Google Banner Ads

In this page, we will cover the following:

  • Creating an automatic placements campaign
  • Creating a managed placements display campaign
  • Researching and adding display placements
  • Targeting display sites based on topics
  • Excluding irrelevant and poorly performing placements avoid displaying your ads on certain pages
  • Excluding categories of sites and potentially sensitive topics Adding image ads to display campaigns
  • Creating rich image ads with Display Ad Builder Analyzing relative CTR to benchmark display performance

Introduction

The Google’s Display network (GDN) helps advertisers reach a greater audience through ads that show on websites outside of Google.com, such as news, blogs, and a variety of popular or niche websites. The Display network can be a great supplement to search campaigns.

It helps advertisers reach customers who may not be searching for products and services, but can still be enticed by relevant ads as they browse the Internet. A well-executed display campaign can lift your search performance and helps build trust as people move through the purchase funnel.

Before creating display campaigns, define who you would like to reach. As a best practice, always keep search and display campaigns separate, so that you can use separate budgets and analyze and maximize each network’s potential.

If you are mainly interested in branding, you have the option to pay for impressions on GDN through maximum CPM (cost-per-thousand impressions) bidding. With CPM bids, you pay for impressions rather than clicks. However, for advertisers who are interested in sales or leads (most advertisers), max CPC bidding is the recommended bidding option for display.

Creating an automatic placements campaign

If you are new to Google Display, I recommend you start with automatic placements. This is where Google Ads shows your ads on relevant websites based on your keywords and other factors. You have the option to simply opt a search campaign into the Google Display network, however, that is not the recommended setup. I recommend creating a new Google Ads campaign targeting Google Display only, so you can allocate a separate budget and customize other settings for display.

Getting ready

Decide how much of your budget you’d like to allocate for testing display. Start with a smaller budget until you evaluate if display will work for you while you optimize your campaign.

How to do it…

To create an automatic placements display campaign, perform the following steps:

  • Click on the Campaigns tab.
  • Click on + New campaign to create a new campaign.

Choose Display Network only:

  1. Choose your bidding option. I recommend you start with I’ll manually set my bids for clicks for greater control over how much you bid on each ad group.
  2. Set a daily Budget. Start small while you optimize and evaluate the effectiveness of display.
  3. Next, you’ll create your first display ad group. Choose an ad group name that reflects the theme of the keywords you’ll add.
  4. Choose your Default bid value. This is the most you are willing to pay for clicks in an ad group.

Under Choose how to target your ads, select Display Keywords:

  1. Enter your keywords into the keyword box and click on Find related keywords for additional ideas. Select a small, targeted keyword list of 3 to 5 keywords and no more than 20 keywords. Smaller keyword lists tend to work better on the Display network. Keywords are used to identify websites with similar themes and therefore function very differently from keywords in your search campaigns. You do not need to use misspellings or be too specific with your keyword lists, as this might filter out too many relevant websites.
  2. Click on Save and continue.
  3. Next, create an ad. You can run image, display rich media, text, and video ads in your display campaigns. If you have image or video ads, you can add them to your campaign.
  4. If you do not have an image ad, you can use the Display ad builder feature to create one. Keep your ad targeted to your keyword list and follow other ad copy best practices, such as including calls-to-action and special offers. You do not need to add all ad formats at once and can come back to add in additional ad formats at a later time.
  5. Click on Save ads when you are done.
  6. Create additional ad groups following the same guidelines of small keyword lists and targeted ads. I recommend you start with several display ad groups, rather than just one, as they will likely perform differently based on the keywords and ads you choose.

How it works…

With automatic placements, Google Ads uses your keywords and other factors to match your ads to relevant placements that are part of Google’s Display network. Rather than choosing specific placements to show ads on, Google Ads places your ads based on your ad group’s theme, matching it up to relevant websites on the Display network through contextual targeting. For example, if you have an ad group with keywords related to dog toys, your ads could show next to an article that discusses dog training techniques.

There’s more…

The easiest way to get started with Google Ads display is to create a campaign that’s a mirror version of your search campaign, customized for the Display network. You can quickly create a duplicate version of your search campaign with Google Ads Editor. Copy and paste an existing campaign and make sure to select the appropriate networks for your new display campaign under the Campaigns tab. You might need to make some edits to your keywords, removing keyword misspellings and keywords that are too specific, keeping your keyword lists small and targeted. Keyword match types are not relevant for display campaigns, so you should just use the broad match modifier.

