How to Create and Implement Insightful User Personas
What if there was a low-effort and low-cost way to paint a picture of your audience segments? What if you had profiles of…
Hello Fellow Advertisers! Today I’ll be showing you guys how to utilize the Google AdWords display network using other forms of targeting besides the standard audience target that’s used in remarketing campaigns. I’ll be setting up non-remarketing display campaigns using topic targeting and keyword targeting. Enjoy!
Hello everybody, and welcome to another episode of my video blog series. I am your host, Nick Rennard. Today we are going to talk about setting up non-remarketing display campaigns in AdWords. Let’s go ahead and get started.
We’ll start off with the table of contents here on the things I’m going to cover today, and then at the end I’ll show you a live example of me actually creating the campaign itself. To start off, we’ll start talking about why we use the display network, the most typical form of display you’ve probably heard about is remarketing, but we are talking about non-remarketing today. We’re going to go a little deeper on the display network and give you some strategies on how to target users via topic targeting and keyword targeting.
Second thing we’ll cover is, “Will this strategy work for you?” The question that we get a lot. We’ll go over that in a second here.
Third thing we’ll cover is strategy so you guys can understand what I am doing in the campaigns or why I’m doing those things in the campaigns and how I’m targeting particular users without using remarketing and using the other forms of display targeting that Google offers.
Lastly, like I mentioned, we’re going to do a live example of me in AdWords creating a campaign and inserting the targeting and showing you some of the settings that you’re going to need to be aware of for setting it up.
Let’s get started here on, “Why use the display network?” I’ll cover some of the pros and cons here.
Pros, I’d say the main pro of the display network is that the cost per click is very, very cheap. If you have a typical cost per click on the search network of like $8, let’s say you’ll probably see a cost per click on the … If you have cost per click of $8 on the search network, I wasn’t sure if I said search or display there, then you’ll probably have a cost per click closer to maybe 25 cents on the display network. Most display clicks will be anywhere from like 5 cents to about 75 cents. Anywhere in that range is pretty typical. If it gets higher than that, that’s starting to get pretty expensive. The display network is very, very big. You want to be careful with not having to pay too much per click on the display network.
Another pro of the display network is that it’s very good for awareness. If you’re just trying to get your message out there, trying to do that billboard-style advertising where you want to get your ads in front of as many … in front of as many people as possible. Maybe have a trade show coming up and you want people in a particular region to be aware that it’s coming up, or a webinar or something like that, you can place your ads in front of the different types of people and on the different types of websites you want to it to be showing up on. Make people aware of what you’re trying to promote.
Another pro is that, like I mentioned there’s a massive traffic density on … I’m sorry. Yeah, I did mention that there’s a massive traffic density on the display network much bigger than the search network. If the search network was planet Earth, then the display network would be the rest of the universe. The display network is huge. That could be good and bad, and we’ll go over why that’s bad in a sec. It’s good because if we have more of a pool to choose from then we can be pretty selective about how we want to target people on the display network. I’ll show you, once we get into the strategy section. I’ll show you how we’re going to refine that a bit further.
Another pro is that on the display network, unlike the search network we actually get to use both text ads and image ads. If you have a set of image ads that you’ve been using in maybe a remarketing campaign or for a Facebook campaign or something like that, you can upload those images into the display campaigns that you’re creating here and then aiding split-test your text ads versus your image ads. That’s an option that you have.
And then lastly, I’d say the main pro is to just to di … I said diversity or digital marketing campaigns. I meant to say diversify your digital marketing campaigns. Pretty straightforward. If all you’re doing is search, targeting, being able to show your message across multiple platforms is a … Yeah. It’s better to be on more networks. It’s good to if you have extra spend, if you want to try something new up then this is something I would recommend.
We actually had a lot of success at this lately. I’d say a few years ago when I was trying this, I didn’t have as much success. It’s been much better in the past year or so.
So for the cons of the display network. Lower conversion rates like I mention the traffic density is massive. You can see in the second point here, it’s very easy to hemorrhage spend if you don’t execute this properly. It’s very important to keep a close eye on your impression share because most of the time you’re going to be losing the majority of your impression share to budget. Which means that you should be trying to lower your bid … Bids to keep a cheaper cost per click.
