7 Steps to Optimize Google Display Network Campaigns


Optimizing Google Display Campaigns is very important for the overall performance of the campaign. Moreover, optimizing display campaigns gives you better control over the pends. this helps to save money and focus on your display campaign goals.

Display Network Vs Search Network

Google AdWords can be divided into two networks, the Search Network and the Display Network. The search network uses the SERP to put up text ads. The display network uses the space of other websites to put up your visual ad. The display network makes use of Google Adsense to put up the ad. Google Adsense is used by more than 3 million websites. This enormous figure tells you the reach of display network.

The Google Search Network is a group of search-related websites and apps where your ads can appear. When you put up ads on the Google Search Network, your ad can show on SERP when users search with terms related to your keywords. Ads can appear beside, above, or below search results on Google Play, Google Shopping, and Google Maps, including the Maps app. 

Here are 7 Tips to optimize Display Campaigns:

1. Start with Remarketing

Remarketing is the best way to start a display campaign. When people visit your sites, the information is stored in cookies. This cookie can be used to target the people who visited your site. This may sound a little creepy (especially when people are concerned about privacy) but works like a charm. This is because people you’re remarketing have already had a genuine interest in your business. That’s why they visited your site in the first place (Not always :p)!


Remarketing completes the full circle of user engagement. It keeps the past users engaged with your business. It can help to convert users who are interested in your product. You might have seen that shoe ads following around from websites to websites after going through a shoe product pages. This is the power of remarketing and it works!

2. Use Managed Placements

Managed Placements give the advertiser a slight control over where their ads are being placed. This is different from methods like interests or topic targeting. Here, Google does the placement for you based on the topics or interest you have mentioned. But managed placements allow you to choose exactly where your ads need to be placed. It can be a site commonly visited by your target group.

Using managed placements is a safe bet because you have the control over targeting and gives a consistent conversion. Becuase of this, managed placements tend to cost less compared to other targeting methods.

ad-placementsIt is recommended to start with 6-10 domains that are very relevant to your products or services. Then, serve your ads in these domains first. If you feel that the volume or reach is limited, then expand to other related websites. If you are confused with domains to choose, refer your Google Analytics and choose the top referring sites.

3. Always watch your Budget

You need to be very careful when it comes to setting up your budget. Display network is huge and chances are you may spend more on unwanted placements. Always start with a small budget, so you can spend it for experimenting with placements and interests.

Budgets are crucial for display campaigns because finding the right spot requires testing and spending your budget. Testing helps to finalize those placements or interest that provides more conversions. Therefore, it is recommended to keep aside a small budget just for testing purposes.

4. Create ads in different formats

When it comes to the display campaigns, testing with all the formats available, is crucial to the success of the campaign. It may sound bit ambitious and many think that it is a waste of money an time to try every format. Different sites have different formats for ads. Some may use banner ads and some other uses display ads. So, it is important to use all available formats to see which works out the most for you.


Experimenting with text ads do not hurt. Sometimes, it can work like crazy. It’s always ideal to use text ads because some placements may only support text ads.

5. Create Beautiful Ads

It is shocking that 60% of ads on the display network are just plain text ads! Studies have shown that text ads have very lower CTR (Click Through Rates) as compared to image ads. Adding visuals to the ads not only increases CTR but also helps to connect with the target audience.

Create simple visual ads that are easy to read and appealing at the same time. Image ads add value to the message of that ads. Visuals speak a story and this story helps users to connect with the ad. Business industries like travel and e-commerce can fully utilize visual ads which resonate beautifully with the industry needs.

Experiment with visual formats and see which converts better. Even the type of messages can impact CTR and therefore doing A/B split test can help to choose the better performing ads.

If you are struggling to design visual ads try Google’s display ad builder. This free tool from Google doesn’t require any Photoshop skill to create display ads. But this awesome tool is shockingly under-utilized.

Read More: 10 Free SEO Tools from Google

6. Treat Display Ads like Search Ads

Continous monitoring is required for the success of a search campaign. Monitoring the performance and excluding search terms that are not relevant is critical for a paid campaign. Same way, you need to evaluate the performance of display campaigns. Setting new negative search terms, tweaking low performing ads, adjusting keyword bids and more are required for the continuous performance of your ad campaigns.

