Google Display Network Best Practices

March 1, 2012

Digital Marketing ChannelAdvisor By ChannelAdvisor

Display network

The majority of time a person spends on the internet is on pages in the Google Display Network, so it is important for retailers to advertise here to reach new audiences and increase conversions. It’s important that you feel confident creating and managing campaigns on the Display Network, but setting up these campaigns can be daunting for most advertisers.

This two-part article will guide you through Display Network targeting options, best practices for your campaign structure and ad copy, frequency capping options and optimization tips. Together these tips will put your mind at easy and give you the confidence you need to master your Display Network efforts.

Part One: Goals, Targeting and Campaign Structure

1. Goals: Keep in mind that the Display Network can successfully achieve both branding and conversion goals. However, before you get started, you should determine whether you want to hold your Display Network campaigns to the same ROI goals as Search. While some methods of targeting do see similar ROI, many are slightly lower but offer long-term benefits to both PPC and your other marketing channels.

2. Targeting: The first step in setting up a Display campaign is to determine your targeting method. Display Network targeting can cast a wide net, or target fairly specific sites and pages. As a rule of thumb, the more targeted approach tends to be smaller in reach but have the potential to lead to higher ROI and vice versa. From most specific (smallest reach) to most general (largest reach) the Display Network targeting options are as follows:

  • Remarketing
  • Keyword Contextual Targeting
  • Interest Category Marketing
  • ROS Placement Targeting
  • Topic (category) Targeting

Keep in mind you can also make custom combinations to further refine your traffic by layering two targeting options together. Whenever attempting to do this, be sure to select the second targeting button under Display Network settings at the campaign level.

Display network image 1

Google provides a handy chart for understanding how the layered campaigns will perform here: http://support.google.com/adwords/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1209882.

3. Campaign Structure: As a general rule, keyword contextual targeted campaigns should have many ad groups, each with only a handful of keywords and one clear theme. (Stay tuned for a coming article on Display Network tools which will teach you how to use the Contextual Targeting tool to create just such a campaign.) While AdWords will technically read roughly 25 keywords in your Contextually Targeted campaigns, I recommend using far fewer. Usually, five keywords are enough to build out a clear theme. In fact, Google’s tool will build ad groups with as few as one keyword. When running on competitor’s brand names you can easily run on just one or two variations of the brand name in an ad group. Display Network campaigns are the only scenario where I recommend running on competitor brand terms.

In addition, I recommend creating a separate campaign for each type of targeting. While you can technically have one ad group with keywords and another with managed placements, it’s much easier to understand performance across the targeting types at a glance if you keep them separate. This also makes it less likely that you’ll target unintentionally (either too specific or too broad). As for ad types, I would further segment your ad groups by ad type so that you can bid differently based on the ROI of each ad type.

Display network 2

Stay tuned for more Display Network best practices in the second part of this article — Part Two: Ad Copy, Frequency Capping and Optimization Tips… coming tomorrow.

Blog post by Jackie Jenkins, Global Manager, Search Services