Like the Google search network, the Google display network runs on a live auction system. When you’re eligible for a given ad unit—according to your targeting parameters—you’re entered into an instantaneous auction with the other eligible advertisers. Google determines your ad position and cost per click based on your Ad Rank, which it calculates using your maximum CPC bid and Quality Score.
In other words, display ads can cost you money and even your reputation if you’re not careful. We’ll talk about the steps you can take to avoid waste later in this post.
Well, if PPC was a sports team (let’s just call them the Clickers), search would be the star and display would be the playmaker. And advertisers who know how to harness display’s abilities? Well, they’re the ones who win.
Table of contents
What are display ads?
Fortunately, there are a number of free tools on the market that enable you to easily create your own Google display ads. Here are three of our personal favorites:
With contextual display ad targeting, you have three options:
What is a Google display ad?
After running your display campaigns for a while, you’ll have enough data to make informed performance judgments—which keywords are doing well, which affinity audiences are doing poorly, and so on. Bid adjustments—which you can set at either the ad group or campaign level—allow you to turn those performance judgments into strategy.
Granting you such widespread exposure, greatest benefit of display advertising is brand awareness. As Larry Kim put it, “The single biggest predictor of whether people will purchase is whether they’ve heard of you before.” It’s no wonder that 84% of B2B marketers say brand awareness is their most important goal, followed by sales and lead generation.
According to WordStream data, the average CPC on the Google display network is Here are the many options available to you for audience targeting with Google display ads.
The importance of display advertising
You’ll then need to
No cheat sheet is complete without a little inspiration! Let’s wrap up this guide with five examples of awesome Google display ads. We’ll make sure to break down what makes them tick so you can walk away with immediately actionable tips.
There are two types of Google display ads: uploaded and responsive.
Differentiate your brand
Google Analytics is full of useful information. For display advertisers, the referral traffic report (which lives under Acquisition > All Traffic) is incredibly valuable. Basically, the referral traffic report tells you which websites are linking to yours the most. Put differently, it tells you which websites cater to people that could benefit from your product or service.
Royal Canin offers a good example of a strong value proposition with “Support their health at every stage.”
Build brand awareness
In fact, there’s a metric dedicated to conversions assisted by display ads: view-through conversions.
Well, now you have everything you need to run a successful Google display campaign. If you need more tips, head here:
Improve the performance of your other ads
True—consumer intent on these two Google Ads networks is completely different. But insofar as clicks and conversions indicate that your search ads are resonating, you can feel confident that the keywords behind them are winners.
Alrighty then! Now that we’ve covered all the technical details of display advertising, let’s talk about some of the best practices you can implement to maximize your returns.
Display ads are visual-based ads you see while reading an article on your favorite blog, watching a video on YouTube, or using a mobile app.
These websites make for the perfect places to serve your display ads. Because you know you’re advertising to relevant audiences, you can feel confident that you’re driving returns on those impressions and clicks.
Skyrocket results with retargeting
If you have the design resources to create your own display ads from scratch, then by all means—take the uploaded route. Google Display ads support JPG, PNG, and GIF. But keep in mind that even if you qualify for a particular placement, your ad won’t be shown if it doesn’t meet the size specifications for that placement. So it’s up to you to optimize your exposure by uploading different sized versions of each ad.
Want to create designer-quality display ads in minutes? Try our free Smart Ads Creator.
- In one study, retargeting display ads increased a business’s brand-related search queries by 1,046%. and site traffic by 726%.
- The average click-through rate for retargeting display ads is 0.7%, which is 10 times higher than that of regular display ads .07%).
- A website visitor who’s been retargeted with a display ad is 70% more likely to convert.
Google display ad sizes & formats
Plain and simple, using bid adjustments is a terrific way to boost your gains from top performers and cut your losses from poor performers.
Uploaded display ads
One small critique: This ad needs a brand name. Although it’s effective, it’s not as trustworthy as it needs to be to meet its full potential.
Responsive display ads
Consumers are beyond accustomed to display ads at this point, so your prospects can easily scroll past your ads without even noticing them. To avoid wasting opportunities—as well as money if you’re bidding on a cost per thousand impressions (CPM) basis—it’s crucial that your display ads grab your prospects’ attention.
Google display ad sizes
- Mobile: 300×200, 300×50, 300×100
- Desktop: 300×250, 336×280, 728×90, 300×600, 160×600, 970×90, 468×60
- Both: 250×250, 200×200
Google display ad costs
At first glance, it can be hard to understand why a business would want to run display ads. Its performance pales in comparison to search ads.
The key to efficiently spending your display ad budget is layering your targeting parameters to yield the most relevant impressions and clicks possible. There are five main groups of targeting, and they fall into two categories: people targeting and contextual (topic/content) targeting.
Google display ad targeting
If you want to try keyword targeting, start with your top-performing search keywords. The definition of “top-performing” is up to you, of course, but if there’s a handful of keywords that tend to drive low-cost clicks or conversions on the search network, why not give them a shot on the display network?
- Topic: Serve your ads on sites that fall under particular topics. For example, if you’re advertising an upcoming music festival, you can target topics like “music” and “live entertainment.”
- Keyword: Serve your ads on sites related to particular keywords.