Creating a managed placements campaign

In addition to letting Google Ads contextually target ads based on your keywords (automatic placements), you can choose specific websites you’d like to show ads on (managed placements). This is a good strategy for advertisers who only want to show ads on specific websites and want more control over where their ads are shown.

Getting ready

Brainstorm websites or types of websites where you’d like your ads to be shown. These properties may or may not be part of Google’s Display network, but you’ll be able to research them and find similar websites as you create your campaign.

How to do it…

To create a managed placements display campaign, perform the following steps:

  • Go to your Campaigns tab.
  • Click on + New campaign to create a new campaign.
  • Choose Display Network only.
  • After choosing all of the relevant campaign settings and your budget, click on Save and continue.
  • Name your new ad group and choose the Default Bid value. This bid will apply to all placements you choose within this ad group, unless you set placement-specific bids, which will override the default ad group bid.
  • Under Choose how to target your ads, select Use a different targeting method and select Placements:
  • In the next step, you’ll be able to search for placement ideas by entering a word, phrase, or website. The tool provides data on how many impressions each placement receives as well as what ad types (text ad, image ad, audio ad, or In-Stream ad) each placement accepts. The In-Stream ads are video ads that appear as an ad break before or during YouTube partner videos.
  • Select the placements you’d like to add and click on Save and continue.
  • Add text, image, display, or video ads to your ad group. Add a combination of different ad formats for greatest reach.
  • You can create additional ad groups with different placements or types of websites.

How it works…

Placements are websites, specific pages on a website, app, or ad units within a webpage where Google Ads shows ads. A website needs to be part of Google’s Display network to be eligible as a placement. You’ll also need to win a bid in each ad auction in order for your ads to be shown.

To maximize reach, set competitive bids, especially if you are targeting popular websites.

There’s more…

In addition to selecting specific placements to show ads on, you can narrow your targeting further by the following criteria:

  • Display keywords: Ads will be shown on websites relevant to keywords you add
  • Audiences: Ads will be shown to people based on their interests, types of websites they visit, and if they previously visited your website (remarketing)
  • Topics: Ads will be shown on pages about specific topics or sub-topics
  • Age: Ads will be shown to people that fall into specific age ranges
  • Gender: Ads will be shown to males or females

If you combine multiple display targets in one ad group, you restrict your ads to be shown only to those users who meet all of your chosen targets. For example, if you use keywords and placements in one ad group, your ads will only be shown on specific websites that you selected when the content of a publisher’s website is relevant to your keywords. Keep in mind that if you layer on too many targets at once, you may be restricting your ad visibility to a very narrow audience. In the following screenshot, you can see an example of how using placements and keywords together in one ad group can restrict your reach.

Researching and adding display placements

If you are not yet ready to create a display campaign, but would like to research available placements or check if specific websites are part of Google’s Display network, you can use Google’s Placement Tool. You can also use this tool if you have already created a display campaign that you’d like to build on and expand with additional placements.

Getting ready

Put together a list of websites you’d like to show ads on. Also, prepare keywords and product categories to search for additional available placements.

How to do it…

To find placements, perform the following steps:

  • Sign in to your Google Ads account.
  • Go to Tools and Analysis and choose the Placement Tool option.
  • You can search for placement based on one of the following criteria:
    • Word or phrase
    • Website
    • Category
  • Once you enter your search criteria, you can filter further by locations, languages, and devices under Advanced Options and Filters.
  • Click on Search to see if the specific placement you are interested in is available, or to find placements relevant to searched phrases and categories.
  • You can further filter placements by type. Uncheck any that you are not interested in showing your ads on. The following placement types are available:
    • Site
    • Video
    • Feed
    • Game
    • Mobile App
    • Audio

If you’d like to find out more about a specific placement, click on it from within the placement tool. You’ll see additional information about it, such as what ad formats it accepts, or an example page where your ads could show.

Select Impressions Per Day under the Columns drop-down button to see how many daily impressions each placement receives.Check the box next to the placements you would like to save to My placement ideas, add them directly to your account, or download into a spreadsheet.

