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Optimize Your Site Lists On The Google Display Network

For the past month, this column has focused on the non-search triggered ad inventory available to you from search engines. Google AdWords offers two such products: content targeting (appearing on sites relevant to keywords you specify) and placement targeting (choose sites and placements for your ads to appear). The arena of these ads is the Google Display Network (GDN), the world’s largest adverting network with the potential to reach 70% of the internet audience in over one hundred countries and in twenty languages. Needless to say, there’s a lot of opportunity in the GDN. As a search marketer, it’s expected that you have competency in this channel and know how to leverage it efficiently.

So, you’ve created your managed placement (placement targeted) and your automatic placement (content targeted) campaigns. Now what?

Generate A Placement Report

Use the placement report to analyze the performance of your ads that have appeared on sites within the GDN. With this information, you can optimize your placements and improve your return on investment. You can still go to the Report tab and create a custom reports, but to download these tables as placement reports from within the UI, follow these steps:

  • Login to your AdWords account and click the campaigns tab.
  • Click the networks tab. If you want to limit the report’s focus to a particular campaign or ad group, click the name of the campaign or ad group in the left navigation panel.
  • Expand the tables for managed placements and automatic placements by clicking the show details links in the display network section. Apply columns and filters to customize the data tables with the data that interests you the most.
  • You can download either (or both) the managed placements or automatic placements depending on whatever you want to focus on.
  • Try clicking the see URL list menu in each table. To download all the URLs for all the placements in the tables, select all in the menu. Otherwise, select the checkboxes for the placements you’d like to analyze and choose selected in the menu.

Use The Placement Report To Optimize

Once you have the data in front of you, it should become obvious which sites and URLs are performing well and which ones are budget wasters. For example, if a site has appeared very often in your campaign and hasn’t driven any conversions, there’s a good chance that site might be draining the budget. However, for the sites/URLs that are driving performance, you could raise your bids so that you appear more often in those placements. You may even want to split those placements into their own campaign so you can watch them closely and fund them separately.

If you do want to exclude any sites, in the networks tab, click the checkbox next to the placements you wish to stop running on and click the exclude placements option. However, sometimes there will be so many sites that you’ll not want to do it in the UI but rather in a text document or spreadsheet. In these cases, click the exclusions option at the bottom of the page and you can navigate to text boxes where you can copy and paste the list of excluded placements from Excel (or other tool).

Tips From Google

Google offers these essential tips for using the placement report to optimize your GDN campaigns:

Think in terms of conversions. When taking action on information provided in the report, we recommend you rely on conversion data to guide you. This will help you understand how individual sites are converting for you.

Focus on the sites where your ads have accrued the most traffic. In your report, focus on the areas that matter the most by initially sorting the data by fields such as “clicks” or “cost.” This will help you focus on the domains or URLs where your ads are getting the most exposure.

Act only on statistically significant data. Some sites may have little data associated with them in your report. For example, you may notice sites that accrued very few impressions, while others may have accrued many impressions, but only a few clicks. In these cases, we recommend waiting for enough data to accrue before taking action on these sites. With time, you may find that these sites convert and deliver significant value once enough statistics have accumulated.

Don’t focus on clickthrough rate. Don’t worry if your clickthrough rate (CTR) on display network sites is lower than what you’re used to seeing on the search network. It’s normal for CTR to be lower on the display network because user behavior on display network pages is different than on search sites—users on sites are browsing through information, not searching with keywords. Remember the following:

  • Just because you have a low CTR on a display network site doesn’t mean you’re performing poorly.
  • In keyword-targeted campaigns, you only pay for clicks, regardless of the number of impressions your ad may receive.
  • Your ad performance on the display network doesn’t affect your performance, cost-per-clicks (CPCs), or position on Google.com or on other pages in the Search Network.
  • For these reasons, we recommend that your conversion tracking data and ultimately your ROI, not your CTR, is the true performance gauge for your ads.

PPC Academy is a comprehensive, one-year search advertising course from beginning to end. Starting with the basics, PPC Academy progressively explores all of the varied facets of paid search, and the tactics needed to succeed and become an advanced paid search marketer.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

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