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    Mastering the Google Display Network (GDN)


    Those who are looking to take their digital marketing to the next level should consider adding the Google Display Network (GDN) to their toolkit. It’s one of the most powerful tools available to reach potential customers, and when used correctly, it can be extremely effective.

    However, the GDN can also be very confusing and overwhelming, especially for those who are new to it. In this guide, we’ll break down everything you need to know about the GDN so that you can make the most of it.

    We will be discussing:

    • What is the Google Display Network? 
    • Location of Good Display Ads: Where do they appear?
    • The Types of Google Display Ad
    • Typical Users of the Google Display Network 
    • What benefits and limitations come with the platform?
    • Reasons why you should be using the Google Display Network
    • Creating your Google Display Network strategy: Tips and best practices

    Hold on to your hats; it’s time to learn about the GDN!

    Table Of Contents

    What is the Google Display Network?

    Firstly, it is no surprise that the world’s leading search engine does not need an introduction. Google’s search engine is used on average 106,178 times every second of the day. Now that’s impressive…

    People use Google to find the answers to all sorts of questions, from “how many ounces in a cup,” to searching for “funny cat videos.” It’s an ultra-versatile inquiry engine that has become a go-to for people all over the globe. Aside from the search engine that we all know and love, Google also has a display network. You may have heard it called the GDN, which stands for Google Display Network.

    Put simply, Google Display Network is a collection of websites where Google sells advertising space. These can be websites you regularly visit, such as the New York Times or lesser-known sites that are part of the GDN.

    Advertisers can place their ads on any website within the GDN as long as they meet Google’s quality standards. This gives them access to a vast potential audience, as over 2 million websites and apps are in the GDN.

    It can also help you reach customers who visit your website through unique strategies like remarketing, but more on that later. Organizations often use Google Display Network as part of their long-term business process, usually as the primary tool for increasing brand awareness and getting their name out there in a sea of digital noise. 

    Location of Google Display Ads: Where Do They Appear?

    Here, there, and everywhere. Known as a marketer’s best friend, Google Display Ads have the potential to reach up to 90% of internet users. 

    After reading this article, you will begin to notice ads that you wouldn’t have seen before, or at least start to pay attention to them. Some studies even show that people are beginning to mistake ads for authentic non-ad content. You go, marketers! 

    More specifically, Google Display Ads can be found on:

    • Websites: Any website that is part of the Google Display Network
    • Applications: Visited the app store lately? 
    • YouTube: YouTube has that handy feature where you can skip the ad, but would you believe not everyone does? The Google Display Network enables ads to be shared on YouTube at precisely the right time. 

    Types of Google Display Ads

    Through being an internet user yourself, you will have come across the different Google display ads available. This is an area of the Google Display Network which is continuously being updated and improved in line with what users are interacting with.

    For instance, video ads are more popular than ever before and are an effective form of display ad when used appropriately. Videos are processed by the brain 60,000 times faster than text and, as a result, are more likely to be remembered. Plus, it’s no secret that our attention spans are getting shorter, making video ads the perfect marketing approach.

    Here is a quick run-down of the several types of Google display ads that you can use through the platform, but bear in mind that you don’t have to use them all. Just because they exist doesn’t mean you need to use them. Instead, focus on what will work best for your organization and target audience.

    • Video Ads: As of February 2022, a video is a form of ad available on the Google Display Network. The popularity of this form of advertising has increased significantly, and a lot of the credit goes to YouTube. It’s worth noting that while you can utilize video content as part of your ad, you can not directly upload your video. Instead, it must be uploaded to YouTube first and then added to your Google Display Network. 
    • Text Ads: This is a word-only option for Google Display Ads. Although there is a limit to how many characters can be used, Google suggests using ad extensions to provide further information. Learn about them here.
    • Responsive Ads: Responsive ads respond to the space they are in. This relates to the size, appearance, and format. The benefits of responsive ads are outlined later in this article – take a look!
    • Image Ads: Static imagery, seen as traditional digital ads.
    • App Promotion Ads: Another way to reach potential customers is through the promotion of your app, or promotion on other organizations’ apps. 
    • Product Shopping Ads: Clickable content. Product shopping ads usually show you product listings, including a price and any available offers. These are great for retail organizations and eCommerce businesses! 

    To read more about the different types of Google display ads, head to Google itself here (you didn’t think we would send you over to Bing, did you?)

    The free version of Google Analytics imposed limits on the number of events that could be tracked. The following are the limits for the free tier in Google Analytics:

    • 500 hits per session
    • 10 million hits per property
    • 200,000 per users per day
    • There are also restrictions on how many hits you can deliver in one second.

    In GA4, data limits work a little differently. As it stands, there is no limit to the number of events that can be tracked in a given period of time. The limits above do not apply to GA4 because it uses a queuing system that batches and sends data in intervals. This way, Google servers take less of a beating, and data is still delivered in a timely manner.

