20 Sep 2011
AdWords Display Targeting Revealed
Does specific ad position effect user response? Are you getting the most out of your bids in term of placement? These are questions that you should ask yourself when deciding how to target your audience on the Google Display Network.
With the Google Display Network reaching nearly 70% of unique Internet users spanning the globe, you need to make informed decisions about how to reach your appropriate audiences. Placements describe the location that your ad appears on the Google Display Network. Placements can be defined as an entire website, a series of select pages from that site, or an ad unit on a singular page. Google offers many ways to target these placements, the main ones being by automatic placements, managed placements and excluded placements.
An automatic placement uses contextual targeting, meaning that it measures the context of your keyword list and places the ad next to relevant content on the web. For example, if you have created an ad group to advertise an Organic Grocery Delivery service, AdWords will use contextual targeting to make sure that your ad automatically shows up on pages with the same themes and offerings.
A Managed Placement is one that is restricted and manually controlled by the AdWords advertiser. You can choose more specific sites where you want your ad to appear based on unique bids that you place and sites that you restrict. This is a more involved process, but if you have a very specific target audience that you’re trying to reach, it can be beneficial to have the added control.
Excluded Placements take the restrictions of the Managed Placements a step further by allowing you to restrict specific positions where you do not want your ad to run.
To alleviate some of the stress of having to decide these specifics, AdWords has developed the Placement Tool. The Placement Tool can be accessed from the Reporting and Tools tab in your account.
When the Placements Tool opens, you’ll have the ability to enter specific phrases or URL’s where you choose for your ads to appear. Click the search button, and from the returned results, decide which placements you would like to add to your campaign. For further restrictions, click “Advanced Options” where you can choose to narrow your search by country, language, specific web user demographics, and more. You can always see results with your updated criteria by clicking categories and searching again.
This March, Google introduced a new platform for display targeting, called topic targeting. This approach relies less on individual keywords and more on the overall content of a website or webpage when determining placements. Google’s system examines the terms on a page to generate a page topic. This type of targeting can be utilized in a much broader sense by determining a more thematic advertising message. To use topic targeting in a more refined sense it can also be used in combination with refined keyword, placement and audience targeting.
And that finally brings me to audience targeting. It doesn’t take an AdWords guru to realize that Google is taking notes on users around the web. You’ve certainly run into ads related to your interests, even when you’re browsing a page that has nothing to do with that topic. Google has been compiling web user profiles since 2009, and now it’s your turn to take advantage of this discreet reporting. Maybe it sounds a bit like Big Brother, but using behavioral category targeting can be a fine tactic to reach your audience.
Visit the audience tab within your AdWords account to start examining the interests of potential customers. After you have selected your appropriate Ad Group, select the add audiences button to browse a variety of Interest Categories for your ads. Based on the information Google has in their system, you can make your ads appear on pages that have been tracked as interesting to specific users.
By using the new Custom Combinations feature within audience targeting, you can even link categories of users to remarketing lists to reach customers who have previously visited your site, but never made a purchase. It is a helpful way to make contact with new business, without overtly bugging recent conversions.
Again Google has found ground breaking and innovative ways to reach potential customers. Now not only can you use content to meet your sales matches, but you can delve even deeper into Google’s tracked database of behavioral categories. Ultimately, the way that you reach your audience is entirely customizable; now it’s up to you to make efficient targeting decisions to get the most out of your campaigns.