Google Display Network offers affordable advertising channel

The Google Display Network delivers digital advertising to about 2 million websites and furnishes content to about 90 percent of the world’s Internet users. That’s massive: almost three billion people by the latest calculation. Whether you’re a small business or a huge multinational corporation, the opportunity to reach people in the furthest (and closest) reaches of the Internet is something to take seriously.

What is the Google Display Network?

Google runs two advertising networks through their Adwords platform: the Search Network and the Display Network. You’ve probably already used the Search Network. You know, it’s the big rectangle on Google where you type your search query and ads show up at the top of the results page. Search advertising is great because users are already displaying intent with their search terms.

The Display Network plays a different role. It delivers banner-type ads to third-party pages that support Google advertising. You’ve probably seen these ads on popular news sites, on Youtube videos and on popular shopping sites. Though the Display Network is a more-passive form of advertising (users are just browsing sites when they come across your banner ad), these ads are incredibly important for brand awareness and loyalty, and for converting Internet users at a different stage in the buying cycle.

What are the benefits of GDN?

The Display Network has certain advantages over the Search Network. For starters, clicks are generally much cheaper on the Display Network. Cost per Click (CPC) in the Search Network for competitive businesses such as  lawyers, insurance and mortgages can cost upwards of $100. Those same ads in the Display Network will costs more like $10. Plus, if you consider the number of impressions you get, these ads are like very visible billboards in urban areas.

Additionally, the GDN allows you to control where your ads appear, so that you can hone in on the Internet users that you really want to target. If you’re a caterer, then you can display ads on local wedding planning blogs, or on common wedding venue rental sites. The GDN also allows you to “retarget” previous visitors, reminding them about your service or products even as they navigate away from your site.

What are some drawbacks?

Display Network advertising is more passive. It’s suited for awareness and gentle reminders, and works best when it’s part of a bigger strategy that also includes targeted search ads.

Tips for advertising using the Google Display Network

• Use a combination of Search Network and Display Network.

The best strategies for digital advertising include Search Network advertising along with Display Network advertising. Think of display advertising as a way of slowly pulling in customers from various sites so they get closer and closer to conversion.

• Consider retargeting in your Display Network buy.

Retargeting is a great way to dip your feet into the Display Network. By displaying ads to people who have already visited your site before, you can make sure that you’re not wasting ad money on those with no interest in your business.

• Experiment, experiment, experiment.

Always retain part of your budget for experimentation (and fun!) Diversify where your ads are displayed, what type of ads you use (text, image and animation), and what the message is. Experimentation is the surest way to find what will connect to your niche audience.

Laurie Macomber is owner of Fort Collins-based Blue Skies Marketing. Reach her at 970-689-3000.