What You Need To Know To Target Your Market On Google’s Display Network

by Adrian Key

The Google Display Network is made up of millions of websites. Each has chosen to team up with Google to present ads on their site. It also includes other Google sites like YouTube and Gmail.

The number of websites in the Google Display Network are rising daily. New sites are added through the Google AdSense and DoubleClick Ad Exchange services. Every one that joins must agree to Google’s high standards. This ensures your ads are always shown on quality websites.

Like with search advertising, you can show text ads. However, if you just limit yourself to text advertising you would not be doing the Display Network justice. You can also show your ads as images, video or in rich media formats.

The strength of the Display network is that your ads can be shown on relevant websites other than those owned by Google. This gives you the chance to make your offer to many more potential customers at different points in the buying cycle.

For instance, suppose someone wanted to buy a frying pan. uncertain what make to purchase, they read some reviews. Whilst reading a very good review for a certain make of pan, they notice your ad. You are selling the exact same frying pan they are reviewing with a 10% discount. They click on your ad, review your offer, and make a purchase. An ad in the search-only network may have missed this opportunity.

Google’s targeting technology is much improved on what it once was. It can now do a reasonably good job of matching your ad with the right content. However, in order to get the most benefit, Google does need you to properly define the audience you want to target.

Main Targeting Options

Contextual Targeting:

With Contextual Targeting Google works out the theme of an ad group by the keywords you use and ads you write. It then matches that theme with those websites on the Display Network that have the same theme.

If for instance, you sell games consoles, you might choose the keyword “video games console.” Your ad would then be shown on games blogs or games review sites. This ensures your ad is shown to an audience that is interested in what your business has to offer. They are therefore more likely to take action.

Placement Targeting:

You may already know the sites that your customers visit most. Placement Targeting lets you show your message on those websites within the Display Network that you think are the best match for your business. You can have your ad shown on individual web pages, online videos, games, RSS feeds, and on mobile sites.For example, imagine you sold tennis rackets. You could individually select the websites of tennis and sports clubs within in the Display Network that you want your ads to appear on.

Contextual and Placement Targeting:

The most powerful way to target your ads is by mixing Contextual and Placement targeting together. Imagine you were selling sports shoes. You could select sports websites from the Display Network (placement targeting) and let Google work out the pages on each site that have content on tennis (contextual placement).


Have you ever visited a website looking for a product then moved on to another website and noticed on the page you are reading an ad for that same product and website? And as you move from site to site, have you seen how that particular ad seems to be following you around the Internet? If this has happened to you then you have probably experienced remarketing.

This targeting method allows you to match your message to people who have previously visited key pages on your website as they browse other web pages within the Display Network.

For instance, you could add a remarketing tag on all the pages within your website where you mention Xboxes. You can then create an AdWords campaign to show your ad displaying a special offer on a new Xbox to people that have visited these pages as they browse other web pages within the Display Network.

Other targeting methods

Geographic and language targeting:

Geographic and language targeting lets you restrict where your ads are shown. You can target people by the language they speak. Alternatively, you could have your ad shown in certain countries, regions, or within a postcode.

For example, you may want your ad to be only seen by English speakers. Or, you may want to only show your ad in New York.

Ad Scheduling:

Ad Scheduling lets you restrict the hours during which your ads are shown.

Suppose you run a pizza restaurant and want to advertise your delivery service. You might choose to show your ads between 5pm and midnight to match the hours when your restaurant is actually open.

Demographic bidding:

If your products appeal to a certain age group or gender, you can use Demographic bidding to target your ads better.


Google does a reasonably good job of matching ads to content within the Display Network. However, sometimes they do get it wrong. In addition, on occasion, your ad can appear on sites you would rather it didn’t.

Exclusions allow you to block your ad from being shown on competing sites or sites you consider as irrelevant or a bad match to your business.

Adrian Key is a professional AdWords consultant and editor of the AdWords Adviser, a blog dedicated to making AdWords profitable for small business. Subscribe to the AdWords Adviser, claim your free ebook, and learn more about the Google Display Network at:) www.adwords-adviser.co.uk