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The Beginner's Guide to Google Display Campaigns


Google display ads offer an exciting platform to reach targeted customers. Unlike Google Ads or pay-per-click, Google display ads allow advertisers to use images, offers, and logos to drive users to your website. Better yet, display ads appear on websites and apps as well as on Google-owned properties such as YouTube and Gmail.


But getting started can be intimidating. So here are a few tips designed to help beginners set up Google display ads, reach relevant audiences, and optimize those ads for performance.


1. Set up Conversion Tracking

Conversion tracking connects your Google display ads with a certain action on your website, such as filling out a form or purchasing a product. It allows you to see how many people are completing an action, so you can really evaluate the value of your ads.

We're not going to lie – this isn't an easy task for newbies. If you don't work on websites every day, we strongly urge you to get a digital partner to help set it up. And even once it's up, it tends to glitch out occasionally. That's why it's wise to test conversion tracking regularly to ensure your Google display ads are working as intended.


2. Create a Campaign Objective

Advertisers can choose from a series of objectives when setting up a campaign. These objectives are cues that help Goggle guide you to include or add features designed to help your campaign succeed.

As of this May 2023, Display Ads offer these three options:

  • Build awareness

  • Influence consideration

  • Drive action

After choosing your objective, Google will feed you a series of recommended features and settings to help your ads work most effectively.


3. Establish Your Bidding Strategy

Some advertisers choose to set a limit for the cost per ad delivery, but according to Google, about 80% of advertisers use smart bidding or dynamic bids. Smart bidding learns who is most likely to click on your ad and feeds the advertisement to those users more often. Sometimes dynamic bidding comes in at a high cost per click, but it also tends to improve campaign performance. In other words, you may not get as many clicks as you wanted, but you probably got more than you would have with a set cost per click.



4. Choose Your Target Audience

Next, it's time to set up your target audience. You'll have hundreds of traits to choose from, but once again, Google has an optimized targeting tool that allows them to find the people who are most likely to click on your ad or drive your conversion.


When you're willing to move beyond your old reliable audience segments, Google may find profitable new segments that ultimately improve your campaign’s performance.


5. Create Ads

Display ads come in all shapes and sizes. In this case, that's almost a literal statement. Because Google display ads are delivered to a variety of websites on desktop and mobile, there are over a dozen sizes and configurations from which to choose.


You may choose just a few sizes and limit your exposure, or you can provide images for all or almost all sizes. With a bit of training, you can include simple gifs or animation in your ads, or you can decide to do video ads via YouTube. So, you have a wide range of creative and messaging options.


However, remember that Google display ads are pretty small and will be even smaller when they appear in an email or on a mobile device. That means you need to keep it simple. Your job is to embrace restraint. Create a single, focused, compelling hook that will get them to click on your ad, and land on a webpage where they’ll learn all about your product or service.


6. Never Stop Optimizing

Once your ads are up and running, you're not done. So, while it's smart to give them a week or so to gain momentum, it's also essential to monitor performance. If some ads are not performing, test new options. But just try one new tactic at a time (so you can be sure you're not eliminating effective elements).



Over time, you should try new messages, new audiences, or new placements. You can try options side by side, in A/B tests, or test different messages for different placements. The testing options can be overwhelming, so stay focused and carefully test one element at a time.


7. Embrace Complexity

Google display ad formats have hundreds of tools and ad types. You can start simple, but don't be scared of trying more complicated approaches and automated optimization features. Yes, complex campaigns take a little more work, focus, and determination, but that work improves results and gets you more for every dollar you spend.


8. Ask for Help If You Need It

Cup O Content handles all aspects of Google display ads (and search ads and YouTube advertising.) If you're feeling overwhelmed, contact us today. It's our job to make advertising easy to implement, easy to assess, and easy to understand. We're here to help.

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