GDN (or Google Display Network) campaigns are a great way to bring more awareness to your business due to its broad and expansive reach across the web. However, those that have managed GDN campaigns understand that it is also extremely challenging to optimize manually. Below are settings that I always try to check to ensure they are as targeted to my ideal audience as possible.
1. Frequency Capping
As defined by Google AdWords, “Frequency capping limits the number of times your ads appear to the same person on the Display Network.” I believe that frequency capping is important for all display campaigns because ad burnout is a real thing, and the last thing you want to do is give a negative experience to a potential customer. How high that frequency cap is will vary for each advertiser and campaign goal. My recommendation is to let campaigns run without a frequency cap for a week or two and dig into your frequency report to identify where the drop-off in engagement is.
2. Site Category Options
GDN campaigns give advertisers the option to select site categories to include or exclude in their campaigns. This is found by navigating to the Display Network tab and scrolling to the very bottom of the page, where you will see the Site Category Options section on the bottom-right corner. Some common ones I exclude are Below-the-fold placements and Google mobile app placements.
3. Mobile Exclusion
Speaking of mobile, reaching this audience is a magical land that all smart businesses want to tap into. However, the quality of a click on a mobile device is oftentimes low, as unintended “clicks” are much higher on the small screen. Unless I have mobile-optimized ads (which are now being released for GDN campaigns!) and a mobile-optimized website to drive traffic to, I tend to opt-out of mobile when running GDN campaigns. In addition to excluding the placement via Step #2 above, I go the extra mile by bidding on mobile devices with a -100% bid modifier and adding “adsenseformobileapps.com” as a negative placement on my GDN campaign. I’ve found that sometimes a mobile app placement sneaks in here and there, so I layer on my triple-defense with mobile traffic if I am certain that I am avoiding mobile users in my campaign.
4. Demographic Targeting
Lastly, I like to check my demographic targets because oftentimes there are demographics that you will want to exclude or segment out. Currently the demographic options that are available are Age, Gender and Parental Status. I recommend always targeting the “Unknown” groups if possible as they comprise of a large percentage of traffic.