It’s a well-established fact that the key to efficient advertising is regularly presenting your product or service to the right audience – not just the largest. And one of the best ways to ensure your business is reaching the right person at the right time is with the help of Google Display advertising.

Leveraging Google Display ads to connect with the customers most likely to buy from your company forms a valuable part of a targeted marketing strategy. So let’s take a look at how Google Display advertising works, and why your business should be using it.

What Google Display Advertising Is (And Isn’t)

Display advertising revolves around virtually any kind of ad that displays your marketing message in a prominent and engaging fashion. At one time, newspapers and magazines were the sole domain of display ads. But in today’s digital environment, display advertising is more about those text, image, video, audio, and flash-based ads found on millions of websites and apps.

Google Display advertising take place across a collection of well over 2 million websites that form the Google Display Network. According to Google, their Display Network reaches 90%+ of internet users! But Google Display advertising is not just a numbers game. In fact, it’s not even necessarily about being found through Google Search (more about Search and Google AdWords in a future article).

What Google Display advertising IS, is a platform specifically geared toward helping your business find the right audience for its product or service. And that means taking advantage of the Google Display Network to target what amounts to pre-qualified clients.

Here’s why it works, in a nutshell:

  1. Chances are good that most of the websites your current or potential customers tend to visit are part of the Google Display Network
  2. Google collects pertinent data about visitors to these sites, and makes it available to marketing companies
  3. Working with a Google Display marketing specialist allows your ads to be placed on the Display Network sites most likely to reach your target demographic

In other words, Google Display advertising is an effective way to put your message in front of all the right people – whether they’re watching YouTube, checking Gmail, or browsing their favorite websites.

How Google Display Ads Work

As a business owner or manager, you already know how important it is to maintain a quality website that attracts as many visitors (read: potential buyers) as possible. But what if you could extend your online reach through thousands of complementary websites? That’s exactly what Google Display ads are for.

Your company’s message can potentially be placed on any site that’s part of the Google Display Network. But a marketing professional will understand how to find, evaluate, and categorize these websites in terms of relevancy to your business as paid advertising platforms.

Google Display advertising also allows you to engage prospective customers through a wide range of ad formats, including:

  • responsive text and image ads (these automatically adjust in size and appearance to fit and blend with the ad space they occupy),
  • video ads (ideal for YouTube placements, but also used on many “static” websites), and
  • Gmail ads (expandable ads, typically displayed at the top of user inboxes)

But it doesn’t end there. Your company has the option of working with managed ad placements, automatic placements, or both. With managed placements, you choose the specific websites, videos, or apps that will run or display your ads. With automatic placements – as the name would suggest – your ads are placed automatically, based on the targeting criteria you choose (usually keywords or topics).

What Google Display Advertising Can Do for Your Business

One of the biggest benefits of using Google Display advertising is the way it helps to capture a buyer’s attention earlier in the marketing cycle. Rather than waiting for a potential client to reach the comparison stage in their search for a product or service (and hoping they’ll track you down as part of that process), putting your ads front and center as early as possible:

  • increases the odds that they’ll think of you first, and
  • prompts other customers to visit your website, before they’re even thinking of buying

Because Google Display ads are highly targeted, they tend to increase website traffic simply because they’re aimed at people naturally inclined to be interested if what your business is offering!

With a display-based ad campaign, your goal of connecting with the most promising prospects is typically accomplished in three main ways: demographic targeting, contextual targeting, and behavioral targeting.

Demographics

Anyone who runs a business will be familiar with the concept of client demographics. What does your typical customer look like in terms of age, gender, career, family situation, and geographic location? Just like direct mail postcards, your display ads should be targeted to the demographic that makes up the bulk of your buyers.

Context

Matching your ads to appropriate web pages has a great deal to do with context. There’s little point, for example, in displaying an ad for men’s suits on the same page as an article about scuba diving in Hawaii. While it’s not impossible that somebody interested in diving with turtles might also be in the market for a new office wardrobe, it’s hardly the best strategy for promoting positive ROI.

Behaviors

Behavioral targeting is all about putting your ads in front of people whose internet browsing history shows they’re likely to be interested in what your company’s selling. Yes, Google learns from our browsing behaviors. And they make that data available to advertisers.

Understanding what’s behind targeting tactics like these is essential for creating the display ads that are most likely to resonate with viewers. But measuring how well your ads are performing is another matter entirely. Interpreting your Google advertising results involves first identifying which webpages, apps, and videos are running your ads, and then recognizing:

  • which ads or ad formats are earning the most clicks,
  • how your managed placements are performing against automatic placements, and
  • which websites are providing the best value for money

So if you’re looking for the best results from the strategic placement of your marketing message, consider partnering with a Google Display advertising expert to help show you the way.