Excluding placements, including topics etc are very critical for the performance of a display campaign. To see where your display ads are  placed in the display network, go to the “Display Network” tab in AdWords and select “Placements.” If you want to exclude some websites, select the website and use the drop-down and select “Excluded”.

Monitoring Display campaigns is very important because the majority of your impressions could come from irrelevant sources.  It might be from sites where people spend very little time or junk sites just to make some quick cash from AdSense. Always make sure that your ads are placed in the right placements.  You don’t want to show your ads to the wrong target groups!

Continuous Monitoring is important

In addition to checking these placements, continuous monitoring of your campaign is important. Monitoring should be a consistent task and should be made a daily activity. Google changes its algorithm every now and then and these changes can affect your campaign performance. The metrics to monitor and track depends on your goals. For branding activities, impressions and clicks are the focus. For sales, focus on view Through Conversions.

Looking for conversions in AdWords is good. But, taking a peek on your Analytics account is very important. Identify the top conversion paths to see how different channels impact conversions. If you see display campaigns impact organic or paid searches positively, then your display ads are making a good impact on your brand.

7. Keep Some Budget for Testing & Experimenting

Google works to improve the experience for both users and advertisers. In fact, Google releases new features and targeting options to reach the right audience. So, if you are not experimenting with these new changes and features, then you are missing out some tremendous opportunity to target potential customers.

Many PPC experts recommend setting 10%-20% of the advertising budget just for testing. If display campaigns are performing good, chances are platforms like Youtube will work for you. So, keep on testing and experimenting new features and channels and you may stumble upon a better channel.

Start your testing by creating different ad groups for targeting interests, topics and managed placements. This is important because which targeting works for you is uncertain and you need to test it to find out.

3 Google Display Network Mistakes to Avoid

As a bonus tip, here are 3 Google display campaign mistakes to avoid. Google Display Network is huge and experimenting with it requires a lot of time and money! Spending more on display campaigns with no return is futile. We have listed 3 Big No for Google Display Network.

1. A big NO to Display Select

Combining search and display campaign is a big mistake. Many advertisers have realized that combining search and display gives no much conversion, but leads to exhaustion of budgets. To combat this problem, Google released a new feature called Display Select in November 2013. Display Select first spends the budget on search and spends the leftover on display campaigns. Although this new feature looked promising, it turns out to be a complete failure.

Even Google discourages combining search and display campaigns. Instead, they recommend running these campaigns separate for greater bidding, targeting, and budgeting.

2. DON’T Over-Layer

Targeting precisely is very important for finding the right audience. Many advertisers use fine-tuning for display campaigns for targeting their audience. This may seem legit considering how vast is Google’s Display network. With many features to experiment, some advertisers combine all the targeting options, believing this will fine-tune their targeting. They do this to reduce unwanted clicks and impressions. This is a big mistake!

For instance, layering targeting options like placements, keywords, topics, and interests can actually affect the campaign performance. Instead of reducing unqualified impressions and clicks, the campaign’s overall reachability gets reduces. Over layering significantly reduces reachability and makes tracking of campaigns difficulty. This creates confusion for which method is working or not. If you want to try all the features, experiment with these options using separate campaigns.

3. Exclude Mobile Games

Mobile games consume huge chunks of your revenue! Have you ever thought why? The answer is simple, kids! Kids use their parents’ smartphones to play games. Chances are your ads might be running there. This leads to unwanted impressions and clicks. Some mobile apps make it compulsory to view or click ads for rewards or unlocking extra features within the game. Therefore, it is always wise to exclude mobile games when using a display network.

This is especially a problem when you are running a very expensive competitive ad and each clicks steals a chunk of your budget. Also, impressions in these platforms can easily get converted to clicks. You can exclude mobile games on AdWords. This saves a lot of your budget.

















Google Display Network is a vast network. Tapping into this potential area gives you a lot of opportunity to target people on different platforms. Experimenting with display campaigns helps you to identify your right audience and helps with your targeting. Display campaigns are effective, especially for branding goals.

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