Step by step guide on how to create an effective Display Ad Campaign

I’ll be honest. I’m not a fan of display campaigns. In my experience, they amounted to virtually nothing in achieving any significant business goal.

However, since the launch of Google Ads, I decided to give GDN a second chance.

Here are some suggestions on how to generate your first Display Campaign while keeping track of your business objectives.

1. Define your campaign goal

When setting up your Display campaign, keep in mind the goal you want to achieve. More traffic? More leads? More sales? I strongly recommend selecting one of the Campaign Goals available in the new interface.

Campaign Goals in GDN

2. Define your campaign settings

Independently form your business objectives, you’ll be asked to select a Campaign Type. In this case, select the Display option.

Campaign Setting in GDN

After clicking on the Display window:

  • Select Standard display campaign option
  • Enter your business website address
  • Click Continue

In the new page:

  1. Campaign name – Suggestion: Display + [Product Name] + [Goal] + [Location]
  2. Location – Add the countries in which your Campaign will be displayed
  3. Languages – Include just those languages that your ad copy will target
  4. Bidding
    1. Bid for conversions – Bid for your business goal rather than clicks
    2. Manually set bids – Keep your budget under control
  5. Budget – Enter an amount that you are comfortable spending each day
  6. Ad rotation – Optimize or not optimize? Both are sound choices.
  7. Ad group name – Suggestion: [Product Name] or [Product Category]
  8. Audiences & Demographics – (See Paragraph “Audiences and Demographics”)
  9. Ad schedule – Add a schedule to keep costs under control or if you are aware of when your potential clients are mostly active
  10. Automatic targeting – Leave the default “Conservative Automation”
  11. Ad group bid – The maximum amount you want to spend per keyword
  12. Frequency capping – Add a maximum number of impressions per day to keep costs down
  13. Content exclusions – Opt out of showing your ads on content that doesn’t fit your brand (mature, sensitive or unrelated)
  14. Devices – Exclude any device you don’t want your ad to be shown on. Personally, I exclude mobile and tablet apps. I keep only mobile and tablet websites.
  15. Click Create your ad

3. Create your Ad Copy

Now it’s time to be creative and generate an Ad that is both enticing to the customers and faithful to your brand. Images are the key aspect of display and can easily make or break your campaign. Here are some suggestions on how to choose your display image based on your business objective.

  • Sales: Select images that showcase your product in action. For instance, the image below showcases how simple it is to use an antibody labeling kit. Use the associated headlines and description to reinforce your message (in this example, saving time).Sales Ad Copy for GDN
  • Leads: Use a lead magnet such as a promotional offer or a free PDF to encourage users to take actions. Don’t be afraid of adding text to your image – Canva is a great tool for generating visual content. Use the headline and the long headline to grab the user’s attention with a clear benefit (in this example, a free guide). Use the description to reinforce what the lead magnetic will provide (in this example, scientific knowledge).Lead-Gen Ad Copy for GDN
  • Website traffic: to get the right people to visit your website, you can choose a variety of ads, from products to free resources. As I’m already driving traffic to products and free resources using other campaigns, I’m using this campaign to send users to landing pages that list all the website products or resources around a specific need.Website Traffic Ad Copy for GDN
  • Product and brand consideration: simply encourage people to explore your products and services. This is a middle-of-the-funnel type of campaign. People might be browsing and considering purchasing but they have not made their mind up yet. This is a good opportunity to showcase how your product stands out from the competition.Product and Brand Consideration Ad Copy for GDN
  • Brand awareness: to reach a broader audience and build awareness. This is a campaign aimed to let more users know about your brand and your products.Brand Awareness Ad Copy for GDN

4. Define keywords, audiences, demographics, topics, and placements

Don’t let Google take control over your Campaign. You have the product experience, the brand knowledge, and the business acumen to decide who will see your ad, on which channels and at what time.

KEYWORDS – Add keywords that match your campaign product and intent.

AUDIENCES – Narrow the reach of your campaign to users having a specific identity. There are three types of audiences:

  • Affinity & Custom Audience: users are selected based on their interests and habits
  • In-market & Custom Intent: users are selected based on what they are researching or planning
  • How they have interacted with your business: to remarket website visitors
    You can generate custom-made audiences by adding keywords that best describe what people are interested in or planning to buy.

DEMOGRAPHICS – Exclude users whose age, gender, or household income would not constitute the right target.

TOPICS – Include topics if possible. You can even make your selection more granular by adding subcategories (for instance, Science > Biology > Neuroscience).

PLACEMENTS – Include websites, YouTube videos, and channels where you’d like your ad to appear. By selecting the channels you’ll be in control of deciding not only who will be exposed to your ad, but also at which moment. Selecting videos explaining the Western blot assay for Western blot products I’ll target not only people who perform the assay but above all when they are in the right frame of mind.
This is an essential point as Google Ads displays your ads based on popularity rather than relevance (based on my experience).

5. Define Locations and Devices

Each campaign targets specific locations based on your business reach. However, Google Ads allows campaigns to have an extra level of granularity by increasing or decreasing their bidding.

In the examples I so far provided, I target both US and UK. However, I also increased the bidding budget by 20% in key business locations such as California, New York, Texas, and Maryland. An easy way to find out key business locations is to identify:

  • Where your converting traffic comes from
  • Where your best customers are geo-located
  • Where your business is planning to expand

Finally, I decreased the bidding budget by 20% on mobile devices. Why? Because it’s pretty common to click on ads on mobiles without any intention of doing so. An easy way to test the efficiency of your GDN-generated device traffic is to identify:

  • Number of Conversions
  • Immediate and Long-Term ROI
  • Frequency & Recency
  • Percentage of Returning Users