In order to get more sales, it is absolutely critical to drive traffic. Without traffic, there are no customers, and without customers there are NO SALES. Traditionally, a brick and mortar company could rely (to an extent) on foot traffic and word of mouth. These days, though, word of mouth isn’t enough and—for online businesses—foot traffic does not exist. This is why ads are so important. In order to compete in today’s online marketplace and in order to truly stand out, marketers need to produce stellar ads that excite and entice their audiences. Running ads may seem like a challenge, and there can be a bit of a learning curve. Still, they are actually easier to run than most people would think—especially when running ads through platforms like Google. Google gives marketers a comprehensive platform, from which they can tailor the perfect ads for their needs. One of the most powerful types of ads that Google offers is their display ads. Google Display Ads allows you to seamlessly run an online marketing campaign leveraging the power of banner ads. Banner ads have been utilized since the early days of the internet, and they are still an extremely popular and powerful tool that can produce real results. In order to take full advantage of Google Display Ads, it’s important to understand more about:
- What the platform is.
- How it works.
- What types of businesses will benefit from it.
- What types of ads are available.
- How to target.
- How to leverage metrics to increase efficiency.
Google Display Ads has helped me to dramatically increase the traffic to my sites, which has in turn led to thousands of dollars in sales that I never would have seen without these ads. Any marketer that is not using this extremely useful tool is truly doing themselves a disservice… Let’s take a quick moment to better understand what Google Display Ads are, to create a better understanding of what exactly it is that I am talking about…
What Are Google Display Ads?
Google Display Ads, put simply, are a sub-section of Google Adwords. This means marketers can actually create Google Display ads using the same platform as the rest of their Google Ads campaigns. Through Google Display Ads, advertisers can create flawless banner ads that are either focused on an image, or an image mixed with text that can be added in Google Display Ads when the ad is created. We’ll get into that in more depth in a moment. Essentially, for visual ads that draw the attention of potential customers, Google Display Ads are an invaluable tool.
Why Google Display Ads?
What is it that makes Google Display Ads such an invaluable tool? And why use banner ads at all? To answer the first question, Google Display Ads allows marketers to reach a large audience, with a low barrier of entry. With as little as $10-20 per day, marketers have access to a market of nearly 90% of internet users from all around the world. This means the potential reach of literally millions of people! On top of that, Google Display Ads allows you to run ad campaigns that are based around clicks, instead of just impressions. This means that not only will you reach millions of people, but you will also have a much higher chance of actually converting these potential customers. While this all sounds amazing, there is also the issue of banner blindness. This refers to the tendency for users to ignore banners—which leads a lot of marketers to avoid banner ads altogether. This is a mistake, because while banner blindness does exist, there is an easy way around it… Have a great banner ad! As long as ads are able to really reach the right audience and catch their attention, a marketer can still get lots of clicks. The key is to create ads that reach the preferred audience, and to target those ads properly. We’ll get into targeting in a little bit. To defeat banner blindness, ads need to stand out. They don’t need to be over-the-top, but they do need to get the customer to stop for a moment and look at what is being offered. There are a variety of ways to do this, including:
- Time-Sensitive Materials
- Appealing Images
- GREAT AD COPY
It’s also extremely important to consider the sheer magnitude of a Google Display Ads campaign, and where customers can be reached. Using banner ads and Google Display Ads, potential customers are shown ads through:
- Video Services
- Even Emails!
Essentially, any website owners that have opted into Google AdSense may end up showing your ad (as long as the targeting fits). While all of this sounds great, the question remains… “Will this work for my business?”
What Types of Businesses Benefit from Google Display Ads
There are a variety of different types of businesses that can find success advertising using Google Display Ads. Here are a few of them: eCommerce Because of the physical nature of the product, banner ads can work amazingly well for eCommerce businesses. If a business owner is selling a particular product and they know how to target properly, they can put their product on display in front of people that are interested in that exact thing. Consider someone that is selling shoes online. A banner ad featuring stylish shoes that are on sale can drive an incredible amount of traffic, made up of customers that love shoes or are at least in the market for a stylish pair of shoes. eCommerce and banner ads are a perfect fit. Affiliate Products and Digital Products Ads for affiliate products can be more tricky, but they can still work. Just keep in mind that the page that the customer lands on has to be part of a full website, and not just a static sales page. Google frowns upon static sales pages. With that in mind, affiliate product and digital product ads can be displayed with visuals that help the customer to see the results the product will provide for them. Service Related Businesses While services may not seem like they would translate to a visual ad, they actually can quite easily. By showing the services in action or the results, the marketer can catch the potential customer’s attention, and can remind them of a service that they need provided. This, in turn, can lead to a click. Most businesses can benefit from banner ads, if the ads are effective and well-targeted.
