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Step-By-Step: Choosing AdWords Placements

Continuing from last week’s introduction to placement targeting post, today we’ll discuss how you can set up one of these campaigns for your own account.

Campaign Set Up

Follow my Step-By-Step: Create An AdWords Content Campaign post from a few weeks ago to create campaigns, ad groups and ads. The big difference here is that you won’t be using the automatic placement option to have AdWords marry your ads up to relevant content around the web using your keyword ad groups. Instead, for placement targeting, you’re going to choose the managed placement option and then pick the sites and placements that you’d like to buy with your advertising budget. Remember, the best practice is to not mix search and display targeting together, so when building your campaigns, do not check the Google search box. Within your campaign settings, scroll to the Networks, devices, and extensions section, click “let me choose” under networks, and make sure that the display network box is checked.

The Placement Tool


Last week’s article briefly touched on the placement tool which is the AdWords screen to allow you to find placements and sites for your ads. Here are some of the ways that you can use this tool to find great placements.

Look through the list. Google classifies all of their sites and placements by category. On the left side of the page, feel free to simply drill down to sub-segments such as Arts & Entertainment -> Entertainment Industry -> Film & TV Industry if you’re selling supplies to movie makers. Or, if you sell fishing equipment, the sites under Hobbies & Leisure -> Outdoors -> Fishing brings up sites in the network such as fishingbuddies.com, ohiogamefishing.com, and bigfishtackle.com.

Determine placement types. You can filter your list by choosing one or multiple placement types under the site list. The available options are site, video, feed, game, mobile or audio.

Target word, phrase or website. In the middle of the tool interface you can search for relevant sites using words, phrases or even by website URL. You can check to see if a site you would like to advertise on is available or get suggestions for sites with similar content.


The results section of the tool shows you sites that match your various search criteria. You will either be shown sites (where you would run across all inventory on that site) or placements which are specific sections such as michigan-sportsman.com » Forums pages,Multiple locations. Alongside each site or placement name in the table will be the placement type, the estimated daily impressions available, and most importantly, what kind of ad formats the site will accept. Google display network ads can be text, image, video or rich media format; however most sites will only accept text or image ads.

You can choose your placements using the check box next to each placement name and either add them directly into an existing campaign or download the list so you can easily paste them in to the networks tab by clicking show details next to the managed placements option under the display network section.

Refine Your Search

Google suggests trying the following options to further refine your search. First, open advanced options to further refine your search by: country, language, estimated display network impressions per day, or web user demographics. You can add multiple filters to your search.

Relevant categories will be highlighted in bold to the left. However, you can still select and explore non-highlighted categories.

Check or uncheck the placement types boxes beneath the available categories to further refine your search in the main browser pane. To see results after checking a box, you must click on a category to trigger an updated search using your new criteria.

Click filters and views above the results table to customize the columns you see within your results data. You can use these filters to review demographic data, ad sizes, ad types, and estimated impressions per day.

Check out the Google display network site to learn more about Google’s proprietary ad network and get information about their publishing partners. One of the cool tools on this page is that you visually go through some of the available sites and learn more about their inventory.


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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