Google Display Network
Google Display Network

Do you know what does Google Display Network means? Google AdWords is split into two networks, the Search Network and the Display Network. When advertising on the Search Network, businesses place text ads in the search engine results. On the Google Display Network, businesses instead place display ads on a huge network of sites across the internet. More than, this simple definition, this article provides an in-depth look at targeting options on the Display network. We will go deeper into targeting options that many seasoned PPC marketers may be aware of, but those of you setting up or managing campaigns for the first time may not be.

Google Display Network vs. Search Network

Google Display Network vs. Search Network
Google Display Network vs. Search Network

Google Adwords has two different advertising networks: Search and Display.

The Google Search Network allows you to place ads on Google’s tried-and-true search engine, where you can reach users while they’re searching for specific keywords and phrases. These show up within Google’s organic search results and as shown in the example below, there’s a little extra CTA content in search campaigns than what you’d expect in a standard organic search result.

The Display Network, on the other hand, is a little more passive. It integrates your ads into carefully chosen websites, where it can reach users while they shop, browse or read.

It also allows visual and rich media ads instead of just plain text ones—and considering that an estimated 90 percent of all information processed by the brain is visual, that alone can be a pretty big game-changer.

Click Here: Reports Which Provide Opportunities To Improve Keywords And Ads

Display Targeting Options – The Basics

Google Display Network
Google Display Network

There are several ways to target users on the Display network. In Paid Search, you must have keyword-level targeting. In Display, there are several additional targeting options to choose from and keyword targeting is not required.

Advertisers can use a combination of the targeting options below to reach their ideal audience.

Keyword Targeting

With display keyword targeting, an advertiser selects broad match keywords. Google will serve ads alongside content that matches the keyword. For example, if I target the keyword women’s fashion, Google may serve my ad on the same page as an article on women’s fashion trends in 2017.

Placement Targeting

With placement targeting, an advertiser will select the placement(s) – i.e. the domain(s) – that their ads should appear on. For example, if you want your ad to serve when users are consuming sports content, you may need to choose specific sports websites or the sports section of online newspapers. For example, you might target the placements,,, etc.

Interest Targeting

Google has several predefined interest groups that are available for targeting. Google will place individual users into interest groups based on their web behavior. The interest targeting is further segmented into “In-Market” and “Affinity” interest groups. Google has determined that users within the “In-Market” interest groups are closer to a purchase – i.e. are “in the market” for a particular service or product. For example, if you select the in-market interest group of Apartments for Rent, Google has determined that you are actively looking for an apartment to rent.

Audience Targeting

To use audience targeting, an advertiser must first build audiences in either AdWords or Google Analytics. The audiences will be made up of users (or a subset of users) that have visited the website. Your audiences comprised of users that have visited your website are termed ‘remarketing’ audiences.

The other option with audience targeting is to reach similar audiences. You can find more information on similar audiences in this blog post.

Topic Targeting

With topic targeting, an advertiser will reach a group of websites that fall into the selected topic. Whereas interest targeting will reach individual users based on their interests, topic targeting will serve ads on websites based on the overall theme of that site

Demographic Targeting

Lastly, an advertiser can target age, gender and/or parental status.

Google Display Network Ad Locations

Google Display Network
Google Display Network

I mentioned before that the Google Display Network spans more than 2 million websites—but that doesn’t mean your ads are going to go live on every single one of them. The network is made up of a few different tiers of websites.

There are Google’s own sites, like YouTube, Blogger, etc.; AdSense publisher sites, which website managers can sign up to participate in; and sites that participate in the DoubleClick Ad Exchange, an online ad marketplace.

While you could run your Google Display Network ads across any and all of these groups, that’s not going to deliver the highest ROI in the end. For the best results, you’ll want to be a little more selective about which Google Display Network sites your ads run on.

To do this, you can:

1) Hand-pick your domains

Called “managed placements,” this feature allows you to designate the specific websites, games, videos, feeds and mobile sites on which your ads will appear.

This is a great idea if you’re really honed into your audience’s habits and activities, and it also allows you to only spend money on exactly the placements you know will deliver.

Know your potential customers read a certain trade magazine or use a certain product? Run your ads on those sites and ensure you’re seen by the right people.

2) Let Google pick placements for you

While not as hands-on, you can also allow Google Adwords to pick and choose placements on your behalf.

To do this, you simply designate certain keywords and topics that relate to your ad, and then Google Adwords chooses the sites most relevant to those.

Be careful though; going this route requires a lot more oversight. You’ll want to constantly tweak your targeting if you want the best results.

Ultimately, while your placements are important, they aren’t the only option you have when creating your Google Display Network ads. You can also choose who sees your ads by targeting certain demos, geographic locations and more

3) Why You Should Block Mobile App Placements on GDN

For any readers with a limited advertising budget for Google Adwords, you might want to shy away from mobile app placements. Speaking from our experience, these mobile placements don’t convert as well and specifically those on games. Test it for yourself, or if you want to avoid a headache all together check out how to block mobile app traffic from Google Display Network.

