How to drive impressions, clicks AND conversions from the GDN
- October 18, 2010
- by Andrew Harris
Newsflash: The GDN is a great channel for driving cheap conversions. Let me prove it.
The Google Display network, formally known as the content network was launched in 2006 and boasts some impressive stats. Google claim that the GDN has an internet user reach of 84% which captures roughly 36 million unique users across hundreds of thousands of websites.
Previously the GDN had mainly been considered by marketers as a channel which was great for driving brand exposure and cheap clicks, but poor for generating conversions and sales. I strongly believe this assumption is wrong! This stigma stems from previous performance. Many campaigns were stung with poor performance when the GDN was first launched. I have completed some analysis across many sectors and my findings highlight that the GDN can generate a lower CPA when compared to Google Search and the Search Partners.
The GDN is great for driving sales if targeted correctly. This blog highlights the techniques you should use to ensure your GDN campaign is optimised towards conversions and suggests tips on how to avoid potential pitfalls.
Newsflash: Do not use the automatic placement setting
You can target the GDN with automatic placements and management placements. Both techniques have pros and cons. The automatic placement is good for exposure, cheap clicks and brand awareness. However when seeking a good return (CPA) I recommend avoiding automatic placement and opt for manual placements instead.
Automatic placement relies on Google contextual targeting technology. Google will use your keywords within your campaign to determine which sites are “relevant” and will serve the adverts accordingly.
Tip – Run frequent placement reports to refine your exposure by excluding your relevant sites. There are many blogs available highlighting humorous examples of GDN automatic placement #Fails
The managed placement setting gives you full control over which websites you want to target. You can create a media plan, choose which adverts to search on this page, set bids and tracking and then optimise the campaign accordingly.
The Google Ad planner tool allows you to search the GDN and add specific placements based on category type, audience etc. Suitable sites can then be added to your campaign. I highly recommend this approach. Your exposure will be lower, however the more targeted approach will result in a higher CTR% and Conversion %.
Newsflash: Do not use text adverts on the GDN
My analysis indicates that image adverts will outperform text ads for most sectors. Image adverts on average will result in a 320% increase in CTR% and a 68% reduction in CPC.
This is an obvious point but still worth mentioning: image ads can grab more space on a website. They can contain long messages and stand out, giving your investment more branding opportunity and greater engagement and return.
Advertising with image/flash adverts will improve your reach on the GDN as certain sites do not accept text ads. It will also improve the volume of traffic and reduce your budget.
Therefore I recommend that you should invest in some quality animations when targeting the GDN. Do not simply recycle your text adverts from your Google Search campaigns.
Newsflash: Embrace the new targeting options. Remarketing and Audience based
Remarketing and audience based GDN targeting has been around for a long time in the display market; however its uptake has really taken off in 2010. This functionality is now available in Adwords and is a great way to target a niche audience on the GDN and is proven method of reducing cost and driving conversions. I will be blogging about remarketing and audience based targeting shortly. Watch this space3 Comments