Don’t put your Google AdWords display ads on auto pilot!

Google Adwords Display Network Ads provide a means of putting a nice visual in front of your potential customers.  Different than the Search Network Ads (which allow for only text), Display Network ads can display images and videos to really wow your audience.   Google uses the information you provide to “match” your ads to relevant placements (i.e., websites within their display network)… so if you are a florist selling bridal bouquets, you would hope to appear on wedding related websites within your geographic target.

Here are a couple examples of display ads that we run for our own business.

Higgins Marketing Group - Danger - Don't put your Google Adwords display ads on auto pilot     Higgins Marketing Group - Danger - Don't put your Google Adwords display ads on auto pilot Higgins Marketing Group - Danger - Don't put your Google Adwords display ads on auto pilot

 

 

 

 

 

Similar to Search Network Ads, you would still want to apply a good foundational structure (campaign, ad groups, ads with appropriate keywords, etc.), but it shouldn’t stop there.  A unique wrinkle to Display Network Ads is “Targeting.”  “Targeting” is where you help Google by indicating which topics, categories, geographies, and demographics constitute the best TARGETS for your ads.  You aren’t required to complete this information and it’s an easy step to skip (mostly because folks don’t know what it’s for).  However, without it, Google is still very much in the dark when it tries to match your ads to the most relevant websites.

Via our Free Account Checkup process, we recently came across several examples where ads were being shown to the completely wrong audience.  Not only is this ineffective at generating clicks, it also represents serious wasted money.

Here is a prime example of a B2B services company: 

It didn’t take us long to sense something wasn’t quite right with their display campaign.  While their ads were compelling and their keywords were on-target for their industry, the audience being exposed to their ads couldn’t have been more off-the-mark.

This company’s target demographic would likely be 30 – 60 years old (male or female).  However, you can see from the breakdown below, their ACTUAL views were  largely skewed toward females over the age of 65!

Higgins Marketing Group - Danger - Don't put your Google Adwords display ads on auto pilot

In addition, when we reviewed the specific websites where their ads were being displayed, we found 95% of these to be totally unrelated to the advertiser’s industry!  Again – largely wasted impressions and low-quality clicks to their site.  The good news is that with some quick and easy targeting additions, the issue was addressed that same day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Using Display Ads?  Do a Quick Audit to Ensure They’re On-Target

If you are not sure about your own ads and want to perform an audit of your account, here are a few quick steps.

Step 1: Login to your Google Adwords Account

 

Step 2: Select the DISPLAY NETWORK tab

Higgins Marketing Group - Danger - Don't put your Google Adwords display ads on auto pilot

 

 

Step 3 Click on the submenus for TOPICS, INTERESTS & REMARKETING, AND DEMOGRAPHICS – If you do not have anything listed under any of these tabs, you do not have any targeting options enabled.  If you see something under any one of these tabs, you are using some targeting (i.e., maybe you have only applied targeting based on demographics like age or gender; maybe you have narrowed by a particular topic/category only.  You do not have to use all the targeting areas, rather only those applicable to you.).

Higgins Marketing Group - Danger - Don't put your Google Adwords display ads on auto pilot

 

 

If you have information in place, take a look at your data.  Are the topics or demographics working for each of your ad groups?  Are you getting impressions?  You might need to make some tweaks.

Or maybe you discovered you don’t have any targeting in place… GO DO IT NOW!

Step 4 Regardless of whether you have some targeting in place or none in place, you will manage from the same place.  Click on the red + Targeting button

Higgins Marketing Group - Danger - Don't put your Google Adwords display ads on auto pilot

 

 

 

Step 5:  Choose to narrow down the audience by Topics (categories of related content), Demographics (Gender, Age, Parental Status), Placements (Specific websites you would like to appear on), Interests & Remarketing (customize for particular audiences or remarking lists).  You will click the Add Targeting dropdown to add additional targeting options, or the “edit pencil” next to targeting you already have in place to make changes.

Higgins Marketing Group - Danger - Don't put your Google Adwords display ads on auto pilotOR Higgins Marketing Group - Danger - Don't put your Google Adwords display ads on auto pilot

You will see the right panel adjust as you add additional targeting.  In this example, we used 3 topic areas and some demographics.  Google then provides an estimate of how many impressions are available for this combination.  Use this as an indicator to determine if you have been too stringent (it’s always a balance between precise targeting and ensuring you are getting you ad in front of enough folks!).

Higgins Marketing Group - Danger - Don't put your Google Adwords display ads on auto pilot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 6:  Save and monitor.  Once you save, your targeting options are instantly applied.  You should be able to monitor in the coming days/weeks to see your data change based on your more targeted display ads.

Hope this helps….

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