Google Display Ads: 7 Tips for Supercharging Performance

Google Display Network (GDN) is an option within Google Ads where your ads are shown on other websites that are part of their network. GDN has various ad formats, features, and targeting options, but it’s most commonly known for serving image (a.k.a. “banner”) ads. It is also often used for targeted brand awareness and re-engagement campaigns since the ads can give the impression of following the user as they surf the web from site to site.

According to Google, their Display Network reaches over 90% of global internet users.

This expansive reach, available to advertisers, is very impactful. However, it can also ruin ad budgets if companies don’t target properly and avoid common mistakes.

Here are a few tips to help supercharge your ad performance on GDN.

1. Optimize your remarketing campaigns.

Remarketing is one of the more popular strategies advertisers use on GDN. This enables ads to target customers that may have visited their website but didn’t convert.

This is a simple approach, however, you should consider these more advanced techniques to help boost your remarketing campaigns.

Change your member duration.

Member duration is for how long you’ll approach a visitor through your retargeting ads. Google gives a default member duration of three months, which advertisers can consider in the case of a long sales funnel. You can reduce this setting if the business has a short sales funnel.

Bid more on cart abandoners.

Instead of having a generalized bidding strategy, one should put more money on cart and conversion abandoners to remind them to resume the conversion process. Doing so will boost the conversion rate and bring monetary value.

Lower your bid on non-converters.

Homepage and informational page visitors have no intent to convert, so it’s recommended to lower the bids on such traffic. That way, advertisers can utilize that saved budget on the visitors that convert.

2. Remove Poorly Performing “Automated” Placements

Display ads won’t work well if they show up on sites that aren’t converting.

Google automatically places the ads on sites that meet your campaign’s targeting criteria. These can be viewed in your Google Ads dashboard. To view them go to:

Open Google Ads > Navigate to display ad campaign > Content > Placements > See Where Your Ads Appeared.

Google Ads: Where Ads Showed

Advertisers can then select which sites they want to block based on poor CTR or conversion performance metrics. Or they can block sites that simply aren’t an appropriate fit for the brand.

Advertisers can keep the ads from appearing in certain locations, topics, devices, app categories, websites, and content. Furthermore, he/she can incorporate negative keywords to prevent ads on the pages that have those keywords.

All these optimizations will ensure the display ads appear on specific and relevant sites, boosting overall performance.

3. Reduce ad fraud.

Ad fraud is still rampant in today’s campaigns, wasting both time and money.

Juniper Research forecasted that advertisers lost $42 million in 2019 and will lose $100 million by 2023. Bots, click injection, and hidden ads are just a few of the many ways malicious actors can harm ad performance.

Google Ads shows users the amount of fraud, or “invalid” clicks, they detected inside their dashboard. To view this, advertisers can go to their campaign reports and add “columns” that show invalid clicks and other similar data points.

Invalid Clicks and Similar Data Points

Image source: Fraud Blocker

Keep in mind that blocking fraud is a conflict of interest for Google. It’s in their best interest to continue to let some fraud through. The more they block, the less revenue they’ll generate from advertisers.

Therefore, advertisers should consider using an independent fraud protection service that is separate from Google Ads and can help provide an unbiased review of the amount of fraud in your ad campaigns.

4. Add similar audiences.

Google Ads offers a “Similar Audience” targeting feature where advertisers can show their ads to people with similar online behaviors as the remarketing audience.

Oftentimes advertisers have a remarketing audience set up. If they do, it’s a great way to extend your reach, spread brand awareness, and earn new customers.

Similarly, advertisers can create a new display ad campaign and select the “Similar to Remarketing Lists” option in the targeting option. One should create a separate campaign for each targeting option. That way, both campaigns can be compared and optimized for better results.

Similar audiences have a bigger audience pool than remarketing and can significantly enhance GDN display ad performance.

5. Adjust frequency caps.

Advertisers shouldn’t show an ad to a consumer too many times. If they don’t respond shortly after seeing your ad multiple times, then you should block the ad from serving to them.

To help boost campaign performance, you can adjust your impression frequency caps, so people don’t see the same ads every time they browse different websites.

The default frequency cap set for Google Display Ads is approximately 10 per day. (Google doesn’t officially provide this number.) By reducing it to 3-5 impressions per day, you can stretch your ad dollars farther.

Default Frequency Cap and Impressions

Image source: Monetize Pros

As an added tip, you can duplicate your campaign and bid less per click for users with greater frequency and bid more for those with less frequency. This will focus your ad spend on consumers that have more recently visited your site versus those that haven’t visited for some time.

6. Use additional layer targeting.

A well-performing ad campaign requires laser-focused targeting. Advertisers can control the sites your ads would appear on, but it’s not enough. One should further layer the targeting options to improve the performance and utilize the ad budget for the right audience.

With managed ad placement settings, advertisers can layer it with the demographic (age, gender, location, parental status, etc.). They can then target that ad to narrow down the relevant audience to your business.

Furthermore, add the “in-market audience” in the targeting layering to make the campaign extra-efficient and drive profitable conversions.

In Market Audiences

Image source: Search Engine Journal

7. Test and optimize.

You should always be testing your ads and optimizing to the best-performing ones.

Google Ads provides “experiments” inside their dashboard to make A/B testing very easy. In brief, it copies any campaign you’d like to test. You can then adjust the targeting or other criteria to run a side-by-side test. Full instructions on how to set up an experiment are available here.

Identify the best-performing campaigns or ad groups. Then, split them so that you give more advertising budget to the ones that provide the highest return.

Be sure to try all of these tips to boost your Google Display Network ad campaign performance. All these tips seem basic but have a significant impact on the performance. So, start the implementation and commit yourself to more insightful PPC ads content.