Google Adwords Display Ads – a golden opportunity you’re letting pass you by?

Note: I decided to put this post together as we’ve been seeing huge success with Google Display Ads in the past 6 months. I’m now explaining the Display Network to 2-3 people a day and figured a post explaining one of the ways we use the Display Network might be useful to share publicly.

If you ask most business owners today, they’ve probably heard of Google Adwords or Google Ads – those paid ads that appear in the Google search results when you do a search. (if you didn’t know the difference, here’s a short article that breaks down the structure of search results:
http://www.thesearchengineshop.com/organic-natural-search-vs-paid-adwords-results)

What most people don’t realise is that there’s a whole other world to Google Adwords that doesn’t involve the search engines, the Google Display network. The Display Network offers another traffic source that is often much cheaper than search, has far fewer competitors and often can generate far more qualified visitors to your website than search can.

Here’s the broad strokes of how it works:

  • you create a set of image ads to promote your product or service
  • you setup a campaign to show those ads to people in a particular geographic region when they visit websites that support Google Ads. The ads will only show to visitors if certain criteria are met, for example if the page contains certain words or if the prospect has been to your website before
  • if the visitor clicks on the ad they’ll be taken to a page on the website and you’ll be charged for the click in the same way you would for search ads although often this is significantly cheaper than a search ad

Why Display Network instead of Search Ads?

Generally speaking, I usually recommend to clients they look at Adwords for Search first because these searchers are typically 1-2 steps away from buying something or picking up the phone so they’re usually highly qualified prospects.

In some cases, the Display Network might be a much better fit, for example:

  • in crowded markets where a search ad may cost $5 or $10 or more per click, the Display Network is much cheaper often less than $1 per click
  • you need to generate awareness of your product or service first particularly where your product or service may not be a strictly problem-solution offer. Most businesses are obsessed with being number one in Google, but SEO or search ads can’t actually create demand, it can only harness existing demand so if people aren’t searching for you or your products and services being at the top of Google isn’t going to help
  • where there isn’t very much demand in the search results or the search terms people are using are too broad to run an effective search campaign, for example searches such as “things to do with kids on the weekend”
  • where prospects will do a lot of research prior to purchasing, similar to the previous point prospects doing a lot of research before purchasing often may be using broader more generic searches
  • where you’re replacing a traditional media spend, for example expensive radio or TV ads – with the Display Network you can get more eyeballs on your offer, faster, cheaper and can track the performance much more accurately than traditional advertising
  • where you’re actually relying too heavily on a search engine strategy for website traffic and need to diversify your traffic sources to provide some level of protection against search engine algorithm or Adwords changes

There are also a number of ways you can target ads on the Google Display Network, one way is using keyword or phrase targeting and another way is using a technique called “remarketing” where you can display ads to people who’ve previously been to your site (or choose to specifically exclude those people from your ads) – we’ve included several examples below to illustrate how this works in the real world.

Real World Example 1 – Online Didgeridoo Lessons

We run this campaign for Didgeridoo Breath, a didgeridoo store in Perth, WA that runs a “how to play a didgeridoo” site, DidgeridooDojo.com

These ads are not restricted by geographic location so they display to anyone in the world but are restricted by language, they’ll only show to people who have their PC, smartphone or tablet language set to english.

This set of ads displays on any website that has the words “didgeridoo lessons”, “learn didgeridoo”, “how to play a didgeridoo” and similar didgeridoo learning terms on it – it makes sense that anyone looking at one of these pages wants to learn the didgeridoo or get better at playing the didgeridoo. We’re also using the remarketing feature to exclude people who’ve already been to the Didgeridoo Dojo site so the ads will only show to people who we know haven’t yet been to the site and therefore don’t know about the business.

The ads will run on various sites around the web that run Google ads and could display on websites such as Youtube, newspaper websites like the Sydney Morning Herald, The West Australian and sites like Flyingsolo.com.au and other online forums. There are multiple versions of the same ad in different sizes because different websites will display different size ads (these are sizes set by Google)

120×600 resolution format:

Didge Lessons Online

160×600 resolution format:

Didge Lessons Online

200×200 resolution format:

Didge Lessons Online

250×250 resolution format:

Didge Lessons Online

300×50 resolution format:

Didge Lessons Online

300×250 resolution format:

Didge Lessons Online

336×280 resolution format:

Didge Lessons Online

468×60 resolution format:

Didge Lessons Online

728×90 resolution format:

Didge Lessons Online

Real World Example 2 – marketing an event

Here’s another example of how you can use the Google Display Network to promote an event. We run this campaign for a Sydney based train museum, Trainworks. Trainworks run a regular event called Day Out with Thomas – a Thomas the Tank Engine Day.

