AdWords Display Network Hacks You May Not Know

Common Adwords Management Mistakes You Should Avoid

Display advertising has a lot of potential but rife with challenges. These challenges often involve ad performance. Thankfully, there are hacks that advertisers for Google Adwords Display Network (GDN) can take advantage of.


Site Category Options

Site Category Options and Exclusions



Site category options allow you to include or exclude different types of Display Network sites, content, and ad placements. You can filter out categories of sites, apps, and videos that you don’t want your ad to appear or exclude whole categories that generate low traffic.


Advertisers can easily miss these options but these are actually important especially in optimizing AdWords display campaigns. Filtering categories in the sensitive content options can save your brand from appearing or being associated with the inappropriate content.


Ad Type Testing and Comparison

You can only run text and banner ads on the Display Network. One common mistake is running only one type of ad (mostly just text ads) without testing and comparing the performance of the two types. The comparison and evaluation of ad types should be based on bounce rate, time on site, and cost per conversion.


Also, include a label in the ad group name ([Text] or [Banner]) indicating the type of ad. This is to make it easier to use filters for ad groups later on.


Placement Report

google adwords Placement Report


You will find the specific placements and URLs that triggered your ads in the placement report tab. Here, you can exclude low-performing placements and replace it with high-performing placements. But first, you need to evaluate the ads’ performance on these placements. Then target high-performing ad placements in ad groups.


Targeting Methods

You can target websites on the display network through four methods: keywords, placements, topics, and interests. Most advertisers aren’t aware that they can combine these four targeting methods in one ad group.


If you target websites through keywords, AdWords would consider the contextual relevance of ad placements to the keywords in an ad group. With placements, on the other hand, you select the exact ad placements. Topics would allow you to target websites based on broad or specific topics. Interests targeting is more about the websites’ user demographic than the website itself. Keywords make an excellent combination with the other methods since it can narrow down your ad placements.

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Demographic Targeting

Google Adwords Demographic Targeting



You can check an ad campaign’s overall demographic performance under “Demographics”. Data is divided into three performance tabs: gender, age, and parent status. You can target specific demographic categories and add it to an ad group or copy it to other ad groups. Then, exclude low-performing demographics. You can also narrow or widen your targeting by either excluding or including the “Unknown” category. The “Unknown” category is a default demographic. It refers to the audience with unspecified demographic data or websites that opted out of demographic targeting.



Device-Specific Targeting

adwords mobile device targeting



Some advertisers miss on a lot of possibilities in running mobile device-specific display campaigns. You can target different mobile device types (tablet or smartphone), operating systems, device models, mobile carriers, wireless networks and even specific ad inventories.


“Display Network Only” ad campaigns are optimized for mobile by default. But you can actually target desktop computers (computers are defined as any device with screens larger than 7 inches) with the use of device-specific targeting. You can also set your ad campaigns to run in device-specific ad inventories only.


Display Network Optimization Summary

There are lots of ways to optimize traffic in mobile display network campaigns but here are a few points that summarize some of those we discussed so far:

  • Run a desktop display campaign with all mobile bids set to 100%
  • Run a mobile display campaign with a device-specific target.
  • Pay close attention and monitor your display network campaigns.

google display network

Mustapha Ajermou
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