How it works…

The Placement Tool option helps you find websites on Google’s Display network to show your ads on. It provides example pages where your ads could appear, as well as the types of ad formats each placement accepts. Once you find placements you like, you can add them to your campaigns directly from the Placement Tool option.

Targeting display sites based on topics

If you would like to cast a wider net on display and show your ads to a collection of websites related to certain topics, such as travel or news, you can do so through Google Ads display. This is a good option for those who are not sure what specific websites to target on display or may not have the time to research and add individual placements to their campaigns. You may also want to try this approach if you are not getting enough traffic from your display campaigns, and if your CPA goals are more flexible.

Getting ready

Think about topics that would be relevant to your business. Do not limit yourself to just the most specific topics, but try other, more loosely related topics as well as ones that your target customers are likely to browse. For example, if you sell diet products, you may want to target:

  • Weight Loss
  • Fashion & Style
  • Food & Drink

While you can add topics to an existing display campaign, I recommend creating a separate campaign for topic targeting. This allows you to bid and use your budget more effectively.

How to do it…

To add topics to your display campaign, perform the following steps:

  • Click on the Campaigns tab.
  • Click on + New campaign to create a new campaign.
  • Choose Display Network only.
  • After choosing the relevant campaign setting, including target locations, languages, bidding options, and your budget, click on Save and continue.
  • Name your new ad group and choose the Default Bid value. This bid will apply to all topics you choose within this ad group, unless you set topic—specific bids, which override the default bid.
  • Under Choose how to target your ads, select Use a different targeting method and select Topics.
  • On the next screen, you’ll be able to search for topics with your key phrases, or you can browse available topics. There are also numerous sub-topics that you can pick and choose from:
  • Select the topics you want to add and click on Save and continue.
  • Add ads to your ad group.

How it works…

Topic targeting on the Google’s Display network lets you show ads on websites related to specific topics, such as finance or biotech. Google analyzes the keywords on a page to determine the topic of the page, categorizing it into topics and sub-topics. If you choose to target via topics, your ads will be shown on websites related to topics you choose to add to your campaign.

There’s more…

You can further pre-qualify topic targeting by layering on keywords or specific placements in addition to topics. If you choose to use keywords in combination with topic targeting, your ads will only show on pages that meet both criteria you selected. For example, if you choose the Finance topic and add keywords about agriculture, your ads could show on the finance section of a local news website featuring an article about agricultural stock prices.

Excluding irrelevant and poorly performing placements

If you are running display campaigns, you should periodically review performance on specific placements to ensure that your ads are shown on quality pages that meet your goals. This is especially important if you are running keyword-based, interest- or topic-targeted campaigns, where Google Ads places your ads on pages you may not have chosen. If your ads are shown on low-quality placements, or placements that generate clicks without any conversions, you can exclude them in Google Ads and block such websites from displaying your ads.

Getting ready

Before you start excluding specific placements, review their performance. Specifically, pay attention to the following:

  • High-cost placements that generated zero conversions.
  • High CPA placements.
  • Low-quality or irrelevant placements.
  • Placements with high bounce rates and low time on site. You will need to access your Google Analytics to find this data.

How to do it…

To review and exclude placements, perform the following steps:

  • Go to your Campaigns tab.
  • Click on a display campaign you’d like to analyze.
  • Click the Display Network tab and select the Placements sub-tab.
  • Below, you will see a list of managed and automatic placements along with relevant data, such as clicks, costs, and conversions.
  • Sort the results by clicks or cost, to first review the placements that generate the most traffic. If a placement generated a large number of clicks without any conversions, consider excluding it.

To exclude a placement, mark a checkbox on the left of a placement and choose Exclude placements:

  • You’ll get an option to exclude a placement from an entire campaign or just from an ad group:
  • Click on Save.

How it works…

By excluding a placement, you can ensure that your ads are not shown on specific websites. You can exclude placements from an ad group or from a campaign, which will affect all ad groups within a campaign.

The display data for individual placements from the last 48 hours may not be available. Select a wider date range (such as last 7 days or last 30 days) in your analysis.

There’s more…

To see specific pages on various websites that your ads appeared on, click on See details. Choose Selected to see pages related to a specific domain you selected or choose All to see all pages:

Avoid displaying your ads on certain pages

You can exclude an entire set of topics from showing your ads on Google’s Display network. This strategy can help you get more out of display by blocking all irrelevant websites related to certain subjects at once.

