Making The Most Of The Google Display Network

Despite the continued dominance of Google within the world of PPC, it continually surprises me how little the Display Network is used as part of a holistic paid strategy.

Seemingly viewed by many -if at all- as a throwaway, bolt-on campaign for retargeting; the Display Network has the capability to be so much more. I’m going to show you why and how.

But first, to quote Biggie Smalls & Method Man…

What Is The Google Display Network?

Even if you don’t know your CPC from your CTR, you will have almost certainly seen the Google Display Network (GDN) at some point during your online browsing. The GDN has a reach like an octopus on a step ladder, with over two million sites within the network, reaching over 90% of internet users.

When Have I Seen The GDN?

Remember this morning when you were on your phone in bed, catching up with the latest stories on the Daily Mirror website, and there were ads alongside the article? That’s when. They are the ads that appear alongside online content.

Why Should I Use It?

  • Reaching Previous Visitors – Remarketing through the GDN allows you to have one more chance with previous users of your site. For high value items or services, employing this multi touch funnel is an absolute requirement in today’s ‘here today, gone tomorrow; what’s gone? I can’t remember’ world.


  • Brand Awareness – Arguably the Big Poppa of reasons to use the GDN, brand awareness and recall is an excellent approach for tackling the challenge of increasing competition in your sector; especially for E-Commerce clients.


Think about it, the more familiar someone is with your brand, the more likely they are to choose you over anyone else. Stranger danger, people; friends spend.


  • Improved Performance From Other Channels – With that brand awareness, the knock on effect of an upturn in performance & conversions from your other channels should become apparent. Not just PPC, either. Remember to keep a regular eye on view through conversions in your Adwords reports to judge the impact of your display campaigns.


  • Cheaper Clicks Than The Search Network – With the increasing click costs associated with search campaigns, it’s becoming an everyday struggle to make the most from businesses digital budgets.


The GDN can be a fantastic channel to drive traffic through to your site at a fraction of the cost of a search campaign. Because of this, Display Network campaigns are brilliant for building the remarketing lists you should have implemented in your search campaigns.


And if you’ve not got these in play, or set up, it might be wise to get in touch with us.

How Should I Use It?

The main objection I constantly hear from digital managers when it comes to running display campaigns is that the ROI is down the toilet further than Renton at the start of ‘Trainspotting’.

The main reason this is the case comes down to targeting; rather, a lack of it. Here are some of the targeting methods on the GDN

  • In-Market & Affinity Audiences – people who either are specifically looking for a product or service, or have a long standing interest in it
  • Remarketing Lists – previous visitors to your site
  • Similar To Audience Lists (EG similar to previous converters)
  • Keywords – Ads will be placed next to content that contains your selected keywords
  • Topics – Your ads will appear next to topics of your choice

This is alongside the ‘classic’ targeting methods of device, location, time of day and day of the week etc.


With such a powerful array of targeting abilities available, it’s possible to get supremely creative and reach your perfect, juicy customer demographic. Layering these methods over each other will help us find that niche.

A Hypothetical Example

Let’s pretend we are the owners of a baby equipment site. Buggies are expensive items, regularly costing £500+ and often a family will purchase more than one.


One way we could reach these valuable potential customers would be by layering a remarketing list of previous visitors over keywords, with our keywords being based around the different brands of buggy we stock. This way we will be reaching people who are already familiar with our brand who are on a different website researching what buggy to purchase next.


Another method of finding these people would be by layering an in-market audience (Strollers & Baby Carriages would be a perfect fit) with topics (‘baby strollers & transport’). Now we are targeting people who are actively looking to buy a new buggy who are looking at websites that talk about buggies.


Of course, you could go one step further (which naturally is something we tend to do at Marketing Signals) and add a keyword targeting layer to that second method, so that you’re reaching people who are looking to buy a new buggy, currently on a website talking about the buggies that you sell!


So there you have it. When applied correctly, the Google Display Network could work wonders for your business. Try it out for yourself, and get creative with your combinations.

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