Getting Started With a PPC Agency Part 8: Google Display Network (GDN)

In our last blog post in our client onboarding series, we talked about the importance of remarketing as a PPC tactic.

In this post, we’ll cover the topic of the Google Display Network or GDN.

As you and your marketing team might rightly point out, remarketing is technically part of the GDN. We decided to cover remarketing as a separate topic because we take a different approach with each.

Google Display Network

Remarketing is something we almost always include in client campaigns from the time of campaign launch. It’s so effective, we want to use it from the get-go.

In contrast, we can’t always say the same of the Google Display Network. Usually, we only include it in client campaigns after we’ve tried other tactics and assessed how they perform.

Why the caution? The GDN has loads and loads of targeting options. If you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s easy to spend big money with little return. Target too broadly and your budget may disappear in the time it takes you to refresh your screen.

So we prefer to get our feet wet with search and expand to GDN only when we’re confident we know how to proceed and have sufficient budget for it.

(To get a sense of the many targeting options available on the GDN, take a look this GDN help page.)

When Do We Venture into GDN?

Typically, we add the GDN to client campaigns in three scenarios:

1. The client specifically requests it

Sometimes, the client wants a portion of their PPC advertising budget to go to GDN. Maybe they’ve had success with it before. Maybe someone on the inside is championing it. We’re usually happy to accommodate these requests as long as we don’t see it as a major risk.

2. We’ve exhausted all angles on the Search Network

Sometimes, a client is getting great ROI via AdWords, and they want us to expand our efforts. But at some point, we’ll max out on all good Search Network options.

Often, the next logical place to go is the GDN.

We’ll also sometimes use the GDN to expand our reach with seasonal products and services. So we’ll limit campaigns to the Search Network during slower seasons but expand to GDN during high seasons.

3. “Wild card” campaigns

Sometimes, the client’s marketing team has to spend its entire PPC budget or risk losing it. And sometimes we’ll use the GDN to close the gap and hit the client’s budget goals. We call these “wild card” campaigns.

While “wild card” campaigns may sound wasteful, they’re not. Rather, they give us the opportunity to explore and test other PPC strategies and tactics. And it’s not unusual to uncover things that strengthen our results.

For more on different budgeting structures for PPC campaigns, check out our blog post on the topic.

A Bonus Lift in Search

Finally, there’s one other reason to venture into GDN. (Although it’s not really a primary motivation—it’s more of an added bonus.)

Very often, once we add GDN campaigns to a client’s PPC program, we’ll see a lift in Search Network performance. We can only speculate why. Is Google rewarding us to encourage more spending? Or is it simply a matter of the GDN putting the brand in front of the right market?

Whatever the reason, we’ll take it!

So that explains our approach to the GDN! As we mentioned, you and your marketing team shouldn’t expect to have the GDN included in our initial campaign strategy. But it might be something we look at down the road, once we have a better feel for your account and have some extra budget to work with.

Stay tuned for our next post in this series, where we’ll talk about landing pages!

To read this series from the beginning, start with our introductory post.