Sure maybe a 30 cent cost per click sounds very cheap, but if you can lower that bid even further down to 5 or 10 cents and get a 10 cent cost per click, you can be getting three times as many clicks just by lowering your bids on those keywords. Don’t be afraid to lower your bids very, very, very low. I have had campaigns where I’m bidding a penny, where I’m bidding a nickel, where I’m really not bidding that much on these keywords because the competition isn’t very high. Again easy to hemmorhage spend but can also be an asset just because it’s so cheap. We’re going to be buying thousands, tens of thousands a click in some cases depending on how much you’re allocating. Hundreds of thousands of clicks.
I’d say the last con here that we’ve had is we get a lot of bot traffic through the display network. It’s kind of weird but we get a lot of people clicking through on the ads and filling out the form but they’re totally just bots. They’re not actually real people converting on the forms. So you’ll want to be aware of that. If you do set up a display campaign and you start getting a ton of conversions, I highly recommend that you follow up on the quality of those conversions. There’s a good chance that a good portion of those are going to be bots. What we’ve noticed is that sometimes the small percentage of ones that are not bots can make the campaign worth it. So just be aware of how much leakage and how many garbage conversions you’re getting. Measure that against what you’re spending to see if it’s still profitable for you.
Next up is, “Will this strategy work for you?” As I’ve mentioned, display campaign if you had asked me to set up a display campaign three or four years ago, I would say, “You’d be crazy to be advertising on the display network.” We’ve been testing it out more and more lately with quite a bit of success. They’ve been refining their algorithm. They’re always refining their algorithm, but the display algorithm has improved substantially to the point where I went from being a Negative Nancy about the display network. Now I promote it. I think it’s actually a really good idea to try out. Over the past few years it’s gotten a lot better.
It’s better for people with more money to spare. I would advocate that if you have a low budget that it’s pretty easy to target search queries that are very relevant to you on the search network. One of the problems that your cost per click on the search network might be pretty high. That’s something you’re just going to have to live with. Network clicks are just more expensive than display network clicks. It’s always going to be that way. If you have a low budget, let’s say you’re only spending $1000 in a month on AdWords, the problem with setting up a display campaign is that you generally want to see a large pool of traffic. If you only run $500 to spend on the display network and nothing happens, the problem is that there’s just so much traffic out there to be had that unless you’re doing a test of maybe two or three thousand a month over the course of a few months, you probably won’t be gather statistically significant data to whether or not it actually works for you.
Lastly here, and I say this to anyone who asks me whether or not a strategy is going to work for them. The truth is is that every industry, every business, every account, every campaign, everything is different for everyone. If it works for somebody else or doesn’t work for somebody else it doesn’t mean that it’s going to work out that way for you as well. Even if 10 other people fail on setting up their display campaigns, you might actually have a lot of success with it. It’s very random. I’d say that the success rates that I have with setting up display campaigns that have actually … I’ve never thought of it, the percentage. But I would guess about, I have about a 30% success rate on display in terms of conversions. I’d say it’s a pretty average success rate for anything that we would advocate to trying out. 30% may seem low, but I think if you have money to spend, you’re looking into diversifying your form of advertising then this is a great to spend some RMD money on.
Next to your strategy, so the strategy I’m going to go over today there’s actually a lot of ways you can target people on the display network. We’re going to use the method that has been most successful for me. It’s actually a combination of two types of targeting methods. Stay with me, it’s not as complicated as it sounds. It laces two forms of targeting together. The first one is keyword targeting, and the second one is topic targeting.
Keyword targeting … I actually have the definitions here from AdWords. It’s a lot of text. I’m going to go ahead and read it out. I normally don’t like this reading definitions to you guys, but I think that their explanations are better quite sound. Keyword targeting … their explanation of, “For example, if your most likely customers like to hike, you might add keywords around hiking or enjoying the outdoors. Then, AdWords finds relevant websites that include your keywords as well as relevant audiences who are interested in those keywords. It’s a good idea to pick keywords that are relevant to an entire ad group, and not just a single ad. Depending on your keyword setting, your ads may show to audiences base on their recent browsing history or other factors, rather than the content of the page they’re currently viewing.”
So the thing that it does the most is it targets websites that have, let’s say you put a keyword in there that’s like ‘hiking boots’. It will find what websites and forms and things like that have the word ‘hiking boots’ in the content or maybe the content is about hiking or about boots or about hiking boots. It will target websites based on their content.
Topic targeting is very similar. I’ll read this definition on topic targeting. It says, “Topic targeting lets you place your AdWords ads on website pages about those topics, whether it’s agriculture, music, or something else entirely. As content across the web changes over time, the pages on which your ads appear can change with it.”