This set of ads will run in front of users who are geographically located in Sydney or Canberra and the ads display on any page that contains the words “thomas the tank engine”, “kids activities”, “things to do with kids” and similar terms.

Again it makes sense that people looking at pages the contain these terms are interested in Thomas the Tank Engine or are looking for activities they can do with their kids.

120×600 resolution format:

Day Out With Thomas

160×600 resolution format:

Day Out With Thomas

200×200 resolution format:

Day Out With Thomas

250×250 resolution format:

Day Out With Thomas

300×50 resolution format:

Day Out With Thomas

300×250 resolution format:

Day Out With Thomas

336×280 resolution format:

Day Out With Thomas

468×60 resolution format:

Day Out With Thomas

728×90 resolution format:

Day Out With Thomas

Real World Example 3 – marketing an event

This is a campaign we created for Feet First Podiatry in Perth. Here we know a lot of people will do research on their foot pain or problems before picking up the phone and calling a medical professional so in this example we’re running ads on sites that contain the phrases “toenail pain”, “foot pain” and so forth.

120×600 resolution format:

Feet First Podiatry - 120x600 resolution format

160×600 resolution format

Feet First Podiatry - 160x600 resolution format

200×200 resolution format:

Feet First Podiatry - 200x200 resolution format

250×250 resolution format:

Feet First Podiatry - 250x250 resolution format

300×50 resolution format:

Feet First Podiatry - 300x50 resolution format

300×250 resolution format:

Feet First Podiatry - 300x250 resolution

336×280 resolution format:

Feet First Podiatry - 336x280 resolution format

468×60 resolution format:

Feet First Podiatry - 468x60 resolution

728×90 resolution format: (resized to fit the page)

Feet First Podiatry - 728x90 resolution format

Real World Example 4 – remarketing and prelaunch

These ads are being used in a campaign we’re running for LWP Property Group using remarketing and keyword targeting for a new land development prelaunch. Here you’ll see a strong use of high contrast and simple, effective headlines. There are some additional resolutions use here as the creative was used on other marketing platforms too.

160 x 600 resolution:

Project 500 - LWP 160x600

300 x 600 resolution:

Land Sale 300x600

120 x 600 resolution:

Land Sale 120x600

468 x 60 resolution:

LWP Property Group_468x60

728 x 90 resolution:

LWP Property Group_728x90

250 x 250 resolution:

300 x 50 resolution:

300 x 250 resolution:

LWP10022_300x250

320 x 50 resolution:

lwppropertygroup.com.au_320x50

200 x 200 resolution:

Project 500_200x200

336 x 280 resolution:

www.lwppropertygroup.com.au_336x280

Real World Example 5

These ads are used in a Remarketing Campaign for Fit Online, an online retailer that sells fitness equipment such as treadmills, elliptical machines, rowing machines and exercise bikes online.

120 x 600 resolution:

fitonline_120x600_A_3

160 x 600 resolution:

fitonline_160x600_A_3

200 x 200 resolution:

fitonline_200x200_A_3

240 x 400 resolution:

fitonline_240x400_A_3

250 x 250 resolution:

fitonline_250x250_A_3

300 x 250 resolution:

fitonline_300x250_A_3

300 x 600 resolution:

fitonline_300x600_A_3

300 x 1050 resolution:

fitonline_300x1050_A_3

320 x 50 resolution:

fitonline_320x50_A_3

320 x 100 resolution:

fitonline_320x100_A_3

336 x 280 resolution:

fitonline_336x280_A_3

468 x 60 resolution:

fitonline_468x60_A_3

728 x 90 resolution

fitonline_728x90_A_3

970 x 90 resolution

fitonline_970x90_A_3

970 x 250 resolution

fitonline_970x250_A_3

More Display Ad examples

Some more ad examples are included in the gallery below:

