Introduced in 2003 as the first Google Ads product beyond AdWords, the Google Display Network (GDN) was developed to allow Google and Ads clients to capitalize on user views outside the Google search engine itself. Instead of featuring text-only ads directly on the SERP, Google negotiated with third-party site owners to provide Google Display Ad space directly on their pages; for a portion of the overall cost per click, Google now displays Ads across a number of spaces on the net. This way, Google – and, by extension, sites like yours – can target users before they ever even enter a search on Google.
It’s a strategy with many benefits:
- Relatively lower prices – Compared to Search Ads, the CPC for GDN ads is nearly always lower, especially when compared to some of the most competitive, and most crowded, keywords. In addition, you can utilize a pricing structure that works for you. Models such as CPM, average prices out to a cost per 1,000 impressions which may be even more affordable for you if your goal is awareness over performance KPIs.
- Broader reach – Although Google is one of the most-visited sites on the internet, a large portion of your audience’s day is also spent browsing, engaging in social media, watching videos, and other active and passive endeavors. With over two million partnerships in the GDN, your ads can reach a larger number of potential users than ever before – 90% of all internet users, according to Google itself.
- Visual format – One of the key benefits of GDN is the visual display elements you can utilize as compared to text ads. Visual ads are more eye-catching and generally make a high impression with users. You may even reach new customers when they have yet to search in google for your services/products. In addition, you can add animated elements for even more engagement.
- Remarketing – This unique benefit allows you to target users who have previously visited your page but did not convert. The GDN tracks these users via cookies and displays your optimized ads on third-party pages to promote your goods and services to users who could potentially commit in the future.
Audience Targeting Across GDN
GDN allows you to tweak both your ad display types and your audience targeting options in an attempt to reach more of the right people. In the end, the goal is to boost your site traffic by the key audiences who will wind up making a conversion. Attention to both is crucial to maximizing the return on your GDN investment.
When you’re attempting to get your GDN ads in front of as many relevant users as possible, you’ll see a number of different groups:
- In-market groups are users Google has identified as showing an interest in several topical sub-categories of products and services based on their previous views, clicks, and conversions.
- Affinity audiences are users Google has similarly identified as showing an interest in a large range of interests, such as fashion, cooking, gaming, and other groups.
- Custom intent audiences are built based on factors Google believes make them more likely to respond to ads featuring certain keywords and URLs. However, unlike in-market and affinity audiences, Google doesn’t provide exact keywords and URLs, but those closely related to the original keywords and URLs.
- Topic targeting allows you to show ads only on web pages that feature a certain topic, which may or may not overlap with the affinities and in-market groups above.
- Placement targeting gives you the most control, allowing you to provide specific URLs you want to feature your GDN ads.
While each of these targeting attributes allows you a different measure of control over the site traffic you’ll drive, layering each of these approaches will provide you with the best, custom audience. Depending on your niche, you’ll want to mix a curated selection of keywords, URLs, and interests as well. Finally, be sure you’re utilizing the device and demographic/location settings to not only optimize for your strongest performance across devices and your most active demographics but avoiding those who won’t provide you with valuable returns as well.
Once you’ve found your best audience, you’ll need to determine the best way to maximize your usage of this visually appealing medium. While a design team is likely the most effective means of achieving this, many users can benefit from these creative tips:
- Optimize your logo. Since the most crucial aspect of any ad is the brand behind it, you’ll need to ensure your logo is readable and fits in the space provided without losing brand integrity. Develop a few different versions in square and landscape orientations that convey your brand while remaining readable.
- Optimize your images. Similarly, be mindful of the size and shape of the ad space provided and be sure your images are readable when condensed or cropped. Stay away from overly complicated images and choose simple, yet impactful photos.
- Optimize your text. There are a number of places to add text on the various GDN ad types. Research which text types appear together so you can create a fluid, branded description without being repetitive.
Finally, be sure to generate an ad preview before publishing and share it with others on your team. Between your design team, brand managers, and other important marketing contacts, you’re sure to address any errors or formatting mishaps.
Ready for more data about how Google Display Network can help you maximize your reach? Need more advice regarding honing your targeted groups? Contact Vizion Interactive for a full slate of GDN insights that can help you reach your Google Ads goals.
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