There are several forms of online advertising – and all of them have a place in your digital marketing strategy. Google display ads are a key part of this strategy because they serve a few important purposes in growing your business through the power of marketing. When used correctly, they’re a critical tool. But too often, they’re misused or overlooked. Let’s discover how, when, and why you should add display ads to your digital advertising plans.
What Are Google Display Ads?
Google display ads are a part of the GoogleAds (formerly Google AdWords) network. While Google search ads appear on the Google search page itself, display ads appear on other websites as a combination of images and text. They’re also often called banner ads, though they can be any shape.
Google display ads appear on any site that is part of the GoogleAds network. You can select who you would like to see your ads in a wide variety of ways. You can choose people by demographics, like age and gender, or audiences, like interests or what they’re looking to purchase. Display ads also let you retarget customers who have already interacted with your business.
Why Do You Need Display Ads?
Display ads lack the very high click-through rates of search ads. This is because with search ads, buyers have very high buyer intent – they’re searching because they’re ready to make a purchase. That translates to high click-through and conversion rates because you don’t need to do much persuading.
But that doesn’t mean display ads aren’t valuable. They just serve a different purpose.
Keeping Your Business Top of Mind
Most leads and prospects won’t purchase your products or services they first time they visit your website. They wait to do additional research, to compare prices, or they just get distracted. They might even visit your website, load up their shopping cart, and abandon the page and their cart suddenly. It doesn’t mean they weren’t interested – they just weren’t quite ready to make a purchase.
For prospects like this that have shown interest, they just need some reminding and a few nudges to become customers. That’s where display ads are valuable. They allow you to remind consumers of the great products they just saw, sometimes with an enticing offer. Google lets you do this by retargeting – capturing enough info from your site visitors to follow them around the web with your ads. When you put a pair of running shoes into a virtual shopping cart, leave the site without making a purchase, and see those shoes following you around the internet all day – that’s retargeting.
Increase Awareness of Your Brand
Display ads aren’t just useful for prospects who have already interacted with your website, though. They are also a great tool to drive brand awareness among people who have never heard of you but would probably be interested in your product.
Why are display ads such a great tool for brand awareness? Because they offer an opportunity for a strong visual statement. Unlike search ads, which are mostly text, you can use display ads to create a visual signature for your brand. This could be through the use of compelling images, strong and contrasting colors, or pictures of people.
And creating brand awareness is most useful if you can refine your audience to your ideal customers. Google display ads allow you to do this through Google’s targeted audiences. That running shoe company we referenced above? They can target their ads to people who have running as an interest, and include other sports too. Or they can target a specific age and gender if they know those are the people who are more likely to buy their shoes.
How Google Display Ads Work
Creating Your Ads
Google display ads are easy for even a company with no graphic designers or web developers on staff to use. Ads come in two types: uploaded and responsive. If you’re a large company with a whole marketing department, you might opt for the uploaded option. This allows you the most control over what your final ads look like, as you must create an ad for each size of ad space and mobile devices. If you’d like to design your ads yourself, you can use free mobile apps like Canva to create beautiful ads according to your vision.
But this is a lot of work for smaller businesses. That’s why Google has a responsive display ads option. You will enter in short and long headlines, a short description, your logo, and a few images (and video if you have it). Then, Google will create and optimize an ad for each page to fit whatever device and ad space you have. Your description often won’t be included due to space restrictions, so make sure your images and headlines tell a story on their own.
Buying Your Ad Space
Google display ads run on a live bidding system, much like their search ads. When you’re eligible to place an ad on a web page (according to your targeting parameters), your ad will automatically be placed into an auction for space on that page with your competitors. Your ad’s position on the page is determined by your maximum cost-per-click bid and your Quality Score – a measure of the relevance of your keywords and the quality of your ad.
Since display ads are less effective at getting immediate conversions than search ads because of the buyer intent factor, they cost much less than those search ads.
Converting Clicks to a Sale
Getting your ads up and running isn’t all you need to do to maximize your success with Google display ads. After all, the ads are just one part of your marketing strategy. Once a prospect clicks through your ad, the journey to a sale has just started.
You can increase your conversion rate by ensuring your landing pages for your ads match the look, feel, and keywords of your ads. You want the experience to be as seamless as possible for your prospects. That way, they don’t get confused or frustrated before they can make a purchase.
Measuring Your Results
Every ad campaign must have a plan to measure results once the campaign is launched. Google will help you do a lot of this work – they have sophisticated analytics in place. But you need to regularly access them and check if you’re achieving your goals, and see what’s working well and what needs to be changed.
You should look at your bid amounts for your ad groups or campaigns regularly. That’s because you can adjust the amount you’re bidding on each one. Try setting your max bid higher on better-performing ad groups, and lowering it on ads that aren’t getting you big results.
Looking at your Google Analytics reports for referral traffic can give you more ideas for websites to target for advertising. Your Referral report will tell you which websites drive traffic to your site. This is important because it gives you insight into which sites have audiences that could benefit from your product or service. Try targeting those sites for ads and see how they do – you already know they have a relevant audience.
Driving Your Success
Google display ads are a key part of a thoughtful and comprehensive digital marketing strategy. If you know your digital marketing needs work but don’t have the time to do it yourself, give ContentFirst.Marketing a call. We work with you to build a strategy that matches your business goals, targets your ideal customers, and gets you real results you can measure. Grow your business with us today.