HomeBlogGoogle’s New Display Network Interface Explained

Google’s New Display Network Interface Explained

Author: Navah Hopkins
Last Updated: December 2, 2021 | Display Ads

Google is taking a page out of Facebook’s book and restructuring Display campaigns around marketing goals (as opposed to key functionality). While the sudden change in interface may seem take some of you by surprise, this one is absolutely for the better. Here’s what you need to know about your existing Display campaigns (including retargeting) as well as the key takeaways to consider when creating new campaigns.

Let’s start with the changes:

New Google Display Network interface

Display campaigns have always functioned around these three key strategies, but it was up to the advertiser to make sure their campaigns functioned accordingly. Given how ambitious many campaigns can be in scope, competing goals often found their way into the same campaigns, which in turn led to wasted spend, fragmented demographic targeting, and low ROI.

Marketing Objectives in the New Display Interface

Not anymore! Google is making us decide from the outset what we want from the campaign so we can’t get in our own way. Going forward, you’ll need to choose one of these three marketing objectives:

  • Build Awareness: This is a fairly straightforward goal, and the most common use-case for the Display network. When structuring an awareness campaign, the goal is to get your ad in front of as many folks who could be a prospect as possible, as often as possible. The structure is 100% CPM (cost per impression) and your budget should allow for high impression and low CTR.
  • Influence Consideration: As the name implies, these are ads shown to folks who may already be aware of your brand, or have already begun their research process for the products/services you offer, but haven’t visited your site recently (within the last 30 days). Depending on your industry and the sales cycle associated with it, you may find more value in getting people to download a white paper than visit your site. Plan to pay a little more for clicks than in the building awareness campaign, since you ultimately want them to click on the ad to do the activity you’re promoting, but not as high as a true PPC campaign, or the Drive Action category.
  • Drive Action: This is the home of transactional display. Whether you’re running a retargeting campaign, vying for app downloads, getting folks to give you a call, or any other transaction-oriented action, the nature of the settings and the copy are closest to the PPC formulas. While we’re still bidding from a CPM perspective, we may start introducing slightly higher bids for clicks, as well as dynamic product ads. Of all the Display Network campaign types, this one relies most on having a search network counterpart. If you’re following a user around with a display ad, when they see your PPC ad in the search results, they will be more likely to act on it.

Digging into ‘Drive Action’ Display Campaigns

New Google Display Network interface Drive Action options

Since the third type of campaign has the most transactional possibilities, let’s dive a little deeper into the next set of options you’ll see once you choose the “Drive Action” campaign type:

Buy on Your Website: There’s a reason Google is prompting you to construct your retargeting campaigns through here – true retargeting is about recapturing a user who abandoned a shopping cart or seemed like a good fit by their session length, but didn’t manage to fill out the lead capture form. This kind of campaign is best suited to someone who visited your site within the last 30 days and falls within the demographics of a good prospect. Aggressive retargeting should end after day 31 so the user doesn’t experience brand fatigue, so make sure the lists you use for this are configured correctly.

Call Your Business: A lot like Buy on Your Website, but for services that get most of their business from calls. Be sure you have some form of call tracking enabled.

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Visit Your Business: This is the true billboard of the internet, but with a meaningful twist: you can target by location to promote your banner when a user is near your location (oh smartphones, how we love you), as well as include location and call extensions. Be sure you have your Google My Business page setup!

Install Your Mobile App: Apps are just as much art, as they are algorithmically designed to draw us into addictive fun/time hacks. By promoting the app, you’re able to convey the beautiful art of your app’s brand, and that can lead to direct purchase/adoption. This is especially valuable if you have a video campaign running alongside the display one so you can keep the continuity of your brand firmly in place, cutting through the noise your prospective audience deals with every day.

Engage With Your Mobile App: What do you do when a user has turned off “push” notifications on their phone and has turned into an inactive waste of server space? Advertise to them through display! This is a less intrusive/annoying way to remind users how awesome your app is – and given that only 14% of folks remain active on average after day one, this kind of campaign is becoming more and more vital to the health of an app.

It’s worth noting that existing campaigns will not be impacted by the change in campaign creation structure.

Making the Most of the New Display Network Interface

So how can you align your ads, budgets, and targeting to make the most out of these changes?

  • Ad copy in the Display network is much more about visual stimulation than a direct call to action. Be sure that there are at least three variants of ad copy running on new campaigns so you can a/b test appropriately. Make sure that any ad copy used matches the fonts and colors of your brand, allowing for a seamless experience between ad and landing page (path’s to conversion are still important, even though Display is more of an aid than a direct conversion tool). Consider using dynamic ad copy if you’re using Display to promote e-commerce.
  • Budgets should be divided into two categories: what you’re willing to pay for an impression and what you’re willing to pay per click. Impressions shouldn’t be costing you more than $0.10, and cpc’s on the Display network should be at least 40% less than your cpc’s on the search network. Don’t forget to put impression caps on your ads so you’re not causing brand fatigue/wasted spend.
  • When targeting, remember that you can target based on interests, lists that have completed certain events on your site, as well as demographics. Based on the goals of your campaign, you’ll want to make sure targeted audiences are seeing your ad at the right time/place as well as often enough to be meaningful (you can go a little more aggressive within the first 30 days of a user accessing your site.

Do you like the new interface? Will it get you advertising on the Display Network? Tell us in the comments!

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Meet The Author

Navah Hopkins

Navah Hopkins is a Top 25 PPC Expert and international speaker who has been in the digital marketing industry since 2008. She specializes in paid media strategy and helping brands build relationships with profitable partners and customers.

She’s a cofounding member of the Paid Search Association, a group dedicated to empowering the next generation of PPC practitioners, and she continues to give back by sharing lessons learned at conferences and local universities, and in blogs and webinars for SEJ, SEL, Semrush, and WordStream.

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