    It’s important to note that although the above limitations do not apply to GA4, there are still other limits in place. For example, Google has imposed numerous limits on the number of distinct events you’re able to trace and the number of parameters per event. They also track the length of characters in each parameter, so be mindful of that as well.

    You can find a full list of GA’s data limits here.

    Passive media is everywhere, and the Google Display Network is one of the biggest platforms for it. You can’t avoid it – but you can use it to your advantage by targeting your ads at people who are already consuming content and placing them in front of them when they are most likely to be receptive to it.

    What’s The Difference Between Google Search Ads and Display Ads?

    If you’re not entirely sure what the difference is, don’t worry – you’re not alone. The key distinction between these two types of advertising comes down to how they are placed and their overall purpose. 

    Google Search Ads are positioned amongst the search results on Google, and as a result, these ads are only shown when someone is actively searching for something. The adverts that appear here are relevant to the keywords being used in the search. These types of ads are great if you want to target customers who are already interested in your product or service.

    Google Display Ads, on the other hand, are placed on websites that have signed up to the Google Display Network and, as a result, appear on millions of different websites. The adverts that are shown will be based on interests, demographics, and previous interactions with similar ads/websites. Because of this, they can be very effective in terms of reach and click-through rate (CTR).

    It’s important to remember that both types of ads have unique benefits, so it’s down to you as the advertiser to decide which will work best for your needs.

    Typical Users of the Google Display Network 

    If you think Google Display Network is just for the big dogs, the multi-million global organizations, and the tech giants, then you’re wrong. The GDN is used by all sorts of businesses, including small businesses and start-ups. 

    Research shows that two in five small-to-midsize organizations use Google Display Network to advertise their product or service, and it’s not hard to see why when you consider the benefits that come with it. The GDN provides reach (over 2 million websites), targeting options, and flexible ad types – everything a small business needs to get started with advertising online. 

    Not only this, but the GDN is also popular with B2B organizations. These businesses use the GDN to increase brand awareness and reach new customers that they may not have been able to connect with otherwise.

    In short, the Google Display Network is perfect for businesses of all shapes and sizes who want to increase their reach and connect with new customers.

    What Benefits and Limitations Come With the Platform? 

    The Benefits of Google GDN 

    • Advertise ANYWHERE and EVERYWHERE

    Yes, you heard that right! Google Display Network allows you to put your ad on any website, any app, and any YouTube channel that’s signed up to the network. 

    The way it works is simple – businesses sign up to the GDN, and in return, they allow Google to place ads on their website/app. This gives you, as the advertiser, a massive reach as your ad could appear on millions of websites and apps. And because the GDN is global, you can target customers worldwide with your ads.

    • Optimization Suggestions

    Google is clever. We all know it. There’s no doubt about it. But did you know that the Google Display Network works in your best interest by offering personalized suggestions? 

    When you create your advertising campaign, you will notice Google sticks around as a helping hand and alerts you to issues or opportunities you may otherwise have missed. We like this one!

    • The Perfect Fit

    Responsive display ads are a form of ad-enabled in the Google Display Network. One of the reasons they are a benefit of the advertising platform is that they make your life easier. 

    Responsive ads adjust to the space they are in, and not just by adjusting size. They also alter the appearance, format, and so much more. It’s an all-in-one responsive ad that looks amazing, regardless of where it’s placed.

    Google provides you with the option to upload several images, headlines, descriptions, and a URL. From here, Google will create several combinations of these elements and serve them across the GDN in the form of responsive ads. You don’t have to lift a finger!

    • Budget-friendly

    No matter what your advertising budget is, Google Display Network has you covered. You can start with as little as $10 per day and increase or decrease your spending as you see fit. It’s a real budget-friendly solution for businesses of all shapes and sizes.

    If you really want to increase your reach, consider using a cost-per-mille (CPM) bidding strategy. This type of bidding means you pay for every 1,000 times your ad is seen, rather than every time it’s clicked on.

    GDN ads are flexible, which is one of the reasons businesses love them. You can start small and scale up when you’re ready.

    Limitations of Google Display Network

    • Trial and Error

    Although the platform is designed to allow you to customize and adapt your strategy, it can’t do all the work for you. Some critics have commented on the platform’s ease of use but, in turn, have suggested that there is a significant element of trial and error when it comes to where you are putting the ad, who it is targeting, and how much your daily spend should be.

    Our thoughts? Invest time and resources in nailing your target audience insights, then push the ad to their location. As mentioned previously, the more niche, the better!

    • Passive Media

    The best way to explain this is with an example and something to consider.

    You wake up in the morning and check your phone. You scroll through social media and see the news. You log onto your laptop to work from home, and you check your emails and updates. After work, you log off and go onto your phone to search online for your Mum’s Christmas present; then, you look for the best deals at your local restaurants. Before bed, you watch some videos on YouTube. 

    What’s happening in the background?

