explains the reason why setting up a new display campaign is about budgets. For instance, if you have a great list of managed placements, allocate more of your budget towards that campaign and then separate the various placements into their own ad groups so that you will be able to feed more money into the ad groups which contains the placement providing the highest return.
Once the campaign or ad group is running successfully and also providing remarkable returns, the next step is to feed more money into it. Mark has informed me about a client that increased their remarketing campaign from $1,000/month to $50,000/month and he was able to get a good ROI! Another client in the travel industry was getting such great return and stopped the campaigns and reallocated that money to increase the growth of their display. “Remarketing and display are wonderful because once you understand it; you can spend more money on it and also get more returns. Your reach is not limited,” Mark says.
Fourth Tip of Display Network: Create Ads in Every Format Available
I know you will be thinking whether it is a waste of time and resources to create an ad in EVERY format? Why do I need to create a text ad if image ads would outperform this format?
I understand this and most of the WordStreamers also agree: It is crucial to have an ad in every format because some website would only support one of the formats.
“There are some people who feel you do not need to include text ads but I would advise you to include them and make that decision later. This is because there is some placement that would only support text ads and it could be a junk site or a Pandora, so you should do it,” says Mark. “You will get more exposure at a discount if you are the only advertiser with a specific format.”
Caleb recommends using both text and image ads, but splitting them into different ad group. “Text ads are displayed so often, but people prefer image ads because it resonates with them and also tell more stories.”
Fifth Tip of Display Network: Create Ads That Are Simple and Visual
This tip seems to be yawn-worthy and obvious, that is what I thought until I observe that about 67.5% of ads on the display network are plain text ads! This is shocking because text ads have a relatively lower click-through rate than image ads.
This brings me to the next point because it is essential to include text ads in your display campaigns, image ads are also necessary. This is because the ads need to be simple, visual and easy to read. Sergey also explained how image ads perform best for visual industries which are appealing naturally like travel, where the destination can essentially sell itself. But even B2B companies also see success with image ads, for one of Sergey’s clients; he tested out a banner ad with a “Download Now” image which link to a product page. This visual format performed better than text ads and also helped the company to generate more leads.
Do you have the bandwidth to create visual ads? Is outsourcing too expensive? You can use Google’s display ad builder. According to Larry, this tool is under-utilized, especially since you do not need to be a graphic designer to create a wide variety of display formats through the tool.
Sixth Tip of Display Network: Give Your Display Campaigns the Same Love You Give Search
For those that are having a successful search campaign, you will observe that continuous monitoring and adjusting your account is crucial to ensure a continuous success, you cannot just rest on your laurels. You would have to spend time each week to evaluate your account, scraping through search query data, adjusting keyword bids, setting new negatives, restructuring campaigns, tweaking under-performance ads etc. the same should be done to display.
“You should also look at the previous week and ask how it perform? This is similar to how you want to add negative keywords with search, you may also want to exclude placements with Display,” as stated by Mark. “This is because Display is slightly different but need the same love.”
In order for you to see where your display ads are being placed, you can navigate to the “Display Network” tab in AdWords, so as to ensure your Display campaign is selected on the campaign tree, and then select “Placements.” If you wish to exclude a certain site, just select the site and then use the dropdown to change it to “Excluded.”
Sergey likewise explains the reason why monitoring this report and ensuring your settings are correct: “Most of your impression can come from weather.com, where people go for 3 second before work and they won’t have time to check your product. Ensure you get the right placements. This is because you won’t want to be selling life insurance to 18 years old or serving banners for college to those who are more than 60 years.”
Apart from investigating these placements, the monitoring and tracking of your campaign is also essential so as to get the best of your abilities and also to improve your return. “The tracking need to be consistent, because Google is not consistent with your algorithm so you could be showing on a site for a long period of time and might lose such placement as a result of algorithm update,” says Sergey. “The metrics which you will focus on depends on your goals. For the purpose of branding, ensure you focus on the clicks and impressions, and for the sales oriented goals focus on the view-through conversions.”
