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Google Display Ads: 7 PRO TIPS

Google Display Ads are visually appealing online advertisements that are essential to building and growing a company’s brand. Their high-quality imagery includes a call-to-action (CTA) that’s perfectly positioned to capture your audience’s attention. These Google Display Ads appear on over 650,000 apps and three million websites and are critical tools for advertisers who want to generate targeted website traffic.   

You’ve seen these display ads on websites, social media, blogs, forums, mobile devices, and video platforms like YouTube. Often embedded alongside content, these ads are hard to ignore. It’s common for these ads to be positioned right in the center of the page and in-between paragraphs, which puts them right in front of users. So, what are some of the critical steps you need to take to properly leverage Google Display Ads?

Google Display Ads are Content-Based Advertisements

Google Display Ads do not appear within Google’s search network. This means they never appear on search engine results pages (SERPs). These ads are only presented to users as they consume content. That means a user must be on a website, blog, forum, or other landing page platform to see the display ad.

However, given that people are visual creatures, and that we are invariably drawn to vivid imagery, these Google Display Ads are a great way to attract a user’s attention and generate traffic. Companies that run text ads on the Google search network – and display ads on content – have the benefit of keeping their brand at the top of their customers’ minds.

Use High-Quality Images

Far too many companies make the all-too-common mistake of not properly investing the time and resources in generating high-quality, vivid imagery for their display ads. Sometimes they take an image and reduce its size, which does nothing more than reduce its quality. Other times, companies use blurry images which are often hard to see and appear washed out.

Another issue involves companies who try to change the image’s colors or use excessive filters to draw attention to specific aspects of the image. Companies will also overlap the image with their logos, graphics, or include buttons that prompt customers to click on the ad – which is a violation of Google’s Ads policy. Another common practice is to use multiple images that overlap one another and appear as a collage of images.  

It’s critical to avoid all these mistakes. Focus on images that are relevant to your brand and one where your product or service offering is the focus of the image. Google has an entire best practices page devoted to using the right images. You can access that page here.

  • Use high-quality images that are in focus.
  • Do not use images that are difficult to see or appear blurry.
  • Do not manipulate the colors of the images or use filters.
  • Keep the edges visible and square and don’t round out the corners on the images.
  • Make your product or service the focal point of the image.
  • Do not overlap the image with infographics, logos, or action buttons.

Choosing Responsive or Uploaded Google Display Ads

Google provides the option of “responsive” display ads or “uploaded” display ads. Responsive display ads were launched by Google a couple of years ago and are now the default ad type for display ads. They were launched by Google to help advertisers avoid the time-consuming practice of designing their own ads.

If you choose responsive display ads, then you just upload your images and include your company’s name, logo, and some descriptive text about your product or service. Google will then launch multiple variations of your advertisement to determine the best combination of visuals and ad copy. These ads will automatically adjust to different screen sizes.

If you would rather have total control over your Google Display Ads – or have a flair for design – then the upload option is your obvious choice. However, you’ll need to make sure you generate different ad sizes for different screen sizes. Also, you won’t benefit from the testing that Google does in optimizing your ad copy and visuals. Instead, it will be based on your gut feel and design abilities.

If you choose the upload option, then you’ll need to make sure you have the following ad sizes for laptop and mobile content. Keep in mind, this is a considerable amount of work.

  • Laptop/Desktop: 728 x 90, 160 x 600, 970 x 90, 300 x 250, 336 x 280, 468 x 60, 250 x 250
  • Mobile: 320 x 50, 250 x 250, 200 x 200, 300 x 250  

Choosing a Display Targeting Strategy

One of the benefits of Google Display Ads is that they are not as expensive when compared to search ads. This is because Google’s search network ads are often seen as a higher priority for advertisers, given that users are essentially “searching” for a solution. However, that doesn’t mean Google Display Ads can’t specifically target a core segment. When running your display ads, you have the option of targeting people or context.

  • People Targeting

Targeting people involves either focusing on demographics or audiences. Demographic targeting means your Google Display Ads are focused on distinguishing characteristics like your audience’s gender, ethnicity, age, etc. For audience targeting, you’re focused on showing your Google Display Ads to groups of people who share similar interests.

Audience targeting then branches off into smaller subcategories. Affinity audiences are one subcategory. These are individuals who share similar likes and dislikes. They are individuals who all have common interests. In-market audiences are those individuals who are currently searching for a solution. This can be a service or product they need. Finally, a remarketing audience includes those individuals who have already interacted with your company online. They may have already clicked on an advertisement or been to your blog or website.  

  • Context Targeting

Context targeting includes either targeting your Google Display Ads for keywords or topics. Keyword targeting involves showing your ads within content where your chosen keyword is present. Topic targeting includes showing your display ads on content that discusses or covers a particular topic. You even have the option of excluding your ads from appearing on certain types of content so that your brand is not associated with irrelevant content.

As with any online advertising campaign, it all comes down to assessing the campaign’s performance. This means assessing whether your display ad is generating the type of website traffic you want and whether that traffic has an acceptable conversion rate. Take the time to compare your search ad results with your display ad results. You may just find that your display ads perform better for your product or service, which will help you reduce your overall ad expenditures. 

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