Getting ready

Review the campaign’s performance and individual display placements where your ads have appeared. If you notice that certain types of websites, such as gaming websites, show your ads but are not relevant to your audience, consider excluding gaming topics.

How to do it…

To exclude topics, perform the following steps:

  • Go to your Campaigns tab.
  • Click on the display campaign you’d like to add exclusions to.
  • Click the Display Network tab.
  • Scroll down to the bottom of the screen and click on Exclusions.
  • Select the Topics tab.
  • You can add exclusions at the ad group level or at the campaign level. If a certain group of websites is not applicable to any ad group in your campaign, choose the

Campaign level option:

How it works…

By adding topic exclusions, you block all websites related to your excluded topics from showing your ads. For example, as a lawyer who is advertising legal services to clients, you may want to block all websites related to “jobs” to prevent irrelevant clicks from other lawyers looking for employment.

Excluding categories of sites and potentially sensitive topics

If you are showing ads on the Display network, you can exclude entire categories of websites and pages, which discuss potentially sensitive topics from showing your ads. Your display traffic will be more efficiently targeted and you’ll prevent your ads from appearing on questionable pages.

Getting ready

The category exclusions that are most pressing to exclude are:

  • Crime, police & emergency
  • Death & tragedy
  • Military & International Conflict
  • Juvenile, gross & bizarre content
  • Profanity & rough language
  • Sexually suggestive content

You may also want to consider excluding the following:

  • Error pages
  • Parked domains

Review ad performance on Error pages and Parked domains before you decide to exclude them.

How to do it…

To add negative categories, perform the following steps:

  • Click on the Campaigns tab.
  • Go into a campaign targeting display.
  • Navigate to the Display Network tab.
  • Scroll down to the bottom of the page and open up Exclusions.
  • Select the far right box that says Categories. Under Campaign level, click on the box that says Add Exclusions.
  • Check the categories you would like to exclude and click on Save.
  • Repeat for each display campaign.

How it works…

Excluding categories prevents your ads from showing on certain potentially sensitive categories of web pages, such as pages about crime, death, and sexual content. You can also block your ads from showing on certain types of websites, such as parked domains, error pages, games, social networks, and more.

Google Ads cannot guarantee that your ads will never show on pages related to the topics or categories you excluded. Review placement data regularly and exclude individual pages you do not want your ads to show on.

Adding image ads to display campaigns

One of the great benefits of Google’s Display network is that you can run engaging and visually powerful banners on websites that are part of Display network. Image ads can help you grab the user’s attention better than standard text ads, and they can help you boost your brand’s presence on many different websites across the Internet.

Getting ready

If you already have image or flash ads that you’d like to add to Google Ads, make sure they follow the technical requirements outlined in the How it works… section of this recipe. Save them to your computer from which you’ll be able to upload them into your Google Ads campaigns.

The images must be relevant and clear, and text must be legible. Blurry or poor quality images are against policy, as are any ads that try to trick a user into clicking them, such as system warnings or error messages.

How to do it…

To add image ads to your campaign, perform the following steps:

  • Click on the Campaigns tab.
  • Go into a campaign targeting display.
  • Click on the ad group to which you’d like to add image ads to.
  • Navigate to the Ads tab.
  • Click on + New ad and select Image ad from the drop-down menu.
  • Click on Upload an ad and locate the ad saved on your computer.
  • Write an Ad name value and enter your Display URL and Destination URL values:
  • Click on Save.
  • To maximize reach, add image ads in various sizes.

How it works…

There’s more…

All image ads must be approved as family safe in order to show on GDN. Any ads containing sexual content or nudity will be deemed as non-family or adult, and will not be eligible to be shown. You do not need to take any action besides submitting your ad to get your ads approved. If an ad is disapproved, you’ll be notified via e-mail.

Creating rich image ads with Display Ad Builder

Google’s Display Ad Builder is a tool that helps you easily create image ads without any prior graphic design experience. The tool is available for free to all advertisers using Google Google Ads.

Getting ready

Prepare product images or company logos you’d like to use. Make sure that you own or have the necessary permissions to use the images you plan to leverage.

