Display is a big, scary ocean of impressions. Like this:


For an account that’s measured on direct response, and probably ROAS: that’s terrifying. How are you going to sail your way through the choppy waters and avoid Cthulhu monsters to find your conversions while maintaining ROAS? Here’s three tactics for your Display efforts that will help!

1. Dynamic Display Images

Here’s Google’s little spiel about this ad innovation in AdWords. Here’s the rundown of what it does for your account:

  • Link to your Google Merchant Center, which will automatically keep products featured in your ads up to date.
  • Show different stuff to people based on whatever you want, automatically. For instance, show an ad that uses the Yen and is written in Chinese for people located in China. Show the call-to-action “Use our lay-away program, now” to people on sites with the keywords “frugal”, “save money”, “budgeting”, etc.
  • Dynamic Remarketing! (My total favorite thing). You can show people the exact thing they were looking at before leaving your site. Even show them what’s been abandoned in their cart and offer 10% off if they just come back and buy it!

There are all kinds of cool features to dynamic image ads for Display. Some of them are just time savers, but others can really improve performance. All reports I’ve read about dynamic remarketing is that it brings anywhere from decent to amazing increases in conversion rates. Using dynamic ads will give you a chance to show the exact right thing to the exact right person (considering you’ve set everything up well).

There are some technical aspects of getting into this program that you’ll need to meet, so contact your Google rep to discuss.

Other options for dynamic ads come from third party services. Fetchback & Ad Roll are two services that provide retargeting services outside of the Google Display Network & also use dynamic retargeting. These options are great if you can’t get into the Google program for some reason or if your client wants a much larger audience to retarget to.

2. Segmented contextual targeting

Since the first two tactics are really focused on getting a Google rep or third party involved, I thought I’d have a third one that anyone with a Google AdWords account can use!

  1. Contextual targeting has come a long way, baby. We now have keyword by keyword data, so the functionality of managing contextual Display campaigns is much more similar to Search. But, that scary ocean is still looming, and contextual targeting is only as targeted as you make it. While targeting super general keywords like “necklaces” might totally work in Search for your account, that could open up a whole world of spammy ickness on the Display Network. So, here are a few ways to get great results by segmenting your contextually targeted campaigns:
  • Pair contextual keyword lists with placements.

Use the GDN planner to find placements based on all kinds of stuff like site category, audience, or even using keywords. For instance, if you sell a supplement that body builders use, look for sites they use. Even better if you can find site they use to research information about supplements.Screen shot 2013-02-04 at 12.02.48 PM

You can see that I added, under “site content” to look for the keyword “supplement” and under “topics”, I picked “bodybuilders”. Then, the ad planner spits out a list of sites they feel match my requirements along with stats about the sites. It’s then up to me to figure out which sites really match what I’m targeting and seem like legit sites.
After compiling my list of sits I want to target, I’d get my contextual keywords together. These keywords will make sure my ads are targeting the pages on these sites that I want to target. So, instead of targeting all of BodyBuilding.com, my contextual keyword list will make sure I only target pages on that site that are about supplements. This lets me target my key demographic while they are actively seeking information about the type of product I sell. Bada-Bing!

  • Use contextual keywords to target the type of site that converts well for you.

If you’d rather cast a wider net than just hand-picking placements to target, use keywords to target the type of site you want. I’ve found sites that show the users is still in the research phase work well. Using a keyword list to target review sites should do well. Keywords like “supplement review” or even the specific product you sell and review should target reviews of that product. Doing lots of placement reports to weed out the bad placements will be important, though!

  • Contextually target sites talking about competitors that you convert well for.

If you’ve found you do well in Search when people search for a competitor, perhaps because you have better price points or a more conversion optimized site, then use this strategy on the GDN! Setting up a contextual keyword list with your competitor’s brand name will target sites about your competitor. Make sure to call out the key features that make you better than them in your ads! Placement reports will be important here as well!

The great thing about Display is that you can layer all of this stuff, too! Maybe using dynamic ads to target sites that review your competitors works out best for you! The only way to know is to test, test, test! Then, you’ll be well on your way to this: