The Google Display Network is an advertising network that serves text, video, image and rich media adverts across a variety of news sites, blogs and other niche sites across the Internet to reach more potential customers. Many traditional publishers – e.g. the FT, Daily Mail, Independent, The Times etc. – have advertising networks across their platforms, using cookies to serve relevant adverts. The GDN is unique because it allows adverts to be served on smaller content rich websites such as blogs, as well as these larger media websites.
SEARCH VS. DISPLAY ADVERTISING
Before you get started with a Google Display Network strategy, it is useful to understand the differences between search and display. Display ads are ads that are shown (displayed) on any websites that are not search engines. These ads are often referred to as banner ads, although text ads are also part of display advertising.
Search marketing or PPC tends to be the first tactic in paid advertising because user intent is higher in search. While PPC focuses on user intent, display represents a more passive role as the person being shown the ad did not necessarily see it as a result of entering a direct query into a search engine at a specific moment (search queries can be used for display targeting though). Rather, that user is seeing your advert on an external website that they are visiting for some other specific purpose. For example, when you’re checking your email and an advert about train tickets is visible. Exposure to advertising on external, or non-search engine sites, is more like the experience of seeing advertisements in a newspaper or magazine – you are more likely to scan around them or flip past them to access the content you were actually seeking.
While different digital tactics, PPC and display complement each other greatly. There is certainly a slight overlap in targeting due to how both can be set up and managed by the Google Ads platform. Both sets of adverts can target similar demographics, search queries and have a specific geographic focus or bidding strategy. The key difference is that search serves ads on search engines and display serves ads on partner websites.
GDN advertising is suitable for businesses of all sizes. It is also suitable for ecommerce or service businesses. They key to effective GDN advertising is ensuring that your content and targeting are relevant to your audience. A lack of understanding with these and how the platform works means you won’t get the best value from your media investment.