Google Display Network Tools

March 5, 2012

Digital Marketing ChannelAdvisor By ChannelAdvisor

Display networkThere are several tips and tools available to make building and optimising your Display Network campaigns easier.  This article will discuss the general tips for Display Network Optimization as well as the tools we recommend using to build and manage Display Network campaigns. Before you get started using the tools below, be sure to review our article on Display Network Best Practices to learn more about goal setting and targeting options for the Display Network.

1. Contextually Targeting
Once you know how you’d like to target, Google has some tools that will help you build out your campaigns. For contextually targeted campaigns or campaigns that will layer keywords on top of any other targeting method, you’ll need themes and lots of them. This list should include themes related to your business, your products and your target customer. This is the only scenario where I recommend the strategy of running on your competitor’s brand names.

If you’re having trouble coming up with themes, do a little digging with a tool like Quantcast to better understand who the customers coming to your site are and the other sites they visit. Think outside the box too. If you sell exercise equipment, consider advertising on themes like “high blood pressure” or “low fat cooking” to capture consumers interested in other health related issues.


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Now that you have a basic list of themes, log into your AdWords account and go under the “Tools and Analysis” tab to find the Contextual Targeting Tool. Drop your themes in the box, up to 10 at a time, and let Google’s tool do the heavy lifting for you. The tool will split out your themes into granular sub-themes complete with keyword lists. Use the tool to generate many ad groups for your contextually targeted Display Network campaign. Expand the themes using the plus box to get more granularity within the tool. Once you’ve accrued three or so weeks of traffic in the campaign, review the ad group themes that are performing the best and drop those back into the tool to get even more granular themes built out for you! The tool will also provide ad group level suggested bids and predicted placements for the keyword groups.

2. Placement Targeting
If you decide to do a combination of targeting that includes managed placements, the best place to start is with Doubleclick Ad Planner. This tool allows you to generate a list of placements to target that meet the criteria you select. You can get very specific or fairly general, depending on how many attributes you choose to select. The tool will then tell you which ad formats and sizes the site selects and an estimated number of daily impressions your ad can receive. Composition Index refers to how closely the site matches your audience, while Reach refers to what percentage of the users in that audience would be reached on that site alone.

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Ad Planner is also a great tool to use if you want to know whether or not a particular site accepts ads through the Google Display Network. On the Search By Site tab, input the URL you’re wondering about. The tool will tell you if the site accepts ads, and in which formats and sizes. It will also include an annotation on whether the site is part of the Google Display Network, as well as reach and page view estimate figures for the site.

If the Ad Planner tool overwhelms you, try the Google Placement tool instead. Simply log into your AdWords account and go to the Placement Tool under Tools and Analysis. Here you can generate a list of placements available on the Google Display Network either by putting in phrases that are important to your business, site categories or a similar website to one where you want to display.  Click search, and the tool will show you a list of sites you can then select and add to a placement targeted campaign. If you’re running on Placements in conjunction with Keywords, your ads will show on those placements only when the keyword matches the theme of a page on that placement (site).

3. Category Targeting
If you’re a fan of Category Targeting, the best tool for seeing what sort of sites your ads will appear on using Category Targeting is the Google Placement Tool within your AdWords account. Simply use the category menu to select the category you plan to run on and click “Search.”  The tool will display a list of sites and the ad types they accept. There is also a link to “view site profile” which will take you out to Doubleclick Ad Planner and show you the information pertaining to that specific site.

I hope this has helped you to understand the tools available to plan, launch and refine your Display Network campaigns. For more help on Display Advertising, see our previous articles on Display Network Best Practices.

Blog post by Jackie Jenkins, Global Manager, Search Services