Using Google’s Display (Content) Network Effectively

display-adsMany AdWords users are unaware they are already using this other side of AdWords and only become aware of it when they are advised to turn it off. Google AdWords accounts have it enabled by default but really (even by their own advice) it should be handled separately and differently.

If you are not already familiar with it, the Display Network (previously known as the Content Network) is the massive number of websites that display Google Ads on their pages. You’re probably familiar with them, they are usually labelled ‘Ads by Google’ on the websites that display them. Google gives the owners of those websites a share of the revenue generated from visitors clicking on the ads so they are a popular way to make some revenue from a website.

As an advertiser however it’s important to understand that visitors from those ads are not the same prospects as visitors coming from the search engine. The latter are actively searching for a particular product or service, the former are more likely to be curiosity or impulse clicks, it’s a person who has clicked on your ad when they saw it on somebody else’s website.

With that important difference in mind it is easy to see why those visitors are less likely to convert on your site. You can however usually get those visitors cheaper than the search engine ones so you can achieve good value if you get them at the right price.

It is best to set up a separate campaign for the Display Network with its own ads and budget. Set it to run on the Display Network only and make your keyword bids about half of what they are for your search ads. You should be tweaking those bids from time to time anyway so it is just a starting point.

It is also worth changing your ad texts from the search ones for two reasons. One, those ads are not subject to the same stringent click through requirements so you can afford to experiment more and two, your ads may need to be more ‘catchy’ to attract clicks to get visitors off the publishers site and on to yours.

Keyword choice also become less critical in the Display Network as you really only need to indicate the general themes you are interested in so that Google can work out what types of sites to display your ads on. It is best to avoid long lists of keywords as they can actually confuse the system and be really careful about using negative keywords as they can have enormous impact in the Display Network and reduce your ad impressions massively.

If you are tracking conversions in AdWords (and you really should be) it might be worth running a placement report after a few weeks to see if any particular websites your ads appear on are performing well for you. If this is the case you can set up a separate campaign specifically targeting those websites to display your ads using Google’s placement targeting. Collect lots of data over a few months and you might even decide to use specific placements only rather than the whole Display Network.

Using Google’s Display Network can be a little tricky to make work for you but with a little perseverance you can get more customers and even get them at a lower cost than those from the search engine. What has your experience with it been?