Part 3 

So here we are, the third and final part of my GDN blog. If you’ve been following these blogs, you should now have a tightly themed GDN campaign set up which is targeted to relevant placements. Although that process may have seemed like the most exciting experience of your life (I jest) this bit is even more exciting.

This final installment of total brilliance will cover ad formats and re-marketing which are two of the best features of the GDN – partly creative, partly data-geeky, there’s something here for everyone, ESPECIALLY if you have strong branding or you offer a service customers will use again in the future. These might seem like random factors but much like a Derren Brown programme (or Silent Witness, depending on how much of an pessimist you are), all will be revealed in the end.

Ad Formats (AKA The Pretty Picture Bit)

As adverts on the GDN won’t be showing on pages with a search engine layout, you have more space and more features to play with. The following formats are great if you have strong branding, as unlike the search network, the GDN allows you to display logos etc in the content of your ad. We all know about text ads already so let’s get straight into the cool stuff.

Image Ads

Image ads are created externally to your Adwords account and uploaded to your campaign. In this image, you can include text, images, colours, fonts, logos, literally whatever useful images/text you can fit into the space. There are ad sizes you have to stick to though – Your ads must be one of these sizes (or all of these sizes depending on what placements you have chosen, as some sites only allow certain sizes).

  • 250 x 250 Square
  • 200 x 200 Small Square
  • 468 x 60 Banner
  • 728 x 90 Leaderboard
  • 300 x 250 Inline Rectangle
  • 336 x 280 Large Rectangle
  • 120 x 600 Skyscraper
  • 160 x 600 Wide Skyscraper

As always, there are editorial guidelines – you cannot design your ad to look like an error message, or make it look like a new message has come into the users email inbox. It might sound ridiculous but dodgy sites go to weird extents to encourage traffic to their sites. Stick with your website colours to create a theme, keep it legit, and let people know you are trustworthy.

Video Ads

You can run click-to-play ads (which are placed on sites and show a static image until played) or In-Video ads (which will appear at the bottom of the video a user is watching or before/after the content). With video ads, you can show TV style commercials, product demos, interviews – it’s totally up to you. To make the most of click-to-play video ads, make sure you have your logo/key messages in the opening frame, as before a user plays the video, only a static image is displayed.

Display Ad Builder

If you don’t have in-house designers/can’t afford to design a polished image ad, the display ad builder is a great alternative. These ads work off of templates that Google provide; you can change the colours, images, logos, fonts etc to match your branding. They don’t always look as impressive as designed image ads but you can still be pretty creative. Some of these templates include animations which leads us on to…

…Rich Media Ads

These are ads that include some kind of animation or movement (they can include text, images, video, flash etc). As I mentioned, some display ad builder templates include animation so have a look through the templates for something suitable. (Display ad builder can be found under New Ad>Display Ad Builder). Templates are listed by category so you can choose a layout/theme that suits your business. Again, there are plenty of guidelines for these ads (E.g. the length of the animation loop is limited, no strobe effects allowed etc.) so make sure to check these out first.

(Just a quick note on templates, when you first view the template, the animation wont be obvious so make sure you see the animation before posting your ad. Myself and a colleague once chose what we thought was a very suitable template for a client who was a funeral director. Just before we posted the ad, we watched the animation and realised before the static (seemingly suitable) ad was displayed, the ad showed disco lights and an animation that would be much more suitable to advertise a party, not to promote a respectful burial for a loved one. Needless to say, we changed our minds on that one.YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.)

Now that you know how to make the most of ad formats without annoying Google or offending the deceased, let’s move onto the really clever stuff.

Remarketing (AKA Advert Harassment)

Remarketing is an amazing way of targeting visitors you have already had to your site. After setting up a remarketing campaign, you just need to choose who you want to target.

Have you ever researched a product or service online, just to find ads for this product/service then follow you around for around 30 days afterwards? Yep, you’ve just been remarketed (a bit like Punk’d but without Ashton Kutcher).

