The Display network is a beast. This is just a fact. An even truer fact is that Display will run away with your budget and CPA if you let it. We had a recent request at PPC Hero for some ideas on how to decrease CPA in the Display network, and I figured…let’s just cover some basics that may be getting missed in a panic, as well as a few in-depth options. And I mean, why not make it a perfectly rounded list of 10, right? Hi, my name is Kayla and I have a listing problem. (“Hi, Kayla.”) Ok let’s get to it!

  1. Segment by network – this may seem like a fairly obvious way to help manage Display CPA’s, but you’d also be surprised at the number of accounts I’ve seen just in the last two months with Search and Display combined. Many verticals see higher CPA’s through the Search network, so pulling Display traffic out in to its own campaigns could instantly show some different (read: lower) CPA’s in Display.
  2. Segment by device – this is actually applicable to all networks, but splitting mobile Display traffic from laptop/desktop traffic is a great way to decrease Display CPA’s. Speaking broadly, any specific segmenting you can do will make it easier to decrease CPA’s effectively and correctly because different traffic sources behave differently. When it comes to mobile, CTR and conversion rates are usually lower, so having that traffic lumped with other devices could be driving up CPA on laptop and desktop devices.
  3. Segment by geography – yes, more segmenting! In an account we’re running for a client, we noticed that we had some spiking CPA’s in a campaign targeting multiple regions with similar audiences/languages/etc. When we broke down that regional traffic by specific country, we saw that a couple countries were solely responsible for the increasing CPA’s. Upon segmenting each country in to its own campaign, we were able to manage CPA by each country and bring down CPA’s in all of them.
  4. Exclude underperforming placements and categories – again, this may seem fairly simple in terms of Display network management, but more and more accounts I look at lately have ignored this aspect of the network and just how quickly bad placements can run through budget. Set up thresholds for how much a placement can cost you without converting and when it gets there, exclude it. Further, you can exclude entire categories of pages to eliminate wasted budget on a slightly larger scale.
  5. Move solid placements to managed – if you’ve found a particular placement that is working well, but now you’re seeing a slight increase in CPA, move it to your managed placements and set different parameters for it from the rest of your automatic placements.
  6. Remarketing – honestly feel like I’m preaching to choir quite a bit on this one, but set up audiences and start a remarketing campaign. These consumers have already interacted with your brain in some way and are therefore prone to higher conversion rates (aka: lower CPA’s).
  7. Keyword addition – once upon a time, there was no ability to or reason for adding keywords to your Display campaigns. However now, you can add keywords and ask the engine to target those pages that align best with the included keywords, not just based on what the engine is guessing your campaign is relevant to. This essentially just refines the scope of who you’re trying to reach and leads to the most relevant traffic finding you/converting.
  8. Dayparting – it seems as if more people run to the option of implementing dayparting for Search network campaigns, but tend to forget when it comes to the same feature for Display campaigns. The data is the data and if you’ve not converted from hour X to hour Y in 6 months and are spending budget there, set dayparting to decrease bids or shut off during those hours altogether.
  9. Topics/ICM targeting – obviously opening up your Display campaigns to the entire Display network (even with keyword addition) can get hairy. Dig down in to the Topics and Interest Categories available that fit your industry, vertical or audience and target those pages specifically in their own Display campaigns. Generally you will see lower CPA’s on these pages based on increased relevancy to your brand.
  10. Text/image ad rotation & testing – this is another aspect of management that just seems to get neglected on the Display network. If you’ve started to see an increase in CPA for your Display campaigns, it may be time to experiment with new messaging in your text and/or image ads. Which brings me to another point: are you running image ads? Those usually see greater response, but make sure you’re covering all the size options or you could end up missing out on potentially beneficial placements.

There it is! A solid list of 10 ways you could get in your accounts today and begin decreasing CPA in the Display network. What have you done outside of this list that has assisted in bringing down CPA’s for the Display network? Have you tried any of the ones I’ve mentioned and had it NOT work? Share your ideas, thoughts, and experiences with us below! Thanks for reading!