If you’ve already exhausted all of your basic audience targeting options on the Google Display Network, you might be wondering what you can do next to improve performance. Or, if you’ve never set up a Display campaign before, you might be wondering where you should even start. Whether you fall into the first or second category, read on for some under-utilized Google Display features and quick wins you should try.

Picadilly Circus with Multiple Advertising Billboards

Use these tips to show highly-targeted ads with measurable results on the Google Display Network. Image via Pixabay.

Step up Your Managed Placements Campaign

Managed placements, harvested from existing Display efforts and researched via the Display Planner, are typically the best-performing type of Display targeting method. If you have a very limited Display budget or are just dipping your toes into Display for the first time, a managed placement campaign is a good place to start.

In some cases, one website will drive a considerable number of conversions. To capitalize on this fortuitous situation, dive deeper than domain-level performance to see if subdomains or pages perform particularly well, or, conversely, if certain website sections don’t convert. To see this data, select the placement and then navigate to “Details,” then exclude the URLs you want to break out and add them as their own managed placements. This enables you to bid on them separately from the other webpages on that domain. This is also very useful for tackling anonymous Google placements.

Test Custom Affinity Audiences

If Google’s pre-defined affinity audiences don’t apply to your customer or are too broad, create your own custom affinity audiences using keywords & relevant URLs. Here are some custom affinity audience category ideas to get you started:

  • Best-performing keywords
  • Competitor names & URLs
  • Relevant websites that aren’t on the GDN (since you can’t target via a managed placement campaign, you can at least leverage it to improve audience targeting)
  • Industry publications
  • Industry trade shows or conventions
  • Tangential products
  • Behaviors related to products
  • Prevent Wasted Spend Using Demographic Targeting

With over two million partner websites, it’s all too easy to run through your Display budget on the GDN. Cut wasted spend and reallocate it to your most qualified potential customers by excluding demographic segments with lower conversion rates.

I almost always recommend launching new Display campaigns with demographic adjustments. There’s no need to “wait and see” how age, gender, parental status, and household income segments perform with your Display efforts when that data is already collected, begging to be leveraged, in your Search campaigns. To see this data, navigate to the Demographics tab and compare your KPIs by segment to determine which audiences you should exclude from Display:

Google Display Network demographic analysis

A demographic subset performing relatively worse on Search indicates that Display is a lower priority investment for that demographic (i.e. start with and max out your strongest demographics before moving to lower priority areas). Someone searching and clicking on a Search ad demonstrates intent regardless of demographic, unlike with upper-funnel Display efforts. In the scenario above, I would continue to target females on Search campaigns despite lower conversion rates, so long as that demographic meets our goal. For Display, however, I would use this data to initially exclude females, since conversion rates are lower even when this gender demonstrates purchase intent by searching our keywords. Over time, as we reach a ceiling with our successful demographic groups and as budgets increase, I would look to reintroduce the female demographic with lower bids.

You should also harvest audience information from other sources, such as Facebook and Google Analytics, to further refine your Display audiences. If you’ve created personas based on your customers, you can use this information to create persona-based Display campaigns to tailor your ad and landing page experiences to each group.

Maximize Brand Awareness & New Customer Acquisition

To ensure you are reaching the most potential customers with your prospecting efforts, make sure you are excluding past site visitors and existing customers via remarketing lists and customer match lists. You should already have separate campaigns targeting these audiences.

To ensure your impressions are reaching as many new potential converters as possible, enable a frequency cap of four to eight impressions per user per day. This will prevent you from annoying your potential customers, as well as improve your CTR, since someone who has seen an ad 10 or more times and not clicked on it is not likely to ever click on it.

The GDN has a wealth of opportunity if you’re looking to grow your top-of-funnel efforts. Make sure to take advantage of these features in order to drive increased brand awareness and new customers for your business.