PPC Chat Streamcap – AdWords Display Network

This week, Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro) hosted a great PPCChat with the theme of “AdWords Display Network.” The following is the transcribed Streamcap from the live chat:

Q1: How do you determine if a client is ready for Display Network advertising?

  • The clients have money, strong search conversion rates & defined audience/niche. Mostly money though. – Aaron Levy (@bigalittlea) +
    • Agree with Aaron in that client needs money to explore the Display Network. Also GDN is good for accounts that are performing well in the search network. – Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro)
  • They know their customers well enough to know their interests (outside of their own product/service). – Robert Brady (@robert_brady)
  • here site is converting off of Search (demand) traffic and they have strong/competitive Value Props. – Chris Kostecki (@chriskos)
  • Money and goals, but also can we get image ads to use on the GDN? Text only is harder. – Harris Neifield (@HarrisNeifield)
    • Good point with the image ads (and well-designed ones). – Robert Brady
      • Couldn’t agree more. GDN gets so many impressions that a bad image can be worse than no image. – Harris Neifield
  • Remember too that Display Network advertising does include remarketing, which gives you much more control. – Matt Umbro
  • Does it matter if their product or service is best seen in images? – Aaron Robb (@aaron_robb)
    • Absolutely! Would product extensions or product listing ads be the way to go first before GDN? – Matt Umbro
    • Of course. And see if search ads work too. ‘Cuz a display ad for fresh pork livers may not go over well visually. – Aaron Robb
  • Some products are a perfect fit and should be suggested like retail/etail. – Gladue (@gladue)
  • While search is great at introducing a brand, GDN (and especially remarketing) is useful for building repeat business. – Chris Kostecki

Q2: How does your ad messaging differ on the Display Network vs the Search Network? In other words, why should I click your ad and leave the content I’m looking at if I’m on a Display Network site?

  • Branding branding branding. – Aaron Robb
    • I agree with Aaron, branding! But also conversion-driven (remarketing) – Bart Schuijt (@BartSchuijt)
  • You have to pull their attention away from the content. Requires much more compelling copy/imagery. – Robert Brady
  • People on GDN aren’t actively looking for your product. Great GDN ads create a need (and a solution). – Aaron Levy
    • Such as? Example? – Matt Umbro
  • Message is dumbed down to single syllables. Not meeting demand, trying to pry them away. – Chris Kostecki
  • Remarketing messaging varies based on my custom combinations and what I know about them from those CC’s. – Harris Neifield
  • Remarketing is worth it if clicks don’t happen, as long as ur brand gets in the user’s mind for later. Hard to ROI tho. – Aaron Robb
    • I see remarketing more for ROI than brand awareness. – Matt Umbro
  • Keyword or site targeted ads contain much stronger CTA’s because you need them to click (they weren’t looking). – Harris Neifield
  • Don’t forget remarketing users have already been to your site. Convince them to come back. With free candy. – Aaron Levy
  • Say you have a homebrew company & ads are on “how to brew” articles. Don’t focus on price (a-la search), help answer “how do i…”. – Aaron Levy
  • I just know in my head all the brands that remarket to me, and I know those brands without clicking. – Aaron Robb
  • More creative messaging is huge, but some sites do a better job of placing ads where users will definitely see them vs. not. – Matt Umbro
  • You need image ads that stand out. Clear branding. Obvious CTA. – Robert Brady +++
  • Focus your ad sizes & targeting to grab that prime real estate. – Aaron Levy
    • Agreed, image ads should be created in all sizes to capture all available real estate. – Matt Umbro
  • Rich media ads work well in display. Test messaging, creative, sizes. – Melissa Mackey (@Mel66)
  • Also important to leverage add’l layers for optimization (creative, image size, placement). – Emily Las (@emlas)

Q3: Discuss a Display Network campaign that saw great success. Why do you believe it did so well?

