Optimizing for AdWords Display Campaigns: Demographics, Ads, Mobile

For campaigns running on AdWords’ Google Display Network (GDN), advertisers will likely have various goals and results. For branding and awareness, ad impressions and reach will be the key metric to track. For sales and conversion goals, more targeted campaigns with higher click-through rate (CTR) and conversions will be the goal.

There are several other options, so optimizing display campaigns can make all the difference. Consider the following tips when rolling up your sleeves for optimizations:

Demographics

Layer demographics targeting into any campaign for more accuracy in reaching your audience. In the AdWords demographics tab, you will see a chart that shows the demographic stats of your audience based on clicks, impressions, or conversions. Pay special attention to how the stats change as the drop-down is changed. The audience may vary slightly from who is targeted (impressions) vs. who actually clicks or converts.

display-demographics

Based on stats and goals, there are several optimization actions that can be taken like exclusions, bid maximums, or destination URLs. Use this for improving campaign customization. For example, say your product has slightly different messages for men and women. Send each to different landing pages to see how that may impact results.

Text Ads on GDN

Text ads on the display network have evolved into a simplified format with easier readability for mobile users. Oftentimes the ads will be displayed with the title and description lines one and line two. With this, a dotted scroll area reveals a display URL when user clicks. There is also a large button with arrow. The clickable areas in the ad are the headline, button, and the display URL on “page 2” of the ad.

text-ads-gdn

On mobile, it appears as you scroll down the page in the browser, the ad does automatically advance to the destination URL, otherwise it appears to be the same as desktop.

mobile-ads-gdn

Text ads in display may need slightly different approach than text ads in search. To optimize for text ads on GDN:

  • It may be more powerful to combine lines one and two into one-sentence messaging to get the key point across.
  • If brand is important, don’t rely on the display URL to provide brand cues. Instead, use it in the headline so it is most visible with the larger font and in blue.
  • Likewise, since the headline is most visibly, try using the call-to-action or top selling point in the text ad.

Mobile Display and Mobile App Serving

As I noted in my post “5 PPC Settings That Can Sabotage Success,” sometimes an influx of impressions in your display campaign and a reduction in conversion rate can mean the ads are appearing on mobile apps. This can happen in almost any campaign targeting, even campaigns that have a -100 percent bid modifier to opt out of mobile because the ads will still appear on tablets. Often the apps have little to do with your product or service. Typically users are busy actively engaging in the app, not in ads.

Mobile placements may not be appropriate for advertisers who do not have a mobile-friendly website and neglected to optimize for this.

mobile-ad-to-landing-page

There are a few ways to control this:

  1. Site category options allow advertisers to exclude categories such as sensitive content or type of placement. In this area, look for “in-game” (online and mobile app games where ads are shown within the game) and GMob mobile app non-interstitial (banner ad slots in GMob mobile apps) and consider excluding them.
  2. Using a -100% on mobile will exclude apps and mobile websites, so consider this as an option, too. It will not exclude apps on tablets.
  3. In placement exclusions, entering in adsenseformobileapps.com should exclude apps on mobile and tablet without impacting mobile websites.
  4. Exclude individual placements apps. Start with analyzing results to determine which are relevant to ads and which ones are not and exclude as appropriate. For example, children’s apps if they are not appropriate but all other app placements are OK.

The display network can be a challenging territory to traverse, but optimizations in based on goals for different campaigns elements can be very effective in fine-tuning results. Optimization possibilities are endless, so what are your tips and tricks to improve GDN performance? Tell us in the comments or tweet at @sewatch or @LisaRocksSEM.

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