November 2, 2020
Google Smart Display Ads: How They Work & How to Use Them Successfully
Google’s responsive display ads can play a key supporting role in informing the creative best practices for your specific business. This ad type allows you to consistently test and rotate different image, video, and text combinations, providing real time feedback on what resonates best with your key audiences. Understanding how these ads work, as well as performance evaluation capabilities, will help you leverage their potential.
The first step in harnessing the value of responsive display ads is to provide a sufficient volume of high quality inputs. We recommend that you start with at least five images, five short headlines, and five descriptions. You have the option to provide videos as well, or even allow videos to be automatically generated for you to expand your testing even further. Overall quality, especially image quality, should be high for every element you select in order to build a strong testing foundation.
As with all responsive ad formats, it’s important to provide varied content for the algorithm to rotate through. This avoids any potential duplicate messaging and allows you to test a wide variety of copy themes and image concepts. With copy, we recommend testing copy that aligns with sales propositions and overall branding taglines, pairing these options with images that include both graphics and photographs.
In the ads tab of your display campaign, select “view asset details” next to your ad preview to evaluate the performance of your Responsive Display ads on a more granular level. You have the option to look at performance by element or by total ad combination to determine what best resonates with your audience. It’s important to note that these more detailed views do not provide quantified performance results, but rather directional rankings that help you piece together your ideal messaging mix.
In the assets view, Google Ads will rank your ad elements in one of three tiers: best, good and low. Using those rankings, you can draw themes on what characteristics tie together each performance level. For example, if all of your “low” performing headlines discuss your pricing, while all of your “best” headlines discuss quality, you can make an educated assumption that the audience you are targeting with that campaign is more compelled by quality than price. That learning will not only better inform what you should test in your next content round, but can also inform your larger marketing strategy. For example, if your campaign is a remarketing campaign for MQLs, perhaps you send users to an engagement article highlighting customer stories that center on product quality, or even create a whitepaper on the topic.
The combination view, in contrast, allows you to see the combinations of your provided inputs that most commonly showed on the display network. Pairing this view with optimized ad rotation can help you derive further learnings, as your ads most likely to drive clicks and conversions will be preferred for display.
Testing new themes and concepts is native to the architecture of responsive display ads. The time and resources it takes to launch new creative campaigns are almost never small. To optimize the impact of those investments, informed decisions on messaging for your key users are paramount. By using and analyzing the success of your responsive display ads, you can start building out the web of your all-star assets to optimize your message across mediums. Contact our team if you’d like to learn more.