  • Worked with client who sold very niche product, found 2 sites that talked specifically about this product, saw many conversions. – Matt Umbro
  • Every time I manage to reach relevant content, I see great results. Challenge is reaching that content w/o being too specific. – Aaron Levy
  • I’ve seen bad ones, like home builders targeting me from 500miles away. – Aaron Robb
  • We had different LP’s by campaign, so for remarketing I knew their keywords even if they bounced and could set up great CC’s. – Harris Neifield
  • I would like to address a pitfall: GDN almost always performs worse than search. – Bart Schuijt
    • Makes sense, since people are on a page they may not want to leave. – Aaron Robb
    • I strongly disagree w/ that statement. I almost always see lower cpcs & less expensive conversions using GDN – James Zolman
      • Agreed, though I tend to find lead generation campaigns see very poor quality even with higher conversion rate. – Matt Umbro
      • The pitfall is, IMO, that you measure GDN success in terms of ROI (eg), while GDN adv. has other benefits! – Bart Schuijt
        • Historically yes, search has performed better, but done right you can see great success on GDN. – Bonnie Schwartz (@bonnieschwartz)
  • Offered a comprehensive “how to” guide on sites discussing topic one piece at a time. “One ring to rule them all”. – Robert Brady
  • So in order to run a GDN campaign, define some KPIs. Some GDN campaigns perform great in terms of Conv rate. – Bart Schuijt
    • Historically yes, search has performed better, but done right you can see great success on GDN. – Matt Umbro
    • Completely different channels, hard to compare the two (except both managed through the same UI). – Chris Kostecki
  • I have yet to find a niche where I can’t make GDN profitable & scalable…maybe I haven’t been out much tho. – James Zolman
  • Hint to all PPCChat-ers. USE TOPIC TARGETING. Hybrid topic + keyword = GDN success. Just sayin’. – Aaron Levy +
  • Repeated success w/contextual targeting Trademark kws to identify parked domains,etc- then assigning custom placement bids later. – Emily Las +
  • Negative placements to tighten up quality. almost the same approach there as with search imo. – James Zolman
    • In some cases yes, also worked with clients where I’m targeting highly relevant sites and see poor quality leads. – Matt Umbro
  • Let’s talk about brand awareness vs ROI in Display Network campaigns. – Matt Umbro
  • Client sells art — Have seen great success by targeting different sites for niches that the art covers. Conv. rate is great. – Cassie Allinger (@_CassieLee_)
  • GDN did great because of little competition. SERP was flooded but got great numbers on GDN. – Luke Alley (@LukeAlley)
  • I have seen great success with GDN in the Financial Vertical – Better than search. – Bonnie Schwartz

Q4: If you see Display advertising as a means of brand awareness, how do you determine success aside from clicks & impressions? What do you define as brand awareness in the GDN?

  • Awareness campaigns should target specific Placements, not just sites. You need above-the-fold inventory etc. – Emily Las
  • All ads should go towards ROI. Even brand awareness should bring a lift in sales (tougher for a retailer, easier for a brand). – Chris Kostecki
  • I take a look at: difference in impressions and conv in the search network (same period). – Bart Schuijt
  • Using unique landers & hyepr-targeted messaging? I used to see low quality until I changed up the experience a lot. – James Zolman
  • With other words: what’s the correlation between display and search network performance? – Bart Schuijt
    • I expect the same goals in the GDN as I do search, just with more realistic expectations. Brand awareness is great, but rarely the primary goal. – Matt Umbro
      • When there’s no brand awareness, there’s no search on brand kws, therefore, brand awareness is a must. – Bart Schuijt
        • Technically yes, however, I’m looking to drive conversions not just get name out there, but I do understand your point. – Matt Umbro
  • I have seen increase in search impressions for Brand terms when GDN’s active. I would say that is a success indicator. – Lisa Sanner (@LisaSanner)
  • I’ll take Multi-channel & search funnels for $800 alex. – Aaron Levy +
  • It is hard with so many other channels, may look at social network success and new vs. returning visitors our site. – John Austin
  • Look at impression volume for brand term. If it rises and there was no other reason, it might be due to the GDN. – Harris Neifield
  • I’m in lead gen 110%. GDN ain’t easy. You bring up good points too – it is VERY hard to nail down quality. no doubt! :). – James Zolman
  • To play devil’s advocate, what is brand awareness good for if I don’t see an overall lift in sales and/or leads?. – Matt Umbro
  • Agreed- for brands, its about capturing eyeballs w/in target audience. This is why GDN ads must be HYPER-targeted :). – Emily Las
  • For long-term rather than immediate benefit. Untrackable as a direct correlation though surely? -Will Russell (@willrussell87)
  • It has to be a long-term goal. Can’t expect brand awareness to jump sales the same day. – Aaron Robb
    • No doubt, but if I’m a head honcho I expect to see results within 3 – 6 months. – Matt Umbro
      • 3 to 6 months seems reasonable online imo. – James Zolman
    • They should want a sales lift, but some head honchos will pay just to get their name out there. – Harris Neifield
    • Great point– and it’s up to us to set the clients’ expectations re: brand impact results. – Emily Las
  • The hyper targeting & fragmented budget allocation is what kills me about GDN. So hard to get statistical anything to optimize. – Lisa Sanner
  • If no other media in market, insights for search & impressions/clicks are good. If other media in market, it gets difficult. – Joseph McConellogue (@DigitalMrktr)

Q5: How has remarketing better helped your overall Display Network strategy?