    You’re consuming content, and with it, you are looking at over 10,000 digital advertisements in a single day. The average person is willing to see an ad if it’s placed in front of them, but they are less likely to actively search for one. This is what we call ‘passive media.’

    Passive media is everywhere, and the Google Display Network is one of the biggest platforms for it. You can’t avoid it – but you can use it to your advantage by targeting your ads at people who are already consuming content and placing them in front of them when they are most likely to be receptive to it.

    Types of Audience Targeting

    The Google Display Network helps put your advertisement in front of your target audience and allows for increased reach to the right people. Put simply, more opportunities for your conversion rates to soar! 

    The types of audience targeting available are: 

    • Affinity Audience: Affinity audiences represent a group of people who share a common area of interest. For example, you can use Google Display Network to advertise to an audience of people who visited your website and have also shown an interest in a chosen subject or area, such as sports, or sightseeing.
    • In-Market Audience: Are you looking for someone interested in buying a specific product or service? This is the in-market audience. They are people who have been searching and researching online, and they are ready to make a purchase.
    • Remarketing Audiences: Remarketing audiences are those who have previously visited your website or had prior engagements in some other way with yourself. Using Google Display Network is a fantastic way to re engage with this audience.
    • Custom Audience: Finally, a custom audience is, as it says in the title, a way to create a specific audience to suit your needs. It’s perfect for more niched products and services.

    Each of these targeting opportunities provides a way to specifically target your ads at an audience that is more likely to convert, making the Google Display Network a powerful tool in any marketer’s arsenal.

    Creating your Google Display Network Strategy: Tips and Best Practices

    Alas, we’ve arrived at the final section of our guide! You should now have a comprehensive understanding of what the Google Display Network is, how it works, and the types of audience targeting available.

    Now that we’ve covered the basics, it’s time to move on to some actionable tips and best practices that you can use to create your own Google Display Network strategy.

    Tips for Saving Money, and Increasing ROI

    If you want to make the most out of your Google Display Network campaigns and save money in the process, then there are a few things that you can do. 

    Firstly, take full advantage of automation features. The Google Display Network offers a range of options for automation, including auto-bidding and ad scheduling. These features can save you time and money, and they are well worth taking advantage of.

    Secondly, be strategic about the placement of your ads. The Google Display Network offers a vast range of potential placements for your ads, and it can be tempting to just choose the most popular ones. However, this isn’t always the best strategy. Instead, take the time to research where your target audience is most active, and focus your ad placements accordingly.

    Thirdly, make use of negative keywords. Negative keywords are a great way to ensure that your ads are only being shown to people who are actually interested in what you have to offer. By adding relevant negative keywords to your campaigns, you can save money and increase your ROI.

    Finally, don’t forget to test, test, test! A/B testing is essential for any Google Display Network campaign. By testing different ad copy, images, and call-to-actions, you can find out what works best for your target audience and make the necessary changes to improve your results.

    Tips for When You Are Lost for Words

    Struggling to choose the ideal keywords? We don’t blame you. Google GDN has over 2 million potential places where your ads could be placed. The best way to tackle this is by using organization and a tool like Google’s Keyword Planner.

    Start by brainstorming a list of topics that are relevant to your business. Then, use the keyword planner to research which of these topics have the highest search volume. From there, you can create a list of target keywords that you can use in your GDN campaigns.

    Research, Research, Research. Analyzing the potential reach and the traffic related to a keyword is essential in deciding whether to incorporate it into your Google Display Network Ad. 

    To read more about keyword research, head to our handy guide here.

    Tips for Reaching the People You KNOW Are Interested

    Remarketing. We told you we would come back to it! 

    Remarketing allows you to target people who have already shown an interest in what you have to offer.

    For example, let’s say that you run a website that sells sports equipment. A user visits your site and browses through your products but doesn’t make a purchase.

    With remarketing, you can show this user relevant ads as they browse the web, reminding them of your products and encouraging them to return to your site and make a purchase.

    If this sounds familiar, it’s probably because it is. Almost anyone who has ever been on the internet will have seen remarketing in action. For example, have you been looking at a pair of shoes on Amazon and then started seeing ads for those shoes everywhere you went online? That’s remarketing!

    It’s a powerful tool that can help you to increase conversions, and it’s something that you should definitely be using in your Google Display Network campaigns.

    Final Top – Don’t Give Up

    Creating a successful Google Display Network campaign takes time and effort. However, it is well worth the exertion, and the rewards can be significant.

    If you’re not seeing the desired results, don’t give up! Instead, keep testing and tweaking your campaigns until you find a formula that works for you. And remember, even the most successful marketers had to start somewhere.

    Need Help with Your Google Display Network Campaign?

    If you’re finding it difficult to get started with your Google Display Network campaign, or if you do not see the results that you want, reach out to Adcore. Our team of certified Google Ads experts will be happy to help you get the most out of your GDN campaigns.

    Get in touch with us today to learn more about our Google Display Network services. We’d be more than happy to answer any questions that you have!

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