MacAdam Lea
By MacAdam Lea | SEM | February 23, 2015

Display Network Targeting Tools

There are two main venues we can use to advertise within Google AdWords. This first is the Google Search Network, where we develop a list of keywords that target Google searches relevant to our business. The second is the Google Display Network, a collection of Google-partnered websites (YouTube, Gmail, Blogger, etc) that allow us to display Text, Image and Video advertisements. If you’ve ever been browsing your favorite sports site and seen an ad, now you know how it got there: that website is part of the Google Display Network.


display advertising targeting tools

The Google Display Network has many potential advantages for businesses looking to expand their online presence. It can reach a wide range of potential customers with broad interests, and it supports image and video advertisements (something the Search Network does not provide). On the other hand, the biggest issue with the Display Network is that is has a much broader targeting scope that can be difficult to narrow. This is why it is important to become familiar with the Display Network’s targeting tools – they can protect you from bad spend and target people who actually have a chance at converting.

Display Keywords – This targeting tool will be familiar to anyone who has set up a Search Network campaign. Keyword targeting delivers relevant messages to users based on what types of content they consume. If you use the keyword “Basketball Shoes”, the Display Network will start showing your ads on websites related to basketball shoes. We can also add negative keywords to ensure that our ads don’t show on any irrelevant or undesirable websites.

Placement Targeting – If you already have an idea as to which websites your customers regularly visit then placement targeting will let you target those sites directly. You can choose a whole site or just specific pages on the site if it covers a wide array of content. Placement targeting can also be used in tandem with display keywords; you could pick Amazon as the website placement and then use keywords to only target “Basketball Shoes” related Amazon pages.

Topic Targeting – This allows you to target specific sites that are related to a given interest category. You can pick a topic  (like travel, technophile, or fitness) and the Google Display network will start showing your ads on quality sites related to those topics. This is a good place to start if you’re unsure what sites to target individually – you can start with some broad topic targeting and then start using placement targeting for the sites that perform well.

Remarketing – Google describes remarketing ads as “Digital Postcards” that you can send to your favorite customers. Remarketing shows your ads to users who have already been to your site while they browse other sites on the Display Network. I’m pretty into hiking, so I browse a lot of hiking and camping related sites. Now, I see ads for hiking sites everywhere while I’m browsing the internet. Remarketing is a great way to continue to target to people who have expressed interest in your product already.


targeting tools

Demographic Targeting – If you’re selling a product that is used by a specific age range or gender then demographic targeting might be for you. For example, if your product is particularly expensive, you might try excluding users who are between the ages of 18-24 since they’re unlikely to be able to afford it. Demographic targeting is very broad, however, so it’s best used to further refine another type of targeting. For example, you could use it with remarketing to show ads only to users of a certain gender who have already visited your site.

Those are all of the different types of targeting that Google supports on the Display Network at the moment, but Google is always working to develop new ad avenues (or…advenues). They just recently started beta testing a new type of Search with Display Select campaign that has been seeing some success, so maybe we’ll cover that in my next blog.

As always thank you for reading, and I’ll PP-See you all next time!

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