Goldfields Tourism Network - Google Display Network Ads

Picture 1 of 49

Goldfields Tourism Network - Google Display Network Ads

How to get started using the Display Network

As I often say in our workshops, Adwords is no longer a DIY platform, especially when in comes to the Display Network. An incorrect setting can burn your daily budget in minutes on the Display Network. To get started, you need to be working with an Adwords specialist and have a handful of things ready:

  • a specific product or service to promote. The more specific the better, the more well defined your offering the better as this will allow for better targeting of your ads
  • ad creative, you’ll need at least one set of ads in each resolution. Typical cost of a set of ads would be $200-500 (on the cheap end). Your Adwords consultant can guide you here
  • ad budget, typically we recommend to most small business clients a 3 month trial of any campaign with a minimum spend of $600/month but generally speaking more is better. When compared to traditional media buys like magazine and newspaper ads on a dollar for dollar basis, Display Ads typically outperform easily in the range of 5x-10x. For bigger businesses and corporate clients, depending on the goals of the campaign, a typical spend could range from $10-50k/month
  • ad management budget, most consultants will charge an initial fee to configure your campaign and then an ongoing management fee.

Ad Formats and Resolutions

A variety of ad formats can be used on the Display Network. For static image ads the current ad sizes are listed below. More detailed ad specifications are available in Adwords help.

  • Vertical rectangle: 240 x 400
  • Mobile leaderboard: 320 x 50
  • Banner: 468 x 60
  • Leaderboard: 728 x 90
  • Square: 250 x 250
  • Small square: 200 x 200
  • Large rectangle: 336 x 280
  • Inline Rectangle: 300 x 250
  • Skyscraper: 120 x 600
  • Wide skyscraper: 160 x 600
  • Half-page: 300 x 600
  • Large leaderboard: 970×90
  • Large mobile banner: 320 x 100
  • Billboard: 970 x 250

What is Remarketing?

No article on the Google Display Network would be complete if we didn’t mention remarketing. Remarketing is a technique that helps you target visitors who have been to your site but didn’t complete a sale or fill in form. Perhaps they abandoned their purchases, left items in the shopping cart or forgot to subscribe to your newsletter.

Remarketing is one of the many ways you can target visitors on the Google Display network. Using the “Audience” feature you can tag visitors who’ve been to your website and then show them ads across the web. Many of our clients who run seasonal marketing campaigns tag all visitors to their site which allows them to show ads to those visitors across the web for upto 540 days from their last website visit.

The infographic below from the guys at ReMarketing.com.au explains how remarketing works in more detail

What is Remarketing

Remarketing explained in more detail – sourced from ReMarketing.com.au (click to enlarge)

 

Designing your Ads

There are some key points to keep in mind that when getting the ads designed will help your ads perform better to making the ads perform better:

Use real photos instead of stock photos 
We’re now in the age of Instagram and Smartphones with high resolution cameras, the age of stock photography is over. People hate stock photos, they’re feel fake and non-genuine and people resonate with good quality photos.

Use High Contrast Colours
If you take a look at the ads above you’ll see that they all really jump off the page. They’ve been designed with high contrast, high impact colours so they really catch the eye when they appear in front of a user.

Aim for 2-3 text areas
We usually have 2-3 text areas depending on the size of the ad. We normally give our designers a handful of lines of varying length for each of these three text areas which gives the designer some leeway to make the ads work in different resolutions. Often we’ll provide several images that are similar but different sizes or orientation.

The three text areas we use are:

  • a headline or title – this is the key point you’re getting across, something that grabs the visitors attention or immediately resonates with them
  • some filler content or sub headings – depending on the size of your images you may need a sub-heading or another line with a secondary feature or benefit
  • a call to action – a call us, click here or sign up now

 

Questions about the Display Network? Drop us a line on our contact page and we’ll be happy to discuss further.

  • brendan

    Great informative post! Just starting out with advertising on the display network and I hope to get good conversions. Question. Should we always split test two campaigns at a time.

    • Thanks Brendan – split tests only make sense if you’re getting enough traffic and have enough budget. Instead of focussing on splits tests it would probably be a better idea to look at your conversion and how you can optimise that once people land on the site/page you’re pushing traffic too, tools like crazyegg can be super useful for stuff like that

  • Suresh Sarode

    Very informative post. Clear my confusion about Remarketing.