Why Should I Use Adwords Display Advertising?

Google’s Display Network accounts is 20% of all AdWords traffic, and it reaches an astonishing 92% of all Internet users in the US. However, it’s not only the reach of the network that’s so impressive, it’s the ability to target users in a variety of ways that creates such a potentially lucrative platform for marketers.

Display Ad Formats

It’s a common misconception that the Display Network is only for displaying image ads.  The display network gives you the ability to advertise in a variety of formats and sizes with text ads, static and animated image ads, and video ads.

  • Text Ads –The display network lets you to run the same text ads on display as you would on the search network.
  • Image Ads – A static image that would fill the entire ad block on the website it appears upon.  You can use custom imagery, layouts and background colors on this type of ad.
  • Rich Media Ads –  Rich media ads can be anything from interactive elements to animations, or other aspects that change depending on who is looking at the ad and how they interact with it. 
  • Video Ads –  Video ads have become popular, mainly because YouTube is included on the Display Network.  You can use AdWords to place your ads next to YouTube videos.

Display Ad Sizes

There’s over 20 different ad block sizes on the display network.  Each site that signs up to display Google ads chooses the ad block that fits their website layout best, so if you want your ads to show on a variety of websites, it’s best practice to create display ads in a variety of sizes.

Advertisers are able to upload animated, or non-animated image ads on the display network as well as HTML5 ads in the following sizes:

Square Or Rectangular 
200 × 200 Small Square
240 × 400 Vertical Rectangle
250 × 250 Square
250 × 360 3x Widescreen
300 × 250 Inline Rectangle
336 × 280 Large rectangle
580 × 400 Netboard
120 × 600 Skyscraper
160 × 600 Wide Skyscraper
300 × 600 Half-Page Ads
300 × 1050 Portrait
468 × 60 Banner
728 × 90 Leaderboard
930 × 180 Top banner
970 × 90 Large Leaderboard
970 × 250 Billboard
980 × 120 Panorama
300 × 50 Mobile Banner
320 × 50 Mobile Banner
320 × 100 Large Mobile Banner
Supported File Size 150 KB or smaller
Source https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/1722096?hl=en

It’s important to create  ads that will fit all the different ad blocks.  If you don’t, it will limit your reach on display and stop your ads from showing on some websites.

Expect image or rich media ads to have about twice the click-through rate (CTR) of text ads, but they won’t show as often. The reason for this is that Google can fit more than one text ad into a block, but only one image ad into that same space, therefore you will have to outbid the text ads sharing an ad block to display your ad in that position.

Options for Targeting on Display

You can target audiences on the display network. There are several types of targeting at your disposal, they are: 

Placement Targeting

Placement targeting is when you select which websites you want to appear on. This giving you control over where you’re going to appear on the display network.  This can be effective for targeting a specific demographic, and it provides marketers with the opportunity to look for sites that are geared toward special interests that align with their target audience. You can use display planner in Adowrds to help you to find websites that are in Google’s display inventory and are similar to sites you would ideally like to appear on.

Contextual Targeting

This is the most commonly used type of targeting, mainly because it utilizes the keywords related to the products and services you offer.  You will have to create a keyword list and Google will do their best to display your ads on sites related to those terms. You will have to keep an eye on the list of websites you’re appearing on and edit your keyword list accordingly.  You can do this by analyzing the data provided in the Placements tab.

Topic Targeting

Topic targeting gives you the ability to choose from an existing list of page topics, so your ads will only display on pages about that topic. The downside of this is that you can’t really drill down too deeply into some of these topics, meaning that there’s a risk your ads could appear on sites you don’t want.  Because of that, I recommend combining topical targeting with another targeting method to be sure that your ads are relevant to users.

Interest Targeting

The list of interest categories available to advertisers is similar to the list of topics, but the targeting method they use is very different.  Interest targeting lets marketers target the user, not the page content, so the user could be looking at anything when the ad appears, as long as the site is on the display network.

Google stores cookies on your device every time you visit a page in its ad network.  Google won’t save information about  who those visitors are, and marketers can’t view data at the user level.  However, if users are regularly browsing pages about a specific category then they will be put on the list of people who Google categorizes as ‘interested’ in that category.


Remarketing can get complex. Targeting ranges from basic, to highly complex.  For instance, Google will let you target your ads to people who have viewed a video on your homepage, and remained on the site for x amount of time. The more remarketing lists you set up, the more strategic you can be when targeting your audience using display.Google is constantly expanding the remarketing options available to advertisers.

Optimizing Display Campaigns

It is best practice to regularly review the automatic placements report and to add any irrelevant or poor performing sites as negative placements in your automatic placement campaign. There are plenty strategies you can implement to continually improve the performance of a display network campaign, but if you’re new on the display network and want to monitor performance on specific sites then reviewing your placements report on a regular basis is a good place to focus your time.

In Conclusion

In search  people are actively looking for goods or services. Display is more passive in the sense that users are  browsing websites and will be served your ads. This is where the display network gets criticized for being not as targeted as search. However, with all the targeting available today, display is a great option for marketers who are being priced out of advertising on search. If you’re already advertising on the search,  I recommend you test a display campaign using some of the tips presented in this post.