Google Display Network Targeting

Google Display Network
Google Display Network

Exactly who do you want to reach with your Google Display Network ads?

Through the network’s detailed targeting options, you can advertise to the right audience for your exact messaging, content and campaign goals.

Here are just a few of the ways you can build targeted Google Display Network audiences:

By interest  Build what Google Adwords dubs an “affinity” audience, by targeting users who have shown interest in brands, sites, products or services that are similar to yours. Just choose the specific interests/topics that are relevant—including anything from fashion and travel to pets and cars—and let Google determine who’s best to show your ads to.

By demo  Choose age, gender, marital status, geographic location, device and even whether the user is a parent or not. Select as many attributes as you like, and really hone in on the audience that will be most effective for your brand.

By activity – Thanks to cookies, the Display Network can tell when users browse certain pages, fill out a form, purchase a product, abandon their shopping cart or complete some other action on your site. You can use this data to put your advertising spend to good work.

Different Types of Display Adverts

Google Display Network
Google Display Network

It is a common misconception that the Display Network only provides you with the option of displaying image ads.  In fact, the Google Display Network lets you advertise in a variety of formats and sizes with text ads, static and animated image ads, rich media and video ads.

  • Text ads –The GDN allows you to run the same text ads on display as you would on the search network.  Text ads consist of a headline and two lines of text and allow advertisers to create a range of ads to text which copy is generating the most clicks.
  • Image ads. A static image that would fill the entire ad block on the website it appears upon.  You can include custom imagery, layouts and background colors on image ads.
  • Rich Media Ads.  Rich Media Ads include interactive elements, animations or other aspects that change depending on who is looking at the ad and how they interact with it.  For example, a moving carousel of products.
  • Video Ads. Video ads have become more popular since YouTube is included on the Display Network.  You can now use AdWords to place your ads next to YouTube videos.

The Must-Known Tips to Master the Google Display Network

Display Network Tip #1: Start with Remarketing

All experts unanimously agreed that remarketing is the place to start when it comes to the display network. Paid Search Strategist Mark Irvine says, “If you’re ever going to see any kind of return on the display network you’re going to see it from remarketing first.”

For those of you unfamiliar with remarketing, it is essential when you cookie your past site visitors to follow them around with ads on various sites they browse. It might sound a bit creepy, but it works – because the people you’re remarketing to have already expressed a genuine interest in your business.

Display Network Tip #2: Utilize Managed Placements

Managed placements are the only targeting method that gives the advertiser granular control over where their ads are being placed. If you use methods like interests or topic targeting, Google is basically doing the decision-making for you and guessing which sites are relevant. Managed placements allow you to pick and choose exactly the sites that you want your ads to be displayed on, which is why it’s a safe bet when branching out into display. According to Caleb, “It’s the best way to have control because the people you’re targeting and conversions are consistent, so it tends to cost less.”

Display Network Tip #3: Let Your Budget Guide You

Setting up a new display campaign is all about budgets. For example, if you have a great list of managed placements, allocate more of your budget towards that campaign, and separate the different placements into their own ad groups so you can feed more money into the ad groups that contain the placement providing the best return.

Display Network Tip #4: Create Ads in Every Format Available

Google experts recommend utilizing both image and text ads but splitting them into different ad groups. “Text ads are displayed so often, but people prefer image ads because it resonates with them and tells more of a story.”

Click Here: Different Types of Google Ad Format

Display Network Tip #5: Create Ads That Are Simple and Visual

This tip seems obvious and yawn-worthy. That’s what I thought as well until I found out that 67.5% of ads on the display network are plain text ads! This is shocking, due to the fact that text ads have much lower click-through rates than image ads.

Display Network Tip #6: Give Your Display Campaigns the Same Love You Give Search

For those of your running successful search campaigns, you have likely learned that continuous monitoring and adjusting your account is critical to continue knocking it out of the park. You can’t just rest on your laurels. You likely spend time each week evaluating your account, scraping through search query data, adjusting keyword bids, setting new negatives, restructuring campaigns, tweaking under-performing ads, and the list goes on. This should be no different with the display!

Display Network Tip #7: Set Aside Some Budget for Testing

As I’ve stated time and time again, the Display Network is HUGE, which means your reach is pretty much endless. Google also continues to release new features and targeting methods to reach people, so if you’re not testing some of these options, you could be missing out on a plethora of potential customers.


With the search network, people are actively looking for the goods or services that you are serving them an ad for.  The Display Network is more passive in the sense that people are casually browsing websites and will be served your ads. This is where the display network usually receives criticism: it’s not as targeted as the search network.

Stay Tuned with Kranthi for more info on Google Adwords!




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