Making Effective Display Ads – Google Best Practices
Different tools are required for different jobs. This is a theme we’ve focused on several times here on the blog. Though we could go on forever about the importance of monitoring and tweaking your search campaigns to get the most out of them, today we’re shifting gears a little. Shifting to Effective Display Campaigns.
As much as search campaigns are the meat and potatoes of your AdWords activity, display campaigns are also essential. While search ads can direct existing demand to your business, display ads play an important role in creating demand. In addition, they also build brand awareness and drive conversions and improve engagement with your customers. But how do you best run display campaigns in AdWords? How can you get the most bang for your buck? Let’s have a look.
Determine Which Outcome You’re Optimizing For
There are two major, opposing forces at work in each display campaign you create. These are efficiency and creative control. Though not always perfect opposites, you will have to strike a balance between the two as you move your display campaign forward. Both will be a large part of your campaign, but you must decide on which matters more to you. Do you want to be more efficient? Or would you prefer greater control over your ad creative?
If the former describes your outlook, Google recommends utilizing responsive ads. These simple to create ads are an excellent tool for advertisers who are less concerned about the exact form and shape of their display ads. Responsive ads morph their size and shape to fit any available space on the display network. They require only one time setup at the beginning of your campaign, and are highly efficient. Google studies have shown a 50% increase in conversions at similar cost-per-acquisitions for users who take advantage of this format. The downside? Because these ads morph and change as they need to in order to fit in the spaces on the network, you have very little control of how the ad will actually be seen.
If this bothers you, Google suggests you use standard image ads instead. Essentially the opposite of their responsive cousins, standard image ads require more thought and input at the outset from the advertiser. They allow the user greater creative control of their ads, ensuring that potential customers see your ad as you designed it to be shown. This could be important for your marketing strategy or it could not. Make sure to bear in mind the inherent inefficiency of this ad type when compared to responsive image ads.
Using standard and responsive ads concurrently will give you the best of both worlds, and enable you to decide which focus is better for your business in the long run.
Craft a Message That is Relevant and Compelling
As with search ads, you’ll want your display ads to reach out to people in ways that are useful to your business. First and foremost, Google suggests that you create ads which target users across all stages of the purchase funnel. “Why?” you may ask. Simple: delivering the right message at the right time can encourage response and help guide customers to a purchase. You don’t want to make your potential audience thinner by only reaching out to some users.
Additionally, make sure that you include unique selling points, prices and promotions. It’s a big world out there, full of potential customers and competition for that same pool of customers. In order to make sure users click on your ads and not your competitors’, you’ll have to let them know what makes you stand out. Why are you different and worth that user’s time and money? People are also more likely to engage with ads that let them self-select before they click.
Make the Most of Your Responsive Ads
When designing ads for the display network, you have a lot to keep in mind. Leverage the unique capabilities of Google’s responsive ads to help your campaign thrive. For one thing, make full use of the long headlines feature. There’s a lot you can tell a user in 90 characters, if you know how to use them. Long headlines provide higher visibility and often perform better when rendered natively on a publisher’s site.
Next, differentiate your description text from your long headline. Though headlines and descriptions are not guaranteed to show in their entirety, you’ll still want to prevent duplicate messaging. Some placements do allow for more text, and repetitive ads annoy users quickly.
Finally, upload images with a strong visual focus with little text and include your company logo. These are simple, general tips that Google recommends you follow. The first because relevant images that support the main points of your ad are usually highly effective. The second because adding a logo increases the number of placements your ad may be eligible for.
Create Striking High-Performing Image Ads
In addition to your responsive ads, keep up the good work with your standard images as well. Start this process by uploading your images in high definition sizes. Ads with clear, crisp images stand out in a sea of fuzz and messy work. The higher the quality, the more attractive the ad.
Try to include the top five most popular image sizes. The top five sizes (300 x 250, 728 x 90, 160 x 600, 320 x 50, 300 x 600) can be automatically resized to fit 95% of the available placements on the Google Display Network. You’re doing yourself a favor by making your ad eligible to show in as many places as possible, especially since standard image ads can’t morph like responsive ones.
Use HTML5 to create interactive or animated image ads. Users like to be entertained. It’s one of the main reasons we surf the web. Though not every ad is going to be that hilarious super bowl ad where…, engaging ads increase users’ willingness to interact with them. Animating ads or making them more interactive can also bring attention to your copy and call to action. Not too shabby, either.
Lastly, ensure that your landing page matches the message of your ad. If your ad is showcasing the sweet new sale your business is having on electric guitars, don’t have the landing page be about your new shipment of drum kits. Most users don’t have the time or patience to navigate your site to find what they are looking for, so do the work for them. Compliance with this best practice will work wonders for your users’ happiness with your site as well as your conversions and quality score.
Test and Optimize Your Display Ads
As with just about everything else you do in AdWords, never get complacent with your display campaigns. Even when your campaign is doing well, there’s always room for growth, improvement and new opportunities to be had. Google recommends that you rotate in fresh display ads every few weeks to keep things interesting and engaging over time. Even the best banners can instill ad fatigue if they are overused.
It is also suggested that you consider setting your ad rotations to optimization automatically. Though not an exact science, ad improvement comes best through trial and error. Allowing Google’s machine learning to handle some of this process can make management easier and more efficient.
Today we looked at how to use Google’s best practices to optimize your display campaigns in AdWords. By planning ahead, creating a slew of high quality ads and then testing them for optimization, you can help assure your own success on the platform. Remember to use display campaigns to drive brand awareness and create demand. Your business will be better for it.
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