How Google Display Ads Works
So, Google Display Ads banners work…now what? How do they work? And what does a marketer need to understand about running these ads? Here are some things to consider when getting a Google Display Ads campaign off the ground…
Where Ads Will Show
The first thing to keep in mind when running ads on Google Display Ads is where the ads will show. Before even getting into the details of how to run an ad, it’s important to understand more about how the audience will view the ad. Ads can be shown in a variety of places, as we discussed before. In order to tailor ads for the audience, these different ad placements need to be kept in mind. It’s also necessary to understand how the process works for the companies that are running the ads on their websites. First, website owners will open up advertising space for Google to sell using AdSense – a platform website owners use to monetize their traffic. From there, Google sells the ad spot to advertisers. They then split the profits with the website owner. In order to get ad space, a marketer needs to create an ad, and then bid on the placement of the ad. Think about it like buying real estate. Whoever pays the most generally wins the bid. Keep in mind that Google doesn’t just look at the bid price, though…they also look at the quality of the bid and use that information to find what they consider to be the best ads for their users. If Google sees two bids and one is lower—but Google believes the ad and the website the ad is driving consumers to is higher quality—Google may actually opt for that ad instead of the higher bidder. Bidding Options There are a few different bidding options that are available to marketers when they are running ads. Some of these options include:
- Viewable CPM (Costs per Thousand Impressions). This is where a marketer pays X amount of dollars for every 1,000 times an ad is seen.
- CPC (Costs per Click). This involves bidding and paying a certain amount per user click.
- CPA (Costs per Acquisition). This involves the marketer paying a certain amount per user action. This is only used after generating over 50 actions.
Marketing Objectives The bidding option that the marketer should choose should depend on their end goals. For instance, if an ad campaign is based around exposure and getting a brand out there, impressions may be the most effective bidding option. If the goal is for the consumer to take action, though, CPC may be the way to go. This doesn’t mean a marketer is forced to only run one form of campaign. Multiple campaigns can be created with different ad sets and ads. Still, it is important to have a better understand, for each ad, of what needs to be accomplished. Take a look at the end goal of the marketing campaign, then bid based on what option will best help to reach that goal.
Targeting is extremely important for reaching the exact audience a marketer wants to reach. Back when marketers relied on old media, the way to target was to run ads on radio stations or TV networks that may have a similar audience to the product that was being sold. Things have changed. Now audiences can be directly targeted based on a variety of factors. Even banners have changed. Where before people would erect billboards that were displayed to a very large general audience, now online billboards (banner ads) can be displayed to EXACTLY the right people. There are a variety of different types of targeting that all marketers should be aware of, as well as different audiences that should be considered. Let’s start with choosing the right audience.
The Perfect Audience
The audience a marketer chooses for their ad campaign will fundamentally change the effectiveness of their ad or ads. Keep in mind that the broader the audience is, the more likely it is to waste money. Even if the goal of the ad is impressions, getting a bunch of impressions from the wrong people is essentially useless. Instead, ads should be highly focused, reaching the audience that will be most likely to interact, view the ad and take action when the time comes. It’s important to note that the more targeted the ad is, the less people it is likely to reach. At the same time, though, the more targeted the ad is, the better chances of that ad reaching the right people. Here are some aspects of targeting that are important to consider when building the perfect audience:
- Age. Not all products or services are appropriate for all ages. If a business owner is selling a product designed specifically for elderly people, having a younger audience view the ads would be a waste of money.
Instead, an ad should be targeted to reach the right age demographic of potential buyers.
- Gender. There are some products that both genders will benefit from. That said, many offers are gender specific.
For instance, you are more than likely wasting your time trying to sell men’s boxer-briefs to women! Consider which gender (if not both) would benefit most from a product or service before running an ad.
- Location. Some products appeal to customers in certain locations. For instance, snow boots are effectively useless in Miami, Florida.
If a company is international, it’s also important to consider which countries would be more likely to purchase a product. If the product is an eBook that is written in English, Mexico may not be where you want to focus the majority of your ads.
- Interests. One of the most overlooked demographics that people should consider more are their audience’s interests.
Interests are an amazing way to ensure that the right people that are actually interested in a product or service see the ads. If an entrepreneur is selling headphones, for instance, then music is an extremely important interest to consider. Interests allow marketers to get highly specific with their ads—allowing them to reach the perfect audience.
Different Types of Targeting
Not only are there different audiences that can be selected when running Google ads, but there are also different types of targeting. These different targeting types allow marketers to reach the right audience based on a variety of specific factors. The different types of targeting include: Topics. Google has used their network to determine the topics of different apps, videos and websites that have opted in to AdSense. Marketers can actually run ads on websites, apps and more based off of the specific topics that Google has created categories for. This means the ability to reach sites that are in the same sphere that a marketer is looking to advertise in. Affinity. This type of targeting is based around users that Google considers to be long-term potential customers. In-Market. In-market audiences are audiences that Google considers ready-to-buy. These are people that are already interested in what a marketer is selling, and simply need a nudge in the right direction. Remarketing. This type of targeting involves retargeting people that have already visited a website before. These people have shown interest, and may simply need a reminder of what they are missing out on, or a special deal to get them in the figurative “door.” Placement. When a marketer is looking to run ads on a specific website, placement ad targeting is the way to go. With placement ad targeting, a marketer can actually choose the URL that they want their ad to appear on. With a mixture of the right types of targeting and the right audience, an ad campaign can go from getting mediocre results to creating amazing results that lead to massive sales. Keep in mind, though, that this requires a marketer to know what their ideal audience should look like. Part of this will come from making certain assumptions based on the brand that has been built. The other part will involve taking a deep look at the metrics from different campaigns, split-testing and seeing which audiences and targeted ads come out on top.
In order to grow a marketing campaign while also saving money, it’s important to understand how to read the ongoing metrics from the every ad campaign. By running ads and then taking a look at the metrics, I have been able to make the changes needed to reach the perfect audience—which is the audience that is much more willing to click, consider and eventually buy. The best marketers in the world understand the importance of looking over the metrics that they receive throughout each ad campaign, so they are able to use that data to tweak and grow. It is extraordinarily rare that people run the best ad possible on their first go around. Even I continue to view the metrics from my ads and split-test for better results… There could be a variety of different issues with an ad, and it’s only by looking over where the ad failed and where it succeeded that changes can be made. Here are some things to consider when looking over the metrics of an ad campaign…
The Metrics to Look For
There are a few key metrics that should be considered with an ad campaign. These include: Impressions. It’s important to see how many people have seen an ad, to get a better idea of the reach at a certain price point. Clicks. If the ad isn’t getting any clicks, it’s not worth throwing money at. The amount of clicks should be considered alongside the… CPC (Cost per Click). The average CPC should be low. If it creeps up too high, some changes need to be made to bring it down. Conversion. It’s not enough to see the ad. People need to click through, and eventually become customers. Consider what conversion the ad is getting, to see how the advertising costs stack up with the actual conversions. Audience/Demographics Reception. This is extremely important when it comes to making changes to who exactly is seeing the ad, and what changes can be made to boost the effectiveness of the ad. Actually, I want to take a moment to discuss audience and demographics reception a little more in-depth… While it’s extremely important to make sure not too much is being spent on each click, it’s also useful to take a look at who exactly is interacting with each ad. A lot of advertisers will start an add thinking that a large variety of people will view and interact with that ad, but then find that only a certain group of people do. When this is the case, adjustments can be made. A marketer may advertise to 18-50 year old customers, only to find that the customers 25-35 are the ones clicking the most. They may find that the 18-24 crowd isn’t clicking at all. If this is the case, there is no use wasting money trying to reach an audience that doesn’t care. On the other hand, if the marketer believes that a certain demographic still would benefit, then changes to an ad may need to be made. For instance, to reach the 18-24 crowd, an ad may need to be changed so it is more youthful and appeals to a younger audience. All of this leads to another aspect of advertising that will take a Google Display Ads campaign from good to great…
Any good internet ad campaign should include some form of A/B testing. Without getting too far into the weeds, split-testing involves running two or more similar ads, and seeing what the results are for each ad. Then, whatever ad performs the way that the marketer intends better can be tested again against another ad with small changes. The goal is to find the ads that convert the highest. This can only be accomplished by looking at the metrics of an ad and seeing where it succeeded or failed.
The last thing I wanted to discuss with metrics is scaling up. Once a successful ad is found, it can be scaled in a variety of ways to make sure that it reaches a bigger audience. Some ways to scale up are:
- Trying new topics, keywords and interests.
- Reformatting successful ads.
(For instance, an ad may work well as a square ad, and a marketer can then try reformatting it to be a banner ad.)
- Remarketing and selling new products to the same audience.
- Increasing budget steadily over time.
- Changing the bidding type to reach new objectives.
Through proper scaling, an entrepreneur will find that their business continues to grow, and that their ads make them more and more money!
The Future of Banner Ads
Google Display Ads are the present and future of banner ads. They allow for a heightened level of campaign customization, and they help to ensure that marketers get the most impressions, clicks and conversions for their dollars. When it comes time to run ads, consider what we’ve discussed in this blog. Then, create an ad. Once the ad goes live, start paying attention to the metrics, and see how the targeting, placement and overall campaign parameters are working for the ad. If the ad isn’t successful, don’t give up on it completely! Try making some changes to the audience, copy and more. A few small tweaks may be all that is necessary to take an ad from good to great. Start considering how display ads can be implemented to build your business to new levels, then put together the best display ad campaign possible through Google Display Ads.