Part 2

Now you know the benefits of the display network from Part 1, I’m going to show you how to set up an effective Google display network campaign which will provide you with free brand awareness and a cheaper cost-per-click. The first thing to bear in mind is that the Google display network (GDN) targets ads differently to search campaigns. Even the keywords you use will be different so put what you know about search campaigns to one side for now.

First things first, log into your Adwords account and click ‘New Campaign’. This button now has options to create three different types of display campaign (text ads, display ad builder, and remarketing) but just click ‘New campaign’ for now, as it is worth knowing the full process.

You will be taken to a page that looks like this:

Campaign Creation Page

Campaign Creation Page


The important option on this page is under the ‘Networks’ title. Click on ‘Let me choose’ and untick the ‘Google Search’ option, which will in turn automatically untick the ‘Search Partners’ option. The tick ‘specific reach’ if you wish to use placements (very targeted) or ‘broad reach’ if you only want to use keywords (less targeted). (This will be explained later).

Broad/Specific Reach Options

Broad/Specific Reach Options


This campaign is now set to only show on the display network. Complete the rest of the form as you would with a search campaign with budgets, targeting, scheduling etc.


Before you create your first ad group we need to think about keywords. On the display network, the keywords you use are entered for the purpose of contextually targeting your ads to placements. Google will look at your keywords and try to find websites with this keyword within their content in order to match your ads to relevant sites. This means instead of having the search-appropriate keyword, “Ben Sherman gunmetal mens watch”, you will want to target keywords such as ‘mens watches’, as it is unlikely a website will have your very specific keyword in the content on their site.

I can hear you all yelling “But that keyword is so broad!” at your computer/tablet/phone but before you give yourself a hernia remember: the other targeting options we will be utilising will narrow this down so DON’T STRESS.

So once you’ve entered your slightly-more-generic keywords and written ads etc (yes, text ads are appropriate for the GDN as well as search) you are left with a pretty search-looking ad group.

Now, here come the clever bits… (although it’s all clever but y’know…)

At the top of the ad group table you will see a tab for ‘Networks’. If you can’t also see a tab names ‘Topics’, click on the arrow at the end of the line of tabs, tick ‘Topics’ and click ‘OK’.

Adwords Tabs

Adwords Tabs

Lets tackle the ‘Networks’ tab first. So you remember my rant in Part 1 as to why automatic placements are a bit rubbish – If you are in an absolutely tiny industry these are ok but most people aren’t so let’s assume you’re in an industry that is of substantial size. Click on the networks tab and you will see a whole new table with the ‘Search’ rows grayed out. Next to the wording ‘Managed Placements’ you will see a link saying ‘Show Details’. Click on this link to open up a fuller view. (When you have placements in your campaign this is where you can monitor them from. It’s a bit like the ‘Keyword’ tab but for placements (so not like the keyword tab at all).

Adding Placements in Your Display Campaign

Adding Placements in Your Display Campaign

On this page, you can enter the URLs of the websites you would like your ad to be shown on. Just one problem. Let’s say you want to show your ads on the Elevate Local website – That’s great, type our website in but it wont work because we don’t allow adverts to show on our site. Alas, we have hit a snag.

But do not fear, the Placement Tool has come to the rescue!

Placement Tool

Placement Tool

To the right of this box, click on the ‘Try the Placement Tool’ link. This tool allows you to type in a keyword, website or category in order to see the relevant websites which allow adverts to show on their pages. Please note, this is Google determining which placements are relevant. Bear in mind that Google is a robot and does not necessarily know your industry or in what context the keywords match so make sure you check out these placements before including them.

Click on the little blue arrow at the end of every URL to see which ads/size of ads the website accepts. At the bottom of this window, click on ‘View Profile’ to see further information on the demographic of users for this site. Once you have researched them, tick the ones you want to use and click ‘Add Placements’ at the top of the table.

You can now see the reason for the broad keywords – your ads will now appear on placements ONLY if one of your keywords is present in the content of that page if you are targeting the ‘specific reach’ option’. If you have stuck to the ‘broad reach’ option, the placements will work independently to the keywords – the only difference is that you can choose to change bids for the placements which you cannot do with only keyword targeting. You can also use only keywords or only placements but the reach will be a lot broader and therefore your audience will be alot less relevant.

Once you have finished with the placements, visit the ‘Topics’ tab. Topics can also be used on their own or in conjunction with keywords/placements. On this tab, click ‘Add Topics’ like you did on the placement tab, however this time you have a tree view of lots of different categories. These are groups of topics you would like to target. You can add a group by clicking ‘Add’ or look at smaller topics inside the group by clicking the plus signs on the left hand side. These can be added using the corresponding ‘Add’ links.

For example, if you sell E-Books, you may not wish to target the generic ‘Books & Literature’ group but target the ‘E-Books’ topic instead.

As I mentioned in part 1, this campaign will more than likely have a lower CTR than your other search campaigns – this is completely normal and these stats don’t affect your search campaigns. (Basically Google know the GDN can be a bit random with targeting so they don’t bother punishing you via your other campaign quality scores for it).

GDN campaigns still need upkeep – check on the Networks tab for your placements and exclude any that are irrelevant. Equally if you’re not getting much traffic, you may wish to change your targeting options to reach a broader audience but remember – even though you don’t need to worry about a low CTR, you will still need to pay every time someone clicks on your ad and although GDN clicks are cheaper than those on the search network, it all builds up if you’re receiving heaps of irrelevant traffic.

Treat your new campaign like a puppy – check up on it regularly and exclude placements to train it out of bad habits but don’t get too stressed if it misbehaves to start with – It’s only young afterall.

The third and final part of the GDN series will be published next week detailing ad formats and re-marketing – both of which need to be done properly if you’re to expect any kind of beneficial results from the GDN.

And as always, if you have any questions about any of my PPC blogs, please don’t hesitate to get in touch through the site or on Twitter – @BenGarrity.