Zach Mandelblatt
By Zach Mandelblatt | SEM | February 11, 2014

How To Use The Google Display Network For Good: Start With Remarketing

The Google Display Network has an infamous reputation.   Many advertisers don’t even realize that their AdWords campaigns are enabled to show their ads on random websites throughout internet.  When they finally realize that they are on the GDN (Google Display Network) and investigate their account performance therein, most are so disheartened, they tear their hair and garments in despair.

A typical reaction to seeing the statistics of AdWords account performance on the GDN


Google very sneakily has set the default for new AdWords campaigns to show on both the Search & Display networks. Most new advertisers (& many old ones as well) aren’t aware of these settings when they first create campaigns. In our experience, less than 20% of the time the basic keyword targeting campaigns on the GDN provide an equal or better ROI than the same campaign on the Search Network. The majority of time, these GDN keyword campaigns are about as productive as lighting money on fire.

If your AdWords campaigns are on “Search & Display” Campaign Types, and you don’t have a good reason why, you’re probably doing a lot of this


The reasons behind this are clear: the Google Display Network robots are not shy about showing you on websites that (put nicely) only very tenuously have anything to do with the keywords you have chosen. For example, if you have a GDN Campaign set to use the targeting keyword “Winter Jacket” on broad match, you might find your ads showing on a website about snowboard competitions, ice cream, the Winter Olympics, & many others that aren’t highly relevant to “Winter Jacket” and aren’t going to send profitable traffic to your website to buy winter jackets. Without further GDN setup beyond the “Standard” Google settings, you may also find your ads showing on sites that don’t have anything at all to do with the word “Winter” or “Jacket”, and you’ll often find your ads showing on websites in different languages.

In my opinion, these standard settings are a quick and dirty Google crash grab.  They aren’t profitable often enough for the average advertiser’s best interest to include keyword based campaign on both Search and Display (without said campaign being rigorously tested). Unfortunately, many advertisers write off the GDN after it burns them the first time. The truth is that the GDN can be a valuable revenue source when utilized properly.  In fact, the most successful AdWords campaign that we create and manage for our clients is usually a type of Display Network Campaign: the Remarketing Campaign.

The premise behind Remarketing campaigns is simple: track people who visited your site and follow them around the internet with ads enticing them to come back.  Clicks are generally pretty cheap on the Google Display Network, and most people who have been to your site were, at some point, at least mildly interested in converting.  Cheap clicks + Those clicking having a mild interest in converting = Generally a pretty decent conversion rate.

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In the time it takes to read this sentence, you could be on your way to a well-oiled demand generation machine. Ready for your blueprint?

yes, i want my Digital blueprint

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