Every website is classified under … I’ll show you in a second here the list of topics that Google has for their topic targeting. Everything has classified under a particular topic or multiple topics is some cases. What it does is you can target websites based on what they’ve been classified under to try and get to … If you are selling hiking boots you can try to put your ad on camping websites or hunting websites or things that you think people who like to hike might be interested in.
So that’s the basic idea. The reason we lace those together is because if we just target one or the other, it’s going to be pretty broad. But if we target both and we make it so that the user has to match both criteria, so it has to match both the keyword targeting and the topic targeting criteria, then we narrow down the users that we’re targeting and we get a more refined list. Like I mentioned the display network is the whole entire universe, we want to cut out a lot of what we know is going to irrelevant right in the beginning so that we’re not just spending on money on nothing essentially.
All right. So let’s go ahead and see an example here. Go ahead and exit out of here.
I will start in my AdWords account. We’ll go ahead and create a new campaign here. You can give your campaign a name, “New display campaign.” You want to set it to ‘display network’. You have to disable that.
Can I bring this up here? There we go.
A couple of other settings that I recommend you do. ‘Enhance CPC’, I’m not a fan of this. I always disable this. What ‘enhance CPC’ does, it allows you to increase your bid. It allows Google to increase your bids by up to 30%. It essentially just makes you pay up to 30% more per clicks that you don’t necessarily want. Turn that off.
‘Ad rotation’, I always set it to ‘rotate indefinitely’. Some of these settings … ‘Targeting method’, I always target people in my targeting location so that I don’t have people from Ukraine clicking on my ads.
‘Daily budget’. No offense to you Ukrainians. ‘Daily budget’, set whatever your budget you want to be. Then we’re goin to create our ad groups.
Generally the way I break up my ad groups is that I break it up based on either the keywords or the topics or both. It’s really up to you. If you have your keywords already broken up into different ad groups then I would recommend just using that targeting. You could also break it up by the topics if you’re going to be targeting six different topics within AdWords. You can name each one of the ad groups after the different topics, and you can see which one of the topics actually performs the best for you.
Now, keyword targeting is actually going to be straightforward here. Whatever your list of keywords are, let’s say we have: keyword one, keyword two, keyword three, keyword four, keyword five. You’ll want to upload those just like you would in a search campaign. You can see down here under ‘manage’ where keywords and targeting, we go to ‘keywords’, hit ‘make multiple changes’, and we copy and paste that list of keywords that I just showed you there. Copy that, and paste it in here. You can import your keywords to these ad groups however you want. You can see here now our keywords show up.
So that’s step #1, is to get all of your keywords into the campaigns. If we wanted to move some of those keywords around other groups, we can do that. Very easy straightforward stuff for AdWords.
The next thing we want to add to the campaign is topics. You can actually do this in the AdWords Editor, but I actually prefer to do it in the browser interface. I’ll show you in the editor where we find it. It’s actually under the same thing so you can see the keywords right here. If you scroll down, ‘topics’ are down here. You can add a topic. You can find your topic, but the reason I don’t like using the editor is because you have to click through here and find … There’s just so many topics that it’s hard to sort through all this.
So what I do, I actually use the browser interface for this which is actually rare for me. I use the editor for almost everything. There’s a website … I have this bookmarked. If you look up, if you just Google, “Topic targeting Google AdWords,” it’ll come up with this list of how to add multiple topics with the topic codes. I always add these to my campaigns by using the topic codes. I’ll scroll down here so you can see it. You can see the blue drop-down boxes. These are each of the categories for the topics that Google has listed out. So you see them all.
If we are … If we open one of these up, let’s say, “Beauty and fitness.” Let’s say you run like a, I don’t know, some kind of clothing line or … I’m trying to think of something. Maybe like a spa or a salon or something like that. You might want to use some of these categories: face and body care, cosmetology, beauty professionals, hygiene, maybe even cosmetic surgery type stuff. I don’t know. Body art. Really whatever. That’s one example. I’ll open up another one here.
Finance. You can see the finance category. We have stuff for banking, credit, credit lending, credit cards, financial planning, insurance, retirement, all kind of finance stuff. So what you can do is just scroll through here no matter what your industry is. I’ve literally never had a client that I’ve not been able to find at least one topic that was not relevant to them … Or that was relevant to them? I’m not sure if I said that correctly. But you get the idea.
You can see under ‘health’, look at how many health topics there. There’s so many things to click through here, and each one of these has their own set of topics.
So let’s go back up to the ‘beauty and fitness’ one because we are beautiful people. Let’s say we want to use these topics here. What you can do is you can add all of these topics at once by copying it. Sometimes maybe there’s going to be topics in multiple categories that you want to take so you can just copy and paste these topics into an Excel or a Notepad here. So you can take those and then we can take some of the finance ones. You can just copy and paste them all together, and then you would copy this whole list. Go ahead and copy that.
We’ll come back here, and we click on our campaign. This is a remarketing campaign, but I’m going to use it as an example. You want to click on this ‘display network’ tab here. And then click ‘topics’. Click ‘plus targeting’. Select your ad group that you want to add targeting to. Hit the old drop-down box.
Here you can see it’s a similar fashion where you can click through … In the editor you can click through and select, “I want bike accessories” or whatever. You can mass upload them all at once by clicking this little blue thing that says, “Add topics using codes.” Also that list, this website that I found right here, if you click this little question mark, this, “See full list of topic codes” will lead you straight to that website I was just talking about so you can if they’re from AdWords or just by Googling it. Up to you.
If you click on ‘add topics’ using codes, you recall that we just copied and pasted that list of topics there into Notepad. You can paste that into here and upload all of them at once, and then just hit ‘add …
Oh it got mad at us because some of these are outdated. That would be, what do they say, “Unknown topics.” Sometimes Google doesn’t update these regularly enough so some of the ones get outdated, they get moved to a different category or things get combined. So I’ll delete some of those.
You can see now we have our topics that we’ve added here. That’s really it. If we did that and we hit ‘save’ which I’m not going to do, normally you would hit ‘save’ and then you would have a set of topics here. And then you would have a set of keywords here. So now you are targeting both topics and keywords.
That’s what you want. You want to target … You want it to match both the topic and the keyword.
The problem with the display network is that if you don’t adjust your settings appropriately, sometimes it’ll target one or the other. I’ll show you that here.
If you click on … You’ll always want to check this setting whenever you’re setting up a display campaign. If you select ‘ad groups’ here, by default it will actually set you up for the right one that you want to use. You want to make sure that under ‘topics’ here, under your ad group settings, you want to make sure that this is ‘target and bid’ and not ‘bid only.’
Now, the difference between those two is that if I had set this to ‘bid only’, and I have keywords and topics in my campaign, then it’s going to target either websites that have the keywords on them or it’s going to target websites that have the content, the topic content targeting on them. The problem with that is they don’t necessarily have to … Both pieces of criteria don’t need to be met which means you’re going have a pretty large quantity of people that you’re targeting.
However if you set it to ‘target and bid’ which is what the default is, that’s telling it it has to match both the keyword and the topic. Otherwise it won’t show to that user. Let’s say it has … It talks about hiking boots but that website is not classified under ‘hiking’ or ‘camping’ or one of the topics you selected. It just happens to mention ‘hiking boots’ for whatever reason, then it won’t show your ad to that user which is good because we want to be narrowing our traffic. Keep in mind that display network is big so we want to be narrowing as much as possible.
That’s actually about it. Once you upload your keywords and your topics, that’s the main thing you need to do. I already mentioned that we can upload image ads or text ads. The way that you upload ads is going to be the exact same way that you do in any other campaign. You can upload expanded text ads or you can upload image ads. It’s really up to you which ads you want to run. I’m not going to go over that because this video isn’t about ads, it’s about the display network. But feel free to visit one of our other blogs or vlogs if you’re looking for feedback or if you’re looking for advice on how to upload your ads.
That’s pretty much the gist of uploading this. Anyways, I hope you guys enjoyed the video. I haven’t done one in awhile, so I’m kind of getting back into the swing of things here. Like I mentioned, we have had a lot of success with these campaigns so I highly recommend you try them out. If you got some extra funds or maybe you’re an agency, try it out for some of your clients and see if it works for you.
Anyways guys, thanks for watching and I will see you guys next time on my next video blog.
What if there was a low-effort and low-cost way to paint a picture of your audience segments? What if you had profiles of…
Google Tag Manager: What it is and Why it’s Important Managing the plethora of marketing and tracking scripts used on your site can…
Sometimes, digital marketing can feel overwhelming. There seem to be so many different ways to market oneself online. It’s impossible to know where…