February Newsletter: Google Display Network: Cast a Wide (But Targeted) Net
Having your website ranked high in the search engines for prospects that are searching online for your products and services…what a beautiful (and profitable) thing! But what about members of your target audience that aren’t actively searching for what you’re selling? Maybe they’d be interested if they knew you existed. Maybe they don’t know what they’re missing.
Google’s Display Network, formerly known as the Content Network, allows marketers to reach prospects beyond those actively searching for your solution. Its ads are displayed on regular, “content” websites as opposed to within Google’s search engine results.
The Display Network used to get a bad rap in terms of results, but the system has been vastly improved and is definitely worth trying again. It lets advertisers cast a very wide net, reaching more people online than Google’s Search Network. At the same time, it offers increasingly sophisticated options for targeting, as well as creative.
Targeting: You’re In Control
Google’s constantly adding new ways for companies to find their specific target audience via the Display Network. Some of the more popular options include:
- Contextual Targeting, which places your ad on web pages where the content on that page is relevant to your product or service. Do you sell luggage? Expect to see your ads on web pages about travel.
- Placement Targeting, where you can choose exactly which sites will display your ads. Is one of your luggage items a special travel golf bag? Select sites aimed at golfers.
- Remarketing, where you can easily tag people who visit your website (or select pages), and serve up ads to them as they browse other sites on the Display Network. Perhaps someone visited the page promoting your purple rolling suitcase but didn’t buy. They may respond to your ad later that week offering 10% off purple rolling suitcases.
- Demographic Bidding allows you to show your ad more often to particular demographics (on sites where that data is collected). So you can have your ad for the vintage cosmetic case displayed more frequently to women over 45.
- Other methods for targeting include “Above the Fold Advertising” (guaranteeing your ad will appear onscreen for every viewer with no scrolling) and “Frequency Capping” (limiting the number of times one person sees your ad). As with the Search Network, Geographic and Language Targeting is available, as well as Ad Scheduling in terms of days and times. And you can always exclude irrelevant or competitive sites.
Creative: Break Through!
In addition to offering a variety of targeting controls, Google has also been rolling out new options for ad creative, including:
- Text Ads, just like you run on Google’s Search Network. You can test different headlines and body copy to see what produces the best results.
- Image Ads, which include illustrations, photos or other artwork.
- Rich Media Ads, featuring animation and moving graphics.
- Video Ads.
It may sound like we’re pushing Google’s Display Network – if we are, it’s only because we’ve been so pleasantl
y surprised by our results recently. It’s further proof that what we said last month remains true – search marketers need to continually test, test, test.
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