In the “old” days of the Google Content Network, now known as the Google Display Network, your only option was to give Google a few keywords (and your money) and see what kind of results you got back.
For several years, it was a risky place to advertise but even in those days, many advertisers discovered a gold mine.
A New Name As Google Pours New Energy Into The Display Network
Early in the summer of 2010, Google AdWords saw the name of the Content Network changed. Google began to heavily advertise the new Display Network while simultaneously rolling out new features and options.
Display Network advertisers had more options than ever to mix and match their AdWords settings and strategies in the pursuit of the perfectly targeted audience.
With the launch of topic targeting and remarketing in 2011, Google made it super easy to set up campaigns with ad copy, landing pages and a matching audience.
Small Boxes Inside A Very Big Box
The Google Display Network now reaches 80% of the US Internet Audience. Here is a quick list of ways to tap into very specific audiences available through the Display Network:
- Keyword Targeting – Automatic Placements
- Site Targeting – Managed Placements
- Audience Targeting – Remarketing
- Network and Device Targeting
- Demographic Targeting
- Geographic Targeting
- Topic Targeting
Mix & Match Targeting
The Display Network has so many different ways to mix and match targeting options that I could never cover them all in one article so I’ll just cover some of my favorite Display Network mixers.
Keyword Targeting + Managed Placements
One of the easiest ways to use this option is to run a Placement Performance Report first and then add some of the managed placements from the report to your AdGroups. A higher bid could allow you to be shown more often on those placements.
For problem placements that are still relevant but just cost too much money, you can lower the bid. Many advertisers across a variety of industries will often see conversions from YouTube.com but may not want to pay the same bid for YouTube as they do for more a more targeted placement. With this strategy, they can continue showing on YouTube but at a much lower cost.
Demographic Settings + Demographic Sites
AdWords offers advertisers options to not show their ads to specific age groups and genders. This same feature also allows you to increase your bids for age groups and genders.
For example, if I was Mary Kay Cosmetics, I could choose to only show my ads to females and increase the bid if they fell in the 25-54 year range. If you were targeting Flixster.com, you might choose this option for your ad copy designed to appeal to a male audience.
This option allows you to put your ads on pages about a specific topic such as Football, Motorcycles or Xbox. With keyword targeting (automatic placements), it is possible for you to target using the keyword football but still show ads on a category page under Gossip & Tabloid News.
Topic Targeting keeps your football related ads only on pages categorized under football. The football category example looks like this: category::Sports>Team Sports>American Football and is added as a managed placement in your AdGroups.
Topics can also be used as exclusions. You can add Topic Targeting to almost any combination of AdWords settings but the more variables, the less impressions you will see.
Topic Targeting + Keywords
If I were an orthodontist, I might want to target the topic for parenting but only when the content on those landing pages talked about crooked teeth, clear braces, Invisalign, etc. With topic targeting, it is possible to do that by combining a specific topic and a keyword.
Another example for using topic targeting with keywords would be to use the category::Home & Garden>Gardening & Landscaping with the keyword “roses” to target all conversations around rose gardens and gardening in that category.
*Tip – use one to three keywords when combining keywords with topics.
Topic Targeting + Managed Placements
Online newspapers and information sites like About.com are great places to find conversations related to your product or service. For years, it was tricky getting AdWords to show your ads on general, high traffic sites in front of the right audience but Topic Targeting changed the game.
If I sold Wii game consoles, I could combine the category::Games>Computer & Video Games with the managed placement CNN.com and have my ad show for articles relevant to video games in general.
Network & Device Targeting
Adding this to any combination of AdWords strategies is a great way to segregate ad copy towards audiences based on what device they are using to view your ad.
For example, you may choose to add phone extensions to your mobile campaigns but leave them off on your computer campaigns. If you sold accessories for tablets, you may choose to set up a campaign that targets tablet owners specifically.
Remarketing has also added a whole new dimension to AdWords targeting. It’s very similar to sending emails to your personal email list. With remarketing, you can reach previous visitors to your site or to a specific section or page of your site with a very specific message.
Traditionally, remarketing has been used without any restrictions but it can also be combined with any setting and targeting option currently available on the Google Display Network. You may find that your remarketing audiences convert better when you combine keywords and/or topic targeting and/or specific managed placements to the mix.
Experiment With Your Targeting To Find The Right Mix
Every audience responds differently depending on the variables behind the ads they see.
Less variables equals more traffic but not necessarily a very defined audience. Too many variables and you may not get any impressions at all.
Try small test campaigns across different combinations and strategies to see which one is the right mix for your audience.
Not only will you learn how to hyper-target your ads but each mixer gives you a slightly different way to reach a new audience on the Display Network.
Stock image from Shutterstock, used under license.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.