Google AdWords Display Network

The Display Network uses a similar concept of keywords to target your ads within content.

Google AdWords display network reaches about 80% of Global Internet Users. This is both a great thing and a bad thing. With all the content on the Internet, you need to know what content you are paying to place ads in. It is similar to choosing the right print magazine for your ads (coincidentally, numerous online magazines happen to be part of the Google display network).

Here is a quick start guide to setting up a Google display network campaign and testing your ads.

In AdWords, create a new campaign targeted only to the display network.

Set your location.  You can select from traffic all over the world or down at a city level.  We’re not talking just major metro areas, but down to most large cities in the U.S.

You can refine your campaign by time.  At the start of a campaign, I usually don’t limit the time of day or days of the week in which I run my ads.

Rotation settings of your ads will have to be done after you create the campaign. It is a good idea to rotate ads evenly. This will allow you to more accurately measure which ad is most effective so you can optimize based on performance.

Refine by demographics if you know there are certain audiences you do not want to target. This option is only available on a limited number of sites in the display network.

Next select your targeting (display network only).

Choose how you want to buy your ads. You have the option to buy on a click basis, impression basis, or —after a campaign has matured (and is spending enough money) — you can bid on a conversion basis.  I personally prefer paying on a CPC basis, with Google automatically optimizing to get the most clicks for my budget. You have the option of paying on an impression basis, but why pay if it doesn’t drive traffic?  If you are an incredible ad writer, and know that what you are selling will attract clicks, you might drive more traffic for less money on a CPM basis.

Set your daily budget.  A good rule of thumb — base your monthly budget on a 30-day month and divide to find your daily budget.

Consider selecting accelerated delivery. This will spend your daily budget as quickly as possible. It will also help show what you could potentially spend a month driving traffic with the campaign.

Name your first ad group based on the keywords in it.

Create your ad.  We always recommend going back and writing another after you write the first.  In online marketing, two ads are always better than one. Hanny wrote a great introduction to ad copy writing. Display network text ads follow the same format as search ads. You can also create image ads and mobile ads.  Google has an excellent explanation of the different Display Network ad formats.

Select a few targeted keywords.  The Google display network will ignore exact and phrase match types. Only being able to target broad match keywords means they need to be very targeted to drive the right kind of traffic.

A good target range is 10-15 keywords in an ad group.  More than 50 keywords in a display network campaign ad group will become unmanageable and too broad to refine later.

If you choose to let Google do automatic placement, be prepared to quickly remove large sites that deliver significant impressions and low click-through volume. Google display network quality score is solely based on click-through rate. It is a good thing to keep click-through rate in mind while managing your campaign.

Set default bids. Prepare to actively monitor your campaign for the first week. If you choose not to let Google’s automated bid system (which sometimes works wonders, but in some verticals can get really expensive and the only way to find out is test) do not set bids. If you do set a default bid, $.08 is a good starting point for most campaigns.

Create your new ad group, and the campaign is set up.  Almost.

Go back and change rotation settings to rotate more evenly.

Write at least one ad variation for your ad group.

Launch, test, rinse, repeat.  Your display network campaign is now running.

The Google display network should really be called something else. It is a unique advertising opportunity to place ads in relevant content related to your product, service or mission.  For many companies and organizations, it is a first step in branding awareness online. Based on how you run your program, from small budgets to large, when targeted correctly it often allows you to drive traffic at significantly cheaper rates than traditional search engine marketing.