Caleb also recommends that you should look for conversions but also looping in analytics to see metric like time-on-site. Ensure you look at the top conversion path so as to see how the different channels impact the overall conversions. “If you observe that the display is helping organic or paid search, he said introducing your brand would make a great impact.” This would show how display is working.” He then explained that tracking is very essential because with display, you’re expecting Google to define your audience, but they are not telling you how they define that which can be very tricky.”
Seventh Tip of Display Network: Set Aside Some Budget for Testing
As stated earlier, the Display Network is Huge, which implies that your reach is much endless. Google likewise continues to release new features and targeting method to reach people, so if you are not testing some of these options, you might be missing some of your potential customers.
Mike Griffith said “Once you achieve your goal, use the leftover budget for testing.” He also explained that if your Display campaigns are performing very well, then YouTube will likewise work. Mike likewise recommended that you should set 10-20% of your budget for testing.
Sergey also like to explain testing so as to create separate ad groups for contextual targeting, interests, topics as well as managed placements. This is because interests could work perfectly and topical targeting could be a budget-eater with no return. “Although we do not know what’s going to work and what won’t work, this is why we need to figure this out,” Sergey says.
Mark also makes a valid point as well: “The Google Display is very big and no advertiser can own it all. It’s all about finding your niche and using existing data from smaller campaigns to build your next larger campaign.”
3 Google Display Network Mistakes to Avoid
Now that you have checked all the strategies that will ensure you get the best out of your Google Display campaign, it is crucial to review what we are not to do. The experts here have come across many challenges while setting up and managing display network campaigns. So ensure you avoid these three display faux-pas and don’t do the following:
1. DON’T Use Display Select
If you have been doing paid search and you know it is bad to combine search and display campaigns. I have caught some clients who are confused as to why the reason why their click-through rate are so low and their budgets are being consumed, but they are not getting any conversions, and this is because of the mistake of advertising on the two networks simultaneously.
In November 2013, Google released a solution which can be used to combat these issues and it is called Search Network with Display Select. The Display Select essentially inform Google to use most of your budget on search and then the leftover advertising on display. They may have marketed it as an essential solution but the Display Select is not what it seems to be.
Mark said “Display Select is essentially letting Google figure out what is good for you, which is not a good idea.”
Mike also agrees that Display Select blends your search ads into the Display Network and because it is blended, a good performance might not be seen with these campaigns.
Google also discourage it themselves: “If you are currently running Search and Display campaign separately, it is recommended that you keep them separately for greater budgeting, bidding as well as targeting flexibility.”
The lesson from the story is that you should always keep the Search and Display campaign separate!
2. DO Not Over-Layer
As discussed earlier, there are several ways to get to your targeted audience within the vast sea of display; because of the massive size as well as diverse audience of the network it is crucial to target appropriately. With the several options which you can choose from, some advertisers have decided to layer methods on top of each other. For instance placements, keywords, interests, topics, etc. believing that this will reduce unqualified impressions and clicks.
But this over-layering can cause lot of problem in reality. Mark explained that this is one of the challenges which he finds in the accounts of client: whenever an individual create a new campaign and they go after various kinds of targeting at once, layering upon layering, they do not have an understanding about the way the targeting works when layers are added one on top of the other. If you aim to do all these options, you will have to test them with different campaigns. Over-layering can also reduce reach and would affect the result negatively and this would lead to trouble tracking the method which is working and those that are not working.
3. DON’T Let Mobile Games Consume Your Budget
Have you ever though that kids could be the main reason why you are wasting a huge chunk of change on AdWords? Well, they could be! Toddlers are stealing their parents’ smartphones to play app games where your ads are being displayed through the Display Network.
This issue has appeared over and over again, the most common culprits are the Flashlight App, Photo Frame Editors, Flashcards for Babies, Doodling Apps, and Random Games. Sergey is familiar with this problem. “Within all those games the kids are playing, clicking your ads by accident. This can cost you a lot, for instance if you run a very expensive competitive banner like rehab, personal injury, law, etc. each can cost you a lot; on these applications, a thousand of impressions could transfer to around a thousand clicks.”
Now that you have heard from the experts, you can jump on the Display Network and start expanding your reach! Your audience is out there just waiting to be marketed to. And as Mark has rightly said, once you put your faith in it, Goggle Display is your concern.