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Mini Tutorial: Display Ads across the Google Display Network

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One feature of Google Adwords is the ability run display ads across a network of sites known as the “Google Display Network“. Nothing new here, because as a Search Engine Marketer, you should already know this. Just like any other marketing tactic online, you should approach this with a strategy in mind that is easy to build out and execute.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the tools and features of building a strategic display campaign.


If you work with Google Adwords, right from the beginning you have the option of running ads on the Google Search/Search Partners network, and the Display Network. Now here is a little tactic I am going to give away. If you are planning on a display campaign, narrow the campaign to the Display Network (thanks Captain Obvious).

Essentially this is going to decrease your number of impressions and target the sites most relevant to your campaign. A lot of advertisers are convinced that the more impressions, the more traffic, and therefore more sales. Prove me wrong, but with no targeting strategy your going to increase your reach to a target audience not quite within your target market. Not too good if you are paying per 1,000 impressions. Think cost people, come on!

Ad Dimensions

Depending on the website, Adwords accepts various dimensions of ads to display. Those dimensions are:

Size & Type

320 × 50 – Mobile leaderboard
468 × 60 – Banner
728 × 90 – Leaderboard
250 × 250 – Square
200 × 200 – Small square
336 × 280 –  Large rectangle
300 × 250 –  Inline rectangle
120 × 600 –  Skyscraper
160 × 600 –  Wide skyscraper

Understand what dimensions are going to get the most visibility and increase your Click Through Rates (CTRs). The only way to find out is by testing it.

Display Keywords

Display keywords relate to your brand, product or service. They are very relevant when running display PPC text ads across the display network because people run searches across the entire web. For display ads, display keywords act as a trigger for what sites are more relevant to your ads.

Choose your keywords carefully for efficient click through rates, as impressions are usually a lot more high when running display ads.


The Placement Tool is very useful for narrowing down your selection of sites you wish your ads to appear. In order to access this tool you need to go to the “Tools and Analysis” tab, and select the placement tool.

If you want to be very specific, the placement tool allows you to enter relevant keywords to your product offering, and also a category. Let’s say you sell Snowboard Apparel.

What this will do is give back results of sites that you can choose as a placement. What’s important here to note is whether or not the site accepts text or image ads.

The tree icon indicates Image, the note icon indicates Text Ads.

Display Network Targeting

Your other targeting methods are found directly in the campaigns. Make sure you have access to the display network tab which you may need to enable, otherwise by default it should be listed once you create your campaign.

Once in this tab, a second line of tabs will appear under these main tabs. These are you Display Network targeting options.

In these settings is where you can manage your placements, display keywords, topics and any remarketing lists you have created in the past.


My final remarks are very straight forward, and very obvious. Like any other marketing campaign, it requires strategy, implementation, and on-going maintenance. Gone are the days when putting up a billboard requires commitment to a certain time frame and ‘guestimating’ the results. Keep a close eye on your campaigns, and use the data provided in your Google Analytics, Webmaster and Adwords accounts to efficiency maximize your marketing dollars spent and ROI.

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