- Placement: Target specific webpages, videos, or apps. You can learn more about display ad placements here.
- Demographic: Serve your ads according to age, gender, and parental status.
- Audience: Serve your ads based on interests and behaviors.
Because that’s not the most fun activity, Google introduced responsive display ads and then eventually made it the default ad type for display campaigns. Simply provide your visual assets (images, logo, videos) and some basic ad copy. From there, Google will test different combinations to determine which versions perform well. Best of all, responsive display ads automatically adjust in size to meet the requirements of specific web pages.
Google display ad audience targeting
People are served display ads while they’re consuming content—not while they’re actively looking for solutions as with search advertising. So why bother with display ads?
- Affinity audiences: people who share a common interest, such as sports, travel, or food.
- In-market audiences: people who are actively looking to buy a particular product or service.
- Remarketing audiences: people who have interacted with your business in some way, such as by visiting your website—a great way to reengage prospects.
- Custom audiences: mix and match to create your own custom audiences.
No matter what your value proposition is, make it jump off the page.
- Excluded audiences: Google Ads allows you to exclude specific topics as well so you can your brand away from irrelevant or inappropriate content. If you were advertising super deluxe ice cream or dessert products, for example, you might exclude websites involving weight loss or healthy eating (at best, you’d be seen as irrelevant; at worst, just cruel).
How to set up a Google display ad campaign
And why might you want to improve your brand awareness? Well, to the point above, the more familiar people are with your brand, the more likely they are to click on and engage with all of your other marketing campaigns—search and social ads included. As mentioned in the intro, studies have shown that 27% of consumers conduct a search for a business after seeing their display ad, and there’s a 59% lift in conversion when users conducted a search related to a display ad.
With people targeting, you have two options, but audience targeting opens up a whole other can of worms, which we’ll get into next.
- Provide your website
- Name your campaign
- Choose your location targeting and language
- Set your budget and bidding strategy
- Create your targeting parameters
- Upload your creative and provide your copy
- Review and publish
5 Google display ad best practices
Most prospects don’t become customers right away. Even if they click on your ad, they’ll most likely leave your website without taking any action. With retargeting display ads, you target people based on how they’ve interacted with your website.
1. Tap into your top-performing search keywords
If you’re planning on running only responsive display ads, you can go ahead and skip to the next section. But if you’d like to maintain control over your ads and you plan on taking the uploaded route, these are the 12 common display ad sizes you’ll need to accommodate:
Obviously, the visual aesthetics of your display ads—color scheme, typography, etc.—play a huge part in this. What’s less obvious is the part your value proposition plays. Your value proposition is the benefit someone will enjoy upon becoming your customer. If you’re advertising a pair of men’s boots, for example, your value proposition might be the enhanced confidence one feels when he looks good.
Often, your actual cost per click is lower than your maximum CPC bid. When all is said and done, you pay the minimum amount of money required to outrank the advertiser in the position directly below yours.
2. Use bid adjustments
But you have to know how to run them right. And in this complete guide to display advertising, I’m going to share with you how to do exactly that.
The takeaway: Make sure your headlines are enough on their own. Both should communicate the unique value of your business or the offer you’re making.
Every sports team has its star player. Scores the goals. Nets the points. Wows the crowd. And every team also has a playmaker. Rarely scores. Not the fastest. But brings out the best in every other player on the field, and are the catalysts for those wow plays.
3. Look at your referral traffic
When creating a responsive display ad, you’ll be prompted to write four pieces of copy:
4. Emphasize your value proposition
When you set a positive bid adjustment on a given ad group, you tell Google Ads to increase your maximum CPC bid whenever one of the ads in that ad group is eligible to show. When you set a negative bid adjustment, you tell Google Ads to decrease your maximum CPC bids for that ad group.
Regarding headlines, there are two key things you need to know: (1) Google Ads will never run both at the same time; (2) Google Ads will sometimes exclude your description. Regardless of which headline is selected for a particular iteration of your RDA, there’s no guarantee it’ll be accompanied by your description.
The Google Display Network consists of over two million websites and apps that reach somewhere in the ballpark of 90% of internet users. Such an immense potential for reach is the definition of a double-edged sword: True, you have the power to introduce your brand to tons of relevant consumers. But you’re also liable to introduce your brand to tons of irrelevant consumers.
5. Focus on headlines when writing responsive display ads
Studies have shown that 27% of consumers conduct a search for a business after seeing their display ad, and there’s a 59% lift in conversion when users conducted a search related to a display ad.
- A short headline (25 characters)
- A long headline (90 characters)
- A description (90 characters)
- Your business name (25 characters)
There are other ways to measure the impact of your display ads as well.
According to Bannerflow, display ads with video achieve an 89% higher click-through rate. And creating a video display ad is easier than you think. It doesn’t have to even be a recorded video. Some basic text animation and movement, or even just a GIF will suffice.
To create a Google display campaign, navigate to your Google Ads account and click “New campaign.” When asked for your campaign objective, choose “Create a campaign without a goal’s guidance” and then choose “Display.”
Appropriately, Google display ads are served on websites and apps that belong to the Google Display Network (GDN)—but there are other display ad networks out there.
5 awesome Google display ad examples