Review your search ad text performance to find descriptions, special offers, and call-to-action phrases that perform best for you. You’ll want to add these phrases to your image ads as you build them with the Display Ad Builder tool.

How to do it…

To create image ads using Google’s Display Ad Builder, perform the following steps:

  • Once you have selected a template you’d like to use, follow the screen prompts to create your ad. The elements you’ll need to fill in will vary, depending on the template you choose.
  • Generally, you’ll need to first name your ad. Choose a name that’s descriptive of the products or offers you are promoting.
  • Write a headline and description in the Headline and Description fields. Follow the same best practices as for text ads. Be informative and descriptive and include special offers and calls-to-action. You can customize text colors and fonts, if necessary.
  • Add a company logo.
  • Customize your Click button field with language that best fits your offer. You can also change the button font and color.
  • Add a product image or multiple images, depending on your template.
  • Customize background colors, if you’d like to adjust the color scheme provided in the template.
  • Write in your Display URL and Destination URL values.
  • Always use the Ad preview feature to see what your ads would look like in all available ad sizes. Your images or logos might be difficult to see or even illegible in some ad sizes, or the text might not fit properly together. Some of the templates allow you to adjust the various text and image elements by ad size. Make sure to go through each ad size in the Ad preview screen and make any necessary adjustments.
  • Click on Preview and Save. If you do not like how your ad appears in a specific ad size, you can unselect that ad in the Ad preview screen.
  • Once you click on Save, Google Ads will populate your ad group with all of the display ad sizes you have chosen.

You can edit the ads you created with the Display Ad Builder tool at any time, if you need to update your images or text. Continue to experiment with additional templates to test alternate formats, colors, and messaging.

How it works…

Google’s Display Ad Builder is a free tool that helps advertisers create professional looking display ads. Advertisers can choose from hundreds of available templates, different fonts, colors, and images, or upload their own logos, images, and video. Each template also allows for text to be customized and easily updated directly in your Google Ads account.

There’s more…

The Suggested ads feature in the Display Ad Builder will scan your website and automatically generate relevant ads by pulling in text and images into multiple ad variations you can choose from. You can further refine and customize the ads by clicking on one of the suggested options.

Analyzing relative CTR to benchmark display performance

CTR on display is typically much lower than CTRs you’re used to seeing from your search campaigns. Instead of comparing your display CTR to your search CTR, a more useful metric would be to understand how your display ads fare against other display campaigns. To help you analyze and benchmark how your display CTR compares to other ads, Google Ads provides the Relative CTR metric in your account.

How to do it…

To view relative CTR, perform the following steps:

  • Click on the Campaigns tab. You can also view Relative CTR at the ad group level.
  • Click on Columns and choose Customize columns.
  • Under Competitive metrics, scroll until you see Relative CTR
  • Click on Add to add the metric to your dashboard and click on Apply to save your settings.
  • You should now see Relative CTR as a metric in your campaign dashboard. The average Relative CTR is 1x, and you should aim above that (such as 1.5x). If your Relative CTR is under 1x (such as 0.5x), consider optimizing your display campaign.

How it works…

Relative CTR is a measure of how your ads perform on Google’s Display network when compared to other ads appearing on the same pages. It’s calculated by dividing your CTR by the average CTR of all advertisers appearing on your placements.

The average Relative CTR is 1x, which means that your CTR equals the average CTR of all advertisers on the same pages. If your Relative CTR is higher than 1x (such as 2x), your ads are getting better clickthrough-rates than other ads on the same placements.

Relative CTR is available at the campaign and ad group levels, however, it doesn’t work with campaigns that use CPM bidding as a bidding strategy.

There’s more…

Search and Display Quality Scores are completely separate. On Google’s Display network, Google Ads also considers your performance on a site, in addition to your ad’s relevance and your landing page. Like on Google Search, a more relevant and high CTR ad on the Google Display network will help you be more competitive in an ad auction. If your CTR is lower than average, you may want to take the following actions:

Exclude low performing and irrelevant placements. These include any placements that have lower CTRs than other placements, but make sure to not exclude placements that are generating profitable conversions.

  • Add new ads, pausing the lower performing ad copy.
  • Add image and rich media ads, in addition to text ads.

Create more themed ad groups to allow Google Ads to better target your ads to relevant placements.

Pause low performing keywords, if you are running a display campaign that uses keywords to target.

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