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An Introduction to Google Display Ads, Part II

In Part I of our introduction to Google Display Ads, we covered what Google Display Ads are and why you should consider adding Google Ads to your marketing arsenal. In Part II, we discuss the mechanics of setting up and managing Google Display Ads, how to measure the results of your Google Display Ads campaign, and the importance of tracking assisted conversions to get a complete picture of how your campaign impacts conversions.
 

Setting Up Google Display Ads

Setting up Google Display Ads requires you to select the audience you want to target, create ads, set budgets, determine a bidding strategy, and set up conversion tracking.
 

Selecting Your Audience and Placement

Google Display Ads are designed to get your ads in front of people you want to target. Targeting options include location, gender, age, and interests. You can even select the websites you would like your ads to appear on. Looking to target people who are actively looking to buy  your products or services? Tell Google what keywords you would like to target,  entering URLs to your own website or app and its in-market and custom intent audiences will help you target people actively searching for your products and services. Worried about showing up on shady sites that may conflict with your brand image? You can exclude categories of websites and apps that you don’t want your ads to appear on.
 

Creating Ads

After you select your audience, you’ll set up ads. You can create and upload your own custom ads or let Google do the work and create the ads for you. To set up these automated ads, known as responsive display ads, you enter text that will be used to populate headlines and descriptions and also upload your logo and other image assets. Google will automatically generate ads for you that fit in available ad space. Over time, Google’s machine learning system will figure out which combinations of your text and images are most likely to generate conversions for you. If you have strict brand guidelines or want maximum control, you will want to create your own ads, but allowing Google to run responsive display ads is generally more successful and scalable for most advertisers.
 

Setting Up Conversion Tracking

Speaking of conversion tracking, before you launch your campaign, you will want to make sure to set up Google to track any action on your website you’d like to keep tabs on, for example, phone calls, contact form submissions, or purchases that happen as a result of your ads. If you are interested in “killing two birds with one stone” and tracking the results of any marketing campaign that directs traffic to your website, you will want to set up conversion tracking in Google Analytics and import these conversions into the Google Ads platform.
 

Setting up Budgets and Bids

Like other Google products, you can cap your spending and pay only for clicks or conversions you receive. You can manually set bids or, if you have enough conversion history, have Google automatically set bids for you to maximize clicks or conversions. One major mistake you will want to avoid during setup is failing to set up a maximum price you are willing to pay for a click or conversion when selecting automated bidding strategies.

Putting Google on autopilot by choosing automatic bidding doesn’t mean there is no need to actively manage your accounts, so you’ll still need to oversee your campaigns.
 

Measuring Google Display Ad Results

Google Display Ads help you connect with people who are not be familiar with your brand, and it may take them multiple exposures to you before they are ready to take action on your site. For example, it’s not uncommon for someone to visit your site after seeing your display ad, bookmark the site, and then come back and fill out your contact form later. Because Google Analytics credits the conversion with the last action taken on your site, this conversion is tracked as the result of a direct visit, rather than a display ad-generated visit.
 

Find Hidden Value by Looking at Assisted Conversions

However, the conversion just described would have never happened without the exposure provided by Google Display Ads. Thankfully, Google Analytics lets you see assisted conversions and uncover the correlation. As the name suggests, assisted conversions reveal prior visits that may have assisted with the conversion. You can see them by clicking Conversions, Multi-Channel Funnels, Assisted Conversions in Google Analytics. Before you give up on a display campaign that doesn’t appear to be working, check for assisted conversions. We’ve seen more than one client cancel display advertising campaign only to see a significant drop in direct conversions that never happened because the display ads weren’t there to support awareness.
 

Ongoing Management

As mentioned previously, Google Display campaign need to be actively managed. This will help you catch mistakes and optimize the campaign, so don’t forget to check in on your advertising campaign at least weekly to see how it’s doing.

Are you using Google Display Ads? How are they working out for you? Share your results below.

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