Koozai > Blog > 20 Ways To Enhance Your Display Advertising Campaigns

20 Ways To Enhance Your Display Advertising Campaigns

| 7 minutes to read

24-07-2014 11-00-25All too often Display advertising campaigns are set up and then left to run. This always amazes me, as the key to having successful and cost effective Display campaigns is in the optimisation. Setting up and pressing go won’t get you the most conversions, or the most relevant visibility, so optimisation is essential. As such, here are 20 tips to enhance your Display advertising campaigns.

Display advertising is a type of online advertising that contains much more than just text; mainly logos, photos, images and animation. There’s plenty more to it than just creating ads and launching a campaign – it needs ongoing monitoring and optimisation. Here are my top 20 tips:

1. Test Layering Different Targeting Methods

For example, if you currently use keywords and automatic placements, try adding topics as well. A full list of targeting methods can be found here. When using multiple layers of targeting it’s essential to make sure you have the right settings selected for each targeting method (Target and Bid or Bid Only), to ensure you don’t limit your reach or even end up widening it too much.


2. Restructure Strong Ad Placements 

If you have a managed placements campaign running and one of those placements is performing significantly better than the others in the ad group, try restructuring so that strong placement is in its own campaign and has a designated share of the ad spend.

3. Exclude Strong Ad Placements From Automatic Campaigns 

Once you have added strong placements to a managed placement campaign, exclude them from the automatic campaign. This allows you to use Google’s automatic placements function with targeting such as keywords or topics, to discover new possible placements to target specifically and tailor your bids for. You can review your placement performance in the Display Network tab, under ‘Placements’:


4. Design Ads To Complement Targeted Sites

If you’re using managed placements (where you pick the sites specifically on which to show your ads), design unique ads so they complement the look and feel of the site you’re targeting. For example, if you were to specifically target https://percentage-calculator.net/ choose an ad with a darker background. In the image below we can see this with the top advert – this works well and stands out because of the white background and simplicity of the page. The bottom advert in the image below doesn’t stand out because it too has a white background. Remember it’s not just about standing out, it’s about complimenting the page as well, so avoid clashing colours.


5. Split Test Your Ads

Much in the same way as text ads, try out different Calls to Action (CTAs), new offers or promotions, new colour schemes, and new images. Make sure you only change one thing at a time so you can see what provided the effect, and ensure your ad rotation settings are set to ‘rotate indefinitely’ to allow you to collect equal data for split testing.

6. Size Matters

Make sure you have each ad creative in every possible ad size in each ad group to achieve the widest reach. A full list of formats and sizes can be found here.

7. Using Animated Ads?

You might think they look good, but they could be limiting your reach as not all sites facilitate animated ads. On top of this, they don’t always render very well on some sites, so your brand might be made to look bad because of their poor performance. Make sure you have a static version of any animated ads you are using, in the same ad group as the animated ones. This will mean you still have the opportunity to show even if the site doesn’t support animated ads.

8. Don’t Forget All Your Normal Campaign Settings

It’s easy to get carried away with all the options for targeting on the display network, but don’t forget the basics, as these are fundamental for keeping your campaign cost effective. Make sure you’ve reviewed all these optimisation opportunities that still apply to the GDN:


  • Location targeting and bid adjustments (for example you’ll probably still want to target only the country you offer your services in, and if you want to target multiple countries do this in separate campaigns so you can control your ad spend.
  • Scheduling: like search campaigns, schedule your display campaigns to show when they perform best.
  • Device targeting: if your site doesn’t facilitate an easy path to conversion on mobile devices then do not bid on mobile devices. If it does work well on mobile then consider what your mobile bid adjustment should be and regularly review data to optimise it.

9. Make Sure You Have Conversion Tracking In Place

Even though display won’t bring you a ton of direct conversions, it can often assist conversions and generate view through conversions so you need conversion tracking to track them!


10. Monitor Display Lost Impression Share Due To Rank At Ad Group Level

If you’re missing out on a great deal of impression share then you should consider optimising your campaigns in more depth and possibly increasing your bids. I tend to increase bids on anything with less than 60% impression share, although you may not actually want 100% impression share on a particular placement as it means you’d always be showing, which might actually become irritating for your audience!


11. Be Careful About Where Your Ads Are Shown

Exclude inappropriate categories from your campaigns to block your ads from showing on a whole host of content you might not want your brand associated with:


12. Test Setting Your Campaigns To Exclude Showing Ads Below The Fold

As seen in  the image above. Your costs might increase slightly and the level of impressions may dip, but you may find that your ads are actually seen by more eyeballs. (Although there’s no tool that I know of to measure this on the GDN yet).

13. Try Testing Excluding Parked Domains And Error Pages

As seen in image above. In your campaigns, as generally these categories perform poorly in my experience.

14. Think Mobile!

Expand your reach by creating a specific campaign to show your ads in mobile apps if this suits your strategy. When you create your new campaign just choose ‘ads in mobile apps’ as the category within Display Network Only. You can even target or exclude categories of apps, or individual specific apps. Learn more here.


15. Think About Placement Exclusions

If you filter your placement report by ‘Apps’ and find they are performing poorly in your normal display campaigns, you can exclude them by making adsenseformobileapps.com a placement exclusion at campaign level, or by switching off ‘In-Game’ in the category exclusions level:


16. Drive Engagement With AdWords Engagement Ads

These are their own campaign type. This is where users can hover over your catalogue to expand it with lightbox format engagement ads, or use Hover-to-Play engagement ads to allow your ads to show videos in standard rectangle ad unites if the user hovers on them for more than two seconds.

17. Try The Display Campaign Optimiser Tool

If you don’t have a lot of time to optimise your campaigns, but you do have at least 15 conversions in the last 30 days, you could try the Display Campaign Optimiser tool from Google. However, beware that you will still need to optimise them manually by doing regular placement and targeting reviews.

18. Schedule Paused Ads

If you’re creating new campaigns or want ads to go live on a certain date, try posting them as paused ads at least 3 days before you want them to go live. Even paused ads go through an approval process so it will give AdWords a chance to review the ads in plenty of time before your go live date. Although they aim to get ads reviewed in 24 hours, image ads take a bit longer to review in my experience.

19. Use Remarketing

Don’t forget about Remarketing as part of your Display Campaign strategy. It can really enhance your other display and search campaigns (learn more about it here)

20. Don’t Overlook YouTube!

I often see it excluded as an entire domain because the placements report may say that domain performs poorly, but if you go deeper and look at what pages your ads have shown on within YouTube you can target specific videos or pages which may make it much more effective for you. There’s also lots more ad formats such as video ads that you can use on YouTube with AdWords for Video. You can learn more about this campaign type here.

This list of optimisation tips and tricks is by no means extensive and there’s much more you can be doing to get the most out of your display advertising campaigns. If you want to know more about Display Advertising, get in touch today for a free display advertising audit.

Image credit:

White Billboard Advertisement Via BigStock


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  4. Den avatar

    Wow. Great article. But what I really hate about Display Ad is that they are not as half as effective as contextual ads. But Display Ad gives us a certain level of creative freedom which i like most.

  5. Chad at Predicative avatar

    I really like the tip about Display Lost IS. That one is buried pretty deep in there.

    One thing I would add is suppress non-converting geolocations. It is pretty easy to do, and you can shift that spend into up-bidding Lost IS in more competitive and desirable locations.

    People often think location is limited to proximity and mobile, but it can be used as an excellent bid modifier for display and any other type of ad channel.

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