Google Display Network Explained – GDN as it is known as is the largest advertising network on the internet. It consists of over 2 million high-quality websites where advertisers can place their display ads in a variety of formats including text, image, video & rich media ads.

The Google Display Network reaches over 80% of internet users. In this video, you will learn how to target your audience on GDN and why most advertisers are running the GDN campaigns the wrong way.

About Google Display Network

Google Display Network is one of the best ways to drive targeted traffic to your website. There is so much traffic out there that you just cannot imagine, and if we haven’t used or utilized GDN for your business, then you are missing a big trick and leaving a lot of cash on the table for your competitors. The problem is those who are running campaigns on GDN are running it the wrong way. So in this video, I’m going to go through some of the problems and options available where you can optimize your campaign on GDN.

How you can generate a lot of traffic to your website and how to optimize your campaigns. Because many people give up on GDN very, very quickly and think and say it’s a waste of time. Google does not place the ads in front of the right audience. There aren’t any conversions happening or the conversions happen at a very high cost per acquisition.

So there are a few variables and things that one needs to look at, and most people don’t look into that and come to a conclusion very quickly that it just doesn’t work. So in this video, I’m going to talk about what are your options are, what you need to look at to optimize your campaigns, how to cut out wastage, and how to increase your profitability on your GDN campaigns.

How The Google Display Network Works

So for those of you who don’t know what GDN is, let me very quickly show you what it is. So this is a network of over 2 million high-quality websites where Google can potentially place your image, text, or responsive ads on those websites. So you’ve got your website owners who allow Google to place those ads on their websites. To give you an example, here’s the website search engine journal and you will see that there’s a square-shaped image ad over there and these will be dotted around the website.

And this is how many of these blogs and website owners monetize their websites. And here is another ad, or over there, if I go to Huffington post, there’s an ad over here which is a different size. So there are various sizes of ads that can be placed on various GDN websites.

And the beauty of these ads is if someone clicked on one of these ads, the advertiser, which is you, if you’re placing a running an ad campaign, will get judged. If no one clicked an ad, you will get free branding. So if I did not click on this ad, LastPass, who’s the advertiser will not get charged. So you can get a lot of eyeballs and impressions on your brand product or service for free. But you want people to click on your ads or relevant people to click on your ad because you want to drive traffic.

But if your campaign is all about brand awareness, then yes, your call to action or your strategies for running these ads, may be different. But most people or business owners who I know want direct conversions and not just brand awareness. So this is how these ads work.

Google Display Network Ads

So let me bring my iPad across and go through why most people find it very difficult to run a campaign on GDN and also they give up on running campaigns on GDN.

Because what they do is they set up the campaign, they don’t test it, they don’t optimize it, and before you know, they’ve given up and they’ve come to a conclusion that this is all a waste of time and it’s bleeding cash. So the various options, which you need to look at is, first of all, you’ve got your ads. The second one is your targeting or your audience, who sees your ads. Number three is your website or your landing page. And number four is your

offer. Now you’ve got four variables right now and you don’t know where the problem is, is the problem on the ads or the targeting or there might be some problem on the landing page where people aren’t seeing your call to action or they get confused on your landing page when they land on it. The message is not very clear. The offer is not clear or it could be that offer that is not enticing enough or good enough for somebody to convert.

So first of all, you need to look at all these four options and then start testing them one by one, by running, for example, multiple ads or different ads. It could be with a different image, it could be with a different call to action button, or it could be a different message on the ads and see which ad resonates more with your audience and start to get clicks and conversions.

Targeting & The Audience

And then you can start to scale it and optimize it even further. Targeting and the audience is where I see many, many advertisers and businesses go wrong. And here’s why, because there are a great number of ways you can target your audience. And it is amazing how few business owners and companies, and sometimes agencies use the targeting options to the maximum. So we’ve got lots of various options on GDN. One is in the market.

So this is the audience where Google knows that that person is in the market to buy or is searching for a product or a service looking at the last, few days, it’s about two weeks worth of data. So if I went to Google and searched for an iPhone, Google knows that I’m in the market to buy an iPhone or I’m looking into it.

Google Ads In-Market Audiences

If I were to search for car insurance or any other product or service, Google will know from my search history and also from my surfing history, what kind of websites and web pages I’m visiting. Is it about iPhone, is it about car insurance and all that? So these are the data points that Google already has. And advertisers can target those people while they’re the in-market audiences. So these are the very hot audiences which we can go straight to because we know that they are looking for that particular product or service. Then we can target by keywords.

So we can set a public campaign in AdWords or Google ads as it is called now and say the Google, place my ads on pages that have got those particular keywords or websites which are about those keywords. So again, anybody who’s going and visiting a particular page about a particular keyword is highly engaged and it is a very targeted audience. Then we have an option to

Google Ads Affinity Audiences

target by topics and there are I believe over 2000 different topics that are available on GDN to target. And if one of your products or services is on that topic, then you’ve got an audience that is already there on Google. Then we have an affinity audience, so affinity audiences are those who have got a long-term interest in a particular topic or service. So for example, if I was visit websites about football or cricket, then Google knows that I’m in that affinity audience of football lovers, or if I was it websites about dog training, then we know that because if I’m a dog owner and I keep going and visiting these websites, then I will come under this affinity audience.

So affinity is also a great way to target your audience. Then we have got placements. So if I know a few websites or a handful of websites or in fact a few hundred websites, where I know that my target audience is hanging out. I can put them into my campaign settings and go straight to those websites and place my ads in front of those people who are visiting those websites. One of my favorite ways of targeting is the custom

affinity audience. So we can create custom affinity audiences in our campaign and target those. It’s pretty much like putting a pixel on a competitor’s website. We can tell Google that I want to place my ads in front of those people who visit a certain type of website. And you can put those in there with some keywords in your campaign settings and target them straight away. So as you can see, there are so many different variables.

And now all of these which I’ve just mentioned, these are just targeting one at a time, what you can also do to be very creative as to mix and match and target multiple targeting options. So for example, if we have an audience over here, which is let’s say by keyword, the other one as a topic, to make it really targeted where this interaction is

we can set up our campaign and they’ll Google only target these people who are in the keywords, as well as in the topic audience. Or it could be affinity and in-market or affinity and topics, or affinity and placement. It could be any number of ways you can target or set up your targeting to run your campaigns. Now, without testing the different targeting options, there is no way you will find out which one works and which one doesn’t work.

Most people, when they set it up, all they do is just run the ads and that’s about it. They don’t go on here and target all these various options because they just set it up with the first one which is the keywords or it could be affinity. So you’ve got to try it. You’ve got to spend a fair bit of budget, don’t stop the campaigns after running $5 worth of ads or $10, you’ve got to let it run.

You’ve got to generate some data and see what’s happening on your website. You know, if you are getting the clicks and you know that they’re coming from the right targeting and they’re not converting, that means there’s something wrong on your landing page or somethings wrong with the offer. So I hope this video gave you a bit of an insight as to how to optimize your campaigns and how these various targeting options work on the Google Display Network.

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About Uzair Kharawala
Uzair Kharawala is the Co-Founder at SF Digital. He is a Certified Google Partner, is a Cricket fanatic and loves Photography.
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