Set up “Discovery” campaigns using relevant targeting methods and then mine the data for well performing website placements. Move top placements into a separate campaign (or ad group) and try to optimise them further.

How to Choose the right Targeting Method

  • Topic Targeting – best used for ‘Branding’
    • Topic targeting drives a ton of traffic
    • Always monitor the Web pages you get placements from
    • Continually Exclude garbage sites from your campaign
    • Stick to the more specific (granular) topic categories
    • Only use one topic per ad group – easy to understand and manage placements
    • Use this method to help uncover new placements
  • Interest Targeting– Useful in a number of different ways
    • Categories – best used for ‘Branding’
      • Nearly identical to Topic targeting, however, it targets user history, not current website categories
      • Affinity Categories – best used for ‘Branding’
        • Reach people based on their passions or hobbies
      • Custom Affinity Categories – best used for ROI
        • Reach the exact people you are looking for based on custom audience parameters
        • Combination of In-Market, Affinity, Categories & URL Placements
      • In Market Buyers – best used for ROI
        • Greatest potential for generating leads/sales
          • Only a small subset of categories are currently available

      Only use one interest per Ad Group, so it is easy to understand and optimise interests. Interest targeting is better suited for Lead-gen campaigns. 

  • Remarketing – Generate ROI from Returning Visitors
    • First step is to choose a targeting strategy
      • Run ads promoting to people who visited your site but have not taken action
      • For customers who did take action, run ads a few weeks later promoting other potential actions (accessories etc.)
      • Run a few ads per week to every visitor of your site for branding purposes
      • Run ads to all site visitors promoting a sale, special offer, new product etc.
    • Best Practice
      • Build multiple lists/audiences based on their behavior (e.g. buyers vs non-buyers)
      • Use a wide variety of ad types and sizes (be sure to split test)
      • Update Website Privacy Policy accordingly
      • Even if a remarketing campaign isn’t currently planned, put the code on the site and start building a useable list
  • Demographic Targeting – Combine & Refine
      •  Stay away from using just age and/or gender to target people on the GDN. It’s far too broad.
  • Placement Targeting – Discover websites that are related or have proven performance
      • Use the Display Planner – Enter keywords and/or a landing page URL
      • Find top Performing Placements from other targeting methods
  • Contextual Targeting – Use in combination for best results
      • Don’t run campaigns that only use this targeting method
      • Use it to cast a wide net – Should only be used for placement discovery
      • Use top 10 keywords from Search activity as GDN keywords

Strategies for mixing targeting options

When you choose two types of GDN targeting, Google will only target the segment of each audience that overlaps with the other (and, not or).

and not or circle demonstrating overlap and targeting


Commonly used mixed targeting methods:

      • Contextual + Managed placements
        • Run a Placement Performance Report and add the best performing placements from the report to a managed placement AdGroup
        • Higher bids can allow you to be shown more often on chosen placements
        • Lower the bid for problem placements that are still relevant but have a high CPA
      • Demographic Settings + Managed Placements
        • Exclude specific (irrelevant) age groups and genders
        • Increase your bids on specific age groups and genders
      • Topic targeting + Contextual
        • I.e.  Use the category: Home & Garden>Gardening & Landscaping with the keyword “roses” to target pages around rose gardens and rose gardening within the broader topic
        • Use one to three keywords when combining keywords with topics
      • Topic Targeting + Managed Placements
        • Show your ads on general, high traffic sites in front of the right audience
        • E.g. Online newspapers and information sites like can be paired with specific topics in order to serve ads on relevant sections of these broad sites

Final Tips for an optimal Display Network campaign

      • Create a new campaign for each targeting strategy
        • Easier for budget management & performance analysis
      • Use Ad Groups to segment targeting into tightly themed products / services
        • Each ad group contains a keyword list focusing on the single product theme
        • I.e. Contextual – Keywords separated into 4 smaller ad groups – Jackets, Laptops, Cookbooks, Shoes
      • Name the Campaign using {Targeting type} – {Objective}
      • Name the Ad Group using {Targeting} – {Product / Service}
      • Never run text ads only
      • Ensure most common sizes are used
        • 728×90, 300×250, 160×600, 320×50U
      • Use different formats of the same ad
        • gif, jpg, swf
      • Split out text & image ads into their own Ad Groups
      • Always use manual bidding in the initial month(s)
      • Never use auto CPC without specifying a max CPC
      • Always use a Frequency cap
        • Use Reach & Frequency report to determine cap level
      • Always exclude from all activity
      • Activate most Category Exclusions (unless struggling for volume)
      • Implement Negative keywords
        • They are just as important with Search as they are with Display


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Best Practice with Google Display, 5.0 out of 5 based on 1 rating

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