Google Display Ads are the visual advertisements shown when you are reading an article, scrolling Youtube, or checking your email. Normally they are plastered on the left- and right-hand margins of a web page.
Google Display Ads play an important role in raising awareness for your brand and products. Strategically placed on sites your target audience frequents, they can be an audience’s first exposure to your brand, building a relationship before the buying cycle begins. The goal is to raise brand awareness and keep your brand on the minds of consumers for when they need something you offer.
Using Display Ads is a chance to tap into and access the majority of internet users from around the world. Google’s commercial network, which includes the search engine, YouTube, and mobile apps, is used by 90 percent of internet users. This ensures can access your audience on the sites and platforms that align with your brand.
Google Display Ads can either be uploaded or responsive:
Uploaded: Uploaded ads are created outside of the Google Display Ads network and uploaded into the software. As the content creator, you have complete control of the ad appearance – which is the main difference from responsive ads. You decide the images, text and logos that appear on each ad. This also means you are responsible for creating different sized ads to fit different banner dimensions.
Responsive: Google will work with you to optimize your ads. With your Google Display Account, you will upload logos, text, images and videos that could possibly be used in your ads. Google’s machine learning will automatically produce different ads to fill slots. Over time, based on the performances of different combinations, Google will show the combinations that are producing the best results. So, although you will not have full control, responsive ads are optimized and can fit into any slot dimension.
It is important to note that both responsive and uploaded ads can use Google’s features to target specific segments. Both have access to features that target certain demographics or sites. The only differences are visual, between being fully autonomous or allowing Google to work with you.
Why Google Display Ads?
Aside from the access to the majority of internet users, Google Display Ads can play an important role in your marketing strategy and allow for a targeted approach at a reasonable price:
Exposure early in the buying cycle: Display Ads work early on to convert your audience into customers. By targeting potential customers on the third-party sites they frequent, you are establishing brand awareness before they begin the buying process for one of your product offerings.
Customizability: Google Display Ads allow you to change the parameters, so you target the specific audiences you want to. Both the demographics and context settings can be changed to target your audience where you want to:
Demographics: Google allows you to target based on variables including age, gender and parental status. Their audience feature means you can target Affinity Audiences - people who share common interests with your ideal buyers. There are also In-Market Audiences that you can target – those who are actively looking to buy.
Context: The context feature let you target by keyword and topic. Keywords mean you serve ads that are related to a specific word. For example, Ikea might use the keywords desk chair to display ads on blogs about office furniture. Or they could use the topic function. To have their ad displayed for the right audience, they could use the topic interior designing so Google knows they want their product associated with interior designing content.
Data Collection: Google Analytics can be linked to you Ads account to provide valuable insights. Their features include letting you see what sites your ads are getting the most clicks on, the ads that have the most interactions and even the times of day that see an uptick in clicks. Using Analytics reports, you can adjust your Ads account to get the best bang for your buck. They will help you change identify sites and ad banners to bid on, ad copy to run (responsive ads do this automatically) and when you should run your ads. This maximizes click rate and helps convert your audience into customers.
Drawbacks: Google Display Ads still have their shortcomings:
Time Consuming: Unlike Google Search Ads, visuals have to be designed for display ads. Search Ads just require text, meaning results will likely be faster, especially because they usually appear when customers have the intent to buy something.
Not Stand-Alone: Google Display Ads should only be one piece of your online marketing strategy. Their goal is to raise brand awareness early on in the buying cycle. To reinforce that awareness and eventually convert customers, Display Ads need a pairing – Google Search Ads or Facebook Ads.
Google Search Ads: Google Search Ads appear at the top of the results when you search a keyword. These ads are lucrative as typically when the matching keyword is searched, it means the user has an intent to buy. Search Ads offer less customizability than Display Ads as only keywords can refine your ad targeting.
Facebook Ads: Facebook’s network offers powerful options. The ecosystem includes Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. Facebook has been able to compile extensive data leading to unique marketing features including the lookalike audience feature:
Using customer data, Facebook will create a profile of previous customers. This allows the site to target users with similar attributes, leading to an effective marketing campaign.
The Truth: A mixture of all 3 marketing avenues is needed for a dynamic online advertising approach. Display ads are great for establishing a presence in the minds of customers that they can recall on when they see your ad on Facebook or as a Google search result. Using all three together builds a portfolio of customer data that can be used for a more refined and targeted approach.