For example, I purchased a watch for my boyfriend at Christmas which then ceased to tell the correct time. I went back to the shop I bought it from who said they weren’t stocking them anymore. And so began my extensive internet search for a replacement. I was looking around for sites with the fastest delivery time or the most reputable looking sites, all the while not knowing these sites were chucking cookies at me. (The internet kind, not the delicious biscuit kind). They were recording the fact that I had visited but not ordered anything and showed me the ads to coax me back to their site. So just when I had given up my search and forgotten the preferred sites I had found at the beginning of my internet pilgrimage, these websites, helpfully, started displaying adverts to me for the exact watch I had been researching. This meant that although I had forgotten all of the sites and what I’d searched in order to find them, the sites started following me instead – and just like any advertisers dream, I bought from one of these sites: a sale they would have otherwise missed out on.

Cue the shouts of “BUT HOW?? HOW DO I SET UP SUCH A CAMPAIGN?”

You need to start by logging into your account and finding the ‘Audiences’ tab. (You will need to use the little arrow at the end of the tabs if it doesn’t show at first).

Click ‘New Audience’ and then ‘Remarketing List’. You can then choose the spec of your audience (the list name and how long you want to target them for).

Create New Audience

Create a New Audience

After you’ve saved this, click on the link that says [Tag] next to your list and you will be shown a snippet of coding. This code needs to be pasted on the page they need to have visited in order for you to want to target them. E.g. If you sell socks, run a remarketing ad promoting socks and put the code on your socks page. Simple.

Then, to implement this list into a specific ad group, navigate to your ad group and then click the audiences tab. Click on ‘Add Audiences’ and then you can add certain lists to your ad groups.

You can also set up custom combinations which means you can target users with more than one parameter. E.g. Target users who have visited the socks page but haven’t placed an order. Have a think about your site and work out the best way for you to use these features according to your own setup.

AND you can also use remarketing with topic targeting. So for example, if you wanted to show your ads to recent visitors but only when they’re in the right mindset then you can choose only relevant topics. So for example, if you sell wedding rings, you wouldn’t want your advert to appear on sites selling washing machines, as a user would need quite a strange thought process to actually purchase from you. “Right so, washing machine’s gone bust…Oh look, the perfect wedding ring! Forget the washing machine, I’ll just turn all my clothes inside out and wear them again.” You catch my drift.

So here’s the technical bit:

Remarketing works by dropping a cookie on each visitor to the page on your site with the remarketing code on it. Dropping a cookie on a visitor (artist’s impression below for the less imaginative readers) is a bit like sticking a tracking dot on them so in the future Adwords can recognise they’re on a site that allows adverts (or a relevant page if you’re using topics) and show them your ad.

Images by: Reem Eng / MIXALL11 Flickr

You can stipulate the ‘membership duration’ which is the length of time that you want to carry out this advert stalking. For services such as plumbers (a service you need pretty quickly unless you want your house to look like a scene from Titanic) you may as well only have a membership duration of a day maximum, as users will have probably rushed to contact someone before they are swimming around their house – your ads will no longer be relevant after this crucial period. However, if you sell contact lenses (which users will usually order every 30 days unless they are particularly fond of bulk buying), you could have a membership duration of a year if you wanted, as your ad should be relevant to your audience around every 30 days.

After you have set up your remarketing campaign, the code needs to throw a cookie (like a delinquent child in a bakery – see above image) at at least 500 unique visitors before your adverts will begin to show. That is because your account needs to gather the data of who to actually show the ads to. Remarketing can be especially useful around Christmas because (much like me and the watch fiasco) people are looking for presents, but remember – don’t set your remarketing campaign up on the day you want it to start as it needs to gather audiences first. Set it up a couple of months in advance to ensure it’s all ready for the festive period. (Sorry, no more talk of Christmas in April, I promise).

A good idea for remarketing is to run ads for users who haven’t converted offering a promotion for ‘first time customers’. At the same time you can run ads for previous customers offering a discount or free delivery for returning customers.

Play around with remarketing – have a look at combinations of ads and audiences and work out what your seperate messages are for each audience. Conversion rates are generally much higher for remarketing campaigns because you know the user is already interested so come on – what are you waiting for?