Have you mastered the art of creating and optimizing search campaigns? Are you looking for additional ways to generate traffic and leads? If so, then the display network is a great place to start.

Google Adwords Display Network

So what is the display network (previously known as the content network, and honestly, I’m still trying to get used to the name change)? It is the large collection of websites that are in a partnership with Google, and display Google Adwords Ads.

When advertising on the display network you have the choice of running text or image ads, whereas you can only run text ads on the search network. If you decide to expand your account to include image ads, the most important key is to keep your account structure organized. Search and display campaigns are two totally different beasts, and you need to manage them as such. Therefore, I highly recommend creating unique campaigns that are either targeted to search only or display only. In addition to separating search and display, you’ll also want to keep your display campaigns with text ads and your display campaigns with image ads separate. It’s important to note that each site within the display network has the ability to choose whether or not they will show image ads. Because of this, you might have identical ad groups, one with text ads and one with image ads, but you’ll see varying results.

So, are you ready to expand your account and start running image ads along with your text ads, but don’t have the creative resources to make them? Well, you’re not alone. Google has once again come up with a tool to help make our lives easier, and give advertisers of all sizes the ability to create image ads, and it’s called the display ad builder. Originally launched in October, 2008, the Adwords display ad builder lets you customize your display ads, tweaking details like color, logos, images and sizes. Since it’s inception, the display ad builder has become even more user-friendly, and has recently been enhanced to make life even easier.

Creating Ads In The Interface

  1. Choose your campaign. After logging into your account, choose the campaign for which you want to create the ad. Go to the ads tab, select New Ad, and choose Display Ad Builder.
  2. Choose Your Template. There are currently 18 templates, ranging from general to seasonal, financial to travel, so you’re sure to find one that suits your needs. For this example, I chose the Elegant 4 Template.
  3. Choose Your Ad Group(s). You can run a few tests before applying the image ad to the entire campaign. I typically try to focus on the ad groups with the most traffic so I can generate data faster, and make decisions sooner.
  4. Create Your Display Ad. Fill in the necessary data, according to the fields on the left side of the page, remember some key best practices:
    1. Use a descriptive ad name, including the size, which will help you determine the difference between the ads you create later on.
    2. The headline and description are used if an image is broken, so again, make them descriptive and be sure to include your call to action.
    3. Choose a compelling call to action on the button. Make it descriptive of the action they are taking so there is no confusion about what the next step is.
    4. Test different fonts. Sometimes display ads that contain clean fonts that look to be just like text ads perform better than those that contain colorful images.
    5. Test different sizes. Not every site will accept image ads, and those that do might allow only certain sizes. In order to open up your opportunities, create varying sizes, and use the data to help you determine which sizes work best for you and the sites you are targeting.
  5. Adjust Layout. The information added to the ad in each field can be moved to better customize your ad. This of course opens up additional testing opportunities by allowing you to tweak the placement of headlines and images to create the most impactful ads. If you’ve chosen to create multiple sizes you will have a chance to edit the layout for each of them after submitting your information.

For those of you who prefer to work within the desktop editor, you’ll be happy to know that the latest version is even more robust, and gives you the ability to make bulk edits, copy image ads from one campaign to another, and create customized image ads.

So now that you have the power to easily create, edit and upload image ads, it’s time to get started! As with all other ads, it’s important to continue testing all aspects of your ads from your headline to display URL. Experiment with background colors, and fonts. Change the location of your logo to see where it has the most impact. You can even test image ads that look like text! No matter what you’re testing, remember to use the data that you already have in your account. Using copy from your most successful search ads is a great place to start, especially when you’re strapped for time and not feeling very creative.