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Mastering Google Display Network: Top 10 Strategies

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Google Display Network (GDN) has become the number one spot on the web for advertising in the past 2 decades. Alphabet (the parent company of Google) has made sure that with constant improvements, changes, and optimizations GDN stays on top of the industry for years to come.

With all of those changes, most marketers get lost in their old ways and fail to find new and better ways of advertising and utilizing the tools available. This is why finding new and working strategies is important! 

Understanding the Google Display Network

GDN shines as a powerful platform that enables advertisers to showcase their messages, products, and services across a wide array of websites, apps, and platforms. With its massive reach and precision targeting capabilities, the GDN has become a cornerstone of many successful digital marketing campaigns.

In today’s article, we will help you learn about some working strategies and how to best implement them for your own marketing needs! All of the strategies are backed by research and they are designed to help you harness the full potential of this versatile platform!

Strategy 1: Define Clear Objectives

Before diving into the intricate world of the GDN, it's crucial to start from the basics and define your campaign's objectives. 

Are you aiming for brand awareness, lead generation, or sales conversion? Each objective requires a distinct approach in terms of targeting, ad creatives, and measurement. For instance, if your goal is brand awareness, focus on impressions and reach. Conversely, for lead generation, prioritize click-through rates and engagement metrics. 

The clearer the objective behind your campaign, the easier it is to track its progress and adjust accordingly. If you don’t have your objectives clearly defined, you will probably go back and forth between different objectives and never properly optimize for your main goal!

  • Example

Imagine you're a travel agency aiming to boost brand awareness for your new vacation packages. Your GDN campaign's objective would be to maximize impressions and reach among users interested in travel and leisure. You can focus on specific destinations and find the exact audience that might be interested in traveling there. 

Strategy 2: Audience Segmentation is Key

One-size-fits-all approaches rarely work in the digital advertising realm. The GDN provides powerful audience segmentation tools that allow you to target users based on demographics, interests, behavior, and even remarketing. 

Crafting tailored messages for each audience segment enhances engagement and conversion rates. Before launching your campaign do thorough research on your product and the audience that is interested in it. Learn about the basic segmentation first. Find out what gender is more interested in your product or services, what age groups you are most popular with, and what their common interests are. 

The more you know about them, the more likely you will target them properly and find segments of your audience that perform the best for your campaigns. 

  • Example

A fitness equipment retailer can create distinct ad groups targeting fitness enthusiasts, weightlifters, and runners with customized ads showcasing relevant products for each group. They can segment powerlifting equipment for young males, aerobic equipment for young females, and running equipment for both genders with a wider demographic. 

Strategy 3: Compelling Ad Creatives

Captivating ad creatives are the heart of any successful GDN campaign. Ensure your visuals and copy align with your brand and resonate with your target audience. Incorporate clear calls to action (CTAs) that guide users toward your desired action.

Ads are the most important part of any campaign, and focusing heavily on them is never a bad idea. Do A/B testing with your ads to find the winning combo. First do big changes and then branch out to smaller changes so you can quickly test a bunch of stuff and find the best combination for your campaigns. 

  • Example

An online fashion retailer can split-test creatives with different models, colors, items, styles, and more to find the ones that perform the best. After they find the best combinations, they can slowly test different CTAs, formats, and music in the ads to ensure they have the best results. 

Strategy 4: Leverage Responsive Ads

Responsive ads automatically adjust their size, appearance, and format to fit the available ad space. These ads are versatile and can adapt to various placements, increasing your reach and visibility across the GDN.

These are often a bit more effective at converting users and they fit well with any format as they are responsive and adjustable depending on the placement. You will find that your ads appear more often and in various places. Use that info to optimize your ads for the future. 

  • Example

A company can use responsive ads to showcase its productivity tool in different formats, ensuring optimal display on both websites and mobile apps. Once they learn what placements work the best, and what formats and sizes capture the most conversions, then they can optimize for that for their next campaign. 

Strategy 5: Optimize Landing Pages

An often overlooked aspect is the post-click experience. A well-crafted ad that leads users to a confusing or irrelevant landing page can deter potential customers. Ensure your landing pages are aligned with your ad message, mobile-responsive, and designed for conversions.

Try experimenting with bright colors, attractive CTAs, and animations to get users to stay engaged with the content. Images and videos are also an important part of the formula and with them, you can ensure more clicks. 

  • Example

An e-commerce store advertising a specific product should direct users to a landing page featuring that product prominently and providing easy options for purchase. There they can show the users products that might be similar to the one they viewed and get them to buy more things. 

Strategy 6: Utilize Contextual Targeting

Contextual targeting involves placing ads on websites that match the content of your ad. This strategy ensures that your ads appear in relevant contexts, capturing users' attention when they're already interested in related topics.

  • Example

A cooking supply company can display its ads on recipe websites, reaching users who are likely interested in cooking utensils and ingredients. This can be used to upsell the products that they might think they need for a specific meal or recipe to be successful. 

Strategy 7: Implement Remarketing Campaigns

Remarketing allows you to re-engage users who have previously interacted with your website or ads. These campaigns keep your brand fresh in users' minds and often lead to higher conversion rates due to the familiarization factor.

Those users you retarget are already people who converted so they are much more likely to do it again, especially if your product or service was worth the price!

  • Example

An electronics retailer can show ads featuring previously viewed products to users who visited their website but didn't make a purchase. They can also target them for upgraded components down the road. 

Strategy 8: Monitor and Adjust Regularly

Constant monitoring and optimization are essential for GDN success. Regularly review your campaign's performance metrics, including click-through rates, conversion rates, and cost per conversion. Adjust your strategies based on the data to ensure optimal results.

Find what KPIs are the most important for your campaigns and what their values are. Adjust your campaigns so the key KPIs improve and give you better results over a longer period. As always optimization is key, and this is the best way of achieving it!

  • Example

If a software company's GDN campaign is generating a high click-through rate but a low conversion rate, it might refine its landing page or ad messaging to better align with user expectations. Since the company should have insight into what influences each of its KPIs, they can quickly find the bottleneck and fix it. 

Strategy 9: Utilize Placement Exclusions

Not all websites and apps within the GDN will be suitable for your brand. Use placement exclusions to prevent your ads from showing on irrelevant or low-quality websites, ensuring that your brand maintains a positive online presence.

Before launching do your research and find what placements would work great for your products and which wouldn't. You can also see this if you filter your conversions by placements and find which of them eats up your costs but gives nothing in return!

  • Example

A high-end jewelry brand might exclude placements on websites that focus on bargain deals to maintain their luxury image. They could try going for placements on other luxury products and brands where they are likely to find their ideal audience anyway. 

Strategy 10: Test, Iterate, and Innovate

The digital advertising landscape is ever-evolving. To stay ahead, continually test new strategies, ad formats, and targeting options. Embrace innovation and adapt your approach based on emerging trends and technologies.

You always have to evolve and try new things so you stay ahead! This isn't just the case for GDN but for all networks!

  • Example

A tech startup could experiment with interactive ad formats like playable ads or virtual demos to showcase the uniqueness of their product.


Mastering the Google Display Network demands a blend of creativity, data analysis, and strategic thinking. By setting clear objectives, targeting the right audiences, creating compelling ad creatives, and optimizing continuously, you can harness the full potential of this platform to drive brand awareness, engagement, and conversions. 

Remember, the GDN is a dynamic landscape, so stay open to experimentation and adaptation as you navigate the exciting world of digital advertising.

What are your strategies for the best results on the GDN? Share your experience with us in the comments below!

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