The holiday shopping season is still around the corner, but customers are already starting to window shop. Investing in all stages of the digital marketing funnel is an important piece of any successful holiday strategy. A successful Q4 strategy will cover all aspects of the purchase process, starting by exposing qualified potential customers to your brand ahead of the shopping season. This will allow you to collect their information to nurture them throughout Q4, and then close them via promo emails or remarketing. The breadth of placements and numerous targeting options available on the Google Display Network (GDN) can make it tricky to see success from GDN efforts. Here are some tips to get you started with your new display efforts

Analyze Your Core Demographic

Your first stop should be the Audience Insights tab in Google Ads. Start by analyzing what age, gender, and geographic location your purchasers fall into, as well as what devices they use most often. We are aiming to find more users similar to our recent purchasers, and the best way to do so is to understand the demographics of that audience.


In this example, you should begin targeting females ages 25-54 on mobile and desktop devices. Users in that demographic are more likely to purchase than the average US user, and they are most likely to visit your site on a desktop or mobile device.

In-market vs Affinity Audiences

In this same report you can analyze what your customers are in-market to buy or have displayed interest in based on Google’s interpretation of their browsing habits. In-market audiences typically have a higher purchase intent than affinity audiences, so I recommend starting there if you are primarily focused on direct revenue performance. Affinity audiences generally provide more volume, so consider this targeting method if you are looking to expand the reach of your display efforts to find more new customers.


The higher the index number on the right, the more users you have that fall into that category compared to the general US public. Just based on this analysis, we could build a display campaign targeting users in our core demographic who are also in the in-market audiences above. This campaign will then target users who are much more likely to purchase than the average internet user.

Custom Intent Audiences

This new audience type uses previous search histories to target users showing “intent” to purchase a certain product. This gives you the opportunity to target people who have searched for your brand, for products like yours, or even for your competitors. We recommend you include at least 15 themed keywords when creating your audience to drive sufficient volume.

Call to Action

Make sure the call to action on your landing page matches where the user is in the buying funnel. If you are advertising $3,000 watches to users with no prior experience with your product or brand, consider having them sign up for your emails instead of suggesting a “buy now” call to action. This will ensure you gather information from site visitors to allow you to nurture them via remarketing and email campaigns throughout the season.

Refresh Your Creative

Similar to the above info about the call to action, make sure you are matching your ad creative with the user’s position in the buying funnel. Since the goal of this campaign is to introduce customers to your product or brand, include the brand name prominently along with value propositions explaining why the customer should shop with you. Focus your creative on inspiring the user to visit your website, and then use your landing pages and nurture campaigns to lead visitors to a purchase. Of course, if you have specific holiday products or specials, leverage those in your ads as well!

Exclude your Remarketing Audiences

To ensure you aren’t showing prospecting ads to your previous site visitors, exclude your remarketing lists from prospecting campaigns, and target them in a separate remarketing campaign. Your remarketing ad creative should be much more focused on directly converting prior visitors who are already familiar with your brand, while your prospecting creative should focus on value propositions that will drive users to your site.

Add Frequency Caps

To find a good balance between informing users about your brand, but not inundating them with ads, add a frequency cap. Depending on your goals these might differ, but a good rule of thumb is 4 per day per campaign. You should also consider deploying additional best practices to ensure qualified GDN placements.

As long as you’re careful with your targeting, a GDN campaign is a great way to reach new potential customers and boost your website traffic and sales during the holidays. Don’t shy away from display this holiday season!

Need help setting up your display campaigns? Contact us for a free audit!