Google offers a display network serving business ads that show up on related websites and content to target specific audiences. With millions of websites on their network and cheaper cost-per-click, you get more out of your advertising budget. We asked experts for pro tips to help you master Google Display Network in no time.
Here are 25 Google AdWords Display Network tips from the pros:
1. Remove Mobile App Placements
Nick Bennett, Founder, Growmeo Marketing
If your data shows that your ad clicks on mobile apps do not convert and simply cost you money, then find a new way to remove most mobile app placements. Up until late last year, you could remove your ads from showing on mobile apps by adding a placement exclusion for adsenseformobileapps.com. Unfortunately, that changed; Google made that exclusion obsolete and opted-in all of the mobile apps to the Display Network.
Fortunately, you can exclude your ads from showing on mobile apps by going to your display campaign’s placement targeting and excluding all of the “app categories.” Doing this can save you a lot of money in worthless clicks coming from your ads on mobile apps.
2. Use the Right Audience Lists
Austin Shong, Digital Marketer, Blip Billboards
Although the cost-per-click (CPC) on Google Display Network tends to be relatively cheap, you can waste a lot of money by not advertising to the right people. In search campaigns, people have shown purchase intent and are further down the funnel. However, in display campaigns, you catch people at all phases of the buyer’s journey. By using audience lists such as in-market or remarketing lists, you are able to segment and show the right ad to the right person. This helps keep your cost down and lets you create ads that are custom tailored for every step of the buying process.
3. Mirror Your Target Audience’s Search Intent
Andrew Clark, Marketing Strategist, Duckpin
When setting up your ads, it’s important to brainstorm headlines, long headlines, and descriptions that mirror your target audience’s search intent. Think about search intent for people on the internet; through key phrase research, you see that the terms being used are, more often than not, basic and easy to enter into a search bar. A caveat to this tip would be if your industry or product is very niche and known by particular terms. If not, clear and concise writing is a go-to method for grabbing people’s eyeballs and, hopefully, clicks.
4. Add a Landing Page for Visitors Before Creating Your Ad
Becky Livingston, President & CEO, Penheel Marketing
Before creating any ad, first create a landing page for the visitor to land on. Rather than sending someone to your homepage to hunt for the content, create a landing page for the specific item you are selling or highlighting.
If it’s multiple products, create a search landing page with all the promotions on it. Include the following items on the page: logo, picture, form or shopping cart, up to three product benefits, and a call to action, such as “shop now,” “buy today,” “download here,” “free consultation,” and so on. Once the landing page is created, that should be the URL used in the display ad.
Maggie Aland, Marketing & Review Editor, Fit Small Business
Once leads start coming in from your display ads, you’ll need to nurture these prospects in order to turn them into clients. This means staying in contact with your prospects and always having the right information to know where they are in their sales journey. Freshsales allows you to automatically capture your sales leads in one place. It then lets you store your prospect information, connecting to multiple email accounts so you can track emails, create personalized email templates, and send bulk emails, all in one place. Try Freshsales for 30 days.
6. Understand Placement Exclusions
Greg Bullock, Marketing Manager, TheraSpecs
Even though it may seem counterintuitive to limit the number of places on the internet where you advertise, you still want to reduce the risk that Google will show your ads on websites that reflect poorly on your business. You can easily upload a list or add them on a per-domain basis under the Placements > Exclusions tab in Google Ads, and then apply them to specific campaigns.
If you need help in identifying what domains to exclude, just look at the “Where Ads Showed” report to see where your display ads have been previously featured as well as their overall performance. If the site seems to have unsavory content or is otherwise a poor performer, then you can consider preventing it from garnering impressions in the future.
7. Make Use of Images & Videos
Luke Wester, Digital Marketing Analyst, Miva Inc.
The Google Display Network offers various content formats like images and video. Take advantage of this ability. If you are just starting out, wait on video and begin with image ads. Make a few iterations of image ads and evaluate which image ads performed the best. Then make more ads like the top performers. The Google Display Network also allows you to target specific websites and websites based on the keywords in their content.
8. Focus on Websites That Already Rank for Your Target Keywords
Stacy Caprio, Founder, Her.CEO
Don’t be general or target keywords using the Display Network interface. Instead, pick specific websites that already rank organically for the keywords you want to target, and specifically target those sites via the Google Display Network interface. This allows you to reach only the customers you want, and cuts out much of the fluff you’ll get if you target every available site on the network.
9. Be Consistent
Grant Hensel, CEO, Nonprofit Megaphone
One of the most impactful tips to utilizing the Google Display Network is to ensure a tight match between your ad targeting, the ad creative, and the landing page. For example, if you were marketing for a local fitness center, you would advertise on fitness-related websites or to fitness-minded individuals. Your ad creative might feature an image of someone working out at your facility. And then, ideally, your landing page would have that same image on it.
This consistency makes it very easy for a fast-moving web searcher’s brain to say, “Ah, yes, I landed in the right place, this is exactly what I expected to see.” The visitor is now ready to scan the content on the rest of the page and, hopefully, sign up for a free class.
Marc Prosser, Co-founder, Fit Small Business
Analyzing your ad’s performance is an important step to maximizing conversion. You need to have access to data that shows how your display ad is performing so you can continue to adjust its design until you get the results you want. Freshmarketer is an all-in-one conversion rate optimization hub that provides A/B testing, form optimization, heat maps, and session replays, so you can see how viewers interact with your display ads. Best of all, it’s free for up to 10,000 monthly visitors (approximately 70,000 page views). Try out Freshmarketer today.
11. Focus on Simple & Visual Ads
Illia Termeno, Director, Extrabrains Marketing Agency
Approximately 68% of ads on Google Display Network remain text-based. But text ads can be easily overlooked by users because there is no visual component drawing their eye. Image ads have a higher click-through rate than text ads.
That’s why you should take advantage of including eye-catching visual content in your marketing materials. If you have limited resources to create visual ads, you can use Display Ad Builder to develop display ads in a range of formats for free. You can get Google to pull images from your computer or your website and do 80% of the work of creating professional-looking display ads with your colors and branding.
12. Segment Your Audience …
Katie Street, Senior Digital Marketing Specialist, LogoMix, Inc.
Segmenting your audience based on where they left off in your sales funnel is a proven method of converting bounced leads to actual sales. The idea is to give each separate audience a different ad experience depending on where they were at the time they left your website. These users can be segmented into a variety of different groups, such as those who added to the cart, made a purchase, visited the site and took no action, or users who got through the checkout process but did not make the purchase.
13. … & Offer Customized Incentives in Your Display Ads
Mike Grill, Organic Search Strategist, Anvil Media
Once you have your audience properly segmented, you can begin offering specific incentives to each of your segments within your display ads to entice them to come back. For example, abandoned cart users can have an extra 5% off their order if they order within a day or two, new users can have 10% off their first order, and browsers can have free shipping.
Even if there is overlap within these segments, the deals or incentives offered to visit the site again, when used in combination, never amount to more than 15% off and free shipping on ecommerce sites. Offering free trials of software, access to gated content, or even just a link to the last page a user visited are excellent ways to use remarketing in order to stay top-of-mind for site users.
14. Implement Conversion Tracking
Arjun Ravindran, Managing Director, Astro-Vision Futuretech Pvt Ltd
Conversion tracking in Google Ads helps you define your objective, and thus forces you to look at your campaign performance objectively. For websites that enable customers to make a purchase online, a sale should be the conversion metric to be tracked. For websites that capture leads online, lead form completion should be the conversion metric that is tracked. You can also track sales conversions which are carried out offline by uploading the sales data back into Google Ads. Tracking conversions in this manner helps you optimize your campaign significantly.
Sheena Jones, Author, Fit Small Business
No matter how eye-catching your image or video is, your display ad will not work without great copy, so you wouldn’t want to leave this task to an amateur. Having a professional copywriter onboard full-time to write for you can place a significant dent in your budget. Make sure that you’re able to create that perfect ad by hiring an expert freelancer through online platforms like Fiverr. For as low as $5, freelance copywriters on Fiverr can produce high-quality copy to help you target the customers you want with relevant messaging and keywords. Browse Fiverr’s services here.
16. Use Responsive Ad Formatting
Cynthia Kazanis, MBA, Digital Marketing Analyst, Pure Visibility
For any ad platform, but especially for Google Display Network, it’s really important that the ads look like they’re intentionally there. If you would like to try this network out but are not a graphic designer, then I recommend using Responsive Ad formatting, where you upload several photos (pay attention to dimensions) and the algorithm pairs them with headlines and descriptions that you also create.
This format is also very easy to update as your business goals, targeting, or branding change, which is very convenient. The amount of potential ad copy combinations also means that you can “set it and forget it” for a month or two without fatiguing your audience.
17. Stick to a Good Budget
Gennady Litvin, Executive Associate, Moshes Law
In the law industry, keywords are very expensive, so understanding your budget and how to manage it over time is the best way to make sure that you’re optimizing for the best returns possible. Display ads work well if optimized properly.
A good way to do this is to separate your list of managed placements into their own individual ad groups, and then allocate more of your budget into the groups that bring the best returns. It’s all about testing your ads and getting them as successful as possible. Once you do that, it’s time to gradually (and carefully) increase the budget.
18. Don’t Ignore the Value of Text Ads
Igor Gramyko, Owner, Highwater Standard
I’ve found that certain websites only support specific types of ad formats. So, creating an ad in that specific format will allow you to take advantage of some good traffic with light competition. Split your ad formats into different ad groups to keep track of each one’s results. While text ads might not be the popular way when it comes to display advertising, you should test what works for your business before doing away with text ads.
19. Use Layers of Targeting With Your Remarketing Audience
James Bowen, Founder & CEO, Ripen Digital
When using Google Display Network for remarketing, be sure to use additional layers of targeting with your remarketing audiences to eliminate low performing ad placements (review placements report and exclude websites, YouTube channels, and mobile apps as needed) as well as prioritizing ads on the Google Display Network where you’re seeing the best engagement.
A great example of this might be a real estate agent using remarketing to draw potential buyers back to a home listing, but only showing the ads on other real estate listings (while actively looking at homes). By adding the “Real Estate Listings” topic to their remarketing campaign targeting, the real estate agent can limit their ads on the Google Display Network to only users who have previously viewed their listing, and are actively looking at other listings.
20. Set a Duration for Your Retargeting Pixel
Casey Dunleavy, Digital Marketing Manager, Altitude Marketing
A key to mastering Google Display Network is how long you set the retargeting pixel to last. A lot of small businesses simply set up their Google Display Network retargeting audience with the default list that Google creates. This has a duration cap of 30 days.
This works well for products that are bought within that time frame, but for clients who have a longer sales cycle, it’s not ideal. Once you have set up your retargeting pixel, create multiple retargeting audiences for different durations dependent on what makes the most sense for your sales cycle (45, 60, 90, 180, 240, or all the way up to the maximum cap of 540 days).
21. Set Up a Remarketing Tag, Even if Unused
Josh Rubin, CEO, Post Modern Marketing
You may not be running any ads on the Display Network currently, but it’s always a good idea to start building your list now. By installing the Google tag for remarketing on your site, you can start keeping track all your website visitors now and be ready for when you do start running ads on the network. Most people start running the ads and get frustrated that they get almost no impressions or clicks for quite some time. So, by having your list ready from the get-go, you can start getting good data and action from day one.
22. Boost Your Remarketing Strategy
Joel McDonald, Founder, Just Get Out of Town, LLC
One great use of the Display Network is for remarketing. Unlike blanket advertising on tens of thousands of blogs on the Display network, you’re only advertising to visitors who have taken the time to visit your website. It costs about 1/1,000 of traditional Display Network advertising, you can stay in front of them for months to come, and you’ll be top-of-mind when the time is right for them to buy your product.
23. Familiarize Yourself With the Different Automation Tools
David Yanagi, Specialist, Performance Marketing, New Engen
Automated tools like Pay Per Conversion are great resources to get you learning while you continue to test and iterate more traditional targeting methods in Google Display Network. Pay Per Conversion can be a great tool for a business with fewer resources, as you can get a significant amount of impressions and clicks without having to pay for them. This tool is still new, so more testing needs to be done here, but it is fairly easy to get running when building a new campaign. Simply select “Pay for Conversions” in the bidding section of the campaign set up.
24. Use Colorful & Attention-grabbing Display
Sam Carr, Marketing Director, PharmaVaccs
We’ve used a lot of our marketing budget on the Google Display Network to help promote our brand and services, and the first thing you need to do is to make sure you use colorful and attention-grabbing display images. As these are going to be displayed on websites with other advertisements, you want to make sure yours stand out. If possible, opting for animated ads is even better, as they’re more likely to grab the user’s attention.
25. Focus on Long-term Goals
James Blews, Digital Marketing Consultant JamesBlews
Display Network Ads takes a little more time. The process resembles an ad leading to beneficial, useful content with an actionable element highlighted to create that next action. This changes from a traditional pay-per-click (PPC) ad leading to an immediate sale or email capture type of landing page. Change your goal mindset during this process from immediate conversion to a goal of gaining user visits for remarketing during another campaign.
That’s not to say that you couldn’t see some conversions to sales during your initial campaign, but that isn’t your most immediate goal here. It can take a little more time to gain that customer, but your relationship will be stronger when you ask for the sale.
With the right strategy, Google Display Network can help you always get in front of the most relevant audience on websites they’re already visiting and consistently generate quality leads. Follow our list of tips from the pros and start taking control of your ads’ visibility today.
Did we miss out on your favorite tip for using Google AdWords Display Network? Share them with us in the comments.