Our guide to the Google Display Network

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September 01, 2015

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Don’t know your AdWords from your Analytics? Step into this step by step guide of the Google Display Network so you can get started on your next advertising adventure.

The background

Relevance, reach, reengagement. The three words you need to remember when it comes to the ins and outs of the Google Display Network (GDN). This clever targeting tool gives you the aptitude to be in the right place at the right time – the pursuit of every advert.

The goal

Targeting customers saves time and makes the advertising-buying process much more streamlined: the opposite of trying to sell deep fried Mars bars to a Lycra-clad Yogaholic. So how is it done?

Step 1: Creating your ads

You may not need to upload your ads until further down the line, but it’s a good idea to get these created beforehand (especially if you’re creating image ads), just make sure you follow the Google guidelines. Google also offers a free tool which scans your website and then generates HTML5 animated image ads which you can then edit but this isn’t something that we’ve tried out yet. At Moneypenny we’ve tested loads of display ad creative but we’ve had the best results from keeping it simple and consistent.

Step 2: Selecting your marketing objective

‘Marketing objective’ is Google AdWords’ new feature, which makes creating campaigns easier than ever. There are three objectives to choose from:

  • Build awareness – for when you want to introduce your services/products to your target audience.
  • Influence consideration – use this when you want to educate your target audience on the products/services you offer.
  • Drive action – perfect for targeting people who are close to purchasing, to help increase sales/enquiries(this is the one we lean towards at Moneypenny).

Which objective you choose depends on which features you’ll see – you’ll only see the features that are relevant to your marketing objective.

GDN - marketing objective

Step 3: Location, budget, ad extensions

Don’t waste impressions and clicks on locations you don’t supply to – ensure you target only the areas your products or services are available in. Target even further by focusing on specific cities or regions in the UK – by creating region-specific campaigns, where the ad creatives mention that particular city, is a great way to make your campaigns really targeted.

GDN - location

For your bid strategy, you have a few different options; however, the default will be based on the best option for your marketing objective (but be sure to keep a close eye on this as you might want to change it after your campaign has been running for a while). We’ve found that cost per click is the most effective for us.   Once your campaign gets running it will let you know if it’s limited by budget so you can amend this later on if needed.

Use ad scheduling to show your ads during certain times of the day or days of the week; or ad extensions, allowing you to include a phone number with your ads (if you do this it is best to use a number that’s specific to AdWords so that you can track how many calls you receive to this number). Google do offer a free number along with some code that you can paste to your website so if someone clicks on your ad they’ll see the Google number on your website this means you can really see how effective your campaigns are.

Step 4: Choosing your targeting

Once you’ve named your ad group, set your landing page URL and your cost per click (CPC), it’s time to get targeted.

Display keywords – your ads will be shown on websites that are related to the keywords you choose(If you entered a landing page URL then you will see some keyword ideas that have been recommended) We pick out our top performing search campaigns and use these keywords to create display keyword campaigns.

GDN - display keywords

Placements – you can choose which sites (on the GDN) you want your ads to appear on. Think about the sites that your target audience would visit and add them to test.

Topics – your ads will be shown on pages about the specific topics you choose.

Interests and remarketing – you can show your ads to people based on their interests, there are two options available:

  • Affinity audiences – reach people based on their interests. For example if you own a clothes shop then you’ll want to target the ‘fashionistas’ audience.
  • In-market audiences – reach people who are actively researching products or services like yours. For example, you are a clothes shop setting up a handbag campaign – target the ‘handbags’ audience which contains people who are actively looking to purchase a handbag.

Demographics – you can choose to target based on demographics: gender, age and parental status.

It’s also worth excluding some placement options too. We find that mobile apps can accrue a lot of clicks but very little conversions, so we don’t display on mobile apps. You can do this by adding “adsenseformobileapps.com” as a placement exclusion. There are also a number of site category options that you might want to consider excluding like ‘sexual’, ‘juvenile’, ‘crime’ (unless their relevant to your business).

GDN - exclusionsStep 5: Uploading ads

If you choose to upload image ads, simply click on the ‘image ads tab’ and start uploading them – easy. If you’re creating text ads, the same restrictions for search campaigns – in terms of character limits – apply.

Once you’ve uploaded all of your ads you can choose to create another ad group or to go live.

Step 6: Tracking your ads & analyse

It’s important that you continue to track and analyse your display campaign performance regularly to ensure you’re only reaching the right people, spending your budget wisely and seeing results.

So, there it is. Your guide to GDN. Feeling informed and prepared? Get started now, and you’ll be targeting, topic choosing and tracking in no time.

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