Aside from the zeitgeist moment that Mobile has had recently, Keywords and Remarketing are usually the talk of the Adwords world. Anyone with an account knows of these two strategies and how they can really help to bring in ROI when used to their full potential. There are, however, a wealth of Adwords strategies that fall by the wayside when the two Adwords giants steal most of the thunder. A slightly lesser known gem is Display advertising. The merits of Display advertising are arguably more wide-reaching, especially when your objectives and goals are a little different.

Let’s Start From The Beginning…

In Adwords, there are three different networks: Search, Shopping and Display. If you’re already utilising Remarketing, you might already be familiar with the Display Network. By choosing a Display Network campaign type when creating a campaign, instead of asking Google to place your ads on the search results page when certain keywords are used, you are instead able to instruct them to upload your adverts onto other people’s websites. This gives businesses the opportunity to advertise on websites that potentially get a lot more daily visitors than their own websites giving them a much wider reach, and more importantly the opportunity to advertise on websites that their target market are frequenting. The caveat is that the website needs to be  utilising Google Adsense; a separate system that allows websites to make money from hosting ads on their site, allowing for a return for both parties when the ad is clicked.

Why Is Display So Good?

Display allows you to hit different, and arguably more objectives than Search and Remarketing. When someone knows what they’re after, Search and Remarketing work seriously well. However, when people don’t, Display comes in and kicks some serious butt.

The premise of Display was for building brand awareness. The Display Network reaches to over 2 million sites. Display ads could theoretically be placed on all of these. However, it also allows you to whittle down and define your audience, and pick and choose who you want to see your ads. For example you can choose to target people who look at fitness sites to advertise your latest product for the health conscious demographic, or possibly target recipe website to advertise to foodies.

It isn’t all about brand awareness however, and Google have caught wind of this. Some businesses can actually get good sales from Display when you find the right audiences. However when brand awareness is the goal, you need to ensure you are applying the right methods of tracking and quantifying success. Remember, they’re usually not at the same stage of the buying cycle as those we want to target with Remarketing, so here we’re looking for initial engagement, and responsiveness to what you are putting in front of them. Therefore impressions, click through rates, average session duration on site, and average number of page views, become much better KPIs.

Instead of using traditional cost per click bidding, users can bid on the cost per thousand impressions (CPM) where you define the amount you are happy to pay to get your ad in front of 1,000 people. Where the goal is to get in front of as many people as possible instead of getting people buying a product then and there, this is where CPM comes in and can actually end up being the more cost effective solution.

Could It Be Good For Your Adwords Strategy?

Display advertising is great for targeting those you really want to show your product to, rather than people searching your product. Those with a unique offering that people might not know about and search for, and also for getting in front of people who might have a solution in place already (and therefore not be searching) but could be swayed if they knew of your superior alternative. Even if this is not the case, Display advertising allows for you to target the audience who are most likely to have an interest in your products; whilst in theory you

Just one example of responsive ads

can place Display ads onto any site on the display network with advertising space, if you want to increase clicks and conversions as opposed to brand awareness, choosing the most relevant people (‘affinity or in market audiences’ in Google speak) will allow you to increase your chances of doing so.

The beauty of display is that it is so multifaceted and diverse in so many ways. You don’t need an in-house graphics team to whip up some display ads or spend on outsourcing (though this is indeed an option), Google offer responsive ads wherein you upload your logo and a relevant image (make sure you have the rights to use this!) and hey presto, instant ad for the display network and no graphics skills required! Responsive ads can also be shown as plain text ads when there isn’t enough space on a website to show a banner or rich media; you can dabble in Display with little risk in wasting money and time on creating graphics if it doesn’t work for you.

How Do You Get The Most Out Of It?

1) Get the ads right

Over 65% of ads on the Display Network are shown as pure text ads. Too many advertisers will focus on creating a lovely image and not concentrating enough on the ad copy. Make sure you work just as hard to get your messaging right and tying it into the audiences you want to reach.

When considering what messages to include in your ad copy, it is worth remembering that users on the Display Network don’t convert in the same way as they do on the search network, adjusting calls to action to something softer than “Buy Now” to “Find Out More” is likely to bring in more clicks due to the lack of commitment indicated.

2) Define and test your audiences!

On the Display Network, you have the ability to target users in different ways.

These include:

  1. Contextual targeting by keywords. Similar to a search ad, you include the keywords you want, and the Google algorithm shows the ad when a website has those keywords on it.
  2. Interests. If Google have data on a user, they can target their interests through either “In-Market Audiences”, who are actively researching and comparing a type of product, or “Affinity Audiences”, where data on their broader interests is collected and utilised.
  3. Placements. Quite simply adding in which websites you’d like to show your ads on. Here at Digital Gearbox we’ll make a real effort to understand our client’s business so we can identify a host of websites that are relevant to a client’s industry, as well as certain forums where users may take an interest in the products on offer.
  4. Demographics. Simply put, age, location, sex, parental status. If there is a specific group you need to target this way, demographic targeting could be the answer!

Experimenting with these and not forgetting about Display if one method of targeting doesn’t bring the return, and instead trying another is your best bet – chances are one method of targeting will bring you exactly what you’re looking for from Display, though equally you may find that a combination of two or more cold work – so don’t be afraid to really get stuck in with targeting!

What Now?

If brand awareness is part of your goals for PPC, Display is well worth having a think about. Not only can you have an ad up in a matter of minutes, you can also forgo click bidding altogether and focus on getting a significant amount of your target audience seeing your ads. That said, if clicks to your site are what you’re really after, that doesn’t mean you should scrimp on Display; just make sure you have the right metrics set up to measure success.

Ensuring your copy is just as compelling as your lovely image ads will be your fail-safe route to putting your best face forward to everyone who sees your ads – even if the advertising space on the host site only allows for your Responsive ad to be shown in text format.

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