  • Identifying placements where your sites audience hangs out. – Richard Fergie
    • I agree placement reports are a big benefit. – Harris Neifield
  • Lets me know that pretty much everyone, no matter the niche, goes to youtube to watch cat videos. – Aaron Levy
  • Anyone comparable success between GDN and Adcenter’s Content Network? – Luke Alley
  • Finding which creatives work with which audiences. – Chris Kostecki
  • Having remarketing available on GDN opens door to defining affinity sites/audience behavior you can leverage for new campaigns. – Emily Las
  • Remarketing helps to show how many visitors abandon your cart! – Matt Umbro
  • NO– there is no comparison and adCenter still isn’t providing enough tools/transparency to make it work. – Emily Las
    • I agree. Have only had bad experiences with it thus far. Poor traffic quality. – Luke Alley
      • MSN network is strong for some specific niches, terrible for most. Always worth a test!. – Aaron Levy
        • I agree. Underlying strategy to all PPC is test. Never one right answer. – Luke Alley
  • Your google rep can pull audience insights from remarketing audiences. Helps to pick topics, focus targeting. – Aaron Levy
  • I feel like too many PPC-ers don’t realize the value of mining audience data outside the SERPs. – Emily Las
    • Agreed! Display/media buying is so much bigger/deeper/broader than search. so much opportunity! – James Zolman
  • Anyone utilizing Y! Search retarmarketing? – Chris Kostecki
  • My clients are big brands, so its a great way to pull in users that have abandoned the site. Special offers work best. – Joseph McConellogue

Q6: When choosing Display Network placements what factors determine your selection?

  • It’s not http://t.co/hBJ8UVOs (or a parked domain). – Chris Kostecki
  • The size of the site’s traffic, is it appropriate for the brand, past experience on conversions. – Harris Neifield
    • Break em out, have campaigns/ad groups specifically focused on YT/Gmail, exclude them from general. – Aaron Levy
      • Yup but then there’s no volume in the other campaign since so much GDN traffic is from those sites. Makes bidding hard. – Harris Neifield
  • Location on the page (so it actually gets seen). – Robert Brady
    • Very good point! Page bottom ads may not ever get seen. – Aaron Robb
  • Size, relevance, “creepy factor,” how it fits into brand etc etc. – Aaron Levy
    • Can you define ‘creepy factor’??. – Aaron Robb
  • Does anyone design creatives around the placement site, I’ve been toying with the idea. – Chris Kostecki
  • Quality of site, content of site, popularity of site and just asking myself “Do I want my ads show on this site?”. – Matt Umbro
  • I typically leave it open but use generic filters/negatives: I almost always stay in the GDN top 1000, above the fold, etc. – James Zolman
  • Site demo’s (age, sex, geo), contextual relevance, and best cost per. Start bigger, and optimize out under performers. – Joseph McConellogue
    • Agree, have to refine as oppose to guessing out of the. – Chris Kostecki
  • Past experience for similar campaigns (placements & exclusions), site traffic estimates, site “quality”/gut. – Lisa Sanner
    • Absolutely need to take into account the common sense factor. – Matt Umbro
  • More applies to re-marketing, but the sort of Ad Fatigue where an ad just seems TOO targeted. More annecdotal. – Aaron Levy
    • Ahh yes I experience the fatigue often with some brands that target me. Wish ads had a ‘i’m tired of this one’ button. – Aaron Robb
      • Or an “I already bought this from another store, leave me alone!”. – Aaron Levy

Q7: What features would you like to see implemented within the Display Network?

  • One new feature that I know for a fact is coming is Product Listing Ads on the Display Network. – Matt Umbro
  • Ad formats other than Images!! Including forms, or product feeds. – Chris Kostecki
    • I believe both are coming, or at least in beta? – Cassie Allinger
    • FYI – There’s a new contextual dynamic Merchant Center feed beta for GDN. – Lisa Sanner
  • Google Plus. – Lisa Sanner
    • I think that’s being released soon! – Joseph McConellogue
  • Other than lack of extensions, I’m pretty happy on the whole. The image ad builder is terrible, but thats expected. – Aaron Levy
  • CAN-SPAM laws = tons of fun for gmail targeting. – Aaron Levy
  • XML feeds that can pull prices/offers based on geo, site target, etc. – Joseph McConellogue
  • The image ad builder is like letting a child cook a 5 course meal. – Matt Umbro
  • Extensions. – Harris Neifield
  • Don’t know if Google will ever allow 3rd party lead cap forms on SERPs. Would be cool though. – Robert Brady
  • So much of ppc is common sense. Testing is to affirm the common sense. – Stu Draper (@GetFoundFirst)

Resources

Google AdWords Editor (version as of today’s PPCChat 9.5.1)

http://www.google.com/ads/answers/

Dynamic Search Ads – Matt Umbro

The 4 Pillars of a Successful PPC Campaign – Melissa Mackey

More PPCChats

Don’t forget to stay tuned for the next #PPCchat on Tuesday at 12 noon Eastern, 9 am Pacific and 5pm in the UK. Same Chat time, same Chat channel.

Also, check out the next #PPCSpeak on Tuesday Nights at 9pm Eastern, 6pm Pacific.

Participants

Check out the PPCChat Twitter list to see and connect with all current and prior participants.

About the Author

This is a guest post by Paul Kragthorpe, Search Manager at WebRanking in Minneapolis, MN, the guy who puts the #PPCChat Streamcap together, an sem blogger, SEO Jedi in Training, Tweeting from @PaulKragthorpe, and Google+’er.

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