Media Buying Basics: Testing PPC Targets Using the Google Display Network
Written By : RICHARD FONG
Published on May 19, 2014
Is your business outgrowing search and social advertising? One of the best ways to increase your website’s traffic and generate new leads and sales is by placing your display ads on blogs and online publications through media buying.
Media buying is a very different discipline from advertising through networks like Google Adwords. You’ll need your own hardware, such as an ad server, and a more focused and action-oriented approach to managing your advertising campaigns.
Because of this, media buying is often thought of as a form of display advertising that’s only suitable for experts. In this guide, we’ll show you how to get started in the world of media buying using Google’s Adwords Display Network.
Most people think of Google Adwords as the sidebar ads that appear beside your search results. This is only one aspect of Adwords, and it’s known to users as the Google Search Network.
The other side of Adwords is the Display Network – the large network of websites and blogs that display Google’s AdSense ads. Using the Display Network, your ads can appear on millions of websites in hundreds of different languages.
Most Google Display Network advertisers target their campaigns using keywords, much like they would on the Search Network. Keywords dictate where ads appear; the content of the page needs to include your keyword in order to be included.
Placement targeting using the Display Network
While keyword targeting is the most popular form of targeting on Google’s Display Network, it’s far from the only option. As an advertiser, you can target users based on their demographic, their location, their approximate age, and much more.
The targeting option that’s of interest to us is Placement Targeting. Placements are unique websites within the Adwords Display Network. As an advertiser, you’re able to specify which placements you’d like your ad campaigns to appear on.
This allows you to carry out media buys through the Adwords interface without any third-party hardware or software. By targeting specific websites, you can generate a specific type of traffic that’s highly suitable for your product or service.
When should you target using Display Network Placements?
Are you already running campaigns on the Display Network? If so, you might have noticed a particular placement in your reports that’s generating a high conversion rate. These placements are ideal for targeting in a Placement-based campaign.
Likewise, you might have noticed a placement that’s generating a typical conversion rate but a high return on investment. This placement might have an unusually good clickthrough rate, or a CPC that’s far lower than your other keyword-based targets.
This type of placement is another great targeting opportunity. By adding placements that generate a good return on investment to a separate placement campaign, you’ll be able to generate more traffic from websites that result in fresh leads and sales.
Using Placement Targeting to increase your traffic and sales
Creating a placement campaign is simple. Simply create a new campaign in Adwords and select Placement Targeting from the targeting options. Make sure you select just the Display Network – there’s no Placement Targeting for the Search Network.
Once you’ve created your campaign, you can add placements to target. You can even create customized ads for each placement to increase your clickthrough rate and get the highest possible ROI from each target in your campaign.
Adwords also allows you to target specific subpages within a website. For example, you could target a specific YouTube video by adding its URL as a placement instead of targeting YouTube.com as a whole.
Finally, you can target placements and keywords in combination. This means that you could have your ads displayed alongside YouTube videos that include specific keywords like your product name, further increasing your conversion rate.
Bidding efficiently when using Placement Targeting
When you add managed placements to your campaign, Google assumes the target is particularly valuable to your business. Because of this, you’ll generally need to bid a higher amount for specific placements than you would for a keyword campaign.
Start your placement CPC or CPM bid slightly higher than you would a standard bid for Display Network traffic. If you’re already generating traffic from a placement in one of your keyword campaigns, start by doubling your existing CPC bid.
Over time, your clickthrough rate will determine the price you pay for traffic from your placements. At the beginning of a campaign, it’s best to bid high to generate a surge of traffic and determine your eCPM and CTR for future pricing.
Finally, it’s important to set a strict daily budget for placements. This is because a certain page or website that you’re targeting could experience a surge of traffic in response to a blog post going viral, which could result in a massive traffic boost.
Moving from Placement Targeting to media buying
Google’s Placement Targeting is a great introduction to buying display media on a site-by-site basis. However, it’s generally not the most affordable way to generate traffic from specific targets due to Google’s commission from AdSense users.
Many large websites offer private advertising services and use Google AdSense to monetize leftover traffic. This means that you can generate more traffic at a lower price by approaching them directly for a private media buy.
When should you transition from Placement Targeting to media buying? That’s up to you. Many advertisers stick with Google Adwords due to its simple interface and scalability, while others prefer to manage their own ad servers and media buys.
Are you ready to start using Placement Targeting?
Placement Targeting is one of the most underused features of the Google Display Network. When used properly, it’s one of the most lucrative forms of advertising available on Adwords, especially for niche products and small businesses.
Try adding placements to your advertising campaigns today. Start by using Google’s conversion tracking on your Display Network campaigns, and slowly add converting targets to your list of placements as your campaign develops.
Over time, you’ll build a powerful assortment of placements that generate leads and sales at a fantastic ROI. You may even pause your keyword campaigns to focus solely on placements